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Is My PC Dying?

Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:36 am

I've been having really strange comp problems lately. First before I start, I've checked several times, I have no viruses.

So here's what's been happening.

A. Every 5 or so minutes, one of my USB devices (mouse, keyboard, joystick) goes dead, and it pops up with a little window saying that the device has malfunctioned. If you unplug the device and plug it right back in, it'll work fine. This problem is most common with the mouse, which has already gone dead twice since I've began writing this. There's no way my keyboard, joystick, and mouse are malfunctioning at the same time, so it's not a problem with them.

B. My hard drive is acting strange lately. Sometimes when you boot the computer up, the hard-drive doesn't spin at all, and it says disk boot failure. Usually one push of the reset button will get it spinning and it'll load everything fine.

This sounds like a motherboard problem to me, but I'm not sure. I've backed up all my stuff in case it decides to die.

In the mean time, does anybody know what might be causing these problems?

Thanks for any advice!

Some people are like slinkies - not good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs
Posts: 5287
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2001 8:03 am

RE: Is My PC Dying?

Fri Feb 13, 2004 4:29 pm

A few questions..

#1- What version of windows are you running
#2- Do you REGULARLY update your virus software
#3- Is this an off-the-shelf (ie HP, compaq, etc) system, or home built
#4- How old is the system
#5- When the hard drive does spin, does it make any odd noises
#6- How long has this been going on
#7- HAve you installed or uninstalled anything (software or hardware) right around the time it started happening

I'd say you did a good thing by backing eeryhting up, but it sounds to me like you could have a Hard Drive that is about to go bad. Without knowing more, I can't say for sure. But please feel free to email me, and I'll help however I can. You can contact me through my profile.

Lets do some sexy math. We add you, subtract your clothes, divide your legs and multiply
Posts: 20631
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

RE: Is My PC Dying?

Sat Feb 14, 2004 3:08 am

This could just as well be a power supply issue - between contact problems of your AC power cord (yes, plugs do fall out sometimes  Wink/being sarcastic), contact problems between the power supply connector and the motherboard or a dying regulation in the power supply itself. The power regulators on the motherboard could also be faulty, but the harddisk problems would rather point to the power supply unit.
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Joined: Sat Nov 13, 1999 5:51 pm

RE: Is My PC Dying?

Sat Feb 14, 2004 3:09 am

The first thing that came to mind when you said the HD stops spinning is a HD on the way out, but then when you explained that the k/b mouse joystick all freeze up too makes me think motherboard problem, bearing in mind all the devices are IO devices, so either one or the other, HD or M/B....IMHO.

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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

RE: Is My PC Dying?

Sat Feb 14, 2004 3:45 am

Harddisks are usually preset to auto-spinup and draw their power directly from cables going to the power supply, not to the motherboard. So if it won´t spin up, it´s more likely the power supply than the motherboard (unless it gets its supply from there, but you´ll easily find out if that´s the case).
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Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2000 4:30 pm

RE: Is My PC Dying?

Sat Feb 14, 2004 3:46 am

You might want to see if there is an update to the BIOS for your motherboard and try reflashing it.

RE: Is My PC Dying?

Sat Feb 14, 2004 4:41 am

Personal experiences of mine. When the hard drive starts acting like it doesn't want to spin up yeah it could be power supply or something really cheap and easy but it may very well be the hard disk. If the power supply was consistently undervolting the system would randomly reboot and if you had CPU monitory software running it would be going nuts. The USB devices messing up could be coupled to the hard disk acting like that or it may be time to wipe the disk and put Windows back on. I found that it is adviseable to blow out the operating system on a Win machine about once a year otherwise you are losing performace for no reason.

If it is a fairly new homebuilt a new hard disk is a matter of a couple plugs and a few screws. the software setup is nothing tricky. If it is an off the shelf wonder like an HP or something good luck.

I would advise running a good virus scanning program (I prefer Norton), some viruses can act like this but chances are it would be doing something far worse if this was the case.

If you have another machine or a willing friend you can usually test out the drive or the power supply in his machine, this is of course assuming its not some off the shelf wonder with a proprietary power supply.

If there is no virus, the HDD is ok and the Power supply is ok then it may possibly be motherboard. But my experience has shown that typically motherboards acting silly (not just either working or not) is due to heat issues and the problem can be consistently duplicated. Also usually heat issues do not dissapear after running the system longer, they occur after its been on X minutes and continue until you shut the system down for XX minutes.

Murphy was an optomist, when in doubt its going to be the most expensive and hardest to change part.

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