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Computer starts up only randomly


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#1
diggeryo

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So my aunt owns a computer. I believe it's a Compaq, about 3 years old. She told me that it won't boot up. So I'm playing around with it, checking the connections, and it's not that it won't go into Windows, but it won't even show the POST screens. I'm also not hearing any warning beeps.

So I think the problem is either a loose cable connection or a faulty monitor. I swap both out but still get the same problems. That then leads me to believe perhaps the video card went (it is an integrated card). So I bought a new video card, popped it in, but still experienced the same problem. This leads me to believe perhaps the motherboard got fried somehow, even though components are still getting power. The processor fan is still spinning, the DVD drive still opens/closes, etc.

So I bring the computer back to her house, giving her the recommendation that it would probably be cheaper to just buy a new computer than to pay to swap out the motherboard and other possible components. However, when I plug it back in at her house, it boots up without a problem. Right into Windows, allowing her to use her computer as she normally would.

My uncle then tells me that it would go on sometimes, though 90% of the time, when trying to turn it on, we would experience the blank screen (with no POST or anything else). He also told me that when it does boot up, it does NOT shut off on its own or anything. It will be usable for as long as you leave it on. The only problem is when it's completely off, it usually won't turn back on.

So now I'm stumped. If the problem were the motherboard, I would think it would NEVER turn on, but this computer is turning on sometimes. I'm at a loss.

If anyone has any other suggestions--or perhaps can confirm that it might still be a fried motherboard--then I would greatly appreciate it.

thanks,
mike.
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#2
Broni

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    Kraków my love :)

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I'd try to replace power supply.
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#3
diggeryo

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Thanks for the suggestion. Wouldn't even have thought to try that, considering everything seems to still be getting power.

I'll let you know how I make out.
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#4
Broni

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everything seems to still be getting power.

Failing power supply may fluctuate amount of "juice", it provides...
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#5
diggeryo

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Failing power supply may fluctuate amount of "juice", it provides...


Makes sense.

Would you be able to answer the following-- since this is a pre-built system (it's a "Compaq Presario Media Center SR2034NX Desktop PC"), would I have to find the same exact model of power supply to swap it out with? Or can I just puchase a different one from, say, a Best Buy?

I ask because my relatives, for whatever reason, do NOT want to puchase something online or over the phone. They would much rather go to a physical store and buy one there.

I was looking at DX-400WPS at Best Buy (the cheapest I could find at a physical store), but I don't know how to figure out whether it is compatable with the system they have.

(I have installed power supplies before, so that's not an issue. I'm more worried about compatability here.)
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#6
Broni

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Basically, you have to worry only about two numbers: wattage (buy something what has at least same wattage) and physical dimensions (so it fits).
I'd simply remove PSU and go to the store with it.
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#7
diggeryo

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Thank you so much for all your advice. It is much appreciated,
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#8
Broni

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You're very welcome :)
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