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Hard-drive/monitor suddenly not working. Help!!!

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posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 10:16 PM
Hi all.
I need some help fixing my PC. I've owned the thing for about 8 years now with no problems (apart from being slow due to lack of memory).

A few months ago I noticed the monitor would flash off then on for a split second every now and then. This progressed to happening daily. Then in addition to flickering back and forth to a black screen, it would start to look like an old UHF T.V channel being out of tune (flickering, image rolling up, static etc).

The 1st thing I did was check the cables. All connected just fine with power going to all the right places.
Then I checked the video card. Connected just fine.
I thought maybe the video card was playing up, so I removed it, and plugged the monitor into the standard video connection in the harddrive. Same problem occurred.
I tried rolling back the driver, and I had the same problem.

The computer works ok when I boot it up, but only for about an hr and a half, then the flashing/flickering occurs again. If I restart it, it starts bugging out straight away.
So the only way to use it, is once a day for about an hr, then shut it off.

Does anyone here know how to fix the problem, or indeed what's causing it?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
edit on 26-12-2012 by Noinoi because: Title change.

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 10:25 PM
Sounds like overheating.

First thing to do is to clean the guts, use a can of compressed air which you can get from any computer parts store or online retailer, use it to blow out all the dust from the inside of your case through the vents paying special attention to any buildup around the heatsink and main fan. I'd also advise posting a picture or two of your guts so we can take a look at the air flow around your case.

If that doesn't help, it could be your psu giving up the ghost, which is a messy replacement on prebuilds, but fortunately very cheap.

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 10:34 PM
reply to post by Dispo

Cheers, man!
I did give the insides a bit of a clean around the fan connected to the harddrive, but that was basically just me blowing my guts out. I'll give the compressed air a go though.

If that doesn't help, it could be your psu giving up the ghost, which is a messy replacement on prebuilds, but fortunately very cheap.

Is that a lengthy procedure? I'm worried about loosing everything I've got stored on the harddrive.

edit on 26-12-2012 by Noinoi because: Content.

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 10:54 PM
reply to post by Noinoi


Sorry about the caps, but yeah, put all your stuff on to the external hdd. I don't know if we're allowed to post retail links on ats, but if we are let me know and I'll look in to aus pricing for you. Over here you can get 2TB for £60 at sale price.

One more thing, the only thing in your case that stores data is the hard drive, a small metallic rectangle that might look like this:

Or this:

I'd just like to point out btw that I might be completely wrong here, I'm just offering you my anecdotal advice based on my past experience with computer problems.

It depends, it's not that big of a deal really, it's only the power supply, if you take it out before it blows you won't lose any data. You have to connect it to ~4 points in the case depending on your motherboard/number of hard drives/video card etc, it's a simple component to install.

The only problem is that prebuilt computers tend to have the power cables stuck right down on the non-removable side of the case - you have to remove almost everything to get to it, which again is simple enough if you're used to it, but for a first timer I wouldn't recommend disassembling and reassembling a computer loaded with valuable documents.

From what you've said, my only two hardware suspicions would be your power supply and motherboard, which I believe you've called a hard drive in your OP. It could be software related, but it's unlikely. Still, it's best to rule that out before you go tinkering with a working system.

Would you describe yourself as tech savvy? If so, I'd advise looking in to ubuntu and installing it along side your windows installation, then trying to run that for a while and see if you have the same problems. Note: don't do this if you don't feel up to it. If you choose the wrong installation options you will lose your data. It might be recoverable but it'll be more hassle than meeting your ex-girlfriend at your wedding.

If you try the above option and it works, hey presto! If you don't want to or it doesn't work the next step is running a defrag/analysis on your hdd to make sure it's still working.

Edit: changed the last line, got ahead of myself a bit and nearly missed one of the most important steps.
edit on 26-12-2012 by Dispo because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 11:01 PM
reply to post by Noinoi

If it's an older monitor, a CRT ( not flat screen ) it may just be your monitor going bad. I had a similar problem last year, connected a different monitor and haven't had a problem since.


posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 11:19 PM
reply to post by Dispo

Haha yeah you're right. I mean't the monitor connection on the motherboard.
I wouldn't say I'm 100 computer savy, so I might need a hand from some mates who know more than me if I'm going to start pulling the thing apart.

I've been thinking about getting an external harddrive for awhile now. You've convinced me to get one!

The original monitor I used was one of those types, but about 12 months ago I upgraded to a flatscreen (current monitor I use). You reckon it's worth testing out another monitor?

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 11:21 PM
reply to post by Noinoi

If you've got one handy then it's a good way to eliminate one possibility. I've yet to experience my flat monitor going woogy yet, but I am sure that they do go bad eventually.

If you hook another one up and it works without issue, then Occams razor would apply.

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 11:22 PM
reply to post by Noinoi

I can't believe I didn't even think of the monitor myself, I apologise. You can always use your TV as a monitor, most modern ones have a vga or hdmi input port, and if your pc doesn't output vga or hdmi you probably have a vga-dvi converter lying around somewhere.

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 11:30 PM
Thank you so much, guys! I've been ready to take a hammer to the stupid thing lately.

My plan is:

1) Give it a good clean inside.
2) Hook up an external hdd and get my files copied/moved over.
3) Try out different monitors.

If it is the PC harddrive that's flipped out, I guess I'll get another computer and dump my files from the external hdd onto that.

The thing I'm using now is about 8 years old, so I might have to upgrade from the land of 486.

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 11:38 PM
First step is always to eliminate possibilities.
Sounds like you did that with your video card (by connecting it to the motherboard's vga output), now I'd do the same with the monitor.

Leave the... cost-incurring troubleshooting until last, try all the simple things first.
...but yes. Sounds for all the world like your monitor is going.

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 11:41 PM
After the screen starts flashing from overheating, the residual damage to the capacitors on the power supply is irreversible (short of soldering in new ones yourself), without an estimation of how long you're on your computer on a weekly basis, I'd have to say, assuming average usage, it has ~2 months left, maybe a little longer if you dismantle and clean it immediately. If it's a problem with the motherboard, it might last a long time if you clean it soon, but I wouldn't bet money on it. If you do decide to clean it, you can tell if the capacitors are bad by checking for bubbled/popped tops. This is a general diagnose procedure on both, older 'box' monitors and the newer flat screen models. There are a myriad of problems that could be causing that flashing effect, but what is listed above is generally the cause if it is in fact a hardware problem.

The guy above is 100% right, buy an EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE ASAP! On older (primarily windows) systems, even if you back up your files in the (D
drive, about 3/4 the time it is not a second hard drive, but rather a partitioned portion of your main disk. Meaning, even the backup files are stored on the same Hard Disk Drive that your C: drive is on. If the disk crashes, you lose it all, and unless you are a HDD Guru, there is little chance of getting it back without shelling out some unreasonable amounts of cash. Backing up files on a seasonal schedule will save you so much frustration.

Also, definitely try a different monitor with the computer, try to see if you can recreate the effect on it. If you can target what is causing the problem, you'll have a chance at fixing it. You can fix nearly anything that goes wrong on these machines, it's just like an automobile, you just have to know where to look.

P.S. A friendly tip to any computer user: never buy a new computer unless the hardware capabilities of your current computer are not able to keep up with the requirements for software you find to be necessary. It's generally A LOT cheaper to fix it yourself, and the majority of problems are very easily fixed if you know the cause.

edit on 26-12-2012 by wishful1gnorance because: editing

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 11:47 PM
reply to post by Noinoi

You have asked a great question...and have received some very generous and educational( at least to me) replies.

Electronic componnets only have a certain life span.

You can trobleshoot down to the single transisitor level if your computer is that old

But , sometimes its cheaper to just replace it.
Ok you will be ignorant of the solution.
But repairs involve soldering irons ect.
Hey I would say go for it fix it.
It will last another ten years in all likelihood.
But gees those Computer sales guys will starve.
Have a heart.

posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 11:55 PM
reply to post by OrionsWitness

You can replace almost any part in a computer on one level or another, on rare occurrences should there be a reason to upgrade. If you are using windows and your computer uses Win XP or an older OS, please buy a newer computer, it will make your life so much easier when interacting with current web interfaces, they are fine for text documents and the sort, but are crap for web browsing. However, don't get windows 8. Win 7 is fairly reliable and easy to use, Vista has a ton of problems, and Win 8 is for children with their 'smart' phones and clouds, but if you really feel like taking a step up in the computer word... try Linux, it has a lot to offer. If you have a Mac... I'm sorry.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 12:00 AM
reply to post by wishful1gnorance

I am currently running a dual O/S system and one of those is XP build 3. So far I've yet to come across anything online that it won't run. I use it to access most common tasks, including Yahoo messenger, Skype, Steam, etc.

It's still very much viable.

I tend to cling to this XP build because I lived through all of the Win versions from 3.1 forward and suffered all of the nightmares along that journey. When I finally found a version that was stable? I've been reticent to abandon it.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 01:29 AM
sounds like your monitor is on the fritz.
If it was the graphics card heating up, you'd tell (because touching it would be fkn hot) does it have a fan on it? is it spinning?

You mentioned you checked the power cable, how about the VGA/DVI cable? if seen this play up and cause similar problems.

I wouldnt say over heating yet, because over heating usually has system consqeunces not monitor/flashing issues.

Grab another monitor (or TV) plug it in, you'll probably find its working great.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 01:34 AM
reply to post by wishful1gnorance

P.S. A friendly tip to any computer user: never buy a new computer unless the hardware capabilities of your current computer are not able to keep up with the requirements for software you find to be necessary. It's generally A LOT cheaper to fix it yourself, and the majority of problems are very easily fixed if you know the cause.

The computer can barely handle what's on there at the moment.
If I load up windows media player, and browser window, and Reason (music making software), the mouse resembles a dodgy stop-start animation if I try and move it across the screen.
The HDD light tends to be always on or at least flashing uncontrollably every time I use the computer too.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 01:39 AM
reply to post by Noinoi

constant flicking HDD light indicates you need RAM (memory)
when it slows down, do a control alt delete
switch to the processes tab
click on the heading titles for Memory and CPU see which ones are consuming the most resources.
Call me, and pay me $100phr to fix.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 01:43 AM
reply to post by Agit8dChop

Haha deal! Yeah I've found that google chrome tends to eat up a lot of memory.
The graphics card is very, very hot, but it has a fan that spins. But even when I removed the graphics card and used the old motherboard monitor port, the screen does the same thing.
Hopefully the monitor swap does the trick!

If not, then I'll be backing everything up on an external hdd before it does a Dec 21st, 2012 Mayan millennium self explosion.
edit on 27-12-2012 by Noinoi because: Content add.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 02:54 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

I didn't say it wasn't possible, and yes XP is a much more stable OS than some of the other Win OS's, what is your 2nd boot to? My point was that if you didn't have on of the last versions of xp that was sold commercially than most likely your hardware is out of date and most likely won't handle the more extensive processes of running videos and script. For checking basic online things, sure it will take good care of you.

To the OP, if your computer is working that hard to do the things you normally do, it may be time to upgrade, but don't feel like you have to get the newest or shiniest piece of equipment. Buy around your intentions. I do video editing and graphic design so I bought a higher end computer to suit my purposes. I use a secondary computer all together for online interaction. When you start muddling your system with a bunch of background process and second or tertiary programs it will get bogged down and run its life out a little faster.

posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 08:30 AM
Its an 8 year old system. Theres your answer

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