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Is this a hardware or software problem?


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#1
fermier

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I have a 4 year old XP system that has been a real workhorse for me. Lately it has started acting strangely and I'm looking for advice as to whether I have a hardware problem or a malware (software) problem.
Suddenly, the screen looses the signal from the PC and goes black. (I get a glimse of a screen saying that ther is no signal). The PC is still running but now the lights on the two DVD drives are flashing. There are no discs in these two drives. It's like the computer is searching for something that isn't there. I can't see the two hard drives, due to the way the machine is constructed. So I don't know if any access lights are flashing. But, the system has locked up. Control-Alt-Delete does nothing! I have to hold the start button in until the machine stops. When I restart, sometimes it starts up normally, other times is launches into the balck screen and flashing light show and I have to hold the start button in, again.

Any ideas? Does this sound like a malicious worm or some other malware, or do I have a haredware problem?

Thanks for any help.

Rex
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#2
Mark D

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Howszit Fermier?


The symptoms seem to indicate a "spurious reboot", (since the DVD lights start flashing). This could be caused by several different things, (including dust build up on the Motherboard). Do you know if you have a video card on the system? Or are you running your video off the motherboard? (If the video signal connection is next to your keyboard and mouse connections, you're probably running a MB video system, which would mean that your memory chips are probably dusty).


Do you have any experience working on the inside of your system? 1st thing I'd do is open the case and inspect to condition of the motherboard / memory chips and CPU heat sink. Look for any dust build up. I would remove the memory chips, clean them off and re-seat them. Whatever you do, treat the inside of your system gently, (no hammers or lots of force applied). What is the system, (Model and specs?)


Hope this helps...
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#3
Macboatmaster

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And if I may add - static electricity
DO NOT touch the ram sticks until you have, presuming you do not have a wrist grounding strap, touched both hands on the metal case and do NOT work with the computer on a carpet, with you on the carpet as well, put the computer on a non-static generating surface and take the precaution of grounding yourself first.
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#4
fermier

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A belated thanks for your reply to my question.
The next day after I wrote my original entry the machine refused to boot any more. I decided that I would attempt to fix the problem by replacing the power supply. I made sure that I was wearing a static strap (always good advice) and I used a can of air to blow out the little remaining dust. The new power supply did the trick! Once replaced, the computer powered right up and I was back in business.

Thanks again for your assistance!
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