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#1 OFFLINE   genegold

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 11:34 PM

I'm looking for an explanation.  Last week, the first time I started the computer each day the HD red light ran full steam, as if stuck, and the monitor's yellow power light flashed w/o anything on screen; i.e., the computer didn't boot and nothing responded.  So, I would power down, push on all the inside connectors and add-ins, spin the fan (presumably for luck), turn it back on and it worked fine.  This is not meant to be a trick puzzle, so I'll add what I'm guessing is going on, but don't really know.  For the past couple of months, one of the two CDROM drives has every so often lit up on its own, with nothing inside.  Since that can tie up CPU, but I don't want to replace the drive yet, I've just opened the drive early in each session and left it there when shutting down.  That means it's initially open (then closes) when powering up each day.  And that seemed to work fine.  But one thing I've noticed with last week's startup problem is that when the CD drive is closed before powering, the computer boots just fine.  So I've got a post-it note over the power button, but wonder whether this solution is just coincidence or there's some rational explanation.  Any takers?

#2 Guest_ComputerBob_*

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 11:44 PM

First of all, welcome to the forums, genegold! :unsure: When the hard drive light comes on "full steam" can you hear the hard drive doing anything, like it does during a normal boot-up, or is it completely silent?

#3 OFFLINE   genegold

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Posted 28 April 2003 - 11:48 PM

thanks.  By running full steam, I meant not just the light but the drive.  I should also add that this is a 800 Mhz Athlon, with an AZZA board.

#4 Guest_ComputerBob_*

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 12:06 AM

Do you have antivirus software on that computer? Is it updated to have its newest virus definitions?If you can safely eliminate the possibility of a virus, then the next thing I would do would be to remove that mind-of-its-own CD-ROM drive and see if that solves the problem.If removing that CD-ROM drive does not solve the problem, then I would reinstall the CD-ROM drive, but I would change the two CD-ROM drives' Master/Slave setting (if necessary) to allow me to switch the two CD-ROM drives onto each other's IDE cables, to see if the CD-ROM problem moves to the other drive. If it does, then I would try replacing the IDE cable that goes to the CD-ROM drive that is having the problem.

#5 OFFLINE   genegold

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 10:13 AM

Let's back up.  I was wrong about the HD.  Only the fan is running.  And it appears the CDROM business may be coincidence, since I closed the door manually last night after powering down, but the machine wouldn't boot this morning.  Took lots of jiggling of connectors.  Not sure I understand all of your other post, but let's backtrack for a moment re the HD.  Thanks,BTW, last night when I used a stored URL to go to this site, I was logged in; this morning I had to log in.  Not sure what changed.

#6 Guest_ComputerBob_*

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 10:53 AM

OK, the following advice comes under the heading "PLEASE BE CAREFUL"It sounds like your hard drive might be experiencing a problem called 'stiction,' caused when one of the drive's read/write heads actually sticks to one of the flat, round hard drive platters, preventing the drive from starting to spin when it is supposed to. I haven't seen that problem in years, but its main symptom is that the hard drive light comes on but the hard drive doesn't spin at all.If you turn on your PC and if, after your PC has finished its startup tests (memory, etc.), the hard drive light comes on, but you can't hear ANY hard drive activity at all, (bzz, bzz, clunk, bzz, bzz, bzz, etc.), then ONLY IF YOU'RE SURE THAT THE HARD DRIVE IS NOT SPINNING AT ALL, try carefully lifting one end of your PC's case an inch or so off the desk/floor/whatever, and dropping it. If the hard drive still does not start spinning, try lifting and dropping the other end, or lifting the first end a little higher before dropping it. If this jostling causes the hard drive to start booting your PC, you'll know that it was experiencing stiction, and that you "freed" the stuck read/write head by jostling it a little.If your hard drive is experiencing stiction, then it is usually only a matter of days before it will fail completely. If that is the case, be sure to backup (make copies of) any important documents that you've created on that PC, so you won't lose them when the hard drive fails. The only solution to the stiction problem is to replace that defective hard drive. If the computer is under warrantee, the manufacturer should replace that drive for you. In the meantime, leave your computer turned on all the time, and if you know how to do it, go into your computer's Power Saving settings and turn OFF the option to have the hard drive stop spinning when it isn't being used. By leaving the computer turned on and keeping the hard drive spinning until you can replace it, you will avoid having to start up the hard drive from a dead stop, which is the only time that the stiction problem affects it.

#7 OFFLINE   quint

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 11:00 AM

Quote

Took lots of jiggling of connectors.
If CB's advice isn't applicable, try this: carefully re-seat all cards, plugs, etc. (make sure power's off, ESD wrist strap, etc.). If the problems persist, or magnify, you may have a power supply problem. One question: does the clock keep accurate time?

Quote

BTW, last night when I used a stored URL to go to this site, I was logged in; this morning I had to log in. Not sure what changed.
This, most likely, is no problem; could be something as simple as the cookies being deleted.
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#8 OFFLINE   genegold

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 11:44 AM

To Computer Bob:  When the problem occurs, the computer is stuck before running its tests.   Because when this occurs, I turn it on its side to play with the connections and then usually restand it (tower), for all I know that might be what's making the difference.  I assume the HD isn't spinning because even tho the red light is on, I don't hear anything but the fan (the red light is CPU) To Quint:  The power supply is just over a year old, the HD (the larger of two) a few months more, and the clock works fine.  Thanks,

#9 Guest_ComputerBob_*

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 11:49 AM

I think it was Professor Plum, in the Library, with a wrench. :lol: Let's start over here. This is my current understanding of the problem that occurs intermittently:1. You turn on your PC.2. It does NOT do any power-on-self-tests (memory, etc.)3. The red CPU light is on, but the hard drive activity light is NOT on.4. The computer does not boot.5. You open the computer, jiggle its connections, and then it starts every time.Please confirm if all of those things are true, or tell us how to correct any of them that aren't true.

#10 OFFLINE   genegold

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 01:13 PM

Sorry for the confusion, but there are certain things I'm not certain about either:1. You turn on your PC.    --Yes2. It does NOT do any power-on-self-tests (memory, etc.)  --Yes, the first time each day, AFAICTl (other times during the day it has started ok).  The CD/floppy drive lights don't go on momentarily, as they usually do, and nothing appears on screen (such as the usual bootup cycle w/ memory, etc.)3. The red CPU light is on, but the hard drive activity light is NOT on.  --There is one red light, separate from the HD, and I've always assumed it was the HD light, without ever really knowing.  In any case, when the problem occurs the light goes into constant mode, but all I hear is the fan. 4. The computer does not boot.  --Yes, see 2.5. You open the computer, jiggle its connections, and then it starts every time.  --I've had the computer open all the time recently, thus I just turn it on side, jiggle things, make sure the CD ROM drive is in, usually turn it upright, and it starts.  Except this morning, which took several cycles of this procedure.Aside from this CD drive acting up the past two months, there haven't been any problems at all until last week.  I have NSW 2002 Pro and NIS 2003 on the system and working.  When I switched from Win98 to XP Home in December, I updated the motherboard drivers, among others.  The CDROM started lighting up on its own in February.

#11 Guest_ComputerBob_*

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 02:52 PM

genegold, on Apr 29 2003, 12:13 PM, said:

3. The red CPU light is on, but the hard drive activity light is NOT on.  --There is one red light, separate from the HD, and I've always assumed it was the HD light, without ever really knowing.  In any case, when the problem occurs the light goes into constant mode, but all I hear is the fan.
Unless I'm misunderstanding you, it appears that you're contradicting yourself there. You say that the hard drive activity light is not on, but then you say that it is on constantly. Please clarify.OR even better, write your own list of steps, like the ones that I wrote above. Be as detailed as possible, and include any differences between how it acts when it is having the problem and how it acts when it is not having the problem. I'm sorry to give you more to do, but it really is impossible to properly troubleshoot a problem like this without an accurate description of exactly what is happening or not happening. <_<

#12 OFFLINE   genegold

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 04:48 PM

In the previous post, the statement that says the HD light is on but not on was *your* attempted summary of what I had reported:3. The red CPU light is on, but the hard drive activity light is NOT on.My response was as follows:--There is one red light, [apparently] separate from the HD, and I've always assumed it was the HD light, without ever really knowing. In any case, when the problem occurs the light goes into constant [on] mode, but all I hear is the fan.  i.e., there is no off and on of the light, as if the HD is being accessed.  Hope that's clearer.

#13 OFFLINE   quint

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 05:19 PM

genegold, on Apr 29 2003, 04:48 PM, said:

In the previous post, the statement that says the HD light is on but not on was *your* attempted summary of what I had reported:3. The red CPU light is on, but the hard drive activity light is NOT on.My response was as follows:--There is one red light, [apparently] separate from the HD, and I've always assumed it was the HD light, without ever really knowing. In any case, when the problem occurs the light goes into constant [on] mode, but all I hear is the fan.  i.e., there is no off and on of the light, as if the HD is being accessed.  Hope that's clearer.
Not sure, but that might just be the "power on" light. My cheapo generic case has two lights: 1) green - constant when turned on power light, 2) HDD light - green when idle, orange when in use; btw, my HDD makes an almost inaudible sound when in use - my fans are much noisier. Whatever your PC problem, I'm sure the people here will help you correct it...please be patient. <_<
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#14 OFFLINE   genegold

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 05:19 PM

<i.e., there is no off and on of the light, as if the HD is being accessed. Hope that's clearer. >Oh, that sentence may confuse you.  I meant to say, no off and on as if it were booting normally. So, let me see if I can summarize in one place to make it easier.The computer is powered on for the first time of the day.  The red light comes on constantly, the fan can be heard, the computer monitor is blank (black) and its yellow power light flashes.  There is no start-up cycle, i.e., the checking of CD drives, system, memory and such.  The computer responds to no action, except turning off the power.  When I turn the box over on its side, giggle and press connectors and then right the box back up and reapply power, it's started every day but one.  Subsequent starts that day are fine (suggesting power supply?).One possible explanation is that one CDROM drive has been acting up for two months and it may be that having the door closed before starting has become related to the computer starting each morning.  However, this may entirely coincidental (like immunizations and childhood disease), since closing the door is not the only thing being done before restarting.  I'm concerned that the HD or power supply are going bad.  The latter is about 14 months old and the former (Maxtor) is 18 months old.  Clear?

#15 OFFLINE   Keith_W

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 05:50 PM

Have you tried unplugging the HD to see if it will boot normally, looking for alternate boot media?  Before trying this, ensure that your BIOS is set to boot from either or both floppy and CD.If it boots normally, then I would suggest that the HD is the cause, possibly the "stricture" mentioned earlier, however, I would first replace the IDE cable or at least swap it with the one on the CD-Rom before replacing the HD.Do please remember to do backups before messing with your system.

#16 OFFLINE   greengeek

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 06:11 PM

:D Sounds like something is loose if it starts normally after turning it on it's side then standing it up again.  Have you checked that all cables are firmly in place?Joy

#17 OFFLINE   genegold

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 11:06 AM

Do we have a Power Supply Expert around?  Just an ignorant hunch.  I've described how each morning it's taken several attempts to get the computer into its regular system boot, but after that it's fine until the next long period powered down.  I'm wondering if the cap(s) are failing -- not holding a charge fully -- so that it takes repeated attempts to build up enough juice to sufficiently power the system components.   Once that level is reached, it starts and then use during the day builds up the charge sufficiently for use within a few hours, but overnight is too long.  Is that ignorant, or does it make sense that I could get enough power to start the system electrically, but not enough to power components other than the fan?  I should add two things: 1)when the problem occurs, the red HD light comes on, but neither of the HDs are actually running (I listened this morning); 2)this morning I switched power supply line leads for both HDs and the same problem continued at first, but on subsequent attempts to start (after walking away for a moment and then jiggling connectors) there was no power at all, except the red light on the motherboard.  That continued for three or four tries, before it finally kicked in and booted normally.  Cap replenishing?

#18 OFFLINE   GolfProRM

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 11:19 AM

don't know if it's feasable for you, but I'd try to find another power supply and try it.  If the power supply is going bad, there's not much you can do other than replace it.  I'd suggest buying a new power supply (from a place you could return it) and try it.  If it fixes your problem, you're set, if not, you'll have one thing to rule out.

#19 OFFLINE   quint

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 11:59 AM

genegold, on Apr 30 2003, 11:06 AM, said:

Do we have a Power Supply Expert around?  Just an ignorant hunch.  I've described how each morning it's taken several attempts to get the computer into its regular system boot, but after that it's fine until the next long period powered down.  I'm wondering if the cap(s) are failing -- not holding a charge fully -- so that it takes repeated attempts to build up enough juice to sufficiently power the system components.   Once that level is reached, it starts and then use during the day builds up the charge sufficiently for use within a few hours, but overnight is too long.  Is that ignorant, or does it make sense that I could get enough power to start the system electrically, but not enough to power components other than the fan?  I should add two things: 1)when the problem occurs, the red HD light comes on, but neither of the HDs are actually running (I listened this morning); 2)this morning I switched power supply line leads for both HDs and the same problem continued at first, but on subsequent attempts to start (after walking away for a moment and then jiggling connectors) there was no power at all, except the red light on the motherboard.  That continued for three or four tries, before it finally kicked in and booted normally.  Cap replenishing?
Don't know your finances, but power supplies are not too expensive. Try what Ryan suggested, and I wouldn't return the one I purchased because, sooner or later, the power supply WILL go bad. ;) Get a reputable* one, and always get more power than you think you need. :ph34r: * Antec, Enermax, PC Power & Cooling, etc.
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#20 OFFLINE   nlinecomputers

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 12:18 PM

My two cents.This IS a power problem.  I don't think that the hard drive is sticking and not spinning up.  On most every system I've worked on a stuck hard drive will not prevent the POST tests and normal boot up routine to not fire.  Indeed you'll get a unable to find boot device error or some other disk related error.  But it WILL power up.  Now if the hard drive or other device is SHORTED....I bet you have a bad power supply but before you spend money on a new one I would try to see if one of the other devices is the cause or not.  When it doesn't boot, try removing the power and data cables one at time(and with the main power disconnected.) to see if it power up.  If after you remove device X it boots then reverse the process and see if it quits booting up. Do this for your PCI/ISA cards as well, and any device plugged in to the unit.  You have to have keyboard and video but nothing else to get a post test.
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#21 Guest_ComputerBob_*

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 12:32 PM

nlinecomputers, on Apr 30 2003, 11:18 AM, said:

....I don't think that the hard drive is sticking and not spinning up....
Just to clarify, I fully agree with you that it is definitely not a stiction problem. The way the problem was originally described led me to suspect that it might have been a stiction problem, but more information has come out since then, and other information has been clarified, and all of it totally refutes that theory. :ph34r:

#22 OFFLINE   greengeek

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 06:27 PM

B) I've just replaced two power supplies this week and all problems were solved.  They just don't make the PS as good as they used to, they just don't last for years anymore.  Same goes for CDs and hard drives.Joy

#23 OFFLINE   nlinecomputers

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 06:44 PM

greengeek, on Apr 30 2003, 04:27 PM, said:

B) I've just replaced two power supplies this week and all problems were solved.  They just don't make the PS as good as they used to, they just don't last for years anymore.  Same goes for CDs and hard drives.Joy
Yep anit that true!   :)   But whatdaya expect when computers are becoming $500 items.  Use to be that to get top of line you had to spend two grand.  To get a low to mid-range system you had to spend $1000-1500.  Now it's $500 for for low end.  If the D*** thing runs a year its surprising.  D*** now I feel old...'
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#24 OFFLINE   LilBambi

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 06:52 PM

nlinecomputers --I hear ya!  B)
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#25 OFFLINE   genegold

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 10:59 PM

Elsewhere someone suggested trying electrical contact compound first, so that's tonight's project.  After that, a PS seems the most time efficient way of proceeding and I believe Best Buy allows returns on those.  Will let you all helpful and patient folks know how it turns out.




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