My "box" or "modem" ??? wont come on!!!!!

  Valli1 01:04 18 Aug 2008

Can anyone help me please.??? I am NOT techy minded nor is my partner whose old PC that is used normally for games I am on.
Last night my PC worked fine.(On the front it says it has 2.30GHz Intel Celeron, 80GB Hard Drive and 256 something or other and a few more figures????) Well as fine as it could - it is 9 years old and it is SO slow despite being on broadband but I get done what I need done. When I finish I always switch it off at the mains (I worry about fire okay??)and always have done. I switched it on tonight, monitor came on and I pushed the "button" on the "box" which usually starts the whole thing up and ---- not a thing. Dead as a dodo!!!! Zilch. Nada. Monitor kept flashing it's little message but "box" or "modem" or whatever it is called was dead. Not a sound. I checked and re checked all the connections, checked fuse in electric plug and all okay. So what happened?? I am in the middle of so much important research, most backed up but it will take months to reaccess a lot of it that could not be backed up and need my PC as this old thing is not really equipped to deal with what I do but is fine for games and email. I cannot understand how mine can just "die" without any warning. Last night working, turn off, switch on tonight, dead!!!! Anyone out there any ideas. Thanks a lot!!!!!!

  DieSse 02:07 18 Aug 2008

"I cannot understand how mine can just "die" without any warning."

Everything that breaks was working fine just before it broke.

There are lots of possible causes. If you know so little about computers, I strongly recommend you to find a good independant technician.

Possible cause of a dead tower are

The power supply

The motherboard (the main circuit board inside)

Faulty RAM

Faulty add-in board

Faulty processor

Other faulty parts.

The ONLY way to find out what pert is faulty is to change them one by one, and see what cures the problem.

It's very likely that all your work is still intact on your hard drive - and you do have it backed up safely somewhere don't you???

It's possible that your system is slow because it hasn't got much RAM if you're running WindowsXP.

You system cannot be 9 years old if the Celeron 2.3GHz was the original processor, as that wasn't introduced until mid 2002.

  DieSse 02:25 18 Aug 2008

If you want to have a go at D-I-Y the most likely thing is a faulty PSU, which is remarkably simple to change.

It's normally held in by just 4 screws near the top of the tower - and just plugs in to the various places inside the system. A replacement for an older system will probably cost £5 - 20 see here

click here

There is no sensible way for you to test it other than fit another one.

The second most likely failure is the motherboard - and at that stage of complexity you would be best looking at replacing the whole tower - and fitting you current drive into it to recover your work.

Such as click here

  Stuartli 07:48 18 Aug 2008

You beat me to that one...:-)


You say that you switch the system off at the mains - I trust that you first turned it off via the computer's case button?

DieSse's suggestions are sound, but I would add you should check that the PSU's own on/off button has not been turned off inadvertently. It will be near the ventilation outlet on the back of the PSU.

  Valli1 22:53 18 Aug 2008

Hi guys
Thanks for all the advice. A couple of things. Firstly I do not have an on/off button on the back of the PSU is it called? or "box".Nor has this PC which is a Dell Dimension 2400. It may well be I have not had the broken PC as long as I thought - I had an old one my son put together first so probably a bit confused on timing, so apologies for that!! Secondly I did manage to find the four screws near the ventilation system and found the link okay so I know what it is though I doubt I could fit it!!! Also the second link took me a "tower" thingy which I recognise. The only other thing I wondered about that might be "simple"??? is this. Could the on/off button on the front of the "box" need replacing??? Could it be that simple? Probably not but I wondered. My son, who lives in Holland right now (he is RAF attached to NATO) is a technophobe and I have printed your answers and forwarded them to him as well and he is coming to stay for a day or so when he brings my grandsons back to Boarding School beginning of Sept. He made my first one from scratch and is the first person I rang when the thing would not work and he could think of nothing apart from the on/off button and what you guys have said. I may well go for a new PC with a flat screen - mine takes up so much room. However is there some way I can recover anything from my hard drive on the old PC if I do? Is it easy and would the store or wherever I buy the new PC do it for me? Otherwise is there any other way? Sorry to sound so non techy but changing a plug is about my limit and that of my other half. We grew up with bombs, shelters, war and then b/w tv's with 9" screens and dial phones( if you could afford it) and only ever used cash. These newer technical things take longer to get used to but I do try and you guys have helped me before so thanks again to all who replied. It WAS helpful, and I will pass the info on to my son -I have two others both in RAF, a daughter in USA and 9 grandchildren who only do technospeak but none close by sadly. If anyone can tell me if I can recover stuff from the old hard drive I will let my son have a looksee and/or get a new PC. Cannot think of anything else apart from the on/off switch. Oh - NO - I never have turned it off at the tower before I switch off at the mains. Should I???? Duh! As we are on broadband I can acess some things on this PC so I still get email and other bits. It is mainly my research. No- I did make a couple of dvd backups but most of my hard drive is NOT backed up.:( . Another lesson I have sadly learned.I have contemplated getting a laptop as well as a new PC or if I get this one fixed! Is this wise or would I get even more confused?
Once again many many thanks for taking time to answer a completely ditsy non technophobe and at least I now know a little -bit more about computers. I cannot thank you enough.

  woodchip 23:07 18 Aug 2008

Most likely is the Power Supply, this most likely if 9 years old will be a AT power Supply. You are going to have problems getting one

  woodchip 23:12 18 Aug 2008

You can fit the Old Hard Drive inside the New one on the EIDE Socket, or It may Connect as a Slave to the Hard drive in the New Computer

  DieSse 23:47 18 Aug 2008

It'd almost certainly NOT the on/off switch - it's not even a proper switch these days - just a simple make/break pushbutton to send a signal to switch off. It doesn't have any power going through it.

Not all PCs have switches on the back of the power supply - switching off at the mains after powering down is fine.

Yes you can connect your old drive to the system - it's probably OK - but until you know what's gone wrong it's not possible to be 100% certain.

The easiest way to connect your old drive to a new system - and you can do it to a new tower or a laptop - is to get an external box for it which connects it to a USB port. These are available almost anywhere - and afterward it becomes useful for backups as an added bonus.

example - click here

  Stuartli 00:06 19 Aug 2008

Strangely enough, I've never had a PSU that didn't have its own on/off switch - as Valli's system is supposed to be an older model, it's more likely that it would have the means to switch it off from the PSU.

  DieSse 00:18 19 Aug 2008

>>Not all PCs have switches on the back

I've seen in the hundreds of different power supplies - and lots of them don't have switches on them. Age isn't a factor either - I've got several older ones on a shelf right now, and by chance only one out of 6 has a switch. And three actual systems - all of which do have switches.

  DieSse 00:23 19 Aug 2008

It's NOT 9 years old - it's got a Celeron 2.3GHz processor - and it WON'T have an AT PSU - it'll have a standard ATX one.

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