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Computer so dead I'm typing this from my phone


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#1 Rkeaton23

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 09:48 PM

Hi. Please help. My computer started crashing frequently and now it won't boot at all. I thought the c drive might be defective so I plugged in a backup but no dice. It's crashing right at the beginning of the boot phase, before Windows (Vista) even starts to load. Don't know what to do. There's a brief flicker of blue screen and then it restarts only to crash again. I'm too old to live by phone alone. Must get pc back. Please send help. If you can't send help, send alcohol. Thank you.

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#2 blueelvis

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Posted 07 November 2015 - 05:03 AM

Greetings Rkeaton23 & welcome to the forums ^_^,

 

Please send help. If you can't send help, send alcohol. Thank you. 

First of all, thanks for making me smile :lol:

 

 

Sadly, there is very little we can do without any kind of information. If the Blue Screen is a flash, any chance you could just record a video of it happening and upload it? I could try going through the video frame by frame and see if I am able to get something. Also, along with your next post, kindly include your system specifications. That would help us in helping you.

 

 

Let us know how it goes ^_^

 

-Pranav


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In case I have been helping you and you haven't received a reply from me in 48 hours, please feel free to PM me. Anything else? Still feel free to PM me :)

Did you read this? http://omgdebugging.com/5-tips-for-getting-the-best-bang-for-the-buck-at-fast-food-joints/

#3 usasma

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 05:56 AM

After the system refuses to boot, Vista should boot to the Safe Mode screen (If not, try tapping F8 just as the OEM logo finishes loading).

Near the bottom of the list of options will be an option to "Disable Automatic Restart on System Failure" - select that and press Enter.

The next time the system crashes, it will stop at the BSOD. (FYI - you'll then have to push the power button to shut it down, and press it again to turn it back on)

 

Here's a picture of the screen that I'm referring to:

https://www.google.com/search?q=vista+safe+mode+screen&tbm=isch&imgil=ZIv4LrPEbMJCoM%253A%253BAYR3xBgGZhEJVM%253Bhttps%25253A%25252F%25252Fneosmart.net%25252Fwiki%25252Fblue-screen-death-bsod-errors-windows-vista%25252F&source=iu&pf=m&fir=ZIv4LrPEbMJCoM%253A%252CAYR3xBgGZhEJVM%252C_&biw=1600&bih=759&usg=__MHD_PiTCTwBFbNGyQEFdVCD_DN8%3D&ved=0CCcQyjdqFQoTCIz_0fHUgMkCFYQvJgod1HMCow&ei=-Sk_VsyeA4TfmAHU54mYCg#imgrc=ZIv4LrPEbMJCoM%3A&usg=__MHD_PiTCTwBFbNGyQEFdVCD_DN8%3D


My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#4 Rkeaton23

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 10:42 AM

Thank you.

My safe mode screen does not have that option. The only options are the different ways to start in safe mode and to start windows normally.

I took some pics with my phone but don't even know how to share them here. I'm kinda useless without my pc.

The computer is nine years old with an Athlon 64 X2 dual core processor. Running Vista. Not sure what else to tell you guys. Very frustrated by this, especially having to seek help having only my phone to type with. Your help is appreciated.

#5 Rkeaton23

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 02:14 PM

Through sheer force of will I have managed to successfully start my computer. It won't last long, of that I'm sure.

 

I'm attaching a couple of photos, including a blue screen message. It doesn't display the same message every time it crashes, however.

 

As I said before, initially I thought a new hard drive with a fresh windows install would fix things. But now I think my problem isn't C drive-related. Maybe my motherboard is dying? I do not know. 

 

I wanted to run a level 3 diagnostic but couldn't remember how. (That's me trying to ingratiate myself to you guys with a Star Trek reference.)

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#6 technonymous

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 04:20 PM

Have you tried the option safe mode with command prompt?



#7 usasma

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 06:55 AM

Different messages when crashing are most often due to either hardware problems, or low-level driver/compatibility issues.

As such, start with these free, bootable diagnostics:  http://www.carrona.org/initdiag.html

 

When you state that you plugged in a backup - what exactly did you do?

Is this a full copy of the latest version of Vista with all it's updates installed?

Is the other drive still installed?

Are you able to boot into any of the Safe Mode options?

 

Have you considered getting a new computer?  We could still work on this one, and you'd have some more recent technology to work with.

My point is that an older computer with an older operating system is probably holding you back.

Take a trip to the local computer shop/electronics store and see what's available with computers now.


My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#8 blueelvis

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 07:01 AM

John did you notice that the BSOD message is not complete? Any chance that is related or maybe the shot was taken a little early? What could cause this if the picture was taken at the right time?



-Pranav

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In case I have been helping you and you haven't received a reply from me in 48 hours, please feel free to PM me. Anything else? Still feel free to PM me :)

Did you read this? http://omgdebugging.com/5-tips-for-getting-the-best-bang-for-the-buck-at-fast-food-joints/

#9 usasma

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 09:43 AM

Yes, I noticed it.  I suspect it's either because the shot was taken early, or that there's a hardware issue preventing the BSOD from painting the screen completely.

I thought about asking about it - but held off because I thought it would add too many unanswered questions to the post.

My gut feeling is that this is a hardware issue.

 

As an aside (which may/may not be related to this topic).

The day before yesterday I was called to consult on a problem system.

 

System had been updated to W10 because it was crashing (we updated it, but the customer didn't tell us about the crashes).
Diagnostics before the update all passed (we use QA+Win diags from EuroSoft).

Customer brought it back because it was still crashing.

So we ran diagnostics again, and ran all the fixes that we knew on W10

 

At this point the system was crashing for us fairly frequently.

Once I took over, I quickly verified that the problem was likely NOT software related (due to the lack of a pattern with the BSOD's and them occurring early in the boot process)

I then ran QA+Win again, then ran the OEM's diagnostics, ran MemTest86+ and finally ran the Western Digital Data Life Guard test (it was a Hitachi hard drive)  All of them passed

 

I attempted to restore the computer to W8 (it had been over 30 days, and I wouldn't trust a revert when the system had these problems anyway)

It fought me for hours - I couldn't get it to boot to the recovery partition or to the recovery disks reliably.

Finally I noticed that the palm rest was hot in one area.  Flipped the computer over and found - surprise, surprise - that that was where the hard drive was (and the hard drive was hot!)

So I took a chance, opened up a new HDD, installed it, and started the recovery from the disks.

 

When I left work the OS was installed, the system was updated to W8.1 and W8.1U1

And our custom updates/tweaks/optimization programs were running along without any problems.

 

The point here is that even though the hard drive passed many tests - it was still to blame for the system problems.


My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#10 Rkeaton23

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 10:58 AM

Hi guys. First, thank you again for helping me.

 

I woke up this morning and my computer was still running, amazingly. I've little doubt it will crash again, but in the meantime it is at least a relief to be able to sit at a keyboard and type. 

 

Speaking of crashing, it doesn't only 'crash' per se but often simply freezes up. I'll be on the internet and after a while will go to move my mouse pointer and find everything is frozen, and no matter how long I wait it never unfreezes (thaws?). My only option is to power it off and restart. Other times, I do get a proper blue screen crash. Not sure if that's relevant or not.

 

As for that fading screen grab, it flickers so quickly that it's almost like it doesn't have time to fully display the message before going to black. I was just barely able to pause my video to catch it.

 

John, you asked me a few questions. Here are the answers:

 

When you state that you plugged in a backup - what exactly did you do?

 

This 'backup' hard drive is an older one that had gotten full so I replaced it with a new one a couple years back. It has all my programs intalled on it, including an up-to-date version of Vista. While I was having trouble getting the computer to boot I unplugged my current C drive and tried using the old one but to no avail. I'm now back to my regular C drive which is working fine, for the moment.

 

Is the other drive still installed?

 

No. In fact, after trying unsuccessfully about 30 times to power up my computer I got desperate, unplugged it, laid it on a table and stripped out just about everything I could. I took out both optical drives (more on that below), my second hard drive and my sound card. Whether or not this helped in any way I don't know. The computer didn't immediately work after doing this, but did work shortly after.

 

Are you able to boot into any of the Safe Mode options?

 

No. Although I only tried regular Safe Mode because I don't know what the others are or how they work. When I tried safe mode it would begin to load that long list of components (or whatever) and then quickly crash.

 

Now, as for this optical drive issue. My dvd-rom seems to be malfunctioning. I almost never use it except to install Windows every few years for whatever reason. And that's what I was going to do here - I bought a brand new drive and had my Windows disc in hand - but I couldn't even get the dvd-rom to eject. It sounded locked (had power but wouldn't open). I was a naughty boy and pulled the drive apart and slipped my Windows disc in from the top, plugged it back in with the brand new hard drive connected, planning to start from scratch. When I powered up I got a simple 'boot failed, insert disc' message (or words to that effect). So I abandoned that plan and that's when I decided to strip all the hardware that didn't seem essential and re-try my C drive.

 

In case you're wondering, my boot drive priority is set properly in the bios: first the dvd-rom followed by the hard drive group.

 

So my plan now is to order a new dvd-rom and try again starting fresh with this brand new hard drive (since I already bought it) and see if that stops the problems. I backed up all my files when these issues began just in case it came to this.

 

Phew, like I said feels good to be able to type at length! :)



#11 Rkeaton23

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 11:03 AM

Also....thank you for those diagnostic tools. I will need some time to pour over the pages and make sense of it all, then I'll try them.



#12 usasma

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 05:39 PM

Thanks for the response.  It makes a bit more sense now.

One thing I didn't mention about using the disks was that Windows is a bit peculiar when it loads during installation.

It may load the boot files on one drive, then transfer control to Windows on another drive.  It does this in the background without telling you.

 

Crashing during Safe Mode tends to be either a hardware or a Windows issue.

As it crashes on a previously known good drive, the most likely scenario is a hardware failure.

So, run the hardware diagnostics and then move on from there.

 

Good luck!


My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#13 Rkeaton23

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 01:29 PM

I started this a couple months ago when all seemed hopeless. Eventually I was able to patch my pc up and get it to run but I've continued to have issues.

 

Two days ago I installed a brand spanking new hard drive, hoping it would make the problems disappear. It did not, so I think I can eliminate that for sure.

 

Here are a couple interesting symptoms:

 

Cannot install new software. Yes, that's right. I was able to install a new browser and a couple other programs (vlc, irfanview) but then tried to install CCleaner and Adobe Flash and was unable to. I go to the website to get the exe file and download it successfully, but then when I click on the file (or right-click and select 'run as administrator) NOTHING happens. I was having this same problem with the old C drive. Odd, no?

 

And here's another. When I wake my computer from sleeping the monitor will be gray with colored vertical lines through it - sort of like an old tv on a snowy channel. But if I click the power off on my monitor, wait a second and click it back on again my desktop appears and all is normal again. This happens every time.

 

And I still get occasional, random blue screen crashes (sometimes it says 'memory dump', other times 'bad pool header').

 

SO HERE IS MY UNEDUCATED GUESS:

 

Since I've stripped out virtually every other piece of hardware (sound card, both optical drives, other hard drives) I'm thinking either my motherboard is failing or perhaps the RAM needs to be replaced. Bear in mind I'm an idiot. But they're about the only things left that are 10 years old. Everything else is pretty much new.

 

OH YEAH, and here's my reason for suspecting bad RAM: after installing Windows on the new hard drive I couldn't get it to reboot. Not even to BIOS. It was just a black screen and a long error beep from the tower. Tried 10-15 times. Then on a lark I removed one of the three sticks of RAM and VOILA, it booted right up. 

 

So...thoughts?



#14 JohnC_21

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Posted 23 January 2016 - 02:19 PM

Have you ran the memory diagnostics usasma suggested? You can download Memtest86+  here, create a bootable disk, and run the diagnostics for at least 6 passes and preferably overnight.



#15 Rkeaton23

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 01:25 PM

I haven't. For one thing I removed the disc drives because it only seems to want to stay stable if it's stripped down. I may try that. In the meantime I saw how cheap RAM is so I'm going to try putting some new sticks in to see what happens. After that, may just replace the motherboard. I saw they can be pretty cheap, too.






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