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Gateway PC Boot Problems

By KLK ·
I have been working on a Gateway PC for the last few days, and I am completely out of ideas. It started as what I thought being a HDD going bad - swapped it out with a new one, installed Windows 2000. No problems until I shut it down, left it sit for a few hours and restarted it. First it gets stuck on the splash screen, shut it down, restart, gets past the splash screen to the desktop, no icons, freezes up.

Okay, I think, hardware issue, not the HDD. Replaced the IDE cables with new ones, no luck. Swapped the memory chip out, no luck. While listening to it as it boots, there is a sound which resembles a small piece of paper stuck in a fan (sounds like, but there isn't) and that's what's making the system freeze. As long as the PC is booted up and running, I am able to reboot with no problems. The system ran for two days straight, and no errors. This only happens when it is shut down and has to do a cold boot.

I plan on stripping it down to a bare bones system to further investigate this issue, but any other ideas are greatly welcome!

BTW - Gateway PC, 1Ghz AMD, 128MB RAM, 16MB Nvidia graphics, and Windows 2000. (The same thing also happens running Windows XP Pro. It was originally running Windows ME)

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by ReWrite In reply to Gateway PC Boot Problems

My first guess from what you have said is that it is one of the fans. If you have a cpu fan then that's the one I would start with. If there is a sound like something stuck in it (remember putting playing cards in your bike tires or am I dating myself) then I have to believe that the cpu is heating up. If, once it is running and the fan is going it remains running then try to observe the fan during startup. Does it have problems getting going or initially stick when booting up? If you can observe this then replace it.

Cheers.

RW

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by KLK In reply to Gateway PC Boot Problems

The noise I am referring to (what SOUNDS like paper stuck in a fan) is not that. It almost sounds like electrical feedback that lasts anywhere from a split second to a couple seconds and that's when the system halts. (I used the "fan" description because I couldn't think of anything else it sounded like) I have checked the fans and all are running where they should be. There is no intermittance on them, nor do they stop while the machine is on.

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by MinJB In reply to Gateway PC Boot Problems

I would replace the fan on the CPU. If that does not resolve it then replace your power supply. Do not just replace it, but actually get a power supply with more wattage.

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by willcomp In reply to Gateway PC Boot Problems

Since PC runs OK once booted up, we can eliminate overheating concerns.

Is CPU cooler fan spinning up on bootup or hesitating?

Check capacitors on mobo for swelling or electrolyte leakage. First sign of failure is usually bulging on top of caps (they should be flat). Mobo is right vintage for shoddy caps. If caps are failing, mobo replacement time.

If caps are OK, swap out power supply. Power supplies can cause strange problems. Gateway and most other PC vendors use barely adequate (wattage) power supplies.

Dalton

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by TheChas In reply to Gateway PC Boot Problems

I have to agree with the other posts, you have at least 1 bad fan. Most likely the CPU fan.

With power off, spin the cooling fans by hand.

Do they spin freely?

Also check for a lot of wobble. If the fan blade can be easily moved so that it hits the housing, the bearings are shot and the fan needs to be replaced.

We have a lot of PCs that run 24/7. When we have a power outage, we find anywhere from 1 to 6 fans that have worn bearings and will not restart.

If the CPU fan does not spin up to full speed right away, any system that has a CPU health monitor will shut right back down.

If the sound is actually coming from the system speaker or the sound card, then you do have a hardware problem.

Most likely the motherboard itself, but it could be the modem or NIC card.

Chas

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by razz2 In reply to Gateway PC Boot Problems

Wow,all these are good suggestions. Since you said you checked the fans I will assume they are OK. BUT, when the OS frezzes are the fans running?

If so then I would agree with willcomp. You have a board issue. Check the caps as he said and also check all the other components on the board. Look for leaks, burns on diodes etc.

razz

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by rindi1 In reply to Gateway PC Boot Problems

I'd also suggest replacing the PSU with one of more Wattage. Early 1 GHz AMDs run really hot and eat up a lot of energy, So do NVidia Grafics cards (particularly those of geforce type). If it isn't the PSU, check the RAM and then the Grafics card.

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by KLK In reply to Gateway PC Boot Problems

(11-19) All great answers, but none have helped. I have swapped out and stripped down the PC, all to no avail. Everything on the board looks fine, all the fans are running as they should be. I swapped out the power supply (was running on a 300W and used a 350W PS as a swap) but still the same problem. Changed out the AGP graphics card with a PCI, updated the bios, HDD, CDROM, you name it, I swapped it. It's still doing the same thing. I truly think there is something on the board going because the problem has just gotten more frequent. I was able to boot up successfully after a few tries before, and now, it refuses to stay stable.

And yes, once the system has booted successfully, all fans are running, so it's not an overheat issue. I'm out of ideas except replace the MOBO with another GW board. OTC boards do not have the same power-on connectors as GW.

Thanks again everyone!

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by TxTopgun In reply to Gateway PC Boot Problems

Try moving the wires connected to the hard drive. Are you using a Y cable on the power supply before it gets to the hard drive? I had exactly the same issue and went through much of the same processes you described (except it wasn't a Gateway). If I moved the wires, I could then hear the hard drive spin back up. The loose connection is what is causing the feedback type noise. Once it warms up it is probably closing the circuit.

BTW, it is very easy to get around the pin differences on the motherboards. There are a lot of proprietary motherboards out there so what I have found is that you can simply cut off their 'one piece' connector (a Gateway is what gave me the idea) and splice appropriate connectors from an old case. Then you can just plug it in. One other consideration is that you can buy a good aftermarket board (and a case to go with it) for less than you can buy one of their boards which are the cheapest things they can get hold of. With a new case, you can just reuse the other hardware and the plug issue isn't a problem.

In my most recent experience with a proprietary board (EMachines, which is owned by Gateway) I could upgrade the board, processor, and case cheaper than I could buy one of their boards (which by the way has only a 30 day warranty).

Just a thought.

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by KLK In reply to Gateway PC Boot Problems

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