Computer crashing/restarting  query

By Nando ยท 11 replies
Aug 5, 2009
  1. Hi Forum ,
    This is my first post so i hope someone might be able to help with this problem .
    My previous Tower developed a fault whereby it would keep crashing - i have since upgraded to another system but would like if possible to sort out the problem and fix this machine as backup .
    Basically the details are -
    Emachine E4076 / Pentium4 (524) Windows XP Media Centre Ed .
    3.06 Ghz (533 mhz FSB/2 Gb RAM ( 2x1 Ddr2)
    120 GB HDD (Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm ( ST3120213A)
    ATI Radion Xpress 200 (+Pci slot)

    Symptom's -
    PC keeps crashing to startup - even unstable in Safemode - sometimes works for short time but mostly crashes very soon after or even during startup .
    On startup -
    "Emachine" logo appears on screen with " Bios Setting (F2) Boot Menu (F10) bottom right corner
    followed by black screen - with
    " F11 to start recovery " in top left corner
    then another black screen with clicks as if trying to load something further(?)
    but then Windows XP "Welcome" & desktop screen .
    There is no other writing on screen at startup ,no HDD recognised etc
    - is this description symptomatic of anything ?
    I have tried taking both RAM sticks, trying one at a time ...the first not even getting to Desktop ,then replaced with the second and thought i'd cracked it until that soon crashed with the same symptoms .
    I have tried repairing Windows from manufacturers Disc - fortunately managed to save important files to external HD so wasn't worried about wiping files on this PC etc .
    I selected "repair" option and it completed the process but ended up with no files saved so i guess it did a re-install , again i thought this had solved problem but it still crashes in the same manner very random and still with same startup sequence.
    Internally - 3 fans seem to be working ok as is the light on mobo and also blue power light on front of tower , small orange light below perhaps a little dimmer than normal though that could be my imagination ?
    I tried to run "Diskchk" a number of times -if it manages to get through the 3 levels (sometimes crashes during) the end report is so briefly onscreen before it restarts it's impossible to see the result or any errors ?

    Apologies if this post is too long - thought it best to give as full a description as possible in case anyone can help with a diagnosis or recognises the symptoms .
    Any thoughts much appreciated ,
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Replace the hard drive and the power supply
  3. Nando

    Nando TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Tmagic ,

    Thanks for your reply & advice - do you think it sounds like the fault is definitely in the HD or the PSU or perhaps both ?
    One question - can the power supply have a fault and be causing this kind of failure despite all the lights & fans etc working ?
    I'm still learning so any advice greatfully received .

  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    This is an older eMachines, and because of this, they are known to have faulty power supplies and motherboards after a rather short time... Let's hope that the motherboard is okay. The power supply is cheaper and easier to replace first. Just because you have lights and fans, doesn't mean the the power supply is good. There are many other voltages comming to the motherboard. Only one voltage needs to be missing, to cause problems
  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Not in my opinion.
    The problem is typical of eMachines where they make their own motherboards under license from Intel. Ant the motherboards age badly, getting significantly worse as they age.
    The problems crop up as the innards of the motherboard curl and stretch, breaking lines of communications (wiring).
    I am known for harping on this, but we have torn apart and studied a great number of eMachines computers... and still have hundreds in barns awaiting action.
    Try it yourself, and see the internal breaks and corrosion.
    The power supplies fail, most of the time, from the board failures which is totally atypical of other machines.
    My guess, based on histories, is there is nothing wrong with your hard drive and it should not be tossed... but it may have to receive a reinstall of Windows.
    The problems you describe have been seen on other E4076 and other eMachines... but not all. Most eMachines are not a problem... just 27 of them.
  6. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Oh yeah raybay,
    I knew this about the motherboards but it is always easier to replace the power supply first. The bad motherboard won't blast a quality power supply and Nando can use the new supply in his eMachines after he replaces the hard drive and motherboard
  7. Nando

    Nando TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Tmagic,
    Thanks again for your further advice and info - i appreciate your help .
    I will look into those two items , the main thing i don't know is whether i should just try for a straight replacement of the same parts ( if available) or try to "upgrade" the system with newer or higher spec HDD & PSU ?

    Any thoughts ?

  8. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    If you can use the existing CPU in a new motherboard, you can replace the power supply, motherboard and upgrade the memory and the hard drive. This shouldn't cost more than $250 US, and you would end up with a much improved computer
  9. Nando

    Nando TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Raybay,

    Thanks for your thoughts and help with this query - based on the symptoms are you also thinking PSU or more likely Motherboard ?
    If motherboard is there any way i can test to make sure it is ok ...i tried restarting without both RAM sticks and heard the long "beeps" which i read was a positive sign this correct ?
    If it is mobo should i go for a like for like replacement (if available )or perhaps try an "upgrade" ...or is it maybe getting into the area of not being worth it cost wise ?
    As i said i only wanted to try a repair to keep as a backup system and although 2-3years old the system was working fine until this fault .

  10. Nando

    Nando TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Tmagic ,
    Thanks again for your advice - ok i will look into this and give it some more consideration . Probably a dumb question - but i did say i was still learning ,
    how can i be sure that the CPU is working ok , any way to tell ?
    I mean i know it's a process of elimination but i'd be interested to know of any ways i can test each part to know what is likely to be faulty -or at least pin it down to a particular area ?
    As i said to Raybay - i read if you restart without RAM and hear long beeps it indicates Mobo is ok this correct ?

  11. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    "As i said to Raybay - i read if you restart without RAM and hear long beeps it indicates Mobo is ok this correct ?"...

    This is an eMachines... From their reputation alone, if one comes in to my shop, and a new power supply doesn't help, I always replace the motherboard too. Replace the power supply. The beeps from the motherboard may indicate that it is still "alive"...
  12. Nando

    Nando TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok ,
    thanks for your help Tmagic - i'll look further into that .
    I appreciate all your help & advice ,
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