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Is there anything left to do for my computer?

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posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:58 PM
reply to post by MoosKept240

Just as I posted I saw your last message.

I don't know what could cause the system battery voltage to be low, particularly if it's a new battery.

I do know that I replaced a battery for a customer recently and the low-battery message still showed up after the first reboot, until I had her reset the system date-time. It went away at the second reboot.

Does it keep the BIOS settings (including the date-time), or do they slip back to defaults? If it keeps the updated settings, I'd say just ignore the message and wait for it to go away. If it's been displaying that message for a long time, it may have just gotten stuck there.

I don't know....

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 07:32 AM

Originally posted by MoosKept240
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.

If you vacuum your computer you can cause a static build up on the boards that can potentially destroy you computer. If you dont want to use a can of air just go at it with a small paint brush to remove the dust.

After hitting the computer there's no telling what might be the problem. In my experience once you start hitting the compute to fix a problem its never the same again.

If it was me id trya new power supply first. If that doesn't work id buy a new mother board , chip and ram. Ie replace the engine of the computer. You can get all 3 from around $100. You would have a nice modern dual core AMD processor with ddr3 memory and no more worries

edit on 1-8-2012 by PhoenixOD because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 10:08 AM
reply to post by Ex_CT2

A few things you have said makes loads of sense. Both of my hard drives are full. Both show in the red. Not sure about taking the keyboard in the shower though. lol. I do plan on getting a spare key board next time I go over to my parents house.

Someone put up a link earlier in this thread that I was reading that dated all the way back to 2002. And it is this low battery voltage error. It seems its a common problem on these dell machines. Especially from back then. And I do run a surge protector because I live in the country a little bit and we get power outages a lot. So I kinda feel as though that may be what is causing the low battery voltage error.

Also, all the slots are maxed out with ram already. 4 sticks. No idea of the size, but they are full.

What program do you use for a defrag? I sometimes use the one on AVG, but rarely.

My hard drives are full, but I am almost to the point where I am ready to wipe em clean. Nothing I have is important, it is all music and movies and tv show and such. Around 180 gb per HD.

Also, I have in internal wireless card I bought years ago, and sometimes, sometimes, it finds my router but can not connect, and I have to either keep resetting my wireless card or just restart the machine a few times and it will work again, and on occassion I have to pull the card out and put it back in. Do you think maybe if my wireless card is having issues, it could be giving me machine problems? Or would it only be internet related? It was the cheapest one I could get at the time from micro center, like $15 or something.

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 10:14 AM
reply to post by PhoenixOD

Thanks for your respons! I did not know that about vacuuming could do that!
I already did it, but for next time I won't.
I here what you are saying about hitting it, and it probably isn't the best idea, but alas, Me being me and mechanic, I almost always end up beating something that doesn't work properly. Just the way I am. In my family we call it the "slip drop kick" method.

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 10:27 AM
reply to post by MoosKept240

Dont worry , Ive been down the road of hitting computers before. Funnily enough that was an old Dell P4 as well. We had a nick name for that computer and its not one i could put on this forum lol. It had exactly the same symptoms as you are describing with your machine. Periodically have fits of bleeping that could sometimes be relived with a swift slap and a reboot. The machine eventually just died after i updated the BIOS. I was so glad to see it go.

As for the vacuuming, the air passing over the boards strips the electrons off them which causes a static buildup like rubbing a balloon on cloth to get it to stick to a wall. Its something else i had been doing for years until i found out its a very bad idea while on a micro electronics course. I even had a modified vacuum tube with a few paint brushes on the end. Oh well you live and learn.

edit on 1-8-2012 by PhoenixOD because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 11:26 AM

Originally posted by Deemo Diablo
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.

I have to agree with Deemo Diablo, dust is your enemy. If you have to replace the power supply, it has to be Dell compatible, because Dell changed the voltage values and a generic PS will not work properly. Also, if the unit is dusty, take some Q-Tips and clean the terminals for the Memory Sticks, and the contacts on the Sticks themselves. It sure sounds like a bad power supply.
Why not build your own custom computer? I get my parts from these websites. All of them are totally secure, and returns are handled immediately, and without question.

Here is a computer tower I built for a woman just a few weeks ago.

Logisys CS368RB ATX Mid-tower Red Computer Case w/ 480W PSU ($39.89)

AMD Phenom X3 8550 Triple Core CPU and Motherboard Combo ($89.98)

Western Digital WD2500AAKX 250GB Caviar Blue SATA 6.0Gbps Hard Drive ($59.98)

Mushkin Silverline 996770 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1333 PC3 10666 Desktop RAM ($44.98)

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy SE PCI Sound Card SB0570VP 7.1ch ($26.98)

Lite-On IHAS524-T06 24x Black SATA DVDRW Drive w/ LabelTag (21.98)

Total: $283.88. Took me one hour to fully assemble and boot to Bios, where I set it for "Default" options, and then disabled the onboard Audio, so the Sound Blaster card would work. I then set the AMD processor so that all Cores would be active, and then installed Windows 7 Home Premium, Avira Anti-virus, Comodo Firewall Charged her, parts and labor, $350.
Used her old monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

When yours is complete....
Install a Free Operating system, such as Fedora, what I run, or one of the other popular Linux Distros.
Or, you can buy or obtain a copy of Windows, your choice.
Can anyone buy a comparable Dell, E-Machines, HP, or Acer for a lessor price?

Confused? Don't know how to put it together and make it run?
How to Build a PC Tower
Here is another one:
How to Assemble a Desktop Computer

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 12:13 PM
reply to post by autowrench

All of that sounds awesome, but my problem is I have other financial issues at hand and cannot afford that much right now. Maybe in a month or two after I get another car since mine recently is more money to fix than what its worth so I need a new one. And that has to come first. I can get away with no more than I guess $100 absolute max to make this one better. Or at least reliable.

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 01:19 PM
reply to post by MoosKept240

A couple of weeks ago i swapped up the guts of an old Del with :

Motherboard : Asrock a55m-hvs ($50)

2.5 GH AMD Main chip, Dual core with built in HD graphics card : AMD A4-3300 2.50GH (prob about $60 maybe less)

2gb 1333 DDR3 RAM ($20)

Thats a rough guess on the prices because i got mine from the UK. Hopefully that's a bit closer to the price you are looking for. Autowrench has posted some good guides on how to build a PC.

edit on 1-8-2012 by PhoenixOD because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 02:03 PM
reply to post by MoosKept240

I usually recommend SmartDefrag from IOBit. There's a defrag that comes with Advanced System Care--also from IOBit--but I'm pretty sure it's just a kindergarten version. Go to and search for defrag, and then in the lefthand pane, under "Narrow Your Results," check the "Free" box. SmartDefrag should be right at the top of the list.

PhoenixOD's post is the first I've ever heard of vacuuming causing static buildup too. I do that a lot, so I guess I'd better find a different method.

A lot of people have recommended a new power supply. Apparently there are different schools of thought on this. For example, the following is from the gaming board

One guy says this:

I don't think anything ages significantly in a PSU, except the fans and electrolytic capacitors. When the caps go bad, the ripple voltage goes up, and the DC voltage drops, but the PSU electronics can compensate for the latter, up to a point.

All PSUs are supposed to contain protection against overcurrent, overpower, overvoltage, and undervoltage, but, because of poor design, the first two protections don't always work. Some PSUs also have overtemperature protection, but most probably don't. In the case of my Ultra V-Series, Ultra said that it had no temperature sensor for protection, but at about 55C the circuitry would inherently cut back on output.

And then another guy says this:

Power supplies are machines. They break down over time. Depending on the quality of its capacitors, mosfets, etc. ultimately determines how long of a life you'll get out of the PSU.

For example, I was working my little brother's computer, he had a virus so I just went ahead an reinstalled windows, but before I did I checked out the components just to see if they are still in working order, such as no swollen capacitors, no bad sectors in the HDD, etc.

I bought my brother's PC case over 2 years ago and it came with a PSU (which in itself is a good quality OEM PSU). I opened it up and found it had swollen capacitors, even though the PC behaved normally. Of course, I went ahead and put in another PSU I had lying around just so that it doesn't cause problems. Basically, that PSU lasted approximately 2 years, which for an OEM PSU is pretty good. Most of them do not make it to 1 year of use!

In my experience with computers as a technician. I've came across PSUs that cause artifacts on the screen, BSOD, HDD clicking, almost ANY problem that can be caused by bad video card, or RAM, etc. can also be caused by a faulty PSU.

So when you are experience problems, you should consider the PSU as the culprit, but the only way to tell is if the problem recreates itself with another PSU.

Other determining factors of a bad PSU are:

-high-pitched whining
-internal PSU fan stops moving
-random shutdowns
-randomly turns on by itself

So i'm going to capitulate: If you can, buy a new power supply. The one you have is probably as old as the computer anyway.

There are also some saying that Dell uses proprietary power supplies. They did, in fact, use a proprietary wiring/color-coding system (the wires were ordered differently and colored differently) on some PSUs, in the PIIs and PIIIs, that I know of. I thought they ended that practice with the P4s; but I may be wrong. In any case, here's Dell's $29 OEM power supply specifically for your machine:

Dell Part# 2N333

By the way, here are the Technical Specifications. They say you can have up to 2GB of PC800 or 1.5GB of PC1066 RAM. If you decide to upgrade to a full 2GB, you need to pull the RAM from the sockets and find out how much you have of what; you could have as little as 1GB and still have 4 full slots. (The BIOS should also tell you what banks are occupied, and how much RAM in each. But it probably won't tell you what type.)

I'm tired of typing now. I got your U2U, so if there are any other details you need to discuss I'll meet you there....

edit on 8/1/2012 by Ex_CT2 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 02:40 PM
reply to post by MoosKept240

Well, just one last comment.

Some people are suggesting building your own, or at least buying motherboards and PSUs and faster-better-smarter CPUs and such. Whether you want to tackle that, or whether you want to doctor up your existing machine as best you can is up to you. But I thought it might be helpful if I offer an opinion on it.

I've built and re-built many dozens of computers. What often happens in this type of rebuild is that you go out and buy a motherboard and CPU. The boxes arrive and it's Christmas in August. And then you realize that you bought a "white box" CPU and don't have a heatsink/fan unit for it. You go to buy that. Now you've spent your $75 or $80, but Amazon is suggesting Arctic Silver paste for just a few dollars more. Oh, that's right--you need that. You spring a liitle extra for that.

Now you go back to your project. Waitaminit! You ordered a motherboard with IDE-ATA headers. But this one only has four SATA headers. Your disks won't work with that. Do you take it back out of the case and negotiate a trade-in and wait another few days without a computer? Or do you do the painful thing and go out and buy that cheap-ish 1TB SATA drive at Fry's?

And then there's the power supply. You still need to replace that, because it turned out to be a piece of Dell proprietary junk after all....

And so on.

I'm not suggesting you don't do it; I'm just offering up a warning that, even if you do your homework, things almost never work out as expected. There will always be some unexpected turn of events or undiscovered conditions that will turn it into either a technical nightmare or an expensive hobby--or both. (As an auto mechanic, I'm sure you've seen this many times.)

So forewarned, as they say, is forearmed....

edit on 8/1/2012 by Ex_CT2 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 04:43 PM
reply to post by Ex_CT2

Good call Ex_CT2, i had not considered the whole IDE v SATA change over when pricing an upgrade with that Asrock board.

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 05:05 PM
Considering your budget, have you considered searching your local Craigslist? Sometimes you can find good deals on PCs and PC components. Right now prospective college students need money for tuition, so it's worth a look.
edit on 8/1/2012 by Lysis because: grammar

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 07:01 PM
reply to post by Ex_CT2

Very good advice, and especially for a novice PC builder. I get my paste from PC Outlet, several cans at a time. Also, IDE HDDs and Boards are old technology. SATA (Solid State) is the future here. Quieter running, quicker response. Do your homework! I cannot stree that enough. Make sure you have the right Memory for your Board. If you ordered a SATA drive, make sure your Board has hookups for SATA, and that your power supply has SATA hookups. Adaptors are available now, but that is another expense.

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 08:27 PM

Originally posted by autowrench
reply to post by Ex_CT2

Very good advice, and especially for a novice PC builder. I get my paste from PC Outlet, several cans at a time. Also, IDE HDDs and Boards are old technology. SATA (Solid State) is the future here. Quieter running, quicker response. Do your homework! I cannot stree that enough. Make sure you have the right Memory for your Board. If you ordered a SATA drive, make sure your Board has hookups for SATA, and that your power supply has SATA hookups. Adaptors are available now, but that is another expense.

SATA =/= solid state.

But yes on the rest.

posted on Aug, 1 2012 @ 10:08 PM
reply to post by Ex_CT2

Thats what I am sorta thinking about upgrading anything. It is so old, I just want to keep this one going and in the next month or so just find something new and better. I appreciate all your help, and I think I am gonna order that PSU.

Alot of what you say about SATA drives and things are very foreign to me. I now have a much better grasp as to why people look at me so funny when I talk about cars, or try explaining a technical automotive issue. Its just a bunch of words. lol.

So I am gonna try and keep this one alive for a little while longer so I can take care of my personal vehicle issues, then I will probably return for advice on purchasing a new machine.

Thanks again, everyone.

posted on Aug, 2 2012 @ 02:04 PM
Case in point. If you buy and install a new Motherboard today, within a week it will be obsolete in favor of the newest model. That is the nature of computers these days.

posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 03:10 AM
reply to post by MoosKept240

Maybe you can find something (deal?) like this in your city.

posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 03:16 AM

Originally posted by MoosKept240
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!

I have a Dell Pentium 4 and it has a similar same problem, I have tried everything that I could find on google to no success and I figured it was a motherboard issue (meaning new pc needed).

I lost my rag at the thing and belted it in anger and it booted fine and this has worked for me ever since

Glad to see you fixed you problem.

edit on 3-8-2012 by XXXN3O because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 3 2012 @ 10:52 AM
It seems fixed for now, but still at times it runs unbelievably slow.

But good news, I am getting this weekend two other computers towers. And I have no Idea if I can even use them. Sort a got a clue, but not they are HP with a celeron something in it. Both seem small and look to have 2 ram slots. So I dunno, but maybe I can use some parts or something. Free is free.

posted on Aug, 4 2012 @ 10:04 PM
Yeah, you may have a winner of sorts there. Choose the newest board, preferably an ATX, and go with that on. Sounds like you have plenty of parts. Even 256 MB of RAM will run Windows XP or many of the Linux Distros. I built several computers just like this, from parts, and had good luck each time. All factory computers have their quirks and flaws. I have seen good and bad in all major brands in my day.
Wish you lived down the street, friend, I have boxes of parts, and several old computers sitting here.

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