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Four year old computer no longer booting


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#1 FragmentalStew

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 09:57 AM

When I  woke up today, my pc was off.  I had left it on and it shouldn't have lost power, because it was connected to a ups.  When I turned on the pc, it starts with high speed fans but no post.  It then restarts and repeats.  From the leds on the motherboard, I can see that it's switching between primary and secondary bios when it reboots.  Switching from double to single bios causes pc to start with high speed fan, no post, and no reboot.

This isn't the first problem I've had with the system However.  I don't remember when it started exactly, but at some point it started to ocassionally crash during exceptionally high load.  Most of the time, it would simply freeze and a short bit of audio(~1 second or less)would repeat.  Hard reset would be required.
 
Additionally, (and I don't know when this started happening either) sometimes the pc wouldn't boot right away.  Fans would start up and spin at full speed, but no post.  Sometimes, when this happened, restarting would work.  Other times I would unplug the power supply and wait some time.  I don't know if unplugging made any difference, but it's something I started doing.  Sometimes the pc would start to boot correctly and then suddenly restart with full speed fans and no post.
 
These are the steps I've taken so far
The motherboard has a Debug LED display that shows a 2 digit code.  I assume this LED displays something when it successfully posts, so this is mostly what I've been using to determine if it has posted.  Additionally, I always have a display plugged in.  At first, to the graphics card and then to the internal gpu.

I tried resetting the cmos and there was no change.  I tried both bioses in either single or dual mode and there was no change.
 
I removed the graphics card, but there was no change.  I unplugged everything from the psu except the two motherboard connectors.  I tried using only one memory slot with either of my two memory cards and and there was no change..
 
This motherboard has leads for testing voltages, but I could find no voltages on most leads, while the pc was powered on.  I found .01 on VRIN and 1.49 on VDIMM.  The other leads are labeled VIOA, VSA, VAXG, VRING, VIOD, AND VCORE.  I have not tested the leads on the atx connector directly.  The motherboard is still in the case, which made getting the multimeter leads on the voltage measurement points a little difficult, but I'm pretty sure I was successful.
 
I tried a different power supply with 280 watts and single 4 pin 12v atx plug.  (Previous power supply is 600 wats with 8 pin 12v atx plug, but this is the best alternative power supply I had available) there was no change.  I did not test voltage leads with 280 watt psu.
 
Additionally I tried the 600 watt power supply in another computer computer, and that computer started up with high fan speeds and no post.  Which has me stumped.  
I had assumed that either the psu or the motherboard were bad, but now since the psu didn't work in both computers, and the motherboard didn't work with both power supplies, I'm just not entirely sure what steps to take next.
 
Specs and other info
The motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H.  It's built with more durable components than average, such as solid state capacitors and beefy heat sinks.   But still has only 3 of 5 eggs on newegg.

The power supply is a corsair cx600m.
 
It's unlikely to be an overheating issues, because I checked my temperatures religiously with speedfan for a while.

There was a storm yesterday, so it's possible there could have been lightening when I was asleep, but I think it's unlikely because I found no signs of damage on the motherboard, and no signs of damage with any other appliance in the house.  edit:  I checked and even though there was rain, I don't believe there was any thunder or lightening.

Any help is appreciated, and think you for reading.
 
Update:  I got a new power supply and there was no change in the symptoms.  I suspect the old cx600m power supply may have had some issue that damaged or corrupted the motheboard, because the cx600m exhibits these same symptoms in a known working computer:

 

 

sometimes the pc wouldn't boot right away.  Fans would start up and spin at full speed, but no post.  Sometimes, when this happened, restarting would work.  Other times I would unplug the power supply and wait some time.  I don't know if unplugging made any difference, but it's something I started doing.

Edited by FragmentalStew, 22 June 2018 - 06:24 AM.


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#2 hamluis

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 10:51 AM

Please download MiniToolBox  , save it to your desktop and run it.
 
Checkmark the following checkboxes:
  List last 10 Event Viewer log
  List Installed Programs
  List Users, Partitions and Memory size.
 
Click Go and paste the content into your next post.
 
Also...please Publish a Snapshot using Speccy taking care to post the link of the snapshot in your next post.

   Go to Piriform's website, and download the free version on the left.  Click Download from Piriform.com (the FileHippo link requires an extra click). Or if you want to use a portable version of Speccy (which doesn't require installation), click the builds page link and download the portable version. You will now be asked where you want to save the file. The best place to put it is the Desktop, as it will be easy to find later.

    After the file finishes downloading, you are ready to run Speccy. If you downloaded the installer, simply double-click on it and follow the prompts until installation is complete. If you downloaded the portable version, you will need to unzip it before use. Right-click the ZIP file and click Extract all. Click Next. Open up the extracted folder and double-click on Speccy.
 
     Once inside Speccy, it will look similar to this (with your computer's specifications, of course):
 
post-33068-0-86653600-1480692866_thumb.j

     Now, at the top, click File > Publish Snapshot.

     Click Yes > then Copy to Clipboard

Now, once you are back in the forum topic you are posting in, click the ADD REPLY or REPLY TO THIS TOPIC button. Right-click in the empty space of the Reply box and click Paste. Then, click Add Reply below the Reply box.

Louis



#3 FragmentalStew

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 11:32 AM

The pc doesn't post, so running software on the pc is impossible.


Edited by hamluis, 21 June 2018 - 02:27 PM.
Removed unnecessary quotebox - Hamluis.


#4 mikey11

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 12:02 PM

 

When I  woke up today, my pc was off.  I had left it on and it shouldn't have lost power, because it was connected to a ups.  When I turned on the pc, it starts with high speed fans but no post.  It then restarts and repeats.  From the leds on the motherboard, I can see that it's switching between primary and secondary bios when it reboots.  Switching from double to single bios causes pc to start with high speed fan, no post, and no reboot.

This isn't the first problem I've had with the system However.  I don't remember when it started exactly, but at some point it started to ocassionally crash during exceptionally high load.  Most of the time, it would simply freeze and a short bit of audio(~1 second or less)would repeat.  Hard reset would be required.
 

 

 

 

i didnt read the whole thing....however what you are describing here sounds like overheating,

 

as a first step.....i would open it up and remove the CPU fan....clean the fan and the CPU heat sink....reinstall the fan


Edited by mikey11, 21 June 2018 - 12:02 PM.


#5 FragmentalStew

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 01:43 PM


To quote my own post; third from last paragraph.

"It's unlikely to be an overheating issues, because I checked my temperatures religiously with speedfan for a while."

Temperatures were generally about 40 degrees centigrade.   50 if load was high.  CPU fan and heatsink has been cleaned recently.

 

 


Edited by hamluis, 21 June 2018 - 02:28 PM.


#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 02:33 PM

There is no LED code shown  on the MB when the computer attempts to boot? 

 

Have you tried a powercycle? Remove the power cord, hold the power button for 30 seconds. Attach the power cord and boot. From the previous problems you posted, I have to hazard a guess it's a motherboard problem. You could breakboard the motherboard. This would make it easier to check your voltages at the PSU connection on the MB.

 

Did you check the voltage of the socket the computer is attached to? If the computer is connected to the UPS or surge protector connect it directly to the outlet. Try connecting to another outlet. 



#7 jonuk76

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 04:52 PM

 

I tried a different power supply with 280 watts and single 4 pin 12v atx plug.  (Previous power supply is 600 wats with 8 pin 12v atx plug, but this is the best alternative power supply I had available) there was no change.  I did not test voltage leads with 280 watt psu.
 
 

 

It's possible that the 280w PSU, particularly if it is old, is unable to provide enough power on the 12v rail to power up your system.  Older ATX PSU's were geared to provide a balance across 3.3v, 5v, 12v etc.  Newer specs call for much greater reliance on the 12v rail.  Are you using a discrete GPU?  These also draw a lot of power on the 12v rail.

 

 
Additionally I tried the 600 watt power supply in another computer computer, and that computer started up with high fan speeds and no post.  Which has me stumped.  
 
I had assumed that either the psu or the motherboard were bad, but now since the psu didn't work in both computers, and the motherboard didn't work with both power supplies, I'm just not entirely sure what steps to take next.
 

 

 

To clarify, are you saying you put this 600 w PSU into a working computer, and got those results?  What about when you refit it's original PSU, did it power up again?


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#8 FragmentalStew

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 07:15 PM

There is no LED code shown  on the MB when the computer attempts to boot? 

 

Have you tried a powercycle? Remove the power cord, hold the power button for 30 seconds. Attach the power cord and boot. From the previous problems you posted, I have to hazard a guess it's a motherboard problem. You could breakboard the motherboard. This would make it easier to check your voltages at the PSU connection on the MB.

 

Did you check the voltage of the socket the computer is attached to? If the computer is connected to the UPS or surge protector connect it directly to the outlet. Try connecting to another outlet. 

 

No LED code shows when the MB attempts to boot.  That's what I"m looking for and it shows nothing.  It does sort of flash on for a fraction of a second(but I think that's normal?  and I don't think it's a code a think it's just a bit of light).

It has been properly drained of power on numerous occasions.  Holding the power button to drain it faster is new to me.  I'll try that more often in the future. 

 

I'm not really comfortable breadboarding.  I'm always super paranoid about static electricity and shorts.  I also don't know where my motherboard box is.  I may have to give it a try somehow.

 

I have tried the pc in a different socket and connected directly to the socket.  There was no change.



#9 FragmentalStew

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 07:33 PM

 

 

I tried a different power supply with 280 watts and single 4 pin 12v atx plug.  (Previous power supply is 600 wats with 8 pin 12v atx plug, but this is the best alternative power supply I had available) there was no change.  I did not test voltage leads with 280 watt psu.
 
 

 

It's possible that the 280w PSU, particularly if it is old, is unable to provide enough power on the 12v rail to power up your system.  Older ATX PSU's were geared to provide a balance across 3.3v, 5v, 12v etc.  Newer specs call for much greater reliance on the 12v rail.  Are you using a discrete GPU?  These also draw a lot of power on the 12v rail.

 

 
Additionally I tried the 600 watt power supply in another computer computer, and that computer started up with high fan speeds and no post.  Which has me stumped.  
 
I had assumed that either the psu or the motherboard were bad, but now since the psu didn't work in both computers, and the motherboard didn't work with both power supplies, I'm just not entirely sure what steps to take next.
 

 

 

To clarify, are you saying you put this 600 w PSU into a working computer, and got those results?  What about when you refit it's original PSU, did it power up again?

 

Yes, I have two computers.  One is a working Lenovo with(I think?) a second generation i3(to give you an indication of its age) and a working 280w PSU.  The other computer, is my custom built workstation with the 600w PSU.

The 600w PSU didn't work in either computer and the motherboard in my workstation didn't work with either PSU.

 

 

That was my thinking about the 280w PSU;  especially because the other pc didn't boot with the 600w psu either.  So I bit the bullet and bought a new PSU.  I tested the new evga 850w psu in the working Lenovo and it worked fine.  But when I tested it in my workstation the computer exhibited the exact same behavior as before.

Just to be thorough, I again tried the 600w psu in the lenovo and it actually booted.  Then after I reset it, it started with fans on high and no post as my workstation used to do.  This makes me believe that the fans on high no post behavior of my workstation was caused by the psu all along and I wonder if possibly the faulty PSU caused my motherboard to fail over time.

I have a discrete gpu, but I've been testing with it removed, and the monitor plugged into the igpu slot of the motherboard.



#10 jonuk76

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 11:19 PM

Well I can't explain the problems with your Lenovo system and your old PSU, but it's not a bad thing to replace the PSU if it's suspect.

 

I feel your frustration having had something similar happen with my last "main" system (also Gigabyte) more than once.  It had for some reason developed an increasingly frequent problem of corrupting it's main BIOS, and it seemed to possibly be related to Windows sleep mode - it would go to sleep under Windows, and just fail to recover, and subsequently fail to POST even after hard reset and a simple CMOS reset.  It didn't do it when new, but developed after maybe a year or two. Recovering from the backup BIOS consistently proved far from easy.  In my case, I managed to get it to POST through breadboarding it (as mentioned by John above) and just sheer number of attempts... Power off at wall - reset CMOS - retry.  I'd also sometimes reseat the memory, etc.  It would eventually recover (I would be greeted with a screen showing BIOS recovery mode), but I ended up sending back the board for warranty repair as I need a reliable system.

 

Here is the recommended methods for dual bios recovery - I never tried the jumper cable method. https://superuser.com/questions/1141050/how-to-force-gigabyte-motherboard-to-boot-in-the-backup-bios-by-shorting-pins-on


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#11 FragmentalStew

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Posted 22 June 2018 - 03:59 AM

Well I can't explain the problems with your Lenovo system and your old PSU, but it's not a bad thing to replace the PSU if it's suspect.

 

I feel your frustration having had something similar happen with my last "main" system (also Gigabyte) more than once.  It had for some reason developed an increasingly frequent problem of corrupting it's main BIOS, and it seemed to possibly be related to Windows sleep mode - it would go to sleep under Windows, and just fail to recover, and subsequently fail to POST even after hard reset and a simple CMOS reset.  It didn't do it when new, but developed after maybe a year or two. Recovering from the backup BIOS consistently proved far from easy.  In my case, I managed to get it to POST through breadboarding it (as mentioned by John above) and just sheer number of attempts... Power off at wall - reset CMOS - retry.  I'd also sometimes reseat the memory, etc.  It would eventually recover (I would be greeted with a screen showing BIOS recovery mode), but I ended up sending back the board for warranty repair as I need a reliable system.

 

Here is the recommended methods for dual bios recovery - I never tried the jumper cable method. https://superuser.com/questions/1141050/how-to-force-gigabyte-motherboard-to-boot-in-the-backup-bios-by-shorting-pins-on

 

Oh... that sounds really familiar.  For a long time, the pc would wake itself up after a while, when sleeping under windows.  Then it started failing to wake up, so I just stopped putting it into sleep mode.  I built this computer to also run Mac OSX, and funny enough OSX always woke up and went to sleep with no issue despite this not being Apple hardware.

 

Fortunately, my motherboard has 2 switches for the bios.  The first switch switches between the first and second bios.  The second switch switches between single bios and dual bios mode.  I believe that second bios is my backup bios, because they are labeled m_bios and b_bios; so it seems they're both not working.  When I have the machine in dual bios mode, it tries to boot and then switches to the other bios and repeats ad infinitum until I power it down.  In single bios mode it tries to start and then the cpu fan powers on high and then slows back down, but it never posts.

 

I thought the methods in the link were worth a shot.  I can't do method 1, because the computer doesn't actually shut itself off.  It either cycles between the two bioses with no post or it starts up and doesn't post.  Method 2 worked the same way as holding down the power button.  The power button is setup up to shut itself off after some seconds, so it starts up until those seconds are up and then shuts off again.

 

RMA'ing this board when it became problematic would have been a good idea, but I wasn't sure it was the boards fault and was concerned that I would be without my workstation during the process.  Unfortunately, it's outside the warranty now. I bought the board in January of 2014, and the warranty is for 3 years.  Same with the psu.


Edited by FragmentalStew, 22 June 2018 - 06:18 AM.





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