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Author Topic: My father's WinXP Home computer won't boot...  (Read 2887 times)

kyrathaba

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My father's WinXP Home computer won't boot...
« on: January 28, 2007, 03:22:31 PM »
I was over at my parents today visiting, and dad asked me to check out his computer. 

BACKSTORY...

It's been running terribly slow for many weeks now, and some time ago I helped him download, install, and run some tools for detecting/eliminating malware/virii/etc.  We also disabled a couple of startup programs (Logitech Webcam and a PDF utility) to speed up boot-time and lessen the load on his computer's resources. 

Also did Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter, and EasyCleaner.  Seemed to run better briefly after that.  But he continued to complain about how slow it was (I attributed it, perhaps unfairly, to the Celeron processor and only 256 Mb of RAM).  I tried making him a video tutorial on how to burn a CD (yes, that's his level of computer-saavy: he also tends to use System Restore every couple days rather than learning how to change a setting he doesn't like.  And, when his computer "hangs", he sometimes just kills the power) using Wink 2.0, but his system couldn't handle it and Wink choked about 3/4 of the way through the process of rendering the live-capture session to flash. 

I went ahead and finished the CD burn at that time.  Was simply using XP's built in ability -- drag and drop files onto CD window, then tell XP to burn files.  Windows reported (finally, after 45 minutes!) that the burn had completed successfully (I didn't check the CD to be sure, because I was frustrated and didn't trust myself not to take a hammer to it at that point ;> )

BACK TO THE PRESENT...

Anyway, when I checked his PC today, he had it turned off and the surge-protector strip turned off.  Turned on computer and it almost immediately went to the Phoenix BIOS screen.  I exited it, rebooting, and it came up again.  To make a long story short, I was not able to get past the BIOS Setup, even after applying default settings, saving, and exiting.  Still came back to it.  Tried putting the 1st of a 2CD Recovery set (that came with his eMachine system) in the CD drive, after ensuring that boot order was CD, then HD.  No luck.  Couldn't boot into Safe Mode.  When I would exit the BIOS Setup and restart I could see, momentarily, startup info showing that the CD drive and HD had been recognized, but it still returned me to the BIOS Setup screen.

His computer specs:
40 GB HD
256 Mb PC100 SDRAM
1 Mb onboard video
Windows XP Home edition
LAN connection

Now, I don't have the expert knowledge some of you have, so I told my dad that my two guesses were virus/malware, or a hardware problem.  Or simply the fact that it's an eMachine ;>  I recommended he take it to our local ISP service shop (they will actually work on subscriber's computers!)  Any ideas about what is wrong?
« Last Edit: January 28, 2007, 03:28:05 PM by kyrathaba »

nudone

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Re: My father's WinXP Home computer won't boot...
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2007, 03:39:43 PM »
i'd think about swapping components out to see if it's a hardware problem or take it to somewhere that will do it for you.

BUT, i've had similar problems of not being able to even get safe mode up and running and it wasn't anything to do with hardware.

i can't remember the exact reason why it happened but it was something to do with xp going a bit funny - had to run a command from a boot disk to sort it out as i remember. it's not uncommon.

someone else will better explain, i'm sure.

sorry to be of no help, maybe i shouldn't have posted.

kyrathaba

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Re: My father's WinXP Home computer won't boot...
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2007, 03:51:06 PM »
Not at all, nudone.  I appreciate you taking the time.  I'll let him know about the possible solution.

nudone

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Re: My father's WinXP Home computer won't boot...
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2007, 03:56:31 PM »
i'd wait. the problem i'm thinking of is quite common so i know someone around here will be able to offer a better answer.

hang on, i've just found a sheet of paper i saved.

it was to do with "missing or corrupt ntfs.sys" error messages i was getting. so, really, that isn't related to your problem. but to be honest i can't remember if i saw any error messages or not - i just remember being unable to boot the machine.

tinjaw

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Re: My father's WinXP Home computer won't boot...
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2007, 06:08:54 PM »
If it keeps going to the BIOS setup, it is 99.9% certain you have a hardware issue. However, the good news is that it is probably something as innocuous as a dead CMOS battery. If he unplugs the computer and takes the cover off, it should be easy enough to find. It will look like a shinny quarter. Have him take it to Radio Shack, to buy a new one, but also so they can test it. If it tests good, hmm, need to look at something shorting out. If it tests bad, stick the new one in and boot up. It will go to the BIOS the first time, but then should reboot just fine.

Nighted

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Re: My father's WinXP Home computer won't boot...
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2007, 02:13:19 AM »
1mb on board video? lol  ;D

Buy some "old" parts and you could double the power of that thing for under a 100 bucks and save your self the time and effort of fixing it all the time. Actually, that computer shouldn't even be running XP.

The BIOS thing is strange, never saw that happen before. If it's a hardware thing, there's probably going to be some sort of message and a beep code before it goes into the BIOS setup...that's assuming there's a speaker built into the case or the board.
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mouser

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Re: My father's WinXP Home computer won't boot...
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2007, 02:21:04 AM »
Quote
beep code before it goes into the BIOS setup.

yep - listen for beeps.  if you hear any pattern then search for beep codes and your brand of computer and see if you can find anything about it.

does the bios recognize the hard drive?

with the specs of the computer you would be advised to consider buying a replacement.  you could probably get a replacement pc with better specs for a couple hudred dollars.

kyrathaba

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Re: My father's WinXP Home computer won't boot...
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2007, 09:24:24 AM »
Quote
Actually, that computer shouldn't even be running XP.

Yep, I've told him that many times before.

Quote
with the specs of the computer you would be advised to consider buying a replacement.  you could probably get a replacement pc with better specs for a couple hudred dollars.

I've told him that before as well, lol.  Anyway, I've passed along this information to him.  I told him he's always buying junk on eBay, so why not save one month's eBay-purchase money and get a new computer?  We'll see what develops.

 

Nighted

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Re: My father's WinXP Home computer won't boot...
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2007, 07:39:44 PM »
Get him a Wii...I think he'd probably be better off staying away from PC's.

 ;D
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