Software or hardware problems?

  stateofgrace 19:30 17 Jul 2007

Hi all,

My Pc seems to have developed a probelm ,w hile I am away at work. I work offshore and will not be home for at least a week but would like some advise on where to start looking when I get home.

Basically my partner is saying the PC monitor just goes blank, although the PC is still running, it requires a complete restart to get any form of picture back on teh screen. there apears to be no time as to when this happens and no particular program causes it to happen.

I am guessing the graphics card is going down but it is a Gforce Gt and as served me well over the 18 months I have had it. the issue I have with the graphics card being the problem is that this has only started happening since a few things have changed on my PC. We upgrade our broadband conection, to 8 megs and we also down loaded the free internet security package that came from virgin with the upgrade. Also prior to this happening we added an external hard drive ( 320 Gig). Other alterations include the instalation of a disk back program.

I will have a clearer picture when I get home but in the mean time can anybody advise where I should start to look, could it even be my monitor? One thing my wife as said at sometimes when she comes off the net all the desk top icons are all bunched up in the top left hand corner of the screen and the games my children have installed refuse to work when they click on the icons,this requires a restart to sort them out and get the children playing their games again.

Sorry to ramble but any advise or pointers would be helpful,Baxter

  Gongoozler 20:13 17 Jul 2007

Hi stateofgrace. I think it is most unlikely to be the monitor that is at fault. The fact that the pictyre goes blank most often is caused by the computer itself stopping working. You can prove this by turning the monitor off for a while then back on again. If the monitor is the problem, the picture will then be restored. Try playing a CD. If the problem is in the graphics side, when the picture goes blank the CD will continue playing. My guess is that the PSU is faulty or simply overloaded. Have you simply added too many hardware upgrades for a low power PSU?

  bluto1 20:25 17 Jul 2007

I think, in view of the fact that your wife says that all of the desktop icons "are bunched up in the top left hand corner of the screen" that your screen resolution is set wrongly.
Go to Control Panel > Display, select Settings and try different settings starting with 800 x 600. Might work

  Gongoozler 20:36 17 Jul 2007

Sorry, as usual I only read half the posting. You say the the PC is still running. What is the evidence of this? If it's just that the fans are spinning, then my PSU theory could still be valid - it only takes the 12V supply to run the fans, whereas the 5V and 3.3V do most of the work.
The bunching up of the icons as picked up on by bluto1 is telling you that something is causing the graphics setting to change to a lower resolution, but this could be a red herring.
When your wife restarts the computer to get the picture back, is she able to restart it immediately, or does she have to wait a while. If any delay is required this points to a heat problem.
Another test you could try is to start the computer in Safe Mode and just leave it running like that for a long time. If it doesn't crash then the problem could well be software or settings related.

  FreeCell 20:44 17 Jul 2007

Not sure I wholly agree with Gongoozler as you haven't said that you have addedd any new hardware to your system to change the loading on the PSU. That is not to say the PSU could be failing but what you describe is not normal PSU failing behaviour you would get system crashes. You have added an External hard drive which will have its own power pack so no additional load on the PC PSU here.

First thing would be to check both ends of the cables to the monitor just to be sure that they are securely plugged in and that there are no bent pins. Also check the monitors power chord and monitor power supply brick (if any).

Then check in Device Manager to make sure that there is no indicator (yellow triangle or other symbol) next to the display adaptor or monitor indicating a interface/driver problem.

The additional software you have added wont affect the PSU but may have impacts on the general reliability.

The fact the icons appear bunched in one corner sounds like something is changing the display resolution to less than you have normally. Typically 800 X 600. This could be software or a problem with the graphics card. Games are often run at different resolutions to normal desktop software and it may be worth you investigating just what your kids have loaded and seeing if removing this effects the problem.

  FreeCell 20:54 17 Jul 2007

Sorry my comments were based on reading only your first post (slow typing on my part).

If there is a fan on the graphics card then this may have stopped working causing an overheat and display problems.

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