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My mother's XP computer is beeping continuously


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#1 Firetooth

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 12:45 AM

Hi,
Long phonecall with my aging mother tonight. She got a computer about 3 weeks ago: used Dell Optiplex, Windows XP professional, Avast, Zonealarm, Firefox--which I configured and set up for her. At that time everything was working fine.

She says she has been on the computer every day and has been able to google and visit sites. She wanted me to help her access her email which she hadn't done since I was with her. I got the impression that she has been doing force quits instead of powering down.

We spent quite awhile trying different things. We were able connect to the internet, update Avast (which had a program update and we did a real restart). At some point she said the computer started beeping loudly and it never stopped for the rest of the time we were on the phone. I didn't hear the beeps and did not ask her to characterize them, but i could do that tomorrow.

We tried Mozilla which did not load. Then we tried Explorer. She was able to google g-mail and sign in, at which point she got a message saying she had to enable cookies. We went through several steps in internet options but the problem was not solved.

Meanwhile, Firefox had finally opened. Cookies were disabled in Firefox too. I have no idea how this happened. (After the call I read up on enabling cookies and can help her with this tomorrow.)

But what about the beeping? The computer is about 5 inches off the floor on some huge books. There is carpeting in the room. Not sure if it is overheating or not, but the computer was completely clean when I connected it and it has a good fan. She has no pets. I had used it for a few weeks before I gave it to her and it worked fine.

All ideas welcome.

Thanks!
Firetooth

Edited by Firetooth, 26 April 2010 - 12:48 PM.


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#2 hamluis

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 07:38 AM

Beeping when using the computer...is a sign of overheating, IME.

This contrasts with BIOS beeps, which indicate a hardware problem of some sort.

I think this needs a hands-on look.

Louis

#3 Firetooth

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 09:46 AM

Thanks Louis!
I called a friend in Sacramento to try to find someone who can go and take a look at her computer. I won't be able to go there for quite awhile.

It would be good for her to have a local support person anyway.

I will let you know the results and hopefully the solution!

Firetooth

#4 Firetooth

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 11:50 AM

update: heard back from my friend in Sacramento. She says everyone she knows is a MAC person. She recommended a commercial group that does home visits. I called them. Pretty expensive, yikes!

Not sure if this fits within the guidelines of this board but if anyone knows someone decent in Sacramento for computer repair, I would be grateful. If they don't do home visits I will try to make arrangements for someone to bring it in to their shop, etc. You can PM me if that is more allowed.

Thanks! Firetooth

#5 strolln

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 12:14 PM

One longshot I thought of: Any chance there's something laying on the keyboard or possibly a stuck key on the keyboard?

Too bad your mom didn't live closer. I'd be willing to help but it's about a 2 hour drive each way for me. Can't recommend anyone in Sacramento.
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#6 Firetooth

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 12:31 PM

Thanks strolln!


I will check in with her when she gets home and ask about things on the keyboard, stuck keys, etc, before we invest in a repair-person.

Always worth checking out the simple things first!

#7 hamluis

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 01:06 PM

What I do with my siblings...they send the system to me via UPS...would work for you and your mother.

It overcomes the distance, allows someone with knowledge and ability to troubleshoot the problem...and make a backup, reinstall XP, etc...whatever the situation calls for.

You don't have to go to the system...the system can come to you easily and quickly.

Louis

#8 petewills

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 01:48 PM

I installed the free Teamviewer on my computer and my father's computer and can access and control his computer
if he has a problem. There's also a quick support module which can be run on the remote computer without
installing. Saves misunderstandings on the phone, when you can see what's happening.

Worth a look:

http://www.teamviewer.com/index.aspx

Remote access has its limitations - the hands-on view (as per Louis, Post #2) is always best.

Edited by petewills , 26 April 2010 - 02:13 PM.


#9 Eyesee

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 04:57 PM

Im thinking the same thing as strolln, a stuck key on the keyboard or something resting on one.

How come this computer is 5 inches off the floor?
Just curious
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#10 Firetooth

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 05:13 PM

Thanks for all the replies!

@Louis--I think the UPS idea is excellent and will most likely do that.

@petewills--After seeing your post I did some reading about Teamviewer. Great idea! Not sure my mother will be able to install her part of it or if it is safe to do so, but I will definitely install it when I get her computer.

@Eyesee--I am definitely going to follow up on the stuck key idea. Also wondering if perhaps she was resting her hand on the keyboard or something. Tower is 5 inches off the floor to reduce dust intake. :thumbsup:

Will continue with breaking news as it happens!

Firetooth

#11 Eyesee

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 05:23 PM

Keep us posted

Inquiring minds want to know!
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#12 Firetooth

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 12:45 PM

Finally reached my mother and she and I are going to talk in half an hour when she gets home from the gym (!)

She did say when we spoke briefly last night that she has turned on the computer a couple of times, no beeping, but also unable to access anything.

I think if an overheating problem then of course it would not beep until on for awhile. So we will see what happens.
We will also look around for stuck keys, things on the keyboard. If no beeping at all today they I will probably postpone that problem, and perhaps she had something sitting on the keyboard which she did not notice, like her glasses, who knows.

As far as her access problems I feel able to work with her on that. Hopefully it will be fairly simple. If not, you will doubtless be hearing from me.

I have installed Teamviewer in the meantime but doubt she will be able to do her part of it, not today anyway. Is there a forum anywhere for beginners? (meaning me, not her.)

A question: her system had no built-in speakers so I added some. But if a computer had no speakers at all, would it be able to beep if in trouble? Sorry for the ignorance of the question but it will help my overall understanding of things.

Stay tuned.

Firetooth

Edited by Firetooth, 28 April 2010 - 12:47 PM.


#13 hamluis

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 01:30 PM

I believe that most motherboards come with an internal speaker, that's how BIOS beeps are heard without the system ever booting.

Thus the user is not dependent on external speakers and a soundcard...for detection/awareness of overheating and other malfunctions involving hardware.

http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000725.htm

Louis

#14 strolln

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 01:56 PM

Motherboards rarely have a built-in speaker, the speaker generally is part of the case and needs to be attached to output pins on the motherboard.
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#15 Firetooth

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:45 PM

Today's episode:
Just got off phone.
First of all, thanks for replies. It would appear that her computer does have an internal speaker . . . I will get to that later.

She is having problems getting onto the internet now so I thought we would work on that and see if and when the beeping started.

First the good news: Avast is updating fine, and Zonealarm is working fine, asking for allowances to the recent Avast program update we installed the other night.

There were some Firefox updates to her add-ons, which she was able to successfully add and the Firefox add-on page did appear.

We were able to open CCleaner and clear her cookies . . . not too bad, about 19mb. I had her scan the registry, 6 problems. Didn't remove, just wanted to know what would come up.

We could not open Firefox. It would appear in the tray but when she would click on it nothing would happen, or sometimes it seemed like an unrelated small window, but definitely not the start screen for Firefox.

After about 45 minutes the beeping started. It continued after we turned off her speakers and even after the computer was completely powered down. Seems like an overheating problem, based on Louis's post. I spoke to A technician at the shop that refurbished the computer yesterday, a very good nonprofit. She said she didn't think it was overheating because that would shut it down automatically. But the timing of the beeping on 2 occasions really does seem like overheating to me.

The computer remains in a good place, not dirty, etc, so perhaps a fan is not working or something.

Re the overheating/beeping therefore someone is going to have to put their hands on this one way or another. I will try to find help for her in sending the computer via ups to either me or the shop, since it is still under a 90 day warranty.

Re the problem of the icons in the tray not opening, I will probably look around on Firefox for an answer but if you have ideas I'd be to hear them.

All in all, the help here has been of great assistance is getting toward a solution and keeping me optimistic!

Cheers,
Firetooth

Edited by Firetooth, 28 April 2010 - 02:46 PM.





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