Modem question

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

How can I tell if my modem, 5.5 years old, needs replacement? What would be the major signs that it's going bad?


Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

What makes you question it? And, what modem? =)

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

When I turn on the computer in the morning I do not get a screen. I have to shut it off and turn it on, over and over again. Now it's up to seven tries before it works so I just leave it on all night long to avoid the grief.

Cable modem.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

What does your cable provider say? If they are like my last cable provider they will argue that they don't have a problem, it is your computer. I finally dumped them and went to DSL. I remember how they treated my problem every time I think about going back to cable and therefore continue with the hiccups of DSL.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I have had a busy day of digging dahlias and haven't called them. A very experienced computer friend said it sounds more like a computer problem and not a cable problem.

I never realized computers five years old are considered OLD.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Nowadays they are but still have a lot of life in them.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Well thank you very much. You relieved my mind.

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

When you said:

When I turn on the computer in the morning I do not get a screen.

Did you mean, literally, ^^^ that ^^^ ?

Is your screen black? Or, did you mean that when you try to go to a web page and get nothing?

And, what are you "shutting on and off"? =)

You said:
I have to shut it off and turn it on, over and over again.

The monitor? The computer? The TV? =)

There's probably a light on the front of the monitor, near the power button. If so, is it yellow when there's "no screen"?

What Operating System (XP? 2000? Vista? etc)?

I have more questions, but these first. (From your description, I'm pretty much ruling out the modem) =)

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It's totally black. No matter what I try to do it remains black.

I shut the computer off by pressing the button on the tower and that's how I turn it on again (and continue turning it off and back on).

When I get the totally black screen the light at the bottom is blue. (I'd try it again to be 100% sure it's blue but may never get back on the computer tonight!) Right now the tiny light at the bottom of the screen is green.

XP 2000.

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

It sounds to me like it's your monitor. Your computer may be okay . . . you should be able to pick up a used monitor pretty easily - you might even try to see if anyone in your area has one for free.

Or if you have a neighbor who will loan you one for 30 minutes, you can try to hook it up to see if that's the problem.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Definitely recycle electronics (our area just had an electronics recycle day so we discarded an old printer and microwave). If the monitor is good, donate it if you decide to buy a new monitor.

How does your system behave if you just leave the power on for days? Some say leave it on 24/7 and others say shut it down if not in use. I leave mine on except for severe thunder storms (and I am at home).

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks for a great idea, Katie.

Thanks, hcmdole. Everything works perfectly when I leave it on 24/7.

I'll borrow a monitor from some neighbor and see what happens.

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)


Thanks for the clarifications. I wanted to make sure I was on the right page. =)

Your modem's fine. =)

I'm leaning toward "monitor" too, but I've still got more questions. =)

When you get the black screen, are you positive that the computer is starting? Fans spinning?

Does it "beep"? (If so, how many times (and are they long or short))?

While it's booting, do you even get the POST? (Where there's white text on a black background)

You said:

XP 2000.

Pick one, please. =)
XP? or 2000?

(If the answer was XP, do you use the "hibernate" feature?)

Do you have another computer nearby, that you can connect that monitor up to, and see if you "get a screen"? =)

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Sorry if I'm driving you crazy, Eggs!

Yes, I'm used to all the starting sounds and the computer is definitely starting normally.

Beep??? I've never had a beep and don't have one now.

Sometimes I get extremely fast flashes on the screen but it always goes black. Flashes like the Windows one, another that says the computer did not shut down properly, an HP flash but they aren't on the screen for a full second. Then it goes back to black but the tower still hums along happily.

Sorry, again! Windows XP.

I tried hibernate in the past and it worked fine. Now when I try it something goes amiss and it seems to cycle and then is back on full power. I've tried hibernate three and four times consecutively (after it automatically goes back to full power) and it won't remain hibernated. The maximum time it will hibernate is about two minutes, if that.

No other computer in the house.

I do appreciate your patience with me!

Kenmore, NY(Zone 6a)

'the computer did not shut down properly' sounds like you aren't using the start>log off/shutdown procedure to shut it down. You just push the power button on the tower?

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)


It's ok about the beep. They don't all do that, but they used to. It can also let you know if there are errors with things on the motherboard. I was just looking for more specifics about what happens when you power-on your computer. Thanks. =)

Just for grins, do this (trying to rule out any software issues that might be causing this)...

Start ---> Run

In the box, type: msconfig

Click: OK (Or, simply press the Enter key)

When the window loads, you'll see a series of tabs across the top. Click the one that says, "Startup".

How many things listed there have a checkmark? (Names unimportant right now, just wondering how many.)

Do you see " dumprep 0 -k " listed there?

How much can you tell about your system? Specifically, do you know what video card is in it? If not, it's easy info to find. =)

Do you know how much RAM your computer has?

In the mean-time, you might want to check the video cord for any damage. Carefully remove the cable from your monitor to the back of your computer. Look at the pins on it and see if any are bent. (longshot, but ya never know) =)

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

yanno -- last summer [or was it the summer before... ] when my PC would not boot up... my RAM died.

BUT -- i guess if she keeps hers running, w/out ever shutting down... it wouldn't be a memory issue.

Pirl -- if you can "Right Click" on your "My Computer", then click Properties... that will show you some details on your PC.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

My monitor plug keeps backing out of it's slot - the screws loosen? Check your connections/connectors like Eggs said and I have to use the screwdriver on my monotor connections every couple of months to tighten them back up.
It has been 2 1/2 months now and I am again needing to do it.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

smileymom: it's telling me it did not shut down properly because when I get the black screen there is no option to START/TURN OFF so I have no choice but to push the tower button.

Eggs - I'll print out your instructions and try them after dinner.

I don't know what a video card is - never saw one.

This monitor is about two years old and has never been disconnected so I doubt it's damaged.

RAM - where would I find that information?

Where would I type misconfig?

Where would I look for this? When the window loads, you'll see a series of tabs across the top. Click the one that says, "Startup".

I have Belarc Advisor. Would that help in any way to give you any data?

You do realize I'd have to shut down the computer to try all these things and may not get back on again, don't you?! Since it's running slowly it might appreciate a reboot.

I won't do anything until I hear further from you since I haven't any idea where to look for the things you've mentioned.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Juney - I was in the midst of typing for so long, and trying to find the information Eggs needs, that we cross posted. I'll check the connection now. Thanks.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Juney - one connection was loose! I just pushed it back in place. No screws available to tighten.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Belarc adviser tells you what is installed on your computer.... as in programs IIRC.

for the msconfig...

click your START button in the lower corner... where it says RUN, type it in there.

to find out your RAM, you can Right Click on MY COMPUTER and then choose PROPERTIES... that will tell you your RAM plus a few other things.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks! I get a Windows message: cannot find misconfig.

I don't even know how I managed to find "My Computer" but I did and it says:
2.10GHz. 448 MB of RAM

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)


(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Aha! I'll try typing it correctly this time.


Went to "Startup" and nothing has a check mark. Took a photo of the screen and will download it after dinner so you can see it.

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

Ahh! Much information! Thx =)

Ok pirl...

Once again, do:

Start ---> Run

This time, type: dxdiag

Right after the window opens, you'll probably get another window asking you if you want it to search for WHQL drivers. Just tell it "No", for now. =)

When the window finally finishes loading (might take a few seconds)....

Click the button that says: "Save information as"

Now you'll be prompted to save the file as you would any other. Just remember where you save it.
You just created a text file that tells everything you'll probably ever be asked (and then some) about your machine . Keep this handy. =)

Find the section about "Display Devices" (video card) and find:
Card name
Display Memory
Driver version

(still leaning towards monitor, but checking a few other possibilities)

BTW... did you ever try and borrow a monitor from your neighbor? =)

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Neighbors have lap tops! Rats.

I'll do your procedure right now.

Done and named after you.

Name: VIA/S3G Uni Chrome IGP
Manufacturer: VIA/S3G
Chip type: VIA/S3G UniChrome IGP
Dac type: Internal

Monitor: Plug and Play

Nothing there about Display Memory but they do have:
Approximate total memory 64.0 MB

Driver version: 6,14,0010.0194 English

At the bottom of the page under "Notes" they report: No problem found.

Washington, MO(Zone 6a)

Thx pirl =)

There's not a lot of unnecessary things running at startup, on your machine. Good job! =)

You could also use some more RAM, since you're running (likely, a lot of) "onboard" hardware. RAM's cheap right now, and the biggest bang-for-your-buck upgrade you can do. It's also one that you can do yourself. =)

I think your monitor's dying/dead. (though, video card is still not out of the question) =)

I'm sure the problem isn't software-related. You don't have a lot running at startup. There wasn't the dumprep file, so you're not having any memory issues. It's not heat-related, because it does it from a cold start. The video card is built in to your motherboard, and uses the system RAM. It's possible but not probable that the onboard video has errors, but without physically inspecting it, there's not much of a way to tell. That leaves the cable to, and the monitor itself. If it's a flat panel monitor, at two years old it may be toast. I've seen them die literally days after a one year warranty ran out. That machine still has an old CRT monitor on it. ;-) They (flat panels) are nice in that they don't take up much room on a desk, but I'm not sold on their reliability (and I know there's tons of people out there that will disagree).

Anyway, I bet if you replaced the monitor, it would work. There's gotta be someone that lives near you that would bring over their monitor to see. =)

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

pirl -- too bad i don't live closer... i have a spare in my basement.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I guess the next rainy day will find me at Best Bet buying a new monitor. We saw great differences in prices when we bought this one - Westinghouse 19". Is there any to avoid or any that work better than others?

Thank you for your extreme patience and tireless efforts, Eggs. I do appreciate it.

tcs - I was in WI but most likely years before you were even born! Thanks for the kind offer.

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Have you tried freecycle ( before? It takes a minute to sign up to the yahoo group for your area, but I'll bet there's somebody out there with an old monitor. People can post to either ask for or say they have something available. It must be free. Once you get a response, then you make arrangements privately for drop off or pick up.

I just recycled a monitor a couple of months ago. It seems they're everywhere. Or you could try Craig's list and see what's on there.

I'm thinking you'll want to go with lowest cost. When/if you decide to upgrade your computer, you can probably get a good deal for the whole package. I'll be there will be good sales after the holidays.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Good thought to wait for after the holidays.

I've had a few disappointing experiences with free cycle and left the group.

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Ah, Melissa was just saying the same thing on another forum. That's too bad as it's such a great concept.

One other thought: we have a local computer repair guy here who also takes old computers for recycle. That's where I dropped off my old monitor, even though it was working just fine. I wonder if you have someone like that in your community who might have an inexpensive monitor?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I know someone who's involved with that type of thing so I'll Email him and see if it's possible. Thanks!

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Fingers crossed that you can find a free solution!!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I hope so!

Funny how fast computers made it to the "must haves" in our lives.

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Yeah. Don't get me started on that one. Originally, computers were supposed to make us so efficient that we wouldn't have to work 5 days a week. Instead, they've morphed into devices that we have to be connected to 24/7.

And without them we're incapacitated. Something's wrong with this picture . . . at least I've held out and don't have a Blackberry or cell phone. It's not easy, but I'm hanging on.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Oh, Katie, you lifted my spirits. We don't have cell phone, Blackberries or ipods.

Kenmore, NY(Zone 6a)

we just got cell phones last year, and I must admit, they are very handy. as long as you don't let *it* run your life and can ignore incoming calls when you don't want them, you're gold.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

They quite quickly turn into things that we couldn't imagine life without. I don't even think that I could go shopping with DH (wanders off looking at things) without a phone in my pocket. The ones that are hooked to the internet are so great when shopping, traveling & etc. I may only get about 10 calls a week, but I couldn't be without it.

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