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Home PC Broken.....

dinglebin Avatar
7y, 5m agoPosted 7 years, 5 months ago
Hi - Just wondering if anyone can diagnose a problem I have with my home PC? Over the last few weeks it has been shutting down completely without being prompted. This week It barley got through to the main windows desktop page before it shut down. Last night when powered up it did so for about 5 seconds and then switched itself off again. This morning when I press the on button the fan at the back kicks in for a nano second and then everything shuts down. I'm completely without access now and just hope someone can assist me with a diagnoses as I'm worried I may have lost a lot of documents and photos. ( I know shud always back up!!) Thanks for any help
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dinglebin Avatar
7y, 5m agoPosted 7 years, 5 months ago
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#1
Could be loads of things.

Viruses, cooling(fans) over heating.

Any beeps?
#2
could be the PSU (power supply unit) needs replacing
#3
I would say to take the side cover off the case and give it a good clean! (assuming its full of dust!)
#4
Unlikely to be the hard drive so your data *should* be okay for now and its definately not viruses. Most likely to be PSU failing or possibly also CPU overheating (unlikely in a matter of seconds unless the heatsinks got completely dislodged). Open the case, disconnect the hard drive (both the power and data cable, important if the PSU is failing - you don't want it to take the HDD out with it) and any USB devices etc. and observe whats happening - are all the fans spinning when you turn it on. If you can get into BIOS check the voltages, temperatures and fan speeds for anything dodgy. Also worth removing and reseating memory, graphics card (if there is one) etc. - try one memory stick at a time.
#5
This happened to me last year, turned out to be the cpu was overheating due to dust clogging up the fan and heatsink, i used a hairdryer and cotton buds to give it a good de-clogging. :thumbsup:
#6
It sounds like a hardware failure for sure, and as mentioned most likely the power supply, but it could be the mobo (worst case).

Your hard drive should be fine, maybe a few minor errors which can be fixed by chkdsk, but otherwise your data should be fine. If it's important, remove your HDD and plug it into another PC somewhere as a slave to access the data.

I recommend searching online for errors related to your machine, or try swapping some components out - Power supply would be the first thing.

*edit* As also mentioned it could be overheating. Keep it in the open, give it a good clean and see what happens.
#7
Wow - Thanks for all the replys. I really wouldn't have known where to start looking. Is the PSU the actual plug and adapter? (Sorry if that sounds stupid) I'm ok with opening the back of the PC. I've done that before to add USB drives. I don't know what the CPU looks like though - and one of the recommendations was to give it a clean. How do I get into BIOS and check fan speeds etc etc. How do I disconnec the Hard Drive too? Doing it won't bother me - I just want to make sure I disconnect the right thing. Thanks again guys
#8
dinglebin;5567873
Wow - Thanks for all the replys. I really wouldn't have known where to start looking. Is the PSU the actual plug and adapter? (Sorry if that sounds stupid) I'm ok with opening the back of the PC. I've done that before to add USB drives. I don't know what the CPU looks like though - and one of the recommendations was to give it a clean. How do I get into BIOS and check fan speeds etc etc. How do I disconnec the Hard Drive too? Doing it won't bother me - I just want to make sure I disconnect the right thing. Thanks again guys


This is a desktop computer, not a laptop right?

The PSU will be a metal box which the mains lead plugs into, about 15cm x 15cm x 8cm, with lots of wires coming out the back of it.

The CPU will be typically at the top-middle of the motherboard, with sizable cooler and fan on it (there may be another smaller cooler (and possibly fan) on the motherboard too which belongs to the chipset - but its more likely the CPU cooler/fan causing the problem. The CPU cooler will usually look something like the one below:
http://tbn1.google.com/images?q=tbn:Yd_1NTehACyiZM:http://www.pctechguide.com/images/tutorials/MBoard/Heatsink4.jpg - if its really dusty or the fan doesn't spin freely thats probably the problem!

The hard drive will be in one of the 'drive bays' and should have two cables connected to it, either like:
http://www.google.co.uk/images?q=tbn:_RwH_Ax_mFZvyM::data-recovery.contentquake.com/files/2008/03/pata-connector.jpg&http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:Lrzw2JDieg01iM:http://forums.pcworld.com/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/2-61472-1026/Molex-style-power-connector.jpg (data and power for a P-ATA hard drive)

or

http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:okD8HrfDAIjoFM:http://www.addonics.com/products/interface_cable/images/sata1-connector1.gif&http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:hE-89YgXE-iiRM:http://www.bjorn3d.com/Material/revimages/psu/Antec%2520TP3-650/sata_connector.jpg if its a newer S-ATA drive
#9
TBH if you don't know what a psu or cpu is you're probabaly better off getting someone else to take a look at it! Sorry if this sounds harsh but you don't really want to be poking around inside your pc you could end up doing more harm than good.
#10
rickwoody;5567987
TBH if you don't know what a psu or cpu is you're probabaly better off getting someone else to take a look at it! Sorry if this sounds harsh but you don't really want to be poking around inside your pc you could end up doing more harm than good.


Everyone's got to start from somewhere - and fixing an already broken PC yourself will do you more good in the long term :thumbsup:
#11
Yeah i would try changing PSU as it happened to my mates pc and thats what it was, was easy enough to replace.
#12
Thanks a lot - I've left some Rep for the great reply.

Rickwoody - I appreciate what you are saying but I wouldn't mind having a go at fixing it myself. I'm sure you also had to start somewhere too at some stage or other.
#13
jah128
Everyone's got to start from somewhere - and fixing an already broken PC yourself will do you more good in the long term :thumbsup:


I would tend to agree if the pc in question is old, that's how i learnt backwards engineering an old pc i got given. I was not trying to be rude to the op in any way, quite the opposite, poking around can be potentially dangerous psu's can hold a charge that could kill not to mention static electricity that could damage m/b ram etc (unlikely i know but possible) anyway good luck whatever you decide to do hope you get it sorted asap.
#14
rickwoody;5568337
I would tend to agree if the pc in question is old, that's how i learnt backwards engineering an old pc i got given. I was not trying to be rude to the op in any way, quite the opposite, poking around can be potentially dangerous psu's can hold a charge that could kill not to mention static electricity that could damage m/b ram etc (unlikely i know but possible) anyway good luck whatever you decide to do hope you get it sorted asap.


Not suggesting the OP takes the PSU apart though - thats certainly not a job for a beginner - but not being afraid to open the cover of a PC and check the fans are spinning and heatsinks are not clogged up is a skill worth learning...

Static damage is a risk, so try not to touch any circuitry if possible and if you need to, hold something that is earthed when you do so (if the PSU has a power switch on the back, turn it off but keep the mains cable connected and hold on to a bare metal part of the case when removing/refitting ram, graphics card etc).
#15
jah128
Not suggesting the OP takes the PSU apart though - thats certainly not a job for a beginner - but not being afraid to open the cover of a PC and check the fans are spinning and heatsinks are not clogged up is a skill worth learning...

Static damage is a risk, so try not to touch any circuitry if possible and if you need to, hold something that is earthed when you do so (if the PSU has a power switch on the back, turn it off but keep the mains cable connected and hold on to a bare metal part of the case when removing/refitting ram, graphics card etc).

The PSU has a power switch on the back. I did notice last night that when I moved the power lead going into the back of the PC there was some slight static crackling noise. Could this be part of the issue.
So if I'm right what you are saying is - Leave the plug in at the mains, switch the power switch on the back of the PC to off, The bit I'm not sure about is 'Hold on to a baare metal part of the case when removing stuff.' is this to earth myself?
#16
Before you do any of that, buy a can of compressed air and blast every fan & component until it looks like its new and shiny. That will fix problems like this in a lot of cases without having to remove the PSU as a first step.
#17
dinglebin;5568639
The PSU has a power switch on the back. I did notice last night that when I moved the power lead going into the back of the PC there was some slight static crackling noise. Could this be part of the issue.
So if I'm right what you are saying is - Leave the plug in at the mains, switch the power switch on the back of the PC to off, The bit I'm not sure about is 'Hold on to a baare metal part of the case when removing stuff.' is this to earth myself?


Yeah to earth yourself - the PSU is earthed (even when the switch is off) and connects to the case - if you are earthed yourself, your less likely to cause damage to components from static. The crackling is quite a common thing when connecting/disconnecting the mains lead, usually nothing to worry about... :thumbsup:

As stated above the first thing to do is make sure everything is clean and the fans work - certainly before replacing the PSU. If the CPU fan is really dirty you might need to take it off and clean it/replace it - be warned you will need to clean off the old paste and reapply new thermal paste between the CPU and heatsink if this is the case, otherwise the heat won't transfer from the chip to the heatsink properly...
#18
jah128
Yeah to earth yourself - the PSU is earthed (even when the switch is off) and connects to the case - if you are earthed yourself, your less likely to cause damage to components from static. The crackling is quite a common thing when connecting/disconnecting the mains lead, usually nothing to worry about... :thumbsup:

As stated above the first thing to do is make sure everything is clean and the fans work - certainly before replacing the PSU. If the CPU fan is really dirty you might need to take it off and clean it/replace it - be warned you will need to clean off the old paste and reapply new thermal paste between the CPU and heatsink if this is the case, otherwise the heat won't transfer from the chip to the heatsink properly...


+1 excellent advice! if in doubt search youtube there are some good tutorials on there. :thumbsup:
#19
jah128
Yeah to earth yourself - the PSU is earthed (even when the switch is off) and connects to the case - if you are earthed yourself, your less likely to cause damage to components from static. The crackling is quite a common thing when connecting/disconnecting the mains lead, usually nothing to worry about... :thumbsup:

As stated above the first thing to do is make sure everything is clean and the fans work - certainly before replacing the PSU. If the CPU fan is really dirty you might need to take it off and clean it/replace it - be warned you will need to clean off the old paste and reapply new thermal paste between the CPU and heatsink if this is the case, otherwise the heat won't transfer from the chip to the heatsink properly...

I opened the tower up last night and had a look around. Although a bit dusty all the fans turned quite freely. I blasted everything with a cool hairdryer too just in case. While the side casing was off I attempted to turn the PC on and observed the fan on the CPU turning for a brief second and then everything turned itself off again (same as before). I'm thinking about replacing the PSU next. However before I do that is there a way of determining if it has actually failed before I do so. Also I've had a quick look this morning on the net for an exact replacement and it only appears that it is available from the USA. Can I use an alternative PSU and if so can anyone recommend a make / model number? Thanks again
#20
Before rushing out and buying a new psu and possibly wasting your money i would definitely take the time to check your ram (memory) first, how many sticks does the PC have? There's 2 ways of doing this physically removing them 1 at a time (assuming there's more than 1) then try booting the pc an see what happen if it boots fine voila you've found your culprit! Or by using a programme called memtest (might not be an option if pc reboots) oh an to answer your question any psu make will be fine, Corsair psu's are highly regarded but not cheap, do you know what wattage and what make/model it is there should be a sticker on it somewhere usually on the side of the psu you'll probably have to remove the case to see it.
#21
As above - it is worth checking a couple of other things before replacing the PSU. Most computers use standard PSUs although if its a particularly small case or brand like Dell it could be a custom PSU - best bet is to take some photos and people will tell you for sure.

It will probably have a couple of leads going to the motherboard like below:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e9/ATX_PS_ATX_connector.jpg

The big 20-pin one above is a standard ATX power connector that gives most the power to the motherboard, and the little 4 pin one is an extra 12V power connector to give extra power to the processor on newer machines. If you machine is less than 3 years or so old it may well need a newer ATX2.0 power supply which has a 24-pin connector (like the big one above but with an extra yellow, red, orange and black cable) - you should be able to work out which it is by looking at the plug.

Before buying a new PSU though its well worth checking other things as said above, and the best way is to remove all drives and such so there is a bare minimum of things connected to the motherboard, reseat everything (take it out and put it back in again) and see if there is any change. Also there may be other things you can do to work outs whats wrong dependant on what the computer is (what the motherboard make/model or computer make/model is) so if you know or can find that out it would really help (the motherboard make and model will usually be 'silkscreened' (written) somewhere on the motherboard...
#22
Ok thanks again guys. If my memory serves me right from looking at the mother board yesteday I think it had SOLTECK written on it (or something like that) I can check for definite later. The leads coming from the PSU were definately as in the picture above. I'm not sure what you mean by STICKS?? When I disconnect the drives do I just disconnect them from the motherboard and then try to boot the PC. Like I said previously Im getting no power. Are you suggesting that by removing them 1 at a time it may just power up and therfore identify what the culprit is? Sorry lots of Q above...
#23
Sorry forgot to add that the wattage was 300
#24
dinglebin
Ok thanks again guys. If my memory serves me right from looking at the mother board yesteday I think it had SOLTECK written on it (or something like that) I can check for definite later. The leads coming from the PSU were definately as in the picture above. I'm not sure what you mean by STICKS?? When I disconnect the drives do I just disconnect them from the motherboard and then try to boot the PC. Like I said previously Im getting no power. Are you suggesting that by removing them 1 at a time it may just power up and therfore identify what the culprit is? Sorry lots of Q above...


Faulty RAM shouldn't stop the PC from powering up - Most of the time it will result in a BSOD or nothing happening, but the machine will still physically run.

But stranger things have happened. Just take the ram out and put it back in one at a time to see if it turns on at all. If not, most likely PSU.

*edit* When we say sticks of ram, we mean the ram units, just google images ram and you'll see what it looks like.
#25
dinglebin;5575750
Ok thanks again guys. If my memory serves me right from looking at the mother board yesteday I think it had SOLTECK written on it (or something like that) I can check for definite later. The leads coming from the PSU were definately as in the picture above. I'm not sure what you mean by STICKS?? When I disconnect the drives do I just disconnect them from the motherboard and then try to boot the PC. Like I said previously Im getting no power. Are you suggesting that by removing them 1 at a time it may just power up and therfore identify what the culprit is? Sorry lots of Q above...


Disconnect the power and data cables from the drives at the drive end - its probably best to leave the cables in the motherboard so you remember where they go. The memory will be in slots running parallel near the CPU - on thin cards about 6 inches long and an inch or so high, with a few chips on each card - this is a 'stick' of ram and you may have just one or more than one installed.

Do you know if its on-board graphics (ie on a chip built onto the motherboard) or dedicated graphics (on a card which sits in one of the slots perpendicular to the motherboard towards the middle/bottom of the case)?


One thing you can do is to trick disconnect the power supply from everything then trick it into thinking it is switched on and see if the fan (on the back of the PSU) spins - but its probably best to rule out other things first...
#26
DragonChris
Faulty RAM shouldn't stop the PC from powering up - Most of the time it will result in a BSOD or nothing happening, but the machine will still physically run.

But stranger things have happened. Just take the ram out and put it back in one at a time to see if it turns on at all. If not, most likely PSU.

*edit* When we say sticks of ram, we mean the ram units, just google images ram and you'll see what it looks like.


I have seen it happen once before tho a friend of mine had a faulty stick of ram in her pc that did exactly what the op's pc is doing no BSOD just turned on and then off again so it's definitely a possibility however remote, worth the time checking just to make sure.
#27
It's a dedicated graphics card towards the middle back of the case. I also attached additional USB's a few months back. Should I start with the Hard Drive and then floppy drives and CD/DVD Drive?
#28
dinglebin;5575986
It's a dedicated graphics card towards the middle back of the case. I also attached additional USB's a few months back. Should I start with the Hard Drive and then floppy drives and CD/DVD Drive?


Its unlikely the drives are causing the problem (but not impossible) so I'd just disconnect them all, and the new USB ports, and then start taking bits down from there. Is there on-board graphics as well, or just the dedicated card? Either way, its worth removing the graphics card and checking if there is any life - and reseating it and trying again (it could just be something like the graphics card isn't fully seated in its slot).

Try and find the motherboard model name - hopefully written somewhere near Soltek - then we can look at the manual and see if there is any error codes or anything else dodgy. Also if you have a decent digital camera it wouldn't hurt to take a few shots inside the case and post them here!
#29
http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/ram-motherboard1.jpg


This is what ram looks like, try removing 1 stick at a time (as i said before assuming there's more than 1) and booting your pc see what happens once we rule out the ram being the culprit we can move on from there.
#30
Thanks guys. I'll get the info and try your suggestions and post back tomorrow. If all else fails I now know a heck of a lot more about my PC then i did 2 days ago...
#31
Hi Again - Sorry for not getting back yesterday. Ok I've tried a couple of things as suggested but still have the same problem. I disconnected the hard drive, floppy drive, dvd/cd, additional usb card and 3 RAM slots (or for us in the know sticks!) I tried to find a make for the motherboard but the only thing I could see was SOLTEK. I did howver discover that my graphics card is actually on board - at least I think it is because I noticed a raised section on the board that said NVIDIA. I guess the only option now is going to be replacing the PSU. I'd really appreciate some help with this as I have no idea what to buy or where to purchase from. Also I realised last night that if I do need to replace the PSU there are a hell of a lot of wires to disconnect and reconnect to the various devices..... :?
#32
have a look at [url]www.scan.co.uk[/url], [url]www.ebuyer.com[/url], [url]www.dabs.com[/url]. I normally use scan as they are reliable and I get free delivery but you should be able to find a very good price on one of these sites. Also check out [url]www.novatech.co.uk[/url] if you live anywhere near one of their shops as you can buy and collect at close to internet prices without having to wait for it to be delivered
#33
Thanks to all that helped me with this problem. I'm now at home on my PC which is now working again. Turns out it was the PSU after all. I managed to get hold of one for £10 and it only took me 5 mins to connect it up. Thanks to you guys I'm now up and running and now know a lot more about how my PC works.. Cheers all.

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