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  #1  
Old 01-12-12, 11:14
Dumb_Question Dumb_Question is offline
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Default PC fails to start - black screen

When I turn my PC on using the front panel button (as I have to) 20 times it will not start. That is to say, the monitor remains black, the fan starts at a speed that is fast (maximum ? I don't know), the HD light flashes briefly, the CD/DVD lights come on for longer, and the floppy disk light comes on for enough time to make me think maybe it's doing something. If I put a bootable floppy in the drive, it makes no difference. After a while, a couple of minutes, maybe longer, all the lights bar the green front panel go off, and the fan continues spinning fast.
I power down by the button on the front panel.
I've tried turning off the PSU button, unplugging the mains lead leaving for various lengths of time in various combinations, doesn't seem to make any difference.

One time 20 (about) the PC will start up, goes through windows log in and gets going (screen goes blank for an ominously long time before log in screen appears), and I can log in and machine works, albeit with IE very slow for some sites (notably all mail sites). Also note that when PC starts fan does not start, or is very slow.

fan behaviour is correlated with start-up/boot

Any ideas on how to get this PC to start up reliably ? I fear to to turn it off in case I can't get it going again. Maybe faulty coin cell ?

Dumb_Question
12.January.2012
Compaq Presario S5160UK (DT261A, Celeron 2.7 GHz) - MSI MS6577 v2.1 - XP SP3 - 1.5GB RAM (1GB + 512MB) - Nvidia Geforce 6200 I think graphics card 256MB on board RAM
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Old 01-12-12, 12:05
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

Quote:
Maybe faulty coin cell ?
No, you can rule that out. When the BIOS battery needs replacing you will get some sort of generic message about pressing F1 or F2 because all the BIOS settings were "forgotten".

Is the fan that is speeding up the video card fan? If so, maybe the vid card is going out. That would explain nothing on the screen. All the lights on might mean the computer is actually running you just can't see the display.
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Old 01-13-12, 06:24
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

Quote:
Originally Posted by plodr View Post
No, you can rule that out. When the BIOS battery needs replacing you will get some sort of generic message about pressing F1 or F2 because all the BIOS settings were "forgotten".
Thanks again plodr, that probably saved me some worry, time and awkwardness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plodr View Post
Is the fan that is speeding up the video card fan? If so, maybe the vid card is going out. That would explain nothing on the screen. All the lights on might mean the computer is actually running you just can't see the display.
It's the CPU fan. My graphics card doesn't have a fan, it's pretty old. I have only two fans in my PC, one in the PSU, and the other the CPU fan. I can see the CPU fan. I am not using the built in graphics, but a GeForce 6200 in the (I think) AGP slot. The graphics and video seem to work OK if the machine starts' that's one reason I don't think it's the video side (including monitor - but it could be). The reason I think it's not the graphics hardware or monitor is the hard disk activity: it only blinks once for - well, less than a second - if the machine is not going to start. (Further,I don't understand why it won't boot from the bootable floppy - I don't have a bootable CD, no burning software, I'm not installing anything if I can help it because I'm trying to make free space on my HD so that I can defrag)

When I say 'all the lights' (in the steady state) this means just one, front panel (green) LED. If the PC doesn't start (that is, most times) the CPU fan doesn't speed up (sorry if I gave that impression), it starts at high speed, and continues like that. If the PC starts, I beleive the fan doesn't start: once it has got some way through the boot process, I 'help' it until it turns (slowly) of its own accord. It seems to spin at variable speeds until the CPU temp. gets to 60C (recommended max is 67C for my processor) when it starts spinning at (maximum, I think) speed: after this point it maintains this speed whether the CPU temp is 45C or 27C. I'm concentrating on the fan because that seems to be correlated with start-up problem, but it might very well be anything else.

Dumb_Question
12.January.2012
Compaq Presario S5160UK (DT261A, Celeron 2.7 GHz) - MSI MS6577 v2.1 - XP SP3 - 1.5GB RAM (1GB + 512MB) - Nvidia Geforce 6200 I think graphics card 256MB on board RAM
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Old 01-13-12, 10:16
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

If it were my computer and I had to try 20 times to start it, the first thing I'd replace is the power supply. It could be marginal and at times just not putting out enough power to get the system running.
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Old 01-13-12, 15:40
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

If you have never changed your coin cell battery, I wouldn't rule it out as a problem. I have seen a bad one cause all types of strange boot problems.

It is not always a matter of seeing a screen saying boot settings have been lost and enter setup to set new values. I'd replace it to eliminate it as a contributing factor.
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Old 01-13-12, 17:40
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dumb_Question View Post
Thanks again plodr, that probably saved me some worry, time and awkwardness.



It's the CPU fan. My graphics card doesn't have a fan, it's pretty old. I have only two fans in my PC, one in the PSU, and the other the CPU fan. I can see the CPU fan. I am not using the built in graphics, but a GeForce 6200 in the (I think) AGP slot. The graphics and video seem to work OK if the machine starts' that's one reason I don't think it's the video side (including monitor - but it could be). The reason I think it's not the graphics hardware or monitor is the hard disk activity: it only blinks once for - well, less than a second - if the machine is not going to start. (Further,I don't understand why it won't boot from the bootable floppy - I don't have a bootable CD, no burning software, I'm not installing anything if I can help it because I'm trying to make free space on my HD so that I can defrag)

When I say 'all the lights' (in the steady state) this means just one, front panel (green) LED. If the PC doesn't start (that is, most times) the CPU fan doesn't speed up (sorry if I gave that impression), it starts at high speed, and continues like that. If the PC starts, I beleive the fan doesn't start: once it has got some way through the boot process, I 'help' it until it turns (slowly) of its own accord. It seems to spin at variable speeds until the CPU temp. gets to 60C (recommended max is 67C for my processor) when it starts spinning at (maximum, I think) speed: after this point it maintains this speed whether the CPU temp is 45C or 27C. I'm concentrating on the fan because that seems to be correlated with start-up problem, but it might very well be anything else.

Dumb_Question
12.January.2012
Compaq Presario S5160UK (DT261A, Celeron 2.7 GHz) - MSI MS6577 v2.1 - XP SP3 - 1.5GB RAM (1GB + 512MB) - Nvidia Geforce 6200 I think graphics card 256MB on board RAM
I would look at the fan first as it's obviously not working properly if you have to 'help it out' at boot. Cheapest possible fix.
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Old 01-14-12, 09:16
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

Thanks for your contributions. The thing that makes it difficult is that it's (kind of) intermittent, and PC seems to work when it's up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plodr View Post
If it were my computer and I had to try 20 times to start it, the first thing I'd replace is the power supply. It could be marginal and at times just not putting out enough power to get the system running.
I have replaced the PSU recently (250W original replaced with a newer 300W one - now, though, I'm not certain that the original PSU was faulty). I have 1 + 0.5 GB memory instead of original 256MB and the said graphics card. It makes no difference if I unplug the (considerable number of) USB devices I have. Therefore, I don't think it's the PSU. Surely memory + graphics card won't use that much extra power ? It all worked ok with the original PSU for quite a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sach2
If you have never changed your coin cell battery, I wouldn't rule it out as a problem. I have seen a bad one cause all types of strange boot problems.

It is not always a matter of seeing a screen saying boot settings have been lost and enter setup to set new values. I'd replace it to eliminate it as a contributing factor.
The coin cell looks pretty easy replace, I will do this next time it is convenient

Quote:
Originally Posted by augiedoggie
I would look at the fan first as it's obviously not working properly if you have to 'help it out' at boot. Cheapest possible fix.
This has become a leading candidate in my mind, tho' I am reluctant to replace (or even remove) the heatsink+fan assembly because of fear of the replacement not going as it should. I'd much rather replace the fan without taking out the heatsink, but it is proving difficult to find a fan the of correct specification (its an asia vital components L33637 9-bladed 50mm, 3-pin). I'll look a bit harder !

That's all for the moment, unless anyone has different suggestions, at least until I try some of the suggestions. When I do (if ever !!) I'll post an update.


Dumb_Question
14.January.2012
Compaq Presario S5160UK (DT261A, Celeron 2.7 GHz) - MSI MS6577 v2.1 - XP SP3 - 1.5GB RAM (1GB + 512MB) - Nvidia Geforce 6200 I think graphics card 256MB on board RAM
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Old 06-22-12, 05:14
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

Quote:
Originally Posted by sach2 View Post
If you have never changed your coin cell battery, I wouldn't rule it out as a problem. I have seen a bad one cause all types of strange boot problems.

It is not always a matter of seeing a screen saying boot settings have been lost and enter setup to set new values. I'd replace it to eliminate it as a contributing factor.
-> sach2: Well, I accidentally turned my PC off on June 17 (Sunday, when I put a new coin cell in. It has not made much difference I'm afraid, but it probably needed doing anyway. At least I'll get it back ! Accordig to my Skytronic battery tester (which I don't really trust) it was on the way out as you might expect after 10 years, but should be strong enough to supply voltage for CMOS and RTC.

UPDATE

The failure-to-start problem remains: it seems to have to have worsened. I have been trying to turn my PC back on for 5 days, involving what must have been more than 100 attempts. This is why I do not wish to reboot my PC ! On 2 of these attempts I did get the more helpful info (or something similar, a line is missing) on my (otherwise black) screen:

CPU fan failure ! Have your computer serviced immediately
Press f2 to continue


At first I thought Augiedoggie was right, and it was my CPU fan. I started investigating CPU fan replacement, but where to replace an AVC L3363T ? What should I replace it with ? Having inspected the motherboard situation more closely I now believe it cannot be replaced from the top which means I am faced with the daunting prospect (for me anyway) of taking out and and even more daunting prospect of replacing the CPU cooler assembly (h/s + fan), it's unlikely there's anything wrong with the heatsink (possibly, even probably, needs cleaning).

Does anyone if any socket 478 cooler will fit into any motherboard designed for that CPU socket ? My CPU heatsink space seems to be rather tightly ringed with capacitors so a h/s slightly larger would not fit in the space available.

...But then I thought of a more chilling reason for this problem...fan monitoring has gone wrong, and an incorrect temperature is reported back to the software that controls the fan/CPU temperature. Maybe one one the wires on CU fan is loose, or, worse, the winbond monitoring chip has become defective, that's on the CPU isn't it ? Maybe other bits on my CPU aren't working either ? How to test my CPU ?

I started thinking like this because MotherBoardMonitor5 (MBM5) has started reported temperatures of 0 C on all sensors, and CPUID Hardware Monitor frequently reports 1 C on two of the sensors. Since I turned on my PC this morning the fan has been mostly off with occasional bursts of activity of duration about 1s) every 10 or 20s or so(variable !), contrasted with previously when the fan woud remain off until CPU temp = 60 C (according to MBM5) and tyen would come on and not turn off. I am afraid of my CPU overheating, but what info I have does not indicate that. I want to run my fan my fan permanently to ensure my CPU doesn't overheat, but I don't know ow (external fan speed control program ??).

I have had reports of several update and other windows programs not starting properly and would I like to report this problem to MS: maybe this is because I changed battery for RTC and it reported Nov 9999 until I noticed, or maybe because of the unplanned way in my PC was turned off.

Dumb_Question
22.June.2012
Compaq Presario S5160UK DT261A (Celeron 2.7 GHz) - MSI MS6577 v2.1 - 1.5GB RAM - XP/SP3
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Old 08-01-12, 16:35
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

-> augiedoggie

I had to power down my PC because of mains interruption today.

I tried connecting a new fan, which was indeed much quiter than the old one, and seemed to work well. However, this replacement did not not enable my computer to boot up. So the problem is neither the coin cell nor the fan. The new fan's behaviour has so far been the same as the old one's - failure to boot etc., while spinning at 'high' speed.

My computer (as below) is still not functional; maybe it will boot after I've powered it up (and down) a few hundred times.

Dumb_Question
1.August.2012
Compaq Presario S5160UK DT261A (Celeron 2.7 GHz) - MSI MS6577 v2.1 - 1.5GB RAM - XP/SP3 - Nvidia GeForce 6200
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Old 08-01-12, 20:54
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

Did you ever replace the power supply?
Replace the wire connecting the front power button to the power supply?
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Old 08-02-12, 05:59
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

I suspected my old, original Bestec 250W psu and so replaced it with an Octigen 300W unit in about March 2011. I did not confirm or test my old psu, but afterwards any problems I was having were alleviated or vanished. The new psu does not have the diagnotic LED on the back as the old one did, if that page is still extant on the HP website). My PC does not beep at any time when trying to start up. I have recently thought may be it was not my old psu, and maybe that's still good, may be I should try that again ? (Octigen unit is specified as higher power, but the current ratings for individual voltages are all lowerthan for the Bestec unit; however I do not think this relevant). I am also now thinking of buying a psu tester - any recommendations anyone ?

I don't want to spend much on resurrecting this PC because it's not worth much, being nearly 12 years old (so I'm hesistant to spend as much as #30 (that should be a pound sign but I haven't switched round this keyboard yet) on a new psu. The new psu's tend to have the wrong connectors on them, and a different distribution of current ratings for the various voltages anyway. Having said that when it works it satisfies my rudimentary needs, I know my way about it a bit, and I know where all 'my stuff' is.

So yes, I have recently replaced my psu.

No, I haven't replaced any of the wiring, there seem to be about 20 wires running in three bundles to (three mini molex type coonectors on) the motherboard from the front panel near the on/off button, some of them must be for the LEDs, I did look at that but decided if I investigated I would probably break something that didn't need fixing. The power seemingly turns on and off on operating the front panel on/off button, in that the fan starts spinning (if it's not going to boot), the USB ports receive power (the LED on my USB hub/splitter comes on), the main hard disk light comes on very briefly, the DVD and CD player lights come on for longer. The only USB device I have connected is my remote kb/mouse transceiver (I can disconnect the USB hub which ayway does not have any devices connected to it).

Last time I was in this position it took four days before I got started, and that was even longer than the previos time (see one of my previous posts in this thread)

Dumb_Question
2.August.2012

Compaq Presario S5160 (DT261A)
motherboard - MSI MS-6577 v 2.1
Celeron 2.7GHz
1.5 GB RAM (max. 2 x 1GB)
Nvidia GeForce 6200 in AGP slot
Octigen 300W psu (replaced original Bestec 250W psu)

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HP Pavilion dm4 1050ea - Windows 7
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Old 08-02-12, 06:41
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

-> plodr
I beg your forgiveness, I just looked at the on/off button wiring, and there are only six wires, 2for the switch, 2 for the power status LED (green) and 2 for hard disk activity light. They are all connected, judging by the activity and its consistency of the functions of these of these components.

but no, I have not replaced the wiring.

Dumb_Question
2.August.2012

Compaq Presario S5160UK (DT261A, Celeron 2.7 GHz) - MSI MS6577 v2.1 - XP SP3 - 1.5GB RAM (1GB + 512MB) - Nvidia Geforce 6200 I think graphics card 256MB on board RAM
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Old 08-02-12, 11:30
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

Hey ! Update ! I just got my Presario S5160UK to boot into Windows XP after about 50 failures.

I didn't do anything special, active - but the fan didn't start as I have reported.

Problem remains though.

Dumb_Question
2.August.2012

Compaq Presario S5160 (DT261A)
motherboard - MSI MS-6577 v 2.1
Celeron 2.7GHz
1.5 GB RAM (max. 2 x 1GB)
Nvidia GeForce 6200 in AGP slot
Octigen 300W psu (replaced original Bestec 250W psu)
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Old 06-02-13, 06:14
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

To bring everyone up to date in the hope that somebody out there can successfully diagnose the issues which lead to rhe problem(s) I am having with my PC

I have discovered that that my Presario Desktop can successfully rebooted by turning the PC off with the on/off button on the front panel (unless the PC has hung in a such a way that a power-off is needed), and then turning the PSU off using the switch on the back of tthe PSU (at the back of the PC). It is essential that I leave the PC in this state for at least 2 hours; any less than that and the fans start with mainboard power, disks are tried, but screen remains blank (monitor screen wholly black, its orange light on, fails to turn green) with no sound of hard disk access, no LED flashing, indicating boot activity. OK, so having waited some long period of time, it is necessary to turn on the PSU using switch on rear, and then QUICKLY (almost immediately) press the on button of the PC on the front of the PC. This procedure, although long-winded, seems to be quite reproducible and reliable [seeming to imply that software corruption, eg BIOS, is not the problem ?]. If the time between turning these two is too long the PC fails boot, and behaves in the fashion previously described. The PC then starts the boot process, first bringing up the Compaq splash-screen (I think you call it), & etc. In this case, as previously, the CPU fan will not start spinning until the CPU temperature has reached 60C [Intel recommend a max temp of 67C for my processor](but I can start it by invoking SpeedFan and manually setting the fan speed before the CPU temperature has reached 50C).

Additionally, in the last two weeks, the computer has hung up overnight, with screen becoming black and mainboard power present (this happened overnight when I turn my monitor off, and on powering it up it usually remains black until I 'wake' it with mouse activity), as if a reboot had been attempted (maybe this was because of a brief interruption of mains power ? or an update requiring reboot [I have disabled all auto updates though]), and twice with the screen display frozen (PC did not respond to mouse movements or k/b on any of the above occasions), down to the clock displaying the time it had stopped. These events occurred when I was away from the PC and it should have been idling. Are they perhaps related to the difficulty experienced when starting up ?

Can anybody help ? (any new suggestions ? I am grateful for those ideas already mooted)

Dumb_Question
2.June.2013
Compaq Presario S5160UK DT261A under XP/SP3
Processor - Celeron 2.7 GHz
Motherboard - MSI MS-6577 v2.1
RAM - 1GB + 512MB (1GB +1GB max) DDR PC2700
PSU - Octigen 300W model 10270PSOTG ('upgraded' from original Bestec 250W PSU [in 2011?])
Nvidia GeForce 6200 graphics card in AGP slot.
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Old 10-25-13, 13:36
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Default Re: PC fails to start - black screen

I have found a way to get my PC (Compaq Presario S5160UK) to boot 'reliably'.

When I have a boot/restart failure (complete black screen without anything ever appearing on it - no splash screens, no cursor, it's as if the screen has died)...I power down using the button on the front panel (hold in for 5 seconds), switch off the PSU on the rear of the PC (the PSU I am currently using has one, many do not), and then 'wait' for some time - I don't know how long, but definitely more than 30 minutes - switch on the PSU, switch on the PC at the front, and it boots up.

Does this suggest anything to anyone ? Maybe the state of charge on capacitors somewhere ?

As has become normal, after the PC boots up, the CPU fan does not spin until I start it (using speedfan) or the CPU temperature reaches 60C (and if it totally fails to boot the fan comes up spinning quickly).

Dumb_Question
25.October.2013
Compaq Presario S5160UK DT261A under XP/SP3
Processor - Celeron 2.7 GHz
Motherboard - MSI MS-6577 v2.1
RAM - 1GB + 512MB (1GB +1GB max) DDR PC2700
PSU - Octigen 300W model 10270PSOTG ('upgraded' from original Bestec 250W PSU [in 2011?])
Nvidia GeForce 6200 graphics card in AGP slot.
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