none responsive computer, possibly the motherboard

  BrightEyes13 12:11 09 Aug 2010

I'd appreciate some help here, I'm not very techie minded (although I try) so please bear with my lack of experiance/terminology - Simple version of question is - I think my computer's kaput and I want to find out if ressurection's possible or if it's time to give it up and get a new PC...

Over the past few weeks I've been using my computer alot (adobe photoshop/illustrator/internet etc), it's become alot slower than usual, I've had random restarts out of nowhere, and a Dr Watson message, virus scanner was clean when last used. So I'm not sure if my usage has outweighed the limits?

The problem came when I last used the computer 2 days ago, I went to turn off from the start bar and the usual box came up of 'stand by, turn off, restart'. Clicked 'turn off'. Waited. Nothing happened, tried a few times (patiently), but still nothing happened. So I tried right clicking on the task bar to bring up the task manager to try and turn off from there, but when clicked task manager nothing came up, tried alt/ctrl/delete but no task manager, left it for half an hour just in case, but the computer wouldn't turn of at all, so had to turn off on the base unit.

Coming back to the computer this morning (as if leaving it for a day or two would calm it down..) - when I turn it on the base unit it makes the usual noises, the Windows XP logo comes on screen and the blue loading bar underneath, but after a few minutes of this (which is longer than normal) the screen turns blank with just the mouse pointer on screen and nothing else, I've left it for over half a hour and still nothing.
I have checked and double checked all the connections to the monitor/unit/everything, opened the base unit and cannot see anything loose (also gently de-dusted the inside on a gentle hoover setting) but nothing has changed.

A couple of years ago I had something similar where a local computer bloke advised my motherboard had blew. From this I remember on the blown motherboard was a slight bump on one of the square metal-flat-chip bits (sorry for my terminology, I think it's the north or south bridge controller?), so I got a new motherboard. Remembering this I checked the 'bridge controllers' on my current motherboard and I cannot see any bumps or burn marks, but near the 'South Bridge Controller'is a small and thinner piece of metal next to it and there seems to be some discolouration on this?

Earlier this year I posted here for advice on what to get if I purchased a new computer ( click here) which if I have to I could now afford (bread and butter for me!) but if I can keep the old one running for longer then ideally I'd need to.

Specs are below, although I now have no computer to access at home so will not be able to respond quickly (may be a day) which isn't ideal, but I'd appreciate any advice anyone can give me as to if it's something simple I can do to fix it up or is it necerssary to fork out for a new comnputer?

Thanks in advance for your time and patience

System Information
Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.090804-1435)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: To Be Filled By O.E.M.
System Model: To Be Filled By O.E.M.
BIOS: Default System BIOS
Processor: Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 2.30GHz
Memory: 1280MB RAM
Page File: 851MB used, 2011MB available
Windows Dir: C:\WINDOWS
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
DX Setup Parameters: Not found
DxDiag Version: 5.03.2600.5512 32bit Unicode

Disk & DVD/CD-ROM Drives
Drive: C:
Free Space: 39.7 GB
Total Space: 76.3 GB
File System: NTFS
Model: ST380012A

My motherboard is: ASRock P4VM900-SATA2

  VOT Productions 12:20 09 Aug 2010

Can you press F8 before the Loading Screen and try two things: Last Good Known Configuration and Safe Mode?

  BrightEyes13 12:27 09 Aug 2010

Thanks VirtualOSTester I'll have a go tonight but it may be Wednesday that I can report back how/if it works, *fingers crossed*

  BrightEyes13 09:40 10 Aug 2010

Thanks but unfortunately no joy with either option - Last good known configuration does exactly the same as normal, gets to a blank screen with just the mouse pointer on screen, and with Safe Mode the only difference is that the 'Safe Mode' words are at each corner of the screen and details of the Windows XP service pack are at the top, but still a blank screen with only the mouse pointer. In both cases I left lots of time in case of a slow load up but no joy from either..

I'm guessing this probably means the motherboard is blown, as if it was a virus these options should have worked.. Any ideas? Thanks

  ashdav 09:47 10 Aug 2010

Sounds like you've lost the desktop.
You'll need to do a repair install click here
Your files will not be touched but you will have to reapply updates.

  BrightEyes13 14:24 10 Aug 2010

Sorry for the silly question, but i want to make sure before i start - for the restore cd should i use the one that came originally with the computer, or the disc that came with the newer motherboard (which replaced the old fried one)? Thanks

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:34 10 Aug 2010


you need an XP CD (same as your op system ie XP Home)

The restore disk will probably not work if you have changed the motherboard unless it was the exact same make and model as the old board. Even then you would lose all your data as the machine would be set back to the day it left the factory.

The new motherboard disc will contain the drivers for the board not the operating system.

  Graphicool1 14:35 10 Aug 2010

The disk you need is the one that contains the Full WinXP Home OS.

  BrightEyes13 12:04 11 Aug 2010

Thanks for your replies, the new motherboard is not the same as the old one and the computer was bought new about 8/9 years ago from PC world and I think the XP software was preinstalled as I still have everything that came with the computer and I can't remember ever having the XP disc (although there is the activation code on the back of the base unit - is this any use?)

On the bits that came with the computer it doesn't mention about the XP disc being included, but in the XP home starter guide it does mention "if you have the XP installation CD (something about file transfer wizard)" So I'm guessing it was standard back then to sometimes not receive the XP disc with some computer packages?

Does this mean I'm techincally stuffed? Appreciate your help

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 15:53 11 Aug 2010

8/9 years old then it probably has a floppy drive.
You can download a set of floppy disks from click here

It should then get you into the recovery console from there we can sort out a system restore.

  BrightEyes13 16:14 11 Aug 2010

Thanks Fruit Bat, I'll hunt down some floppy disks and follow the instructions, may be a couple of days but I'll report back asap

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