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 A PC problem - Advice Welcomed

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Slightlyoutofit
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:39 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^ Four years is the average life-span of an Alienware PC (if you double it).

Poor build quality I guess.

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Bankster
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:06 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^ I'd say it depends on the machine's quality and how you handle it. My 2003 ThinkPad gives me less trouble than my friend's brand-new Dell. (But then again, that's what you get for buying a brand that rhymes with 'hell'. Smile )

In my experience, "it's broken" is more often than not just a welcome excuse to justify the purchase of that sweet new gaming rig. When I had the necessary storage room I used to collect those "broken" PC's to fix them and pass them on to friends & family who needed "just something to surf the web and watch the odd movie." Most of the times all it needed was a new power supply or HDD and a RAM upgrade.

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puckettgw
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

(shameless self promotion)

I'm a certified PC technician who's currently out of work T_T . I'm in the progress of making a website for my home business (www.agcomputers.tk) . I have a few designs for gaming rigs up on my site right now. I'd also be happy to design a PC for anyone based on their individual needs.

I have a lot of free time, so you'd get a lot more personal service than you would from a big-name company... and if you called Tech Support you wouldn't get some call-center jockey named Habiib who says that his name "is also Theodore."

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Dionysius
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:21 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Bankster wrote:


Do you know how to burn an ISO file to CD?


In cased you haven't guessed my answer to that question - it's no.

Would it be helpful if I posted a few pics of the innards of the machine?

BTW - Thanks to all that have helped and contributed. This has certainly given me a laugh.

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puckettgw
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Dionysius wrote:
Bankster wrote:


Do you know how to burn an ISO file to CD?


In cased you haven't guessed my answer to that question - it's no.

Would it be helpful if I posted a few pics of the innards of the machine?

BTW - Thanks to all that have helped and contributed. This has certainly given me a laugh.


Unless the innards of the machine are visibly burnt, or you've been smelling burnt silicon (a distinct odor.. you'd know if you smelled it), pictures of the inside probably wouldn't be very helpful.

To burn an ISO to a CD on Windows, you can use ISO Recorder (google it, it's open source, free, and has no adware) ... make sure you get the right version for your version of Windows. Mac OS X and Linux both have this capability built in, usually you can access it by double-clicking the ISO file.

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Bankster
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:26 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
In cased you haven't guessed my answer to that question - it's no.

Thought I'd ask anyway. Smile

I can still offer you remote assistance - i.e. we set it up so that I can see your screen and move your mouse. You can then watch while I fill your desktop with horse por... eeerh, download & burn that RAM test thinggie.
Then you'd need to reboot the computer and see if it boots from CD. If that's the case the RAM test will keep your PC occupied for a few hours.

Of course you can kick me out of your PC any time, but I still see your desktop and stuff, so it's okay if you ask somebody else.

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Dionysius
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:00 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Okay, Mmmmm.

I will need to get hold of a couple of floppy discs (spot the deliberate mistake), also as long as you don't find my goat porn I'm happy. Well as happy as you can be with a knackered pc.

Edited to add.

I'll have to check on how long the machine is running for before it shuts down, as it'll be a waste of time if the machine keeps shutting down after five minutes.

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GordonBennett
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 12:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Overheating is indeed a common cause of a pc switching off, but "the switch on beep sometimes lasts for more than a second or two" would tend to argue against that - if it was overheating it would stay off.

Also if it was overheating the time it stayed on would be directly proportional both to temperature and to the time it has spent switched off. (If it's overheating and you restart it immediately after a shutdown it will stay on for only a short time, unlike if you let it rest/cool for a while).

To be sure take the side off the box and look at the heat sink fins below the fan on the cpu - blocked fins are bad. Pull the power out, unscrew the fan and vacuum the dust off. Also reseat all cards (graphics, modem, sound etc) and memory to foil thermal creep.

However it doesn't sound like a temperature thing. If you can get into Windows at all perhaps you should disable the automatic restart function. Hopefully that will give you a blue screen with info we can analyse.
(For XP: go to Control Panel, System, Advanced, Start Up and Recovery (Settings), untick Automatic Restart and agree to any warnings.

If it later gives you a blue screen, note and post and WORDS_IN_BLOCK_CAPS_LIKE_THIS also any file.names and the first of any memory addresses (eg 0x0000007B) {but ignore those within curly brackets}

My money is on memory.

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puckettgw
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:55 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'd agree with Gordon -- it's probably memory.

however, if you could tell us what BIOS you have (it should say
"xxx BIOS v. x.xx" somewhere in the screens when your computer boots up,) we could look up what the beep means.

GordonBennett wrote:
Pull the power out, unscrew the fan and vacuum the dust off. Also reseat all cards (graphics, modem, sound etc) and memory to foil thermal creep.


Make absolutely sure you have your bare feet on concrete or you're touching a grounded metal object (like a refrigerator or your computer case) when you touch your internal components -- or else you might discharge static electricity into them which would pretty much render your computer a new addition to the trash heap.
Also don't leave your computer plugged in while you're doing this. Otherwise you might either a) shock/electrocute yourself or b) inadvertently touch a jumper and start your computer with some components improperly seated, which could burn them. Also, avoid touching the shiny metal teeth on the bottom of your RAM (you can damage it if you do)

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Dionysius
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:56 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks to all that have replied. I plugged it in and left it to run. The restarts were variable between 5 minutes and hour. Looking at the replies this is getting way over my confidence level.

I have an old machine that definately had a fan problem so I'll tinker with that to get my confidence level up. I have quite a few things on the main machine that I don't want to lose so I'd better phone up a local company to sort it out.

Thank you to all that have replied and offered help. Can this please be locked by a mod.

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