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Computer starting up strange after brownout?

Niceguyeddie616Niceguyeddie616 All you feed me is PUFFINS!I need NOURISHMENT!Registered User regular
edited November 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello once again H&A,

So I've had this build for a few months now, very pleased with it, building my own computer was definitely a smart decision in my eyes. However, I'm now a little worried due to the way my computer started up tonight. There was a brownout while I wasn't home, and when I started up my computer, it told me the CMOS timer wasn't set. I hit F2 to go with default settings, and it booted into Windows OK. Now since I did that though, it now starts up instantly when I hit the power button whereas before it used to take a minute, and doesn't show me the diagnostics stuff when booting, just an MSI screen and then goes into windows starting up. The motherboard beeps and everything like it's supposed to, but I'm worried that it either changed some settings or damaged the motherboard.

The computer was powered off when the brownout happened. Like, completely shut down, not in safe mode or anything, but it is plugged into a surge protector which is pretty much always on. Is it possible there was any damage done to my PC? Should I be turning the surge protector off at night?

If it's worth mentioning, my motherboard is Intel based, it is an MSI H55M-ED55 model paired with an Intel Core i5 CPU running at 3.2 GhZ

Niceguyeddie616 on

Posts

  • Cyd CycloneCyd Cyclone Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Go into your Bios and look for an option called Quick Boot or Quiet Boot and turn it off. The diagnostics still run at start up, they're just hidden by the MSI screen. When you set the default settings in the Bios, it enabled it.

    Cyd Cyclone on
  • BeazleBeazle Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    It looks like your motherboard defaulted to quickboot. In this state it does not do any diagnostics on boot-up. See section 3-8 to 3-9 of your manual. Also boot into your BIOS and make sure the time and date are set right.

    For giggles shut your system down and unplug it for about a minute. Plug it back in and boot. Do you get the CMOS error again? If not the battery is OK if you do get it then your CMOS battery is shot or loose.

    Beazle on
  • westomwestom Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    The computer was powered off when the brownout happened. Like, completely shut down, not in safe mode or anything, but it is plugged into a surge protector which is pretty much always on. Is it possible there was any damage done to my PC? Should I be turning the surge protector off at night?
    A brownout is a voltage reduction. As indicated by a light bulb glowing more brownish. Extended brownouts can be harmful to motorized appliances. And cause no damage, ever, to electronics.

    But then your computer was already in a most extreme brownout - also called a blackout.

    Beazle has offered one reasonable possibility. Your CMOS battery is dying. His test might or might not report that problem. But measuring that battery with a meter (and not removing the battery to measure it) would report a dead battery, if that is a reason for your failure, and identify a battery that is not yet dead but about to be.

    For example, if a CMOS battery is a CR2032 coin cell, then that 3.0 battery measuring 2.8 volts says a new battery will be required sometime in the next six months. Measuring close to 2.0 volts might explain your failure; but means the battery needs immediate replacement. And a voltage closer to 1 volt would definitely be detected by Beazle's procedure.

    That is a battery to explain it. A brownout does not. However a rare transient (massive voltage increase) that preceded or created a brownout might explain a CMOS change. IOW the protector simply gave that transient an electrical path through the motherboard and that bypassed protection in the power supply. A transient that still would not cause a CMOS change except that the motherboard may be connected to a ground plate at multiple locations.

    From symptoms provided without numbers, numerous reasons could be constructed to explain your anomaly. But this you do know. Brownout - a lower voltage - would not cause your problem or cause hardware damage.

    westom on
  • StrifeRaZoRStrifeRaZoR Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    This has happened to me before. The area I live in has some pretty horrible power issues. I've recently purchased a power conditioner for my system, due to going through THREE Power supplies in 2 years. So yeah, you're going through the same thing I went through at least once per week.

    It's not your CMOS battery. Basically your system lost all power and the internal settings were reset (BIOS/CMOS). Remove the battery completely, then consult your manual for your motherboard. There should be a 3-pronged jumper switch somewhere near the batter. Remove the pins, and switch them over to the "Clear CMOS" pins. Usually just one to the right or left. Let it sit that way for about a minute without any power at all going to the system.

    When you connect the jumper back correctly and place the battery back into the motherboard, you will get a message upon boot along the lines of "CMOS Checksum Failure. Defaults Loaded.". This is good. You're back to factory settings on your CMOS/BIOS. Be sure to set the time and date correctly, your boot priority, and any additional options that seem to catch your eye. Even booting with defaults will work fine, but you probably won't be able to hop online with your CMOS time settings all wonky.

    Give that a shot. I promise nothing damaging can occur from this, due to the fact that the option is there, and it's a viable reset. Nothing on your hard drive will be damaged, and all settings within Windows will still be there.

    StrifeRaZoR on
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  • westomwestom Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    It's not your CMOS battery. Basically your system lost all power and the internal settings were reset (BIOS/CMOS).
    Your system should lose all power and the CMOS settings should never reset. That is a CMOS battery function. So that no internal settings change with or without all power loss.

    westom on
  • Niceguyeddie616Niceguyeddie616 All you feed me is PUFFINS! I need NOURISHMENT!Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Thanks for the quick responses everybody. I'm going to have a friend take a look at this, because I absolutely do not want to screw around in the BIOS due to being terrified of fucking this thing up beyond repair. My motherboard is basically brand new, only about a few months old, so are you people sure it's a CMOS battery problem? Is it easy to replace the battery, and will it cost me a bit to do?

    Also, funny story, I'm actually posting from the computer in question right now. One of you mentioned that online wouldn't work due to funky CMOS settings, but how the hell am I online right now? I reset the clock in Windows and all seems OK right now, but I'm a bit curious is all.

    Niceguyeddie616 on
  • westomwestom Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    My motherboard is basically brand new, only about a few months old, so are you people sure it's a CMOS battery problem? Is it easy to replace the battery, and will it cost me a bit to do?
    Replacing the battery - blindly - will tell you nothing useful. You are only getting speculation for answers because you have not provided hard facts. Ie numbers from that battery voltage. Nothing inside your computer touched by a meter can be harmed. I even give that job to a 12 year old. It is that easy, that safe, that trivial, and what you must do to actually learn.

    Implied is that one or some setting changed. If the number can be 0, 1, 2, or 3. And if the number was 3. And now the number is 0. Of course the computer will still run. And start up differently. But again, a conclusion only based in wild speculation - that CMOS was somehow changed. Since you did not even define what the CMOS setting were before and what they are now, well again, speculation.

    Measure that battery voltage. Post the numbers. Then your next reply will say something without doubts. Otherwise, a reply is only speculation. Your answers will only be as useful as facts that only you can provide.

    westom on
  • StrifeRaZoRStrifeRaZoR Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Also, funny story, I'm actually posting from the computer in question right now. One of you mentioned that online wouldn't work due to funky CMOS settings, but how the hell am I online right now? I reset the clock in Windows and all seems OK right now, but I'm a bit curious is all.

    That's if you reset the CMOS completely using the steps I listed. I'm not denying anything that's happened, but after dealing with a horrible power company and going through multiple PSU's, this CAN happen, and WILL happen.

    I'm not stating this as fact, but I'm stating this as something that has happened to me multiple times due to craptastic power companies. It works. It worked for me before I got my power conditioner, and all BIOS/CMOS systems operate on the same premise. Regardless of whether or not your battery has left your system, it is very highly possible that your BIOS settings were reset. I cannot get online when my CMOS settings are incorrect (Time/Date, mainly), and I doubt anyone else can.

    Just stating what's worked for me in the past. You're dealing with a quick-boot and the fact that your BIOS settings have been changed to different ones. Your computer isn't shutting down, it's going into hibernation or a suspended type of operation. Mine does it too.

    StrifeRaZoR on
    StrifeRaZoR.png
  • Niceguyeddie616Niceguyeddie616 All you feed me is PUFFINS! I need NOURISHMENT!Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Also, funny story, I'm actually posting from the computer in question right now. One of you mentioned that online wouldn't work due to funky CMOS settings, but how the hell am I online right now? I reset the clock in Windows and all seems OK right now, but I'm a bit curious is all.

    That's if you reset the CMOS completely using the steps I listed. I'm not denying anything that's happened, but after dealing with a horrible power company and going through multiple PSU's, this CAN happen, and WILL happen.

    I'm not stating this as fact, but I'm stating this as something that has happened to me multiple times due to craptastic power companies. It works. It worked for me before I got my power conditioner, and all BIOS/CMOS systems operate on the same premise. Regardless of whether or not your battery has left your system, it is very highly possible that your BIOS settings were reset. I cannot get online when my CMOS settings are incorrect (Time/Date, mainly), and I doubt anyone else can.

    Just stating what's worked for me in the past. You're dealing with a quick-boot and the fact that your BIOS settings have been changed to different ones. Your computer isn't shutting down, it's going into hibernation or a suspended type of operation. Mine does it too.

    Hold on a sec, so when I shut windows down now while it's still in quick boot mode, the computer doesn't completely shut down? I'm not getting angry or frustrated or anything, it's just that I know little about messing around with BIOS settings, so I'm a bit curious.

    EDIT: also, how do I measure the battery voltage, what do I need to use to measure it?

    And if the CMOS battery dies, I won't be able to boot into windows right? I remember an old win 95 virus that did something like killing your CMOS battery which turned your computer into a paperweight or something.

    Niceguyeddie616 on
  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Thanks for the quick responses everybody. I'm going to have a friend take a look at this, because I absolutely do not want to screw around in the BIOS due to being terrified of fucking this thing up beyond repair.

    I wouldn't worry about that, honestly. I mean if you accidentally overclock it to some insane amount and repeatedly turn it back on after it shuts down, yeah, you might damage it, but if you turn on some setting that causes it not to boot you can easily reset the bios through a jumper on the motherboard.

    Sir Carcass on
  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    The Brownout probably dropped the system voltage to the threshold between functional power and CMOS battery backup.

    At this point, the system didn't really have enough power to operate, but still thought there was enough, and thus didn't cut in the battery, or, the brownout caused rapid on/off cycling for a moment, which results in a similar situation, where the battery doesn't cut in. A similar thing used to happen with SNES games, if you flipped the power switch on the SNES on/off 2-3 times with a battery-memory cartridge game (such as Super Mario World) installed, the game would lose all it's save files. The game would still be playable, and you could make new saves, but all the old info would be gone.

    The same is true of your BIOS. All the settings are gone, so it's reverted back to factory defaults, but if you go in and save them all again, they should stick.

    Additionally, I'd recommend a UPS. If you can get something in the 350VA-500VA range, it should be capable of powering an idle gaming rig for 5-10 minutes, and saving your ass from brownouts and overvoltage.

    Ruckus on
  • westomwestom Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    EDIT: also, how do I measure the battery voltage, what do I need to use to measure it?

    And if the CMOS battery dies, I won't be able to boot into windows right?
    Turn on a multimeter to a 20 VDC scale. Touch meter probes to the battery. Read digits.

    Stop thinking in terms of 100% good and 100% bad. Different diminished voltages cause different problems. Battery can still perform partially when only 1 volt. Get numbers. Then answers are not based in speculation.

    Battery has one purpose. To maintain settings when all power is removed. When power is on, then battery does nothing. Also why a computer works normally even when its battery is removed. Computer takes no power from the battery. That battery degrades just a quickly if connected or not connected to any computer. Battery does that little. Battery power does nothing if a computer is powered. Battery has one purpose: save CMOS numbers (and operate a clock) when AC power is completely remove.

    With low voltage, then CMOS may change to other 'normal' numbers. One may change. Or all might change. Computer will still operate - just differently.

    Rapid cycling does not 'change' CMOS. There is no 'intermediate voltage' between the battery and AC power. CMOS voltage will always be the highest of AC power or battery voltage. That intermediate voltage is wild speculation to explain an observation. If a transients current crosses a motherboard, that current might cause memory changes. A concept that most will not understand.

    Overclocking is also irrelevant. CMOS is memory read by the BIOS only on startup. Makes no difference how fast the CPU operates. If CPU does not execute a program that writes to CMOS, then CMOS does not change. A UPS recommendation is also irrelevant.

    Identify a problem as described in the first post. Reread that. Measure battery voltage. Appreciate significance of how a motherboard may be mounted.

    westom on
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