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Machine failing to POST! Advice please?

By kang · 16 replies
Aug 6, 2007
  1. Hi there,

    I'm new to the forum so i'm going to be as clear a possible!

    The problem started y'day. I got the dreaded BSOD and it said "beginning physical memory dump" so when i saw that i turned off my machine (i regret it now!). The reason i turned it off is because i got the same (i think) BSOD last week and i just turned it off, rebooted and all was well.

    This time round it wouldn't turn off when i held down the power button so i turned it off at the wall.

    Now, i've been through all of the "standard" procedures to try and resolve my issue to no avail. The various procedures i have gone through are as follows:

    1) Cleared CMOS.
    2) Followed the procedure for "no display on startup" on my motherboard manufacturer's website.
    3) Removing RAM and replacing with new RAM. Well the RAM wasn't new, it was fom my bro's PC which is also compatible.
    4) Tried using my old graphics card and a different monitor.

    My motherboard light turns on when i connect power so there isn't an obvious mobo fault.

    My mobo is an ASUS P4P800E-DELUXE
    Processor - P4 3.0GHZ Prescott (HT enabled)
    RAM is from Crucial (total - 1.7gb)
    GPU - GeForce 7600
    Power supply is 470W

    I seriously regret turning off my pc! I'm so stupid :(

    I'm hoping that leaving my pc unplugged overnight *might* sort itself out but i doubt it! I just hope i haven't blown my processor or anything like that. That would kill me! :(

    Also i have checked, checked and re-checked all connections and cables but still nothing! :(

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    The ironic thing is that i was planning to do a full backup this week... sods law! :(

    Thanks in advance.


    EDIT - I'm running Windows XP (SP2)
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    My mobo is an ASUS P4P800E-DELUXE
    RAM is from Crucial (total - 1.7gb)
    3) Removing RAM and replacing with new RAM. Well the RAM wasn't new, it was from my bro's PC which is also compatible.

    ASUS likes to dictate which memory you use. Can we assume that the memory is on the ASUS approved list?

    What about the hard drive?
    What about video graphics drivers?
    Was the crucial memory tested? I would run it with one module at a time.

    Your problem could be an infestation, but more likely than not, your system has a problem with hardware. Still, you must find a way to check the possibility of major corruption or invasion:
    Hard drive?
    Video Card or Video graphics Driver
    Memory failure or memory compatibility
    CPU Fan? Too slow or stopping.
    CMOS battery failure?
    Heat sink?
    Motherboard light means nothing, but it is historically a reliable board.

    My bet is on the hard drive.
  3. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    You say it's failing POST. What test is failing?

    The "no display at startup" means there's no manufacturer splash screen and you get the BIOS/POST messages?

    Can you boot to the XP installation CD?
  4. kang

    kang TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The memory i used wasn't on the asus list. I've been using the Crucial memory in this machine for almost 3 years now without any problems. I did upgrade the ram from 768mb to 1.7gb about 2 months ago. System has been running smooth since he upgrade.

    The hard drive is a 200gb Maxtor drive... i hope the drive hasn't packed in. I have so much valuable info on there i'm 100% screwed if the drive has gone!

    I tried running each RAM module 1 at a time but nothing happens. PC refuses to post.

    I agree with you on the comment about it being a hardware problem. My pc is pretty clean in terms of malware, spyware, viruses etc. I'm pretty sure it's a hardware problem.

    I've been doing searches online and i've gathered that if a CPU blows the pc will outright refuse to POST. I hope that isn't the case!

    I'm going to try and switch the hard drive with a spare one i've got lying around somwhere. But even if the hard drive has failed my PC should still POST or present me with an appropriate error. My PC doesn't even do that! The screen is just blank and my monitor displays "No input signal".

    The graphics drivers are all up to date and my CPU fans etc are running fine. No obvious speed changes. I also checked the heatsink and that isn't loose or bent.

    I'm not sure about the CMOS battery though, i'll buy a new one in the morning and replace it but normally if the battery needs replacing the PC would still post wouldn't it? It'd just tell you to rest the date/time. I remember this from my old pc, the battery was flat for months before i changed it out and every time i booted up i had to re-enter the date/time.

    I said it's failing TO post which means i get no POST/BIOS messages at all. No speaker bleeps, no nothing. I tried booting to CD and still nothing. Nothing loads up on screen.

    I turn on my machine and normally i get a bleep as soon as i hit the power button... but this time i get nothing. The hard drive fires up and the activity light flashes for a few seconds before calming down and then nothing.

    This has really got me bamboozled!
  5. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    Sorry to tell you this, but you're MoBo is probably fried. Take it to the local computer shop and have them test it.
  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Test the hard drive, or try a clean, new hard drive first, as well as the CMOS battery test.
    Be sure to check for those little mistakes that all of us make: Bad cable, bad connector, bad power switch, loose this or that, or run a power supply tester... they are about $10 at your local computer store... and certain PSU failures can cause this exact problem, while appearing to deliver the amps you need.
    Look for tale tale signs on the motherboard such as chip pulling out at the corners, puffy or leaking capacitors,
  7. kang

    kang TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No way!! :(

    If it is fried will i be able to replace it without having to re-install xp if i find the same mobo model? I need to boot up in XP so i can backup all of my emails. I can easily get to the rest of the data by throwing the hard drive into an external caddy and backing up using that.

    This is such a wounder! Who would have thought turning off my pc at the wall would fry the mobo :(

    The PSU is only about a month old so i doubt that's the problem but i'll get it checked out nonetheless.

    I tried a clean hard drive but still no joy.

    I've checked all of my connections and given the mobo a once over. There aren't any visible signs of leaking capacitors etc. but then again it's almost 3am over here in the UK and i'm half asleep so i could have missed something.
  8. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    Yes, but it must be EXACTLY the same! Windows XP now uses activation software that detects if the hardware has changed. If it detects that the MoBo is different, you will be forced to re-activate Windows and Microsoft may prevent you if you have an OEM branded copy of XP.

    This is such a wounder! Who would have thought turning off my pc at the wall would fry the mobo :([/QUOTE]

    When you abruptly cut the power, this can happen. You take your chances doing that.
  9. kang

    kang TS Rookie Topic Starter

    If my mobo is fried i guess i've learnt a bloody expensive lesson! Don't turn the pc off at the wall :(

    The hunt now begins for an asus P4P800E-Deluxe mobo :(
  10. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    We don't know for sure if it's fried. It's just that if there's no output on the display and no sound indicating it's booting, oods are the MoBo is fried. But you won't know for sure until the computer shop runs some voltmeter and oscilloscope tests to determine if the CPU/MoBo is doing anything.
  11. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    I, for one, do not thing the motherboard is fried.
    But you do have a hard drive with a very bad reputation.
    It is still very possible for you to save the data on the hard drive, if it is faulty, so don't put any demands on it... just in case it has gone bad. Sometimes, though it will not boot, you can install it jumpered as slave in another computer which has the good hard drive jumpered as Master. This often enables you to drag and drop the needed data, or sometimes you recovery software...
    The main failures, though not the only causes, of recent large Maxtor drives, is a bubbling and curling of the magnetic media on the drive. This usually happens on the leading edge of the platter(s) so that it cannot boot, but as a slave you can usually access the drive to see and manimpulate a lot of the data.
    However, the drive should be considered very fragile. Once you start the data recovery attempt, do not shut down the drive until you are done.
    Other causes of failure of the maxtor drives are a dead chip(s) on the back of the drive, bad bearing(s), and shattered platters if the plate is made of glass... Generally drives with those symptoms cannot be saved.

    Please get back to us when this mystery is solved. It is fun to speculate, but it is more fun to learn what really happened.

    Good luck to you, whatever it turns out to be.
  12. kang

    kang TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the help guys!

    Much appreciated! I'm gonna pop into my local pc repair centre and get them to run a few checks.

    I'll post up their findings in a day or so.

  13. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    AlmcNeil could be right... but it would be an extremely rare occurance for that board.
    Are you in a rainstorm area where there is a lot of lightning... and how are you connected... anything near a phone line...
    We see more damage in the southwest from low voltage lightning... the invisible variety... than from any other source... 54 so far this year.
  14. kang

    kang TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi raybay,

    When my pc died it was really hot outside, the sun was out, it was a pretty nice summer day to be honest!

    I am connected through a chunky Belkin surge protector and i'm not near any phone lines.

    I've just remembered what i was doing when i got the bsod! I was going to connect my phone to my pc via usb to backup the phonebook. As i connected the cable to the front usb port on my case the cable slipped out of my hand and hit the floor (hard wood), i was standing up at the time, as soon as it hit the floor i got the bsod! Could i have faulty front usb ports? I'm going to disconnect them from the mobo incase they are shorting something which could mean they've fied my mobo unless there is a failsafe built in somewhere.

    Here's a small update on my situation...

    - Hard drive is working fine! I put it in my external caddy and hooked it up to my sister's laptop via usb and i can access all of my data. I am going to backing up my outlook data files and some documents once my sis gets back from work and logs me onto her laptop with her admin account. I can't access the "Documents and settings" folder on the guest account. How lovely! lol

    - No leaking or blown capacitors on mobo and no obvious signs of psu fault.

    - I'm also going to pop into PC world later on today to get them to run some diagnostic checks on my pc. Fingers crossed they can diagnose the problem!

    I do however have one question; If my mobo has blown due to me turning off the power at the wall could this have had a knock on effect and possibily blown my cpu, ram, graphics card? I hope not! :(

    I will update again later on...

    Cheers for the help again guys.
  15. kang

    kang TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Right, I've just got home!

    Firstly; PC World are a bunch of extortionists! £50 just to look at the machine an diagnose! Thieves!

    Anyways, i took my pc to a local lad my friend recommended, no charge to diagnose :D

    At first glance he seems to think it's a mobo problem. I hope it isn't. I've left my machine with him minus the hard drive so i can do my backups.

    I've been searching on google for my brand and model of mobo and i've only found one place that does it. It's on an auction site, the seller is based in Hong Kong and the mobo is used! Should i take the risk? In total it'll set me back approx £60 and delivery is 5-10 days.

    I'm going to hear back from the pc repair guy tomorrow so i'll know for sure what the problem is then.

    I'm considering just buying a new mobo and processor bundle because now i have my hard drive i can pull off all of my outlook data (.pst files) and then just migrate over to the new machine IF i have to reformat. Those .pst files are my life! So many email addresses and contacts!

    Is there any way of syspreping an external hard drive because if i could sysprep my hard drive over usb i would be sorted! I could use any mobo/cpu combination without having to worry about re-installing xp. I'd just have to give microsoft a call to let them know what's going on so when it comes to activation there shouldn't be a huge problem.
  16. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    Just to reassure you, I pull the plug on comps too! Sometimes I'm working on a customer's comp and it freezes. I first try the reset button (no power cycle) but that doesn't always work (some PCs, such as Dell, strangely do not have a reset button!) Then you have no choice but to pull the plug! In most cases it does not damage but it can. When manufacturers produce MoBos, or any electronics, so many don't work right off the production line. Some fail within weeks or months. Some fail if you just cut the power. Most never fail.

    I always buy a hardware warranty plan just avoid the hassle if hardware fails.
  17. kang

    kang TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Oh seen.

    Yeah i never used to have problems with my old pc. I guess with high demand and competition the quality has dropped hey.

    Depending on what the repair guy says tomorrow i'll most prob end up ordering the used mobo from Hong Kong... Oh the joy!

    I'll keep you guys in formed!
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