PSU toast?

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I have an almost 6 yr old computer, today - it would not turn on, only a blinking amber light.

but now that i think back - it's been shutting down, and then i will notice the light blinking -- last evening, i could not get the computer to turn off -- had to pull the power cord to get the light to turn off.

so -- it's possible this has been happening for sometime.

I have my laptop next to it in my office -- and i'll hear it 'shut off' on it's own, but i've been able to refire it back up again -- until last night.

so -- i've googled it to death, and the general consensus is.... dead PSU.

I have also noticed my 'boot up- really takes quite a bit of time now .... i've gone into msconfig and unchecked everything but 4
I've done my general maintenance cleaning up the 'junk'
i've blown the dust out of the tower....

Would a dying PSU make my boot up slow??

and granted, a new PSU is cheaper than a new computer.... but is this just a sinking ship?

what about the battery on the motherboard? is that the Cmos battery? [i've seen that term used in the threads i'm reading]

any input would be great.


This message was edited Mar 13, 2012 5:28 PM

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Six years is getting old in computer terms. See how much it would be to repair this and then compare that to a new laptop with faster hardware and oodles more memory and hard drive.

I doubt a dying PSU will make your computer boot up slow. Can you boot off a CD? I have a feeling memory may be the culprit or your hard drive is corrupt and needs to be restored. If you can get to msconfig then your power sounds like it is doing its job.

The CMOS battery is just to keep certain things in non volatile memory refreshed such as the clock and BIOS settings. This will not affect anything but if you see your clock getting behind then it may be time to replace it.


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I ended up replacing that battery... DH had one in stock....

BUT -- now I have that BLUE screen


A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.

If this is the first time you've seen this stop error screen, restart your computer. If this screen appears again, follow these steps:

teh only thing replaced was that little battery.

I've gone into the "Set Up" -- and i guess i have no idea what i'm looking for.

Did do Safe Mode with Networking ... it quickly ran thru -- dont know if it got all teh way, but back to the BLue Screen.

ant ideas?

have to admit -- i'm at least happy to see green lights...

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Sounds like you have a corrupted system file. Boot off your recovery CD and do a repair or restore. Repair is safer since it won't (or shouldn't wipe any of your data files). Restore may be safe too but seems riskier.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I'll see what i can do.

I did find that i can not do safe mode with dos prompt -- goes right to the blue screen.

so if i can not get to windows, I can i do a sys restore?

I found the Reinstall Disk, but obviously I do not want to reformat, i'm hoping there is an option for "fixing" the OS, right??

been ages since i've had to do something like this....

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I just attempted a "fix" of the OS... when i pressed "R" like they said... it reported that I do not have a hard drive found.

opened the case and reseated all the HD plugs.

-- guess that worked as i am at a new screen, the prompt... but my only chose was exit... so i typed help,

no luck yet... i'm starting over... but i think i'm making a little headway.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

the "R" for repair is not working.

it takes me to the next screen, where the only option is exit.

even when i use HELP to get other options, they have one that is RD - i assume repair disk,but it says it's it's not valid...

so this time i checked Set Up.... i'm HOPING this will not reformat.

I do have a back up, i generally run them on Fridays... but this always makes me uneasy.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

ugggg -- just realized i bought this computer in 7/2004 !! It really is OLD>

on the phone with dell tech support now.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Ok... now this is odd... i'm running a chkdsk /r

but it's reading my external hard drive....

when i first got the 'green lights' back, and tried to do something -- honestly i'm so tired, been at this for 7 hrs

and i dont recall what i was doing then -- BUT -- something told me it could not find my hard drive...

so i opened the case back up again and reseated all the HDD cables [I have two sata drives]

but then this time i plugged in ALL my peripherals, including my ext. HDD...

so my bet is... it still can not find the 2 internal drives.

why would that be?? everything worked fine / pretty much, until today when the PC would not boot up.

thought it was the psu, then replaced the battery.... and now it can't find hard drives??

Salem, IL(Zone 5b)

As a suggestion, the battery you removed and replaced typically not only powers the system clock but also supplies power to what we used to call 'cmos setup' chip which stores setup info. Unlike the ROM which contains the POST info, the cmos chip (s) is volatile and dumps itself if power is removed. You may need to go into the setup mode and turn on a feature something like auto load which will let your pc find all the onboard devices. Once you read the options, you will be able to choose you correct setup. This is all from dealing with older style computers and may not be valid for yours. Check your manual or quickie startup sheet for the correct procedures.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Old housegardens I think you are on the right track. A computer that old may default to looking for an IDE drive to boot. Terese says she has SATA drives.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Yep, in the olden days (early years of PC's) that was common to remove the battery to get CMOS to reset to default settings so you could start "fresh". Sounds like you will have to tell the BIOS what your hard drives are if it cannot find them. Hopefully you can just tell BIOS that you have two hard drives and use autodetect instead of filling in all the information (heads, sectors, etc) for each drive.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I spent some time on the phone with Dell Tech support,

this guy [Albert] did walk me thru the setup and we changed it to boot from the CD

now the kicker is... it's telling me I dont have a hard drive.

OH -- another thing Albert had me do was change 'something' back to default settings... we did this in the F2, then we went into maintenance and clicked something else that had it go back to default..... sorry i can't be more specific on that, the PC is not on yet this morning and i did not write those steps down.
~~ if you need to know what i did here... i can retrace my steps and write that info down.

Any chances the motherboard is dead or dying? though the dvd drive is acknowledged and has power....

my next step is to remove the main hard drive and attach it to my laptop -- if i can find the data, at least i know it's all safe.

and I really did not want to spend the day in side... .it's gonna be sunny and upper 70's today. good day to wash the dog, then putter in the gardens.

as to the age of this... i've mentioned i purchased it in `04 ... i'm thinking sata drives were not common then. I was actually taking a course at the local college then, and i was talking to my teacher about upgrading my computer components -- and he commended "Wow, you have a data drive?" and i literally had no idea what he was referring... until i came home to reserach it.

But yea... i guess it is OLD now. worked like a champ, until yesterday.

Salem, IL(Zone 5b)

Auto detect should recognize the hard drives. Appears to recognize the external drive so you may need to disconnect it and go into setup and set your 'C' drive as first bootup option. 'C' should be on drive 1-0 or 1-1 if you have 2 drives on the same controller. There is always the possibly of your initial problems being a failing HD. Too many possible issues to discuss remotely.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

thanks Rose...

I guess i can go in and check the setup again - once i disconnected the ext HDD, then it didnt see any.
and I do not believe I had options of drive, A, C, D, etc. But I'll go back and check.

then i will remove the HDD and try to hook it to my laptop...

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I went back into setup, here are my choices in the Boot Menu:

*Onboard or USB Floppy
*Onboard SATA hard drive
*Onboard or USB CD-ROM

*System Setup
*Hard Drive Diagnostics
*Boot to Utility Partition

I chose CD and went back into setup repair and here is the next window...

Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer.

Make sure any hard dish drives are powered on and properly connected to your computer, and that any disk-related hardware configuration is correct. This may involve running a manufacturer-supplied diagnostic or setup program.

setup can not continue. To quit setup, press F3

OH crap.... i just pressed the eject button on the CD drive... and poof, that dang amber light is back on and i have no power within the computer again.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

I'd still have it boot from the CD so you can get a system loaded. Then you can see if the system recognizes the internal drives and possibly pull data off them to an external drive. I assume you have no backup? If you don't then you definitely want to pull data off if you can because you may have to format it to get an OS on it. This is assuming the drive is not damaged.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

OK -- that was momentarily terrifying....

held the button, got it to fire back up... booted into the HD Diagnostic... it actually ran and here are the results:

Drive 0: ST3500630AS - Pass
Drive 1: No device
Drive 2: WDC WD800JD-75HKA1

then Poof... amber light again.

Hmmmmmm -- i am really considering that it is much more serious than a dead battery.....

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

OH no... i do back up regularly... every friday nigh. I have Ghost... not sure if it's my favorite program... but it's what i use.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Is this a laptop? If it is then it may be a combo power adaptor and battery that is causing all the problems - both easily fixable. Without a visible indicator or a voltmeter it will be hard to diagnose. Anyway start with the adaptor - remove the battery and turn the power on. If it doesn't power up then your adaptor probably has a broken wire and is usually the end that plugs into the computer but not always. Flex the cable where it bends near the computer and see if this helps in powering it up. If it does then you have a broken wire. You can strip the insulation and solder the wires back in place but eventually you'd want to replace this adaptor (eBay has them cheap compared to OEM parts). The battery is not that important until you are in a place without power.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Ghost is good. I used it on my XP system and recovered some files but never had to use it to recover the entire drive.

I am on Win7 with my new laptop and did a complete restore this past weekend with MS's own backup and restore program. Not as easy as I'd hoped it would be. Unfortunatedly I lost six weeks of email and any other files I may have touched and 3 weeks of pictures (I back them up with xcopy).

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

hcmc -- it's my Dell tower.

and i've used Ghost to do a full restore. i guess there are a few things i dont care for about it... but it has saved me in the past.

anyhoo -- i pulled the HD out of the tower and hooked it to my laptop. all the data is there.

so -- now i have to break it to DH that i believe the tower is dead. oh happy days....

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

If you have a voltmeter you can see if the power supply is okay. Power supplies are fairly inexpensive to replace.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

DH may have one.... how do you test it? -- i'm sure there's a youtube video on that....

Salem, IL(Zone 5b)

After 8 years you should consider a new one. You will probably want to go to Win 7 or 8 is just around the corner. More and faster ram, high definition video system and larger and faster hard drives. Newer cameras have high definition stills and video clips. All depends upon how much coin you want to expend. All in all, an old pc is a heartbeat away from failing anyway so they can become a money pit.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I had considered upgrading the MoBo and cpu.... and probably have to upgrade RAM too -- i only have 2gig

I REALLY dont want to get rid of this computer -- i really like it... yes it's old but if i replace components to bring it up to current times - with the exception of the OS [that was something i had not considered]

i could almost consider it a new computer.... [or trying to convince myself of that]

I'd be comfortable with $500... and really dont want to spend upwards of $800 .....

I called and talk to the kid at Best Buy [I know peeps dont like the Geek Squad, but i've had good luck with them]
and he also did not recommend sinking $$ into an old PC.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Going computer shopping tomorrow... .gonna buy off the rack, as I just can't wait to have one delivered.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Best way to go.

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

One last thing to try before you give up. IF you can get to a DOS prompt. Try FIXMBR. I've had similar problems in the past and it was a bad boot sector.


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Doug... can't even get to DOS prompt...

bummer -- because i loved that computer.

bought a new one already.

BUT -- maybe i can drop the HDD back in and try it.

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