Did you get a chance to try a boot disk as I suggested in my earlier post? If so, what were the results?
Don't worry about not understanding me (my wife says the same thing!) - I'm really into this tech stuff, so occasionally someone has to slap me upside the head to bring me back to earth!
Just let me know what's confusing you and I'll explain it better!
We can talk you through almost anything to do with the computer. That's what we're here for (and a lot of us have been doing this for years)! If there's anything that's too complicated - just let us know and we'll explain it further.
OK, so here we go!......
First, while in your case, you'll need to locate the CMOS battery. It's a round silver thing like a coin. It should say something like CR2032 on it's face. Pickup another CR2032 battery (about $1.50 at WalMart). Then unplug the system from the wall, remove the old battery (there's usually a small clip holding it in), wait 30 minutes and then put the new battery in. Then reboot the computer and see if Windows starts to load. You may get an error message from your BIOS that you need to enter setup. If so, enter it and reset the date and time (nothing else) and exit, saving your changes.
CAVEAT: This probably isn't the cause, but it's a possibility and is a whole lot cheaper and easier than a new hard drive or motherboard.
Next, while I don't expect that this is the problem either (cables, in my experience, don't often go bad on their own), you should check it just to be sure. Once again, it's a cheaper solution than the hard drive or motherboard. The cables are the long, flat one's, about 2 inches wide, with connectors on each end and one in the middle. They're usually grey in color (or off-white). Borrow the cable from the CD Drive (normally there's 2 cables in each case) to do this.
Normally, there'll be 2 of these cables running from the motherboard (the city looking thing) to the drives. And, once again, normally one will run to your hard drive and another will run to your CD Drive. Please note where the one from the hard drive plugs into the motherboard, and which connector is plugged into the hard drive (the one at the end or the one in the middle). If you borrow the one from the CD drive,
Now, when you first borrow the cable from the CD drive, just unplug it from the CD drive and leave it plugged into the motherboard where it is. Plug the proper connector into the hard drive and reboot to see if Windows starts. If so, Great! If not, then shut down and move the cable to the motherboard plug that the hard drive cable was in (leaving it plugged into the hard drive). Then reboot and see if Windows starts. If this doesn't work, just put everything back to the way it was in the beginning and we'll move on from there.
What this has done is it's tested the 2 channels on the motherboard (each of the plugs on the motherboard is a different channel). This helps to rule out a problem that may affect only one of the channels, and helps with the later troubleshooting.
Now, since I've based this on presuming that this is the first time that the case has been opened, that it's not full of dust and hairballs, that the computer hasn't been dropped or smacked, that there haven't been any voltage surges or lighting strikes since before the problem started, and that it's unusual for a cable to spontaneously fail.
That leaves 2 options - the motherboard or the hard drive.
The next easiest, quickest fix is to replace the hard drive and reload Windows (and AOL
) While you can replace the motherboard, this is a much more complicated job and we'd have to discuss some options before you commit to the project.
This will most likely (no guarantees here)
fix the problem - but it'll cost some bucks for a new hard drive and some time to reinstall everything. If you do buy a new hard drive, make sure to get a cable with it - that way you'll be sure that you've got the right cable for drive (40 or 80 pin). Also, before committing to this we'll need more information on the Gateway system that you're working on.
While I was able to find basic information on the Gateway 300SE, I wasn't able to find the detailed specifications. Are there any other markings/numbers on the case that would give us a clue on what to look for? This will help us to give more informed advice on how to work with your system.
Edited by usasma, 20 January 2006 - 10:07 AM.