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Computer's acting up, should I be worried?


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#1 Shadow88

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 07:08 AM

So, lately, my computer's been having trouble turning on. I hit the power button, lights come on, fans spin up, then the whole thing just switches right back off about a second or two later. Couple of seconds after that, it tries to turn on again and the same thing. I have to turn it off at the power supply to stop it from just constantly trying and failing to start up.

A couple of times, it's gotten to the point where it should be starting up the OS (Win7 Pro for those curious) but instead just sits on a blank, MS-DOS style screen with a blinking cursor and doing nothing.

More recently, it's been crashing in the middle of games - was having a good run in Overwatch when it died and, just half an hour or so ago, died when I was doing a custom battle in TW Warhammer. Now I don't know about Warhammer, but after I got the machine started again after the Overwatch crash, I was able to play the game fine for a couple of hours with no issue.

I don't suppose anyone has an idea what could be causing this?

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#2 Flappers

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 07:40 AM

Could be a few different things....

 

1. Overheating - Modern processors will switch off your machine if it detects overheating (over 90c). Make sure that the contact between your processor and your heat sink is secure. Might be worth removing and re-applying the thermal paste.

 

2. PSU - Your power supply could be on the fritz. If you have a Volt Meter you can check to see if there is enough power coming from your PSU. But these things are hard to troubleshoot in general. Perhaps try finding an old PSU lying around and switch it out for it - that way you can see if the issue persists.

 

3. Motherboard - Could be loose connections on the board. Ensure that all your connectors are securely in (specifically check the 24pin connector), also make sure the rail is plugged in (that 12v rail for the CPU) - if that's not plugged in then the CPU won't power on.

 

4. Could be software related - Try booting into recovery for Windows 7 (put the disc in and boot into recovery) - and run a system file check (sfc /scannow). If you don't have a disc or can't get into recovery, try booting into safe mode with no networking... and run the sfc /scannow command from there. Booting into safe mode will also indicate if it's a driver issue, by failing to boot once it gets to a specific driver. You can then check to see which driver it is.



#3 Shadow88

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 07:46 AM

Guess I should've clarified - I am not a hardware guy.  The extent of my experience with it is plugging stuff in and unplugging it.  I can recognise what bit's the graphics card, motherboard, etc, but beyond that; I have no clue.  I'm mostly just wondering if I should be taking this thing in for repairs and hope they can replicate the issue (some days it's fine, other days it isn't) so they can see what's going wrong.


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#4 Flappers

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 08:24 AM

Ok, then yeah, take it to a professional.

 

If you're saying that some days it's fine and others not, my guess (without looking at it) is probably the PSU.

 

But take it to the shop and ask them to investigate it... PSU's are very difficult to fix, and usually require a replacement - but it's worth it getting looked at by someone, as it could be something else entirely



#5 Neldrak

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 08:44 AM

Considering the randomness of the errors I agree with Flappers advice.
You could do a RAM Check (google MemTest) to check the memory.
Did you recognize any "strange" noises coming from the HDD (if it is not a SSD)? That could be a sign of it failing.
 

Motherboard/PSU/CPU Errors are hard to detect for a non-professional.
Depending on the service charge in your country it could be cheaper to just buy new stuff (1h of service here in switzerland buys me a new motherboard...).

Everytime I upgrade my rig I keep the old components in plastic boxes in storage so I can swap out components in such situations to find the broken piece.

 

Edit:
Simple advice but dust really can cause trouble: Clean the inside of your rig with a vacuum cleaner!
Make sure to unplug it before ;)
It also helps against overheating as fans/heatspreader can get clogged.



#6 Shadow88

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 09:42 AM

I have been meaning to dust the interior (was going to use an airbrush I got for my Warmachine and Hordes models - then it turns out that the hose I ordered didn't fit the airbrush, haven't gotten around to getting a hose that fits yet), although I only got it upgraded* a few months ago so there shouldn't be that much dust built up in there already - it certainly went un-dusted for a lot longer before that upgrade.

 

Only weird noise I've been hearing was some sort of faint ticking noise, but that turned out to be one of the case's fans (got an Antec one ages ago, two intake fans on the front, one on the back and a big extraction fan on-top).  Still rotating fine, must just be a loose bearing or something.  I'll get them to take a look just to be safe, though.

 

Now to find a place in town I can take it to - not sure about the place I got the upgrade from (can't put my finger on why, just don't feel confident taking it back there) and the place I got this thing from in the first place has closed down (which was doubly-annoying since that was where I was playing Warmachine a lot, was about six months or so before I found out that they'd shifted to the back room of this anime and manga store downtown).  Quick Google search turned up a bunch of those businesses that come to you and, well, my computer room is not very conducive to internal computer repairs - barely have enough desk space for the tower when it's standing up.

 

 

*Had the lone 1TB HDD replaced with an SSD boot drive and a 2TB HDD - haven't heard anything off from them so they should be good.


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#7 Ethermaster

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 09:45 AM

Edit:

Clean the inside of your rig with a vacuum cleaner!
 

 

Never do this! use compressed air or a small paint bush as vacuum cleaner generate static which could cause more damage!

 

Here is what I suggest you do, take out the graphics card (if you have onboard if not you will have to leave it in situ) any other drives then the OS and any other fans other then the CPU fan. Test a single stick of RAM at a time in all the DIMM slots with MemTest on a bootable USB stick until the slot and all your RAM has passed. I would also recommend that you remove the battery from the motherboard for 5 mins then popping it back in as this will clear the BIOS (if you have an overclocked applied this will be removed). Once your into Windows I would run Prime 95 and HwMonitor to monitor the temps and give the CPU and RAM a good work out for at least an hour and see what happens, make note of your CPU's TjMAX and if the test starts to pass this point stop it right away.

 

See how you get on with that and let us how you get on.

 

Edit:

 

A full breakdown of the spec's would be of benefit :)


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#8 Shadow88

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 10:10 AM

I just found a place to take it into, I'll drop it in tomorrow morning and see what they can do.  Like I said earlier; I'm not a hardware guy and it'll just be easier to haul the thing down there.  Thankfully, I work afternoons on Mondays so I can take it down and avoid early-morning traffic.  And it's actually pretty close to where I work, so if they finish with it while I'm at work, it'll be easy for me to duck round and pick it up.

 

Now I just have to remember to mention that some of the USB ports haven't worked in over a year and that they should not update to Windows 10 under any circumstances - got too many older games that I'll want to play again sometime (like Jade Empire) that may not work on 10.


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#9 Ethermaster

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 10:13 AM

Use a VM? so you can have the old games running on older operating system and then do the upgrade?


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#10 Shadow88

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 10:19 AM

Use a VM? so you can have the old games running on older operating system and then do the upgrade?

Well the games are part of it, really I just don't trust a new version of Windows until it's been out for a fair while.  That and all the upgrade messages I've been getting from Microsoft are making me want to stick with 7 just to spite them.


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