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My Computer Doesn't Work #597386

darleysamdarleysam On my way toUKRegistered User regular
edited September 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
short story: my pc wants to be dead.

long story: Yesterday, i had my pc unhooked for some room redecorating, and so decided i'd use the opportunity to finish the cleaning job i'd started a few months ago, but didn't have a small-enough screwdriver to take the outer casing off the graphics card. SO, this time, i opened it up, and pulled out some sizeable wads of dust which would've been clogging up the heatsink. I also decided to have a look at the CPU, and replace the thermal goo between the processor and heatsink, in case it was getting a bit old or dry or something. So, all this went without a hitch, no magnetic screwdrivers and lots of case-touching for added static removal, put everything back just fine, all connected up okay. When i was done with my room, i hooked it back up, turned it on.. and after a few seconds of booting up, going through the post screen just fine, it suddenly powers off with what i've taken to be the "HELP, I'M OVERHEATING" alarm.
This frustrates me, as that's the opposite of what i wanted.
Since then, i've checked every connection, booted up without the graphics card in (still did it), checked the CPU heatsink again, redistributed the thermal goo to make sure everything was covered (looked like it was going to help, still happened), and each time, it wouldn't even last to the BIOS to let me disable any "shut down on overheat" commands. So in the end, i reset the BIOS, rebooted, and watched the temperature. With alerts and shut-downs disabled it looked like it was going to last, the temp climbed to about 41 degrees... and then off, and alarm. This was particularly irritating, as now, it shouldn't be doing this. So i'm out of ideas. I have a pc that should be running cooler than it was before, and instead, doesn't want to work at all.
(sorry if this reads a bit funny, i mostly copy/pasted it over from an email)

Specs are
Abit (i think) NF7-series motherboard
AMD Athlon 2.8ghz Socket A processor
2x512mb sticks of Corsair RAM
XFX nVidia 6800GT
Creative Audigy 2 soundcard


Any ideas or suggestions would be grand, otherwise it looks like i'm buying a new pc.

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darleysam on

Posts

  • deke55555deke55555 regular
    edited August 2007
    Is it possible that you disconnected or damaged the heat sensor? I'd say take a look at the motherboard manual to make sure that everything is where it needs to be.

    Alternatly, perhaps you have some software which is also monitoring the temp and is malfunctioning for some reason?

    deke55555 on
  • Enos316Enos316 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    So you disabled all the BIOS entries relating to heat shutdowns and alarms, but it still shut down at 41 degrees? Two things wrong there:

    1.) 41 is not that hot to cause a shutdown
    2.) Nothing should be shutting it down anymore

    So maybe you are missing some other monitoring piece like Deke said.

    Have you checked to make sure all of the system fans are still running? Would it be possible to run the PC with the side off and point a box fan at it to temporarily get it cool while you troubleshoot? You said you reset the BIOS, would it be worth clearing the CMOS?

    Enos316 on

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  • darleysamdarleysam On my way to UKRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    the manual is, unfortunately, very little help. As far as i can tell, i've connected everything as it should be. There's a cord of 3 wires that run from the motherboard to the fan over the CPU heatsink, which runs into the middle of the underside of the fan. I'm not sure if this is where it's taking its temperatures from, or if it's just to power the fan. I suppose it might be malfunctioning somehow, but i didn't knock it or strain it as far as i was aware.
    I've been booting up with the case off to see what's going on, and all the fans are spinning just fine, even had an external one blowing on it to try and get some cool air in, and it still shut down. Tried booting it up today, i think i saw (for the first time, wasn't there yesterday) some kind of checksum error just as i was going into the BIOS, while there it sat for a good long while, before eventually heating to about 43 degrees, then shutting down again.
    How would i go about clearing the CMOS, and what would that do?

    edit: and i don't have any extra software monitoring the temperature, nope.

    darleysam on
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  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    It's possible the heat monitoring is wrong and it's way above 41 and it's hardwired to shut down. You put new thermal goop on; did you clean the old thermal goop off first? How much did you use? You only need a tiny bit; it's not for covering the entire thing so much as filling in microscopic pits on the CPU surface.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • Enos316Enos316 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    darleysam wrote: »
    How would i go about clearing the CMOS, and what would that do?

    edit: and i don't have any extra software monitoring the temperature, nope.

    You can usually clear the CMOS by removing a jumper from the motherboard. Try to Google your board manufacturer to find a manual, it should have a picture or something. Resetting it will revert your BIOS to its default settings, might clear it up.

    What is the exact message you see before it shuts down?

    Enos316 on

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  • darleysamdarleysam On my way to UKRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    right, i did clean the old goop off before putting more on, but i did put quite a lot on (about as much as it had before). I guess i did reset the CMOS, as i moved the jumper on the motherboard which should've done it. Before it shuts down, i'm not getting any warning message, the only thing i saw was something about a BIOS or CMOS (i forget which) checksum error yesterday, which was the first time i saw it. Other than that, it just powers down randomly, then gives a two-tone warning alarm.

    darleysam on
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  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    You can try taking the battery out of the mobo (it looks a little like a quarter) for about 15 minutes. That should clear everyhing out.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • deke55555deke55555 regular
    edited August 2007
    What stage of the boot process is it shutting down in? Or does it boot all the way into windows?

    It may not be heat-related at all, from what I understand of the symptoms it could be a power supply issue just as easily. Or perhaps other things depending on whether it always shuts down at the same point in the boot process.

    deke55555 on
  • darleysamdarleysam On my way to UKRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    it shuts down at different points. At first, it was shutting down on the post screen, other times i've let it sit in the BIOS, watching the temperature (just to see how high it got when it shut off), for what seemed like a couple of minutes. I might try popping the battery out tonight, see what that does.

    darleysam on
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  • deke55555deke55555 regular
    edited August 2007
    I'm assuming that at some point it has been left alone & unplugged to thoroughly cool off, if that's the case and it's still shutting down in post you've probably got something else going on than just heat.

    So, the crash comes within a few minutes of boot, it sometimes stops at POST and sometimes allows you to enter CMOS setup.

    Questions:

    It never lets you enter windows?

    When it stops at POST, what's the last message you see?

    Or is it stopping while loading the hard drives & such?

    You can also try going into the setup screen and loading what will be called 'Factory Defaults' or 'Automatic Best Settings' or something like that. You may just have a wierd setting in CMOS.

    deke55555 on
  • darleysamdarleysam On my way to UKRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Right, apologies for the delay. I booted up this morning to see what would happen, let it run uninterrupted. At the POST screen, it came up with a CMOS checksum error, and asked if i wanted to continue. It did, then gave me the "Windows failed to start properly" screen, as expected. It wasn't detecting my keyboard (USB, does it from time to time), so took about 30 seconds, then started loading Windows as normal. Came up with the Windows loading screen for a bit, and it was either in the middle or at the end of this the screen went blank (which is what it does before coming up with the log in screen, which is why i'm not sure which), it shut down, and the alarm started. So it seems okay with loading Windows. Ish.

    darleysam on
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  • deke55555deke55555 regular
    edited August 2007
    Ok.

    I believe that it is either a configuration problem in CMOS, or a physical problem with the heat sensors.

    I suggest going into setup & loading whatever the reset option is. "Optimized Defaults" perhaps.

    Then, if that does not work, I would suggest removing and reseating the CPU. Take twice as long as you need to, do the antistatic dance, and watch out for heat sensors and other little things that might need to be in the right spot. As mentioned earlier, perhaps be slightly more conservative with the thermal paste this time.

    Oh! Off-the-wall question: Are you using the OEM heatsink, or a 3rd party solution?

    deke55555 on
  • darleysamdarleysam On my way to UKRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    it's a 3rd-party heatsink. I built the pc myself, so bought all the parts separately. I'll try defaulting the CMOS and re-seating the processor tonight, i'll also clean off the thermal goo and put a much thinner layer on, as well.

    darleysam on
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  • BeazleBeazle Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Reseat your RAM. You have a RAM problem. If you have two sticks try one and then the other. CMOS checksum errors are often times related to bad bios flashes or bad RAM.

    Beazle on
  • Uncle LongUncle Long Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    It may be a stupid suggestion but the motherboard is an ATX form factor (I think), and generally not as cool as the BTX. Have you tied back the wires and provided a clear air flow path across the sensors and processor? Did you remove any of the fans when you were cleaning? And, if you did remove the fans did you make sure and install them the right way again (I don't know what you've got but you don't want your fans blowing at each other).

    Also, is the heat sensor something on-board or is it a separate device you installed? If it's on board how does it look? Any corrosion? If it's something you installed perhaps you could disconnect the power for now and keep a wary eye (or touch) on the heat being put off.

    And do what you suggested earlier: reseat the processor and the heat sink. Reapply the thermal paste. Restore your CMOS to default.

    I would think that should cover all of the bases for now. Sometimes it helps just to take everything apart and put everything back together again.

    Uncle Long on
  • darleysamdarleysam On my way to UKRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    unfortunately, it seemed to be the act of removing and replacing the heatsink/thermal goo that caused this problem, but i'll give those a go. As far as air-flow goes, it's always been pretty poor through my case, there's cables everywhere. It used to be fine without additional cooling when i was playing games, until it started overheating, so i'd push a fan up to an empty bay and blast cool air through, which worked a charm. That doesn't solve this problem now, though, which is what's concerning me.
    I don't really know where the heat sensor is, but i've never really looked for it. As far as i can see, there's 3 wires running into the fan, connected to the motherboard, which i don't know if that's doing anything of the sort, or just powering the fan and monitoring the speed. I've not looked under the CPU, which i'll do when i re-seat it. I was careful to put the fan back on the heatsink the same way it was before.
    During the cleaning, i took the case off my graphics card to clean that out too, but tried booting up without that plugged in, in case it was the cause of the problem, but it still happened, so that's probably out of the equation.
    SO, i'll try popping the RAM out and re-seating it, same with the CPU, and i'll keep an eye out for any temperature sensors and the condition. I never installed one of my own, so it'll be an on-board one.

    darleysam on
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  • darleysamdarleysam On my way to UKRegistered User regular
    edited September 2007
    epilogue:
    so i prepared myself for the disappointment of tinkering with my dormant pc today, opened her up, popped the battery out, removed and re-seated the RAM, took the heatsink off and the processor out.. and noticed something funny. Not with the CPU or its allocated slot on the motherboard as such, but with the positioning of the splodge of thermal goo on the copper block on the underside of the heatsink. It was well off-centre. This made me take a look at how i'd put this on in the first place, and i came to the realisation that the block would've only been half covering the CPU, the other half over the locking mechanism to hold the CPU in place. In short, i'd gone and put it on the wrong way round.

    I think this was the cause of the problem, can't see how the hell i managed it in the first place, but i'm now posting from my pc again, and so far, it's looking pretty stable. So, thanks to the kind people that helped and offered solutions, next time, you're free to just call me an idiot.

    darleysam on
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  • deke55555deke55555 regular
    edited September 2007
    We've all done it, don't feel too bad.

    deke55555 on
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