Have just come back from my father-in-law's home. When I asked to use the PC it was not responding. Here's the situation as I see it for now:
The screen works fine (I connected it to another PC and it was ok) The tower (an emachines 130 on XP) seems to boot up ok, I've had the case off and all the fans and HDD are active. There are no visible signs of damage. It is in doubt, but there is a chance the system was hit by an electrical storm a week ago...he uses it very infrequently for the odd email and letter.
When the screen is connected to the tower the screen goes into standby, and nothing is possible at this stage. When connecting another screen to the tower the same thing would happen.
I have brought the tower home with a view to getting a repair quote if financially viable. Any thoughts from the kind folk here as to the likely cause and solution?
take the IDE and floppy cables from the motherboard. Take out all pci cards from the white slots.Just leave one stick of ram and check that ram for any defect marks on the black chips. Disconnect any leads to the computer except for the power, keyboard, monitor and mouse. If it has an AGP graphics card, leave that in.
I shall try all of these suggestions in the morning now.
I'm encouraged to think that this may be 'solvable'.
A bit annoyed though, as the screen is at his house (nearly 200 miles away) and the cable for the monitor is attached to the monitor itself).
I have a new desktop (different plug I think) and a laptop. Still, I shall try to sort it out.
I shall also remove the HDD and stick it into a HDD caddy I have and see if it is ok. If not, then we may look at a new machine anyway. His computing requirements are most humble and so the cheapest/simplest of machines will be on the cards.