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Computer boots up but the screen is black


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#1
JoshuaGill

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I have a problem. Everytime I start the computer from a cold start I hear 5 beeps, get a black screen and I hear the computer complete the start-up process. After waiting about 5 minutes, I can restart the computer and the screen comes up. Can anyone help?
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#2
gerryf

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make and model of the computer or motherboard? Do you know what kind of bios (AMI, PHOENIX, AWARD...)

Are they five short beeps, long beeps....any pauses?
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#3
JoshuaGill

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long beep, 2 short beeps, pause, 2 short beeps.

The computer is a Gateway with a pentium 4 1.4 Ghz.

Where can I find the bios? When I went to Norton Utilities, it said that the Bios was Gatewa. Is this possible? If not, where can I find it?
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#4
gerryf

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the bios name flashes right when you start the PC....it sounds like Phoenix, and that means you have a DMA problem (direct memory access)...and that means a motherboard going belly up.

By your description, I would guess a very small crack/fracture/scratch that when the motherboard is warm it is just enough to make contact, but when cold the contact is not made...
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#5
JoshuaGill

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Where would this fracture be? Would it be near where the RAM is installed on the motherboard?
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#6
Milamber

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Easiest fix is to put the RAM stick into another computer (if you are unsure how to do this, take your computer to a shop and get them to test it)

If the motherboard has a fracture in it, it is highly unlikely that it will be reapirable. Probably have to get a new motherboard.

but test the RAM stick first. no point spending tons of money if you don't have to.

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#7
JoshuaGill

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Is there something I can look at to see if there is a fracture? is this the only possibility?
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#8
Milamber

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The only thing capable of detecting a fracture the size that would be in the motherboard is a professional x ray machine. it would be cheaper to replace the motherboard than scan it with an X Ray machine (then you would have to find the fracture between the wires and various other components in the board itself)

It's most liekly to be a faulty RAM stick. The Gateway boards use a modified version of the AMI BIOS and accoding to the beep codes for the AMI BIOS

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1 Long, 3 Short Beeps
You've probably just added memory to the motherboard since this is a conventional or extended memory failure. Generally this is caused by a memory chip that is not seated properly. Reseat the memory chips.
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If you take the memeory chip otu and reseat it in the same slot, and it continues to beep, try a diffferent slot,(the onee immediately to the left or right of the current slot) If THAT doesn't fix it then try another computer. If it continues to beep in a different computer then it is most likely a faulty RAM chip.

Alternately, get a friend to loan you their RAM chip and swap yours out. If the computer beeps with your friends RAM chip in it and not yours then it may be a problem with the memeory on your Graphics card.

If your graphics card is built onto the motherboard then you will need to get a new motherboard. If it is an actual card (one that you can remove), try swapping that out and putting your RAM stick back in.

Usually though a GFX card error results in nothing being displayed to the screen on boot. Although I have experienced RAM sticks doing the same thing (stopping the GFX card dispalying it's BIOS information [the very first thing you see on the screen when the computer is turned on]).

With the above, if you are unsure of how to do any of it, it is probably best to simply take it to a computer shop that you trust (family businesses are good) and letting them figure out whats wrong.


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