Oh my God not again - PC not staring up for the love of God please help me please




I am on my daughter’s PC which is old and decrepit and I plan to upgrade in a couple of days but I daren’t do anything to it ATM as it’s the only one that works.

My PC will not start up. I plug it in and and the fans whir straight away without me hitting the power switch. Thing is, I believe that it resets every 3 seconds or so. The DVD drives spin, the light goes on on them and then off, then they spin again.

I’ve unplugged everything bar the CPU and the fans just whir but nothing happens. What worries me is that if I take the RAM out I don’t even get the rapid bleeping to tell me that, but if it’s resetting then I don’t know if it gets the chance to.

I’ve given it a damn good shake to see if there’s anything between the mobo and it and… nothing.

I just don’t know what to do.

After getting some new parts and jigging around, I installed a new processor that someone sent me and a new graphics card. But they worked fine. All I did was install some GFX card drivers then power down and took a HDD off another computer out and reconnected my secondary HDD - can’t see that making any difference. I also powered down prematurely but pulling the cable as as the PC was hanging 'cos of Spybot - but that’s software and can’t in any way see it affecting the start up process.

I figure just in case I’ve done something it’s best to say all this.


I assume you’ve put “springs” or whatever they’re called between the motherboard and the plate you mount it on? I have seen a few boards that doesnt beep when there’s no RAM installed.


Um, do you mean the metal standoffs? If so, yes.

But either way, it appears to have happened without cause. The PC just died on me BTW, whilst switching it on again to see what the problem is.

Out of desperation I’ve taken the mobo off to look behind it for trapped screws: nothing.


MAN should have never tired to boot that bugger up so many times after wards. it’s your mother board and/or Power supply. Firstly i’d test all my parts in another computer to make sure they’re all fine. Next, it depends if you’ve got parts to swap… i guess you could swap out the power supply (make sure the test one can handle the load :P) and test with a lesser HDD (wouldn’t want to risk inportant data on a tesT), 1 stick of ran and the proc. keyboard and screen too. (assumeing the gfx card is fine) and see what goes. if your parts are all fine and a different power supply didn’t help. It must be the board.

Myself i had that same thing happen to me exact same with a intel board with an elitec power supply. I was unlucky enough to fry my poor hdd’s motor control chip by “testing” with the bad power supply and mobo.


Now with your update i just read i’d say the board is probably dead for sure now…


OK, I just put the board back in the case and nothing’s happened. Dead.

I got a processor off someone and they very cleverly sent it on a mobo that was in a box of polystyrene. Is there any chance that by the CPU becoming damaged through static, the mobo that it was moved to could be damaged by it?

And in turn perhaps the PSU? I just got the thing.


I doubt it was damaged by static. I mean EMS is def. real, I just have never seen it actually break anything.

The shop where I work, we literally walk around with our shoes off to get a nice big static charge, and let it go on old/spare/throw away computers to see if we can make them unusable.

Most times the computer just turns off, and requires the PSU to be unplugged for a few seconds, and all of them have turned back on and worked (for the most part).

Anyway if the computer does not POST, then it is either your PSU/Mobo/Graphics adapter.

If I had to guess, I’d say it is less likely your PSU, more likely your Motherboard, and most Likely your graphics adapter (motherboard if it is intergrated).

The PSU could be broken, most will either loose a rail (most commonly 12v) or just stop working. Since the fans spins it is atleast doing something.

Your motherboard is very likely the problem, however if your motherboard BEEPs when you remove the RAM, it is trying to complete the POST (power on self test)

Which leads me directly to your graphics adapter as most likely the problem.

The first thing to always do is make sure nothing is loose, not only the internal connectors, but also monitor cables, power cables, etc.

Good luck,


Thanks for replying.

OK, I disconnected everything including the GFX card (except CPU & fan) and still the same problem. I connected the DVD drives to see if they keep resetting, up until everything died (see above). I also tried it without RAM before it all died and no beeps.

But like I say, if something kept tripping it to reset then would it have had a chance to beep - do the beeps kick in immediately at power on? I forget.


PSU is kinda dead, I think.


OK, I have done some jigging around.

Both PSUs failed to work with my mobo. However, plugged into the other mobo on my son’s PC, they powered up. With no RAM in however, it failed to beep (as previously there had been no display either - this is the board that came in a polystyrene box, although it DID beep the first time I loaded it into the case) which made me pull the power fairly sharpish in case the same thing happened to his as happened to mine.

Therefore I can conclude that the PSUs are not dead, but my mobo is (and that there is something strange going on with the new mobo).

The question is what caused it, why my son’s is behaving strangely and what I can do to avoid it occurring to his.

I also need to replace what was a bloody good mobo.

Before I go any further however, I need to know how it happened and how to avoid. Help?




Put it back the way it was with just the original HD and PCI cards and see if it woriks. Your problem could be caused by the HD not jumpered correctly, or a bad PSU or a virus on a HD, or an incompatible driver for the video card, or a bad PCI card.


Um… I put everything back together as before, and also tried bare bones.

Mobo = dead. Can’t be used. Need to know what caused it.


In the future don’t yank the power plug like that, a cheap PSU might send a spike through the system.

Also all PC’s should be protected by a good surge supressor, trip-lite makes the best. Clamps at 150V.

good luck :iagree:


Hmmm, I wonder if yanking the cable could have caused the damage then?

Can I ask about these surge suppressors? I have a surge protector.


Not all surge protectors are created equal.

Make sure which ever one you buy (or have) is EU listed. It will have a logo indicating it is EU Listed/Certified somewhere on the package/unit. This guarentees it will infact do what it is advertised to do (joule protection listed on package) and do it within the correct time frame. More Joules are usually considered better.

I can tell you that the 150v clamping voltage that eric mentioned is very good. Most units will clamp at 600v.

Anyway, it is very hard to say what caused your initial motherboard failure. It could be something as ominous as a bad PSU pushing an incorrect voltage, to something impossible to for-see, like a manufactoring defect on a few leads.

The only thing you can do is treat it right and it will last as long as it can.

You are not supposed to hot-swap anything too/from a computer when it is running. (except limited interfaces that support this, ie SATAII, SCSI, etc).

You should turn the unit off, unplug the powersource, and wait 15 seconds before working on the computer.


Thanks, yeah it could be the the PSU then? As it’s a new (3 weeks) cheap one, the damage would coincide with the replacement. Could I claim damages?

Obviously I wouldn’ hotswap, fear of electrocution over anything else. :wink:

The surge protector is a top brand one with a lifetime guarantee - Masterplug Surge Guard.


Check to see if the caps around the processor socket look like they have
gotten hot, (burned spots on the mb, cap tops bulged out, or the mylar
wrapping around the cap is split, the chances of this being the problem go
up the older the mb is…


I believe a cheap power supply would kill even the best mobo. your son’s computer SHOULD have acted normally, but did not. So i would say there IS a problem with that cheap power supply. Enermax, antec have both treated me well over the years, but NOT cheap generic brands. i’ve seen about 4 fry over 3 years. (just within my circle of friends.) I’d pay 20$ more to get something i know will last (3 years on antec, i forget for enermax).

Your power bar seems more then okay:).

Yes it IS possible the new card / proc put too much drain on the psu and caused a misfunction. I mean generic stuff. It’s not uncommon for them to die at 1/2 there marked wattage. Most likely had a weak 12v rail. I am guessing on this since you’ve yet to disclose what your parts are…


Hi, I hope I don’t get your hopes up too high with this suggestion but I ran into an almost identical problem a last year. I went through all the normal troubleshooting steps, including: Using a “Known-good” replacement power supply, checking all fans/components, and finally total disassembly reassembly.

After all that it turned out to be a bad power switch. Computers use what are called “momentary” switches, i.e., you push the button to complete a circuit, as soon as you release the button, the circuit is broken. Of course motherboards only need the momentary circuit to get things rolling. If the switch is pushed but maintains the circuit, a computer will go through the following cycle: 1. YES! My owner wants to turn me on. 2. Hey owner… Uhhmm I’m on now, you can let go of the switch. 3. Damn, my CMOS chip tells me to do a “hard shut down” if my power switch is help for 5 or more seconds, I guess I’ll shut down. Meanwhile: Computer shuts down but immediately gets told to turn back on and the cycle begins anew. Sort of like PMS (don’t tell my wife I said that, please).

This is [B]very [/B]easy to check but does require somewhat steady hands as you will be getting close to the MB w/a small screwdriver or anything small that conducts electricity (my favorite for this is actually the leverage end of fingernail clippers). 1. Turn off/unplug your power supply (from the wall, not the MB). 2. Look to where the wires run from the switch to the MB. 3. You should see the wires connected to a pair of jumpers* labeled in incredibly small print (have a magnifying glass & flashlight handy if you’re over 40) as “PWR.” 4. Remove the cable that goes to those jumpers. 5. Make sure your power supply is turned back on. 6. Use something metal to manually jump the jumpers for about a second. If it turns on and doesn’t go through the previously mentioned cycle, just buy a new switch (about $3 at radio shack + elbow grease to mount it), you have found your problem. If it still does it, sorry to have wasted your time and gotten your hopes up.

Take Care,


PS I think that by law I’m required to tell you to ground yourself to the computer before beginning any work :slight_smile:

*Contrary to popular belief, the wires are the jumpers, the plastic thingys with metal in them that jump the jumpers are called shunts.