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Is there anything left to do for my computer?

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posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 07:26 PM
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Hey ATS,

Its me again, with another computer question. I already know, my dinosaur dell running windows 7 on a P4 should of been retired years ago. But do to economic times and me needing a new car now, I absolutely have no choice but to make do with what I have.

With that said, this is what happened, I was playing a facebook game when my machine just shut off. Black screen. So I stared at it for a good 5 to 10 minutes, then realized it wasn't going to come back on. So pressed the button and many many things occurred that I cannot explain. So I turned it off and tried again. And on the Dell loading screen with a load bar it would freeze up towards the end of the load bar, and from inside my computer (I didn't even know I had a speaker or something in there) I hear a fast paced beep, beeping repeatedly at a high rate.

So I unhooked everything, but a new internal battery inside, cleaned everything, unplugged my ram cards (4) and plugged them back in. Hooked everything back up and turned it on. Same thing occurred. I tried 5 or 6 times with the same result.

So, because I am a mechanic and not a computer guy, I chose the only route I knew. I hit it, I hit it repeatedly during the load screen and it did beep a time or two, but made it passed that and everything loaded. And here I am. It is on and working, but not sure for how long, or if it just done for. I have had one friend say I may have a bad power supply because even with a new battery it tells me on start up low internal voltage or something and to press the F1 key to proceed. But it has always done that since I bought it 3 years ago.

This is all I have. This is my TV, my theatre. my work place, my everything I would do, that would be entertaining. And I would be not only crushed but bored out of my mind, if it goes for good, because as I said before there is almost no way I can afford something new. Maybe $50 - $75 tops on fixing this one.

Any help, I have found you guys have always had great advise to give. And I am eager to listen.
Thanks for your time!




posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 07:31 PM
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My computer did the same thing when I was playing games, would just completely shut off. One member suggested that I remove the cover and clean it out, ever since I did that, it's been working like a champ. Might just be dusty.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 07:34 PM
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Definitely sounds like your power supply. What model Dell do you own exactly? Dell's are notorious for having proprietary power supplies with different pinout configurations. Your best bet would be to replace your old power supply with a new one that is compatible with your model. You might check craigslist for an old dell computer, cannibalize the power supply and hope for the best if you're desperate.

ETA: Dust could also be a problem. Get a can of compressed "air", and blow the crap out of it (power supply). Make sure you don't shake the can or tilt it upside down.
edit on 31-7-2012 by Deemo Diablo because: (no reason given)


edit on 31-7-2012 by Deemo Diablo because: Just elaborating on manhater's suggestion




posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 07:36 PM
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I'm not sure that you can replace the PSU on your budget, they can be pretty pricey.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 07:36 PM
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reply to post by Deemo Diablo
 


Well I have about 10 power supplies. Let me know if you need one.



I have computer parts all over the place.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 07:37 PM
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When your battery runs low or stops, your bios resets itself, thus your setting on boot up have changed, your harddrive might not be your first/second bootup device option anymore.

In bios and only if you carefully read as you go along you can hit Del to enter bios on boot up and go to device boot up and see whats in there, should be, depending on make model of harddrive... example western digital WDC123200GB or Seagate ST3200820AS.

Is your connection to your monitor connected fine from your computer, monitor working correctly, test it on another computer.

** Oh i see also your ~PSU could be needing replaced, it will be the old 20 pin type most new psu allow for backward compatibility.
edit on 31-7-2012 by PizzaVan because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 07:59 PM
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It sounds like you didn’t cause the problem at all (merely just got unlucky)... The game you played was probably infected with malware that hijacked your computer only to find it was not compatible with yours. But you knew your computer was being hijacked because it slowed & did weird stuff, so in future you need to pull the internet cable. This should stop the transfers of the malleolus programme (if it hasn’t already been downloaded).
If it doesn’t (i.e. because your computer is still making noise) unplug your computer immediately. This can usually stop the malicious malware being saved onto your computer, because although it got downloaded it was lost when you didn’t shut down the machine properly.
Well this technique used to work with an old Compac I had.

Otherwise you can get notebooks & laptops with internet access on Ebay for less than 100. Here’s a good make shown here: www.amazon.co.uk...
Hopefully you’ll find something better, but it’s not looking good.
You certainly shouldn’t hit computers, the way information is physically stored is actually microscopic so that vibration wasn’t a good thing!



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 08:11 PM
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reply to post by MoosKept240
 

Did you try a 'System Restore'??








 
P.S.
Thank you.
Both of these↓ cracked me up.

Originally posted by MoosKept240

....my machine just shut off. Black screen. So I stared at it for a good 5 to 10 minutes, then realized it wasn't going to come back on.

I thought that was the end of it, but then I got to this↓ part, which was sooo much funnier.

Originally posted by MoosKept240

So, because I am a mechanic and not a computer guy, I chose the only route I knew. I hit it, I hit it repeatedly.....


Don't take that the wrong way.
I'm not trying to make fun of you.
I just thought they were funny.

I've probably done the same thing.
Possibly more than once.



edit on 7/31/12 by BrokenCircles because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 08:12 PM
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Originally posted by Liberal1984
It sounds like you didn’t cause the problem at all (merely just got unlucky)... The game you played was probably infected with malware that hijacked your computer only to find it was not compatible with yours. But you knew your computer was being hijacked because it slowed & did weird stuff, so in future you need to pull the internet cable. This should stop the transfers of the malleolus programme (if it hasn’t already been downloaded).
If it doesn’t (i.e. because your computer is still making noise) unplug your computer immediately. This can usually stop the malicious malware being saved onto your computer, because although it got downloaded it was lost when you didn’t shut down the machine properly.
Well this technique used to work with an old Compac I had.

Otherwise you can get notebooks & laptops with internet access on Ebay for less than 100. Here’s a good make shown here: www.amazon.co.uk...
Hopefully you’ll find something better, but it’s not looking good.
You certainly shouldn’t hit computers, the way information is physically stored is actually microscopic so that vibration wasn’t a good thing!


Thats a big claim with out seeing the computer.

You are running windows 7 on a Pentium 4 witch can cause the CPU to work harder at a constant rate, thus more power is going to your CPU and your power supply has to work harder. You said the bios said you have low voltage, we need to know exactly what it said to help you. I searched and got this
en.community.dell.com...
Battery's do not cause computers to not turn on so its probably something else.
Its probably the CPU voltage


It would run a hell of allot better if you got windows xp, you can download a windows xp torrent free. If you end up needing to get a new computer then you can find a p4 system on cragslist for 50 dollars or less.
edit on 31-7-2012 by Infi8nity because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 08:15 PM
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One suggestion. As a mechanic, you probably already know this; but when you smite your machine, you must smite it with love. And hold your mouth just right. If you don't hold your mouth right you can cause further damage.

But seriously: I wouldn't necessarily go right to power supply. The reason is that power supplies usually give out once and quite definitely; not in an intermittent way.

And given your description, I would suspect heat more than anything else. Even a fairly tame computer game can give an old grandpa like that more exercise than is useful. You need to get in there with a paintbrush and sweep out all the dust you can find--and then vacuum it out. That includes the fan on the CPU heatsink--and the fins of the heatsink itself, if practical. (There are some who say you shouldn't use compressed air because it can drive dirt problems further into the guts. I'm not sure I buy that; it seems a little overly sissified. But I prefer a vacuum, for other reasons.)

Oh--and pull the RAM chips and be sure their sockets are dusted out too. Use a spray electronic cleaner if you have it or can easily get it. The beeps you describe sort of sound like a RAM problem.

Also, if you changed the battery you need to reset the date and time--and possibly some other settings. But date and time are most important. The main problem if you have the wrong time is that you'll start getting a lot of "invalid certificate" problems when you try to get on the internet.

Good luck....



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 08:18 PM
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If the computer was beeping, see if you can get it to do it again.
All mobo companies I've ever worked with have a code for the beeps.
This might help you figure out what the problem is.
Of course look up the manufacture troubleshooting sheet first and print it out.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 08:23 PM
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reply to post by Liberal1984
 


Sorry, but your post is full of non-true information.

To the OP:

Some hardware component is simply on the fritz (most likely), because of the stage (period during boot) when you heard the beeps. You can contact Dell or consult online documentation to determine what kind of error based on the beeps (long, short, long might correspond to one kind of error, for ex.).

First, back up what you care about -- data files created in programs you use, your media, etc. on to a CD or external thumb or hard drive. This is key to do before your machine fails and it could be more difficult or impossible to recover this stuff.

A good general tip is to then open your case, then blow everything out with air in a can. You must use short (half-second) bursts, with decent length (five seconds, lets say) between them to avoid freeze-destroying any delicate components. Also, keep the can upright (it will blast colder air when tilted or upside down). Do not blast your skin, do not inhale the fumes (do it in a ventilated area). Be sure to clean the power supply as per other commenters suggestions.

Lastly, know that this could be a software issue. An annual-ish format is a really great thing for computer performance, especially if running Windows. You should try Ubuntu if you are comfortable, your computer will perform a lot better with that hardware (unless you play a lot of Windows games still on that machine).

Games crash sometimes, this is typical. There are often nuanced video driver problems or games that have video-specific bugs, and this is one ex. of the kind of bug that can lock up/shutdown/reboot your computer. When the computer is shut down unexpectedly like this, sometimes critical system files can be corrupted, and your OS will have new issues booting. So it COULD be a software problem.

So, in summary I would:

1) Back stuff up

2) De-dust internals

p.s. -- As another member said, make sure your RAM chips are seeded properly (in all the way/the right way). If you don't know how to do this... do some research/watch some YouTubes.

2.5) Didn't mention this yet, but if you can find documentation on how, you should reset your BIOS settings. This will restore voltage settings to defaults if for some reason they were changed. This might also affect hardware boot order -- you will want to make sure that you can boot from CD before hard drive in the BIOS settings so that you can install Windows from disc. That may be the default boot order. Hard to say.

3) Reformat (reinstall Windows while erasing disk), poss. try Ubuntu if you're game for something different. When you format you lose your installed programs, but assuming you still have installer discs or install files, you would be fine.
edit on 7/31/2012 by AkumaStreak because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 09:25 PM
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I need to catch up on this thread. I had to drop of a car and just now realized how many responses I got! Thank you all for taking the time to respond!

My brother said he thought it was my computer was thinking a key was being pressed on my wireless keyboard. And it thats why it was beeping like that. I am scared to turn it back off though.

And my model dell is the dimension 8250 older than dirt!



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 09:28 PM
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reply to post by MoosKept240
 


A P4?

Get a new PC. They are so much faster and relatively cheaper than old hardware.

It's gonna fall over totally at some point so, if you value your old data & etc, transfer it to a new PC before the old one give up the ghost (even then all may not be lost).

Don't be tempted to go for the bleeding edge either. Just get a newer mid-priced PC. It will be better & faster than the one you have now.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 09:42 PM
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OK I just got through all of the responses.

I have cleaned out the machine, I will have to get a can of compressed air, but I did vacuum it and removed all my ram cards and cleaned it.

I had a buddy mention that about the beeps, but with how fast they were beeping I would never of been able to count them.

I was playing cartown on facebook. Which on my machine, is a turd. I have always had issues, but it never fully killed my computer before. To where it shut down entirely. I always would get, what I called, getting "chromed" and would tell me many things are unresponsive. But never actually shut the whole thing down.

I also run advanced system care 5 about once a week, along with the AVG scans.

Is there a way to test the power supply? I know automotive electronics pretty well, which I know is DC so I am sure I could follow AC power pretty well. Maybe.

And finially, I backed everything up while I was finishing this car just now on an external HD. So all thats safe.

Does anyone think I could have a HD going bad? I have 2 in it now, and was maybe thinking my primary was maybe going bad, which is why it worked when I was smacking it. Kinda a thought I had. My brother didn't seem to think so.

Also when I opened it up, a lot of the ribbon cables were bunched up and squished. If you know the dell case it opens up like a book. Should I replace those? Nothing looked broken and I straightened everything out, but there are creases in the cables themselves.

Again, thanks for the replies and the help. I am trying to make the old girl last. And I have thought about another OS but the thing that has made me not want to is I love windows 7. I think it is fantastic. But with all these issues as of recently, it may be the proper option.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 09:59 PM
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Cables bent over/bunched like that won't cause a problem. What I mean to say is if it's a problem (damaged cable) you will know because whatever was attached to it would never work right.

Keyboard error on boot can be a halting error depending on BIOS settings.

You might as well do some backing up of your important stuff, and try restarting it a few times to see if you're in the clear. Going to have to restart it eventually! Hehe.

p.s., web browser games will work in Ubuntu, if you want to trial it as I suggested (it's a free OS). I am amazed you are running Windows 7 on that thing. :-)
edit on 7/31/2012 by AkumaStreak because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 10:38 PM
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HOLY CARP!! That thing was released in 2002! I'd be surprised if you DIDN'T have problems.

If the "beeps" you describe were actually more of a "brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt," that's a stuck key. You should turn your keyboard upside down and give it a good crack against something--not too hard--just enough to jar the crumbs and bugs and mouse droppings out of it. Wouldn't hurt to vacuum it too.

Here's the thing about computer power supplies: They're AC that converts to "switched" DC; that is, they supply a "revolving" voltage (for lack of a better term) of 3.3VDC, 5VDC, and 12VDC (if memory serves) for components that require different voltage/current. As a general rule they don't fail partially or intermittently; they fail all at once. The voltages all come from the same source, so it's not like you'll lose 3.3V and still have 12V. And it's not as if the power "browns-out" to the point that it won't supply sufficient voltage to your CPU.... as far as I know; someone correct me if I'm mistaken. If all you've added is another hard drive, even a crappy 250W supply should still handle all your needs.

However, if you're determined to buy a new power supply, that's probably about the least expensive thing you can do. You can get a 300W at Amazon for less than $15, a 350W for about $25, and a 400W for around $30. (Check the side-sticker on your existing PSU and meet or exceed that wattage.) Note that you can connect a 24-pin to the 20-pin header on your motherboard. They're keyed in such a way that they'll only fit one way. It's OK to have the 4 extra pins unoccupied.

So, tell us: Does the machine seem to be running pretty well now?

Edit: By the way--yes there is a way to test a power supply. There's a tool specifically for testing them. You can get them for as low as $4; $10; $12; and up--again, at Amazon. They're easy to use and easy to read. I mean, I suppose it is possible that you have a defective but not completely failed power supply....
edit on 7/31/2012 by Ex_CT2 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:10 PM
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reply to post by Ex_CT2
 


I know its old. I kinda thought it was older a 98 or something. Maybe someone said it came with windows98 and thats why I thought that.

I have a logitech wireless keyboard and mouse and last night I think some water got on it because it was giving me problems first thing this morning but I thought it cleared up. A couple things still dont work on it though, like the volume control and the forward key.

With what you said and what my brother told me I believe that must be my boot problem. Which I will need to get a new keyboard or figure out how to fix this one.
Could that of been what made it shut off?
I know when it sleeps at night it will sometimes turn itself off. But I have never had it shut down completely like that before.
I rarely turn it off. I may restart it sometimes, but I find it tends to run better if I just put it to sleep. If I do a fresh start up it is really laggy and slow for a good while.
I have been through the start up things to and have shut a bunch off, but it still takes a good 10 minutes or so before I can surf the web with some speed.

And as of now it is running fine, but at times it kinda gets an elderly moment, and it didn't do it so often. It kinda just won't do anything for a moment or two. Like I will click something and it just sits there, or I will enter a post and it kinda has stop and think about it for a minute.

I didn't know a power supply was so little in cost. I am going to attempt a restart to see what exactly that message is that I have seen for 3 years but can't remember for the life of me. So I may make it back. I may not, we shall see........................



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:36 PM
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Ok it restarted. I here. I really want to say it retarded, but it is restarted.

So, it did it again, so I took that battery's out of my keyboard, and it worked, and I had to put them back in because of the message: ALERT: system battery voltage low press f1 to continue. It is a new battery, but it is a battery error still? Maybe something is wrong with thing that hold the battery? It looked clean no corrosion or anything.

So I know my keyboard caused my boot issue. Could it of been the facebook game I was playing crashed my computer and shut it down. I have played the game for a long time and it never has happened before. I am really good at making sure I don't have my screen loaded up with stuff. I close everything out. I don't multi task on it. Just one thing at a time.

I treat her like an old car, I'm real light on the brakes, and never ever floor it.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:51 PM
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reply to post by MoosKept240
 


The message you're seeing is probably something like: "Press F2 for Setup, F10 for Boot Options" (or similar; there's a lot of variation). But if it is something else it may be important; so better check.

I've been told, and even read in magazines--repeatedly--that a good way to clean a keyboard is to put it in the dishwasher or carry it into the shower. Then let it dry for a couple of hours. Or so they say. But every time I try that it takes weeks--seriously, weeks--until all the keys come back. So if there's a chance of water in your keyboard, a droplet could cause a short-circuit between a key and its contact that acts like a stuck key.

What I'd do is run down to the local Salvation Army/Goodwill and grab a $5 wired keyboard for those times when you need a backup. Wouldn't hurt to get an extra mouse while you're at it. And I do think a stuck key can cause a lot of the lag and unresponsiveness you describe.

Also, when you run Advanced System Care do you do an occasional checkdisk and defrag? Maybe see if you can find a really good (free) disk defragmenter on download.cnet.com. Also look at your hard-drive information and see if your disks are getting full. Both of those things can cause a lot of thrashing and wallowing of the hard drives.

And one last thing: If you can find some cheap RAM--maybe on eBay--I'd fill it to its capacity (which, for that model, may only be 2GB). I wouldn't bother to buy new; you can probably find a couple of decent "pulls" for a good price.

All-in-all, I think you can get that poor old soldier back to decent health for less than $75.

By the way: It's getting past my bedtime. Would you U2U me with the final result? I'd be most interested in how this turns out....






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