How should I start my PC crash diagnostics?
HardTranceFan

This morning I booted up my PC, and it just started to beep, and that was it. Instead of that quick beep that occurs a second or so after turning the power on, it holds that beep for about a second, and repeats it every 3 or so seconds. Nothing appears on screen and hard drives aren't accessed. The only things that appears to work are the fans and PC speaker/beeper.

Does this ring any bells to what the problem could be?

I'm on my laptop at the mo, but it means I can't access my allegro dev stuff - not even close to being life or death material, but I was hoping to do something for the RetroHack comp.

Vanneto

Plug the computer out of power, put it back in, try again... Worked for me some time ago... But its really just my computer IMO... :P

X-G

Look up what the POST codes for your BIOS are and see if you can figure out what that particular combination means.

HardTranceFan
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Plug the computer out of power

Yeah, tried that quite a few times before I posted here.

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Look up what the POST codes for your BIOS

Heh, luckily when I tidied up the basement last weekend I decided not to throw out the docs to the PC's bit and pieces. I'll give this a go.

Marco Radaelli

Does it beep n times each time you try to boot it? In that case it can be the code of the error.

[edit]

Check here

James Stanley

Sounds like bad caps.

I had a computer that did that and it took ages to diagnose.

Take the side off, shine a torch in there, and see if any of your caps have yellow stuff leaking out the top. If so, remove them and fit new ones. If necessary, you can fit them to the bottom of the board (I did that because I ran out of room on the top). It just means it can no longer fir in a case, and it has to stand on stilts to prevent them from being crushed against the floor, but it looks nice, and it takes up the rest of the room under my desk.

I can also advise against using pliers to remove the caps. I did that and a few leaked electrolyte on the carpet, but it didn't seem to do any damage.

BAF

That's not a common symptom of bad caps. Usually bad caps make a board unstable as hell.

Also, why the hell would you fit the caps to the bottom of the board?

HardTranceFan

According to my mb manual, continuous long beeps are DRAM errors. So I took out the 2 rows of RAM, blew the small amount of dust off them, switched the banks they were in, and hey presto, I'm replying from my machine again. :D

Thanks in particular to X-G and Marco for pointing me in the right direction (sorry, forgot to start this thread with cookies).

Marco Radaelli

You're welcome :)
Nice to hear it all resolved quickly and easily.

Being a RAM trouble tough, I'd run memtest on them, just to double check :)

Michael Jensen

The first thing I thought of from the first post was that your ram came loose -- I'm suprised everyone told you to look at the beep codes and not refit the ram first -- actually figuring out the beep codes is usually my last resort -- Your ram is probably fine though, Most likely, your problem was that the ram just came loose and needed to be set back in it's sockets properly, this happens to me every couple of years.

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Being a RAM trouble tough, I'd run memtest on them, just to double check

but this is still good advice.

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That's not a common symptom of bad caps. Usually bad caps make a board unstable as hell.

I agree with BAF on this one, the caps usually just make it unstable -- also, I imagine with my proficency, that soldering new caps on a motherboard would make it very unstable also.. (hell, I'd be happy if the damn thing booted!)

BAF

Soldering new caps on would be very easy to do. Of course, you'd want to practice on some junky thing, but the caps are big enough where it shouldn't be too sensitive.

HardTranceFan
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The first thing I thought of from the first post was that your ram came loose

The RAM wasn't loose - it's clipped in nice and snug. I just wonder if there was a bit too much dust blown on them from the fan on the CPU heatsink. Ironically, I had a dream (nightmare?) last night, in which I swapped the RAM strips back and the PC failed again. :D

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actually figuring out the beep codes is usually my last resort

My initial thoughts were that it may have been something with the CPU or the mb itself, 'cos it just failed before it even put anything up on screen. A second after the PC was turned on it began to beep. I thought it would have checked the RAM at the stage when it displays the amount of memory on screen, but obviously I was wrong.

Michael Jensen
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I just wonder if there was a bit too much dust blown on them from the fan on the CPU heatsink.

ahh, I see. still kind of the same realm, but slightly different.

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My initial thoughts were that it may have been something with the CPU or the mb itself, 'cos it just failed before it even put anything up on screen.

Ram and video card failures will cause this too. Most often it happens to me as some sort of ram failure.

I'm glad you got it working.

X-G

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actually figuring out the beep codes is usually my last resort

This is the real WTF. When your computer is telling you exactly what's wrong, do you listen to what it has to say or start randomly guessing what's wrong? :P

Michael Jensen
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This is the real WTF. When your computer is telling you exactly what's wrong, do you listen to what it has to say or start randomly guessing what's wrong?

The beep codes are different for every computer, I don't speak "beep code language" -- it's usually something really simple like ram or video -- if I can fix the problem in 5 minutes why spend 15?

X-G

It takes you 15 minutes to Google for "POST beep code reference"?

Thomas Fjellstrom
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It takes you 15 minutes to Google for "POST beep code reference"?

Or more if the only box you have is broken ::)

X-G

Evidently that was not the case here.

James Stanley

Bit late, but...

X-G said:

Also, why the hell would you fit the caps to the bottom of the board?

There was not enough room on top of the board (I needed to replace 1500uF, I had 500uF and 1000uF). Also, it's easier to get to the bottom than the top.

Michael Jensen
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It takes you 15 minutes to Google for "POST beep code reference"?

Given that it's different for just about every mother board, it's taken me days before, with one board I gave up after a week.

Thomas Fjellstrom
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Also, it's easier to get to the bottom than the top.

Uh, normally it isn't no.

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