Computer after power surge

By herr5407 ยท 10 replies
Jun 23, 2007
  1. Hi everyone!

    I got a situation with my friend's PC that I've taken in to take a look at.

    He says that one day there was a huge power surge and when he attempted to power on his PC, it basically just emitted one long, two short beeps.

    I took the PC from him and since there was no video output what-so-ever, I decided to swap the video. I also looked at a handy little beep codes guide from these forums that also confirmed this.

    Upon putting in an older (known working) video card, the PC booted. It went into Windows just fine. While in Windows, out of nowhere the computer would hard freeze. Nothing works when it would do it. No ctrl alt del. nothing. The computer was virused out beyond all belief so I decided to just do a clean install of WinXP.

    The install goes fine until after the GUI portion of the setup, it hits a black screen and sits there completely frozen with an hour glass. It may possibly by the part where it auto-adjusts the display.

    Could this possibly be because the video card I thought worked fine is bad? Or could it be possibly the surge annihilated more than the video? MB?
    Edit: update to above information

    Since it got past the GUI portion of the setup. I decided to just boot from C: and hope everything would still work. I unplugged everything and brought it down to bare bones. It booted into Windows but hard locked after about 15 seconds of a clean install.

    I decided to pull a stick of RAM out and use memtest86. With only one stick of RAM, the computer wouldnt even make it past the POST screen. It freezes right after the memory test portion. If i take that stick out and put in the other one, it also doesnt make it past. I decided to put them both back in to see if it would boot into windows and still it wont go past the post screen. Now i cant even run memtest. So that option it out.

    I'm guessing that the surge completely cooked the PC. I'll grab a voltage meter today and check PS lvls but other than that, I'm stabbing in the dark here. Any suggestions?
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Try another power supply, and try clearing the Motherboard CMOS by removing the CMOS battery or by using the CMOS jumper method... The motherboard may be damaged
  3. herr5407

    herr5407 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 101


    I tried resetting the CMOS and it still sticks at the POST screen. I can't even enter the cmos setup. I don't have a spare PS to swap and try that out. Can I measure the voltages with a voltage meter to check to see if the PS is damaged? or will it always read the correct voltages even if it's damaged?

    The computer is about 5 - 6 years old so the cost of possibly replacing the power supply only to find the motherboard or CPU is fried is not even worth it.

    Thanks for the info. Now to get my hands on a voltage meter.
  4. HPCE_Larry

    HPCE_Larry TS Rookie Posts: 132

    It may well be toast. Surge protectors are your friend.
  5. herr5407

    herr5407 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 101

    Apparently he had it connected to a surge protector. It must be 10 years old and been fried a few times. or else he is lieing. One of the two.
  6. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    My 2 cents is that it's either defective system memory (RAM) or corruption in the file system. In the former case, eitehr test the RAM or swap in new memory and see if it freezes. In the latter, run a chkdsk.

    It might not be worth it to save his PC if more than one component is fried. Obviously, the video card is toast. Best to put his money towards a new or refurbished comp.
  7. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    you can measure the power supply voltages at the connectors as long as they are plugged into the motherboard, hard drive or CDROM's when you do your measuring. The power supply needs to be under a load inorder to be able read the voltages correctly
  8. herr5407

    herr5407 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 101


    Well i put it all back together and for some reason it booted into XP.
    - I found a good boot disk with a bunch of utilities on it. I ran memtest86 for 19.5 hours and it made around 17 passes with 0 errors.
    - Ran CPU stress test for around 3 hours. Says it "Completed 2521000 itterations without error. (31004.75 GFLPS)" I'm unsure on the GFLPS number not sure if I heard it right over the phone. But it didn't crash. So does everything point at the mobo being the culprit here?

    The voltages on the power supply check out fine.

    Thanks everyone for your help.
  9. herr5407

    herr5407 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 101

    Ok. I got some time to work on the thing again.

    I obtained a known working video card and put it in, still hard froze in windows. I then decided to take all unneccesary cards out of it.

    I remove the modem and network card. Now it wont get past post.
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Have you tried another hard drive?
  11. herr5407

    herr5407 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 101


    Just tossed in a known working old IDE drive and it still locks in the same place after GUI setup and then locks in Windows after I reset it. This is after a clean install of XP.

    Considering he needs to buy at least a video card and a mobo/PS/CPU who knows, the computer is basically deemed as not worth fixing. The tower was in a house where heavy smokers lived and is all black and full of tar so the price to fix this thing is much too high. If it was just video it would be alright, but it seems to have cooked more than that.
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