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Computer not powering on normally -- hard drive going bad?


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5 replies to this topic

#1 William_D

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 01:35 AM

Last March, I had the Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit operating system reinstalled on my Dell desktop computer.

The computer worked perfectly after the installation.  I sense that there is no relationship between this event and what I describe as follows.

 

Since then, on several (six or seven) occasions at long, odd intervals, when I first turned the power on, the computer (apparently the hard drive) has made an ominous “whirring,” mechanical (rather than an “electrical”) sound—as if it was spinning and not engaging somehow.

 

On at least four occasions that I clearly remember, I could only stop the noise by shutting off power to the computer.

(When I restarted the computer, the sound did not recur and the computer started normally.)

 

I currently live in India, and the electricity supply here is very erratic.

A few times, when my computer was installing and configuring downloads, I had to shut the computer down before they were completed—because the UPS was running out of power.

I do not remember clearly, but I believe that the problem began at one point after I was not able to shut the computer down normally.

 

 

Now, to the present issue:

 

Increasingly, over the last 6 – 8 weeks, when I turned on my computer, it seemed to hang.

After I turned the computer off and on again, it started normally.

 

The computer has stopped hanging when it starts up.

However, now, almost every time when I press the UPS power button, the computer starts up without my pressing the power button on the “system unit.”

After the computer then starts up (after the Dell logo appears, but before the user log-in window appears), I get the message:  “CMOS checksum error – Defaults loaded.  Press F1 to continue.”

After I press the F1 key, the computer then starts normally—except for the fact that I must reset the date and time.

I have tried to use a repair disk that I created after the operating system was reinstalled the last time, but the computer will not recognize the CD/DVD player.

 

So, finally, I have several questions:

 

                  1.            Do you have an idea as to why the computer (or hard drive) made the “whirring” sound?

 

                  2.            Do you feel there is a relationship between the sound (or the hard drive going bad) and the fact that the computer is not booting properly?

 

                  3.            If you feel there is not a relationship between the sound and the fact that computer is not booting properly, do you have an idea as to why the computer is not booting properly?

 

                  4.            Do you feel that the problem with the sound and / or the computer not booting properly could be solved by simply reloading the operating system?



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#2 mralias518

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 02:42 PM

The CMOS error could be due to the depletion of the CMOS battery.  Replace the flat watch like battery on the motherboard and see if that takes care of the CMOS error. 

 

As far as the hard drive goes,  any noise that is new on a hard drive is never a good sign. How old is the drive? What kind of drive is it? The drive could be on the way out so the very first thing you want to do is backup what ever you can just in case it crashes and will not restart. Depending on the size of the drive you might be able to make an image of your old drive to put on a new drive. HD are fairly cheap now a days here in the USA but may be different where you are. 


Edited by hamluis, 15 February 2015 - 04:47 PM.
Removed unnecessary quotebox - Hamluis.

Linux Mint 17.1 Rebecca & Windows 8.1 Dual Boot.

Dell E6410 i5 7.60518 Gib of ram

 


#3 William_D

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 05:53 AM

I am very grateful for your answer.  Based on my rather limited understanding, it makes sense that a depleted CMOS battery is the reason I must reset the date and time when I restart the computer.  And I sense how it might be the cause of the overall problem of the computer not starting properly.

 

It would seem that the sound (probably the hard disk drive going bad) is a separate issue.  The hard drive is a Western Digital--about 4 years old.

 

-- WDH



#4 Kilroy

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 06:37 AM

If the hard drive is four years old it could quite possible be failing.  Download and run the Western Digital Lifeguard to test the drive.

 

The CMOS battery is inexpensive to replace.



#5 mralias518

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Posted 15 February 2015 - 02:29 PM

Make sure you back up your data first before you try this. This test will stress your drive and may cause it to fail which would leave you SOL if your data is not backed up.


Edited by hamluis, 05 March 2015 - 02:02 PM.
Removed unnecessary quotebox - Hamluis.

Linux Mint 17.1 Rebecca & Windows 8.1 Dual Boot.

Dell E6410 i5 7.60518 Gib of ram

 


#6 William_D

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 11:03 PM

As I mentioned in my initial posting, I live in India.  I and most other computer owners I know here dread taking a computer for repair.  Many of the repairmen simply do not know what they are doing--and try to manipulate the situation to extract as much money as possible.  The owner might have to fight to get his computer back.  Parts might be swapped out.  The computer often comes back scratched and damaged.  There may be more problems with the computer when the owner gets it back than when he first handed it over for repair.  (I speak from experience.)

 

 

Now to my point:  As a couple respondents suggested, I replaced the CMOS battery myself and tried a fix for the DVD player suggested elsewhere.  My computer now works perfectly.

 

My post to this Website was the first time I have gone on-line to ask for help with my computer.

 

Once again, I am deeply grateful to everyone who tried to help me.  You probably spared me a great deal of misery.


Edited by hamluis, 05 March 2015 - 02:04 PM.
Removed unnecessary quotebox - Hamluis.





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