View Full Version : hardware conflict?

carl watson
18-09-2003, 12:00 PM
I have a problem with my computer, that has been on-going for months, and no-one seems to be able to track down the actual root problem. Can you bear with me, for a long explanation, and possibly hand it on to some-one who likes solving silly problems?
I will have to be long winded, as I need to explain what my set-up is, in
case it helps.
I have a PC, pentium 3,797Mh, 768 Mb ram, XP pro, 2002, service pack 1.
60Gb HD, and a second 120Gb HD for images. DVD writer, and normal CD writer too,scanners, printer etc, on fire-wire, and USB2 cards.
All were working OK up to a few months ago. (I have up to date Norton, Zone alarm, etc, and as far as I know, no virus or bug problems. This is, so I am told, a hardware conflict or problem somewhere.)
The problem is that the computer won't "start-up". It makes a very
informative noise, through its own internal speaker,
<beep-bee,bee,bee,beep>, and won't start up, the monitor, if on, shows only a window saying <no connection to the computer>, (or words to that
effect),and nothing works at all. It just doesn't "boot-up".
The problems then, become a real silly puzzle. I tried all sorts of
work-arounds, first, it would start if the monitor wasn't on, to start,
then that didn't do the trick, (I have to switch everything off, and wait about half an hour, for all the internal "capacitance" effects, or whatever, to fade away, trying again straight away, doesn't work._)
It was suggested that some hardware was faulty, and I took out the modem, (as I had been having odd problems with connections failing etc, so that was my first suspect).
Bingo, everything was back to normal, fine for a week, while I had no modem at all, and a new modem worked fine, and a lot better connection speed, etc, and all seemed cured, for two weeks,! then back to <beep-bee,bee,bee,beep> again. Damn!
I then took out the next card, the sound card, Bingo, everything worked
fine again, but no sound.!
When a new sound card was put in, the <beep,bee,bee,bee,beep> started at once, but when the old sound card software was cleared out, and the new one installed, all seemed OK again, for a few days, then back to the problems.There seems no rationality in the random way I can overcome the problem.
Sometimes I have to make sure EVERYTHING is switched off, before I switch the PC on, other days it won't even start then, but WILL start if I switch on the speakers first,! I have to make sure the monitor isn't on, yet I had been told that normally, the monitor should be on, so the PC can"recognise"it when it starts up. It is all very confusing and doesn't seem at all logical to me.
(Checking the device manager, etc for warning markers, etc, there are none, except that there are 2 "standard gaming ports" listed, one has a red cross on it, as it has been "disabled", why there are two, my PC expert can't explain, but says that if one is disabled, its OK anyway.)
Fortunately, I am retired, my life doesn't depend on the stupid machine,
but it is still a constant hassle, not knowing if it is going to start up, or
not. (I also run a Mac, to which I can turn, thank God!)
If anyone in you circle of experts, can decipher for me, the apparent
signal it is telling me, with its distinctive beep signal, I would be most
Sorry about the long winded letter!!!
Carl Watson. Whakatane.

John Grieve
18-09-2003, 12:41 PM
The beeps are a specific BIOS code to tell you whats wrong. If you do a search on BIOS beep codes then look at the codes for your make of BIOS (usually Award or AMI nowadays but you can see what make of BIOS onscreen at boot yours is) it should give you some idea of what the fault is.

What make and model is your PC or if you know, what make and model is the motherboard in the machine?

18-09-2003, 01:46 PM
which os? w98?

it may also be the motherboard.

since its an old P3, I wonder if it can handle the 120G hdd very well.

have you ever updated bios?

good luck

Murray P
18-09-2003, 01:54 PM
It could be any number ot things, dodgy BIOS or CMOS, PSU, ram, video, motherboard. Are there any error messages or just the POST beeps? Have a look at the following links: Boot Troubleshooting (http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/sys/booterr-i.htm) and POST Beep Codes (http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/sys/beep/index.htm).

HTH Murray P

carl watson
21-09-2003, 04:37 PM
Dear "Yang"
As stated, the os is XP pro, I am getting my experienced daughter to check out the suggestions given, many thanks.

carl watson
21-09-2003, 04:38 PM
Dear Murray,Many thanks, my daughter is helping me try and track down the "code" etc. Carl.

carl watson
21-09-2003, 04:44 PM
Dear John,
Thanks for your reply, my daughter is helping me try and track down the "code". the motherboard is a VIA apollo , GA-6VX7B-4X socket 370 processor, whatever all that means. One further "point"!!
I run a mac G4 also, sharing the main 21" monitor, thru' a fancy switch gadget, (which has been like that for a long time, before this problem arose), but I now note, that if the mac is already on, the PC starts with no troubles at all, whether this is relevant I know not! however, it does give me a way round the problem. Carl.

carl watson
21-09-2003, 06:24 PM
Dear John,
Further reply, the bios is AMI, ambios V. 1.23, the "5 beep" code didn't lead us to any real conclusions. I still suspect that the connection with the mac has some bearing on it, but I don't see why it should do so!!

John Grieve
21-09-2003, 08:02 PM
In your post you say it is a 5 beep code which according to the Post Beep code site means Processor failure so you should check the heatsink and fan on the CPU and even remove clean up and reinstall the heatsink/fan using some decent thermal paste for CPU heatsink mounting.

Terry Porritt
21-09-2003, 08:39 PM
It would pay to disconnect the Mac and the video switch and just see what happens with the PC and only the monitor connected to it.

carl watson
22-09-2003, 02:23 PM
Dear John, and Murray,
Thanks again for help. The problem is escalating, it wouldn't start at all today, I tried all the tricks that had worked in the past, eventually I removed the sound card, started then no problem.??? The sound card is a new one, which I put in to replace the previous one, when its removal allowed the PC to start, before. However, I realise this may not be the root problem. With my daughter's assistance, next weekend, I will attempt to try the BIOS update, or the mothercard driver update, bit too technical for my old brain. Meanwhile, it seems to function OK without the sound card in, though that is most unsatisfactory in the long term. Carl

carl watson
22-09-2003, 02:25 PM
Dear Terry,
My very sincere apologies, I wqrote a reply, and put Murray, please forgive, I can't go back and delete it!! Carl

carl watson
04-10-2003, 11:17 AM
Dear John,
Sorry for long delay, after much querying for upgrade prices, we found best bargain was a new computer, which we now await. Carl

carl watson
04-10-2003, 11:18 AM
Dear Terry,
The system worked OK before, and I want the dual switching. We went into upgrade prices, and decided best bargain was a new computer. Carl

04-10-2003, 12:14 PM
How's about the power supply " Does the BIOS give anidea of what the voltages are running at ? Doesn't fit with being the problem if it connected to the Mac, but you never know. If the 5 volt rail is on the ragged edge or the PSU overloaded it gives all sorts of odd features.


carl watson
05-10-2003, 03:05 PM
Thanks for the reply, I don't know if you see the other replies, as I can, all on the one page, I have got a new computer as cheaper than an up-grade, I will return to the old one, as a spare, when new one is up and running, (hopefully) Carl

05-10-2003, 05:37 PM
Have a similar problem with my computer that happens occasionally, pull out the ram make sure all the connections are clean and put it back in. My motherboard ram slots are very fussy, think the board is a bit warped because of bad placing of mounting points and lack of them, anyhow give that ago.

carl watson
06-10-2003, 02:41 PM
many thanks for the suggestion, will try it when I can get my daughter's attention again, sheis busy setting up the replacement computer at the moment, this one will then be a spare back-up one. Carl

07-10-2003, 12:33 AM
Yep Also check the CPU is inserted correctly as this has all the problems you described when the CPU is not inserted in the Mother-Board correctly. Just remove the CPU and re-insert the CPU and it should be fine

carl watson
07-10-2003, 12:45 PM
Dear Neo,
Thanks for the suggestion, I will leave such a delicate job to my daughter, when she comes at the weekend, many thanks for the tip. Carl