My computer is not working (can't even get the BIOS)

By asher2jk ·
The Details.
Motherboard - Intel 865 series
OS - Windows 7 (installed it a week ago)
Processor - P4
RAM - 1.2 GB
HDD - 160 GB
Graphics - NVDIA FX 5500.

Okay can't think of anything else that you guys might require. So I installed windows 7, everything was running smoothly, I was happy :)
Then out of the blue it just froze with the HDD LED continuously on. I let it stay like that for 5-10 mts thinking maybe it would revive but alas!!! :)
I restarted it and my woes began.
It starts but it doesn't do anything. I don't get anything on the screen, Moreover the HDD LED is continuously stays on. Even if I remove the HDD it stays on.
Things I have tried:

All the other things I guess are working. the Lan Card, the optical drives. they all at least startup but I don't get anything on the monitor.
The RAM's working, I guess not sure. (I removed it from the slot and the MB makes beeps)
The monitor's working, again not sure (Removed cable from the MB, it show a self diagnostic message saying check the cable so I believe its working fine)
The HDD working. (Took it to a friends computer and it booted up fine)
So I am stuck with a desktop where I can't figure out what's wrong. I believe its the motherboard but I don't know what to do about it without getting anything on the monitor. Never faced this kind of a problem before.
P.s. I know its an old computer but its the only one I have right now :) Anything that avoids buying a new MB would be wonderful.
Thanks to all people who help :)
Also I don't mind tinkering around with the system.

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All Answers

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does sound like the motherboard, or graphics

by .Martin. In reply to My computer is not workin ...

from what you have said, it sounds like something has gone on the motherboard, could also be the graphics card.

have a quick look at the motherboard.
check none of the of the capacitors are bulging
check the CPU fan is on correctly, is secure.

also check all the fans are running in the computer. I say this, as when the motor in the fan on my 9800GT blew, I had the same sort of result. so check the CPU fan GPU (Graphics) fan, and any other fan in the computer is still running at full speed.

get back to us with any results


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You could try replacing the Power Supply here

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to My computer is not workin ...

It just might make a difference.

Things like the HDD Warning LED staying on continuously indicate either a failed M'Board or a failing Power Supply. If you have not unplugged the Computer from the mains you may also like to do that and press the On Button with no power lead in the computer to discharge the capacitors.

It may make a difference but if it does that really indicates a failing Power Supply. Also you should be able to easily and cheaply replace the M'Board with another second hand one though I do not know of many P4 M'Boards that can carry 12 GIG of RAM. That really doesn't sound at all right.


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by .Martin. In reply to You could try replacing t ...

I saw that as 1.2

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Its the Motherboard.

by asher2jk In reply to 12???

Okay.. I have figured out at least this much.. Its the motherboard.. Well I think that most probably it is the motherboard.
Took so much time to reply as was trying a number of things.
The monitor is working fine. (connected it to another friend's computer)
Tried a different HDD but got the same result. HDD LED would stay on continuously with nothing on the monitor.
Martin, the GPU's fan is working fine and so are the other fans.
As for the capacitors, well they all seem fine to me, same as ever. Never had a eye for these lil fellas.
OH Smeg, I tried what you said but it was of no avail.. I am not sure if I did what you wanted.. Should I be holding down the power button.. And I bought the PSU recently.. sometime last year..
and Smeg :) the cost of the MB won't hurt, it would the be the cost of the new processor, new GPU, new RAMs ( I currently have DDR) that would hurt :) so I want to avoid that right now.
And yes Martin was correct there and I double checked, I had written 1.2 :)
So now that I believe its the MB, what options do I have??

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by asher2jk In reply to Its the Motherboard.

Why it took me much time was because was I had to clean the MB. I clean it regularly, okay not regularly but I do.. But I never looked under the heatsink.. Frankly speaking I was kind of scared to fiddle with it.. Today I guess I was desperate so took desperate measures.. Took out the heat sink and OMG it had so much dust under it.. Cleaning it took a lot of time, it was very fine dust.. Never expected that much dust. I have cleaned it now, checked the processor chip too but it was clean as a whistle.
Don't know if this is important but wanted to let you know.
So far the only good thing out of all this is that I am not afraid of tinkering with the CPU anymore :)

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that 'cleaning' might be a problem

by .Martin. In reply to P.S.

I'm presuming this 'dust' that you cleaned is actually thermal compound. the thermal compound helps move the heat from the CPU to the Heatsink of the fan. so removing it, was bad. replacing this is easy (as long as you haven't damaged anything during this cleaning). Thermal compound can be found at any electronics or computer store (ranging in price, the more expensive, the better the quality of the paste)

as for the capacitors, they should be (nearly) perfect cylinders picture of normal and bulging capacitors here:

as for replacing parts, as this seems the only option (repair could be an option, but for an old board, would be too expensive) you shouldn't need to replace everything. they still make P4 boards (they use the same board as the core2duo and core2quad), RAM would need to be replaced (as everything is DDR2 and DDR3 these days), and you don't know, you might be lucky and find an motherboard that takes your graphics card (from what I can tell, it was AGP?)

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A New One/Replacement is the only option

by asher2jk In reply to that 'cleaning' might be ...

No the dust was dust only.. The thermal Paste I presume was the sticky stuff that was on the base of the heatsink.. Am I correct??
Well if it was that then I did not remove that.. I let it stay there.
Okay will check for capacitors again.. Thankx for the pic.. it would help :)
Yes, you are right.. its an AGP card.. another extra purchase if I go for a new MB.. would go for a PCI express one since that is the norm now isn't it.
Yes you are right about the RAM, an off topic question, are the slots for DDR2 and DDR3 RAMS same or diff??
Again would like to make sure that there is no other option left.

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Thermal Paste also known as Silicon Grease

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to A New One/Replacement is ...

Is finicky stuff. Any contamination will destroy it. So you should spread it with a clean flat metal surfacer and never under any circumstances allow dust or your fingers to come into contact with it.

Also I think that people are missing the insides of the Power Supply here. They have a fan in those which may have failed particularly if this relatively new PS isn't one of the better ones or if it has taken a severe Spike recently.

When they take a hit like that the Capacitors inside the PS fail or at least start to not filter as well as they should and then slowly degrade from there. The ideal job of a good PS is to sacrifice itself to protect the internals of the computer from the crap and junk on the mains.

Also because these units are sealed they do tend to become more of a Dust Bunny Magnet than the actual insides of the case.


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Mother board warranty

by zknapik In reply to Its the Motherboard.

Standard motherboard warranty is 3 years.
If main board less than 3 years old and has no burnt pins on cpu socket RMA board (get approval before returning) to factory. SEND
MAIN BOARD ONLY BACK TO FACTORY! They will send you another without charge. If board outside warranty they will still service it but approximate cost of repair $60. Service 4 - 6 weeks Slow but much much cheaper than replacing everything. In hurry for similar board try Ebay or Kijiji - both free to buyer.Sometimes get very lucky and find someone close to you or ebay store that ships from a wharehouse close. Very fast service from here in Canada.

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Not Possible

by asher2jk In reply to Mother board warranty

My poor baby is 6 years old :)

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