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Going backwards on repair. Need help please

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Hello all I'm Brian and new to the forum. I'm trying to track down a problem and I keep moving backwards.
Computer was put together by me in 2002.
So this is the computer I'm working with:
Motherboard MSI KT3 Ultra
AMD Athlon XP 1800+
Original Enermex power supply
Original Seagate 30 gig hard drive
2006 added a Western digital 60 gig
2006 upgraded to a ATI video all in wonder card
2006 added sony dvd rom
original cd rom
and a floppy.

Prior symptoms:
In 2008 I built a new computer so this computer became my son's. When getting on this computer at that time, I noticed that I was no longer able to get into the control panel anymore(dont remember if I was given an error or what). I also noticed that the Sony DVD rom would spin non stop at times and the open/close button wouldnt work most of the time. Knowing that my young son messes with stuff I didnt trace the problems at that time but took it off the network(in case of virus) and soon retired it to storage.
Today's nightmare:
My son is now old enough to truly need a computer and with the functions that ATI video card had, I too could use it. So I dragged it back out to life.
Initially It booted and worked fine for a matter of a day. After connecting it up on the network and getting internet hooked up I was net surfing if told me to update to the current JAVA and I did. (I also went into the screen properties and upped the resolution)That update reminded me to update everything like windows, drivers, etc..

So I got onto windows update and started the install when I received my first of many BSOD. I continued to try and boot in different modes so that I could change back resolution, drivers, restore etc. Initially after my first crash I could log on for a short while but couldnt access my screen properties(cant remember error) or like my old problem, I couldnt access my control panel and then very soon the critical error happended sooner and sooner and I couldnt seem to get very far before the next critical error occurred. The error names were always different so my first impression is that either I had bad ram or my registry was corrupt. So I removed all my hardware, except my video card, removed all my ram and put in a ddr 256 ram in that I knew was good. Still same problem. The computer would boot most of the time until after I would log in with my user password then shortly after, get a critical error.
So I left the good ram in and tried to repair windows with the XP disk. When it check the primary drive it found critical errors on it and it couldnt be fixed. Due to important data still on that drive I didnt want to format so I went a different direction. I unplugged my 30 gig drive that was my primary, changed the jumpers on my secondary(60 gig) and tried to install a new copy of XP on that drive. It went thru the initial steps of formatting and then while trying to copy system files to drive I started getting errors that I couldnt copy files. It allows you to skip copy of file but It would just happen again on the next file. So I replaced the drive cables with new ones and tried again. Now when booting I cant get past the checking NVRam on the initial boot up, It just freezes. So I unplugged everything again and plugged them back in and made sure the connections of everything was good but to no help. It just freezes at initial start up.

So maybe I am in need of a new power source, I dont know, Maybe hard drive toast, I dont know. But before I go and spend a lot of time and money maybe one of you "geeks :)" can direct me in the correct direction.

Thank You for any help you may have
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    motto - Just get-er-done

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The real problem here is the computer is so old that there is no value in trying to resuscitate it. People bring in computers like this to my shop quite often. Because i have the spare parts to find the problem it is relatively cheap to diagnose. I go thru the computer replacing parts till i find the problem in this order.In your case here's where i start.

replace power supply with a known good one
replace memory with known good memory
Replace Motherboard

I say the above since you already have a somewhat new hard drive(60 gig)and everything seemed to work before. The video card sounds OK. Hopefully you have unplugged all external hardware while trying to fix it.

The problem now is the cost. A new good PS costs around $50-100. A motherboard is similar( $50-100). The DDR memory you use is still not very cheap compared to newer memory. It is a lot cheaper to just buy a barebones kit and build a new computer. I just built this comp for a friend for $300 as he has all the other hardware needed to set it up.

Gigabyte G41 Pentium Dual Core Barebone Kit

Lite-on Sata DVD writer
http://www.tigerdire.....=L12-1362 OEM

WD 500 Gig Sata HD

While i tried to get him to buy windows 7, he instead installed XP on the computer. I used the same OEM XP CD that was on his old computer since that computer died, and put SP3 and all the updates on it.

So its up to you to decide if you want to spend $150-200 trying to fix the old comp or buy a new one for $300 with all new parts.

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