Start-up problem

  sjbell 12:23 10 Jan 2004

My computer has recently started behaving very oddly. I turn it on at the mains and press the button to start it. The lights on the front light up and I can hear the fan but there is no signal input to the monitor. I turn the computer off at the mains switch it back on, power up and a screen (Award BIOS setup utility) comes up with the message:

During the last boot-up, your system hung for an improper CPU speed setting. Your system is now working in safe mode. To optimise the system performance and reliability, make sure the CPU speed conforms to the specifications of your CPU.

According to this screen, the current setting is 1400MHZ. I have always exited without making any changes. However this is starting to happen with ever increasing frequency. I have not moved the computer recently and neither have I installed anything (apart from antivirus updates) which could account for this problem. I assume that it is a hardware problem as it occurs before the operating system (Windows XP) loads.

I should point out that this is an intermittent problem and does not occur on every start-up.

Any advice as to the cause of this problem (and the solution!) would be most helpful.

  Big Elf 13:36 10 Jan 2004

The CMOS battery could be starting to fail and need replacing or possibly a loose power cable.

  plankton 13:40 10 Jan 2004

It sounds like a power problem indeed. If it's not the battery, it may be the PSU. How old is the kit, and have you had ANY electrical problems (powercuts etc) lately?

  sjbell 14:10 10 Jan 2004

The computer is just over two years old (unfortunately just out of warranty). There have been no power cuts as far as I'm aware of, unless you count me having to turn the computer off at the mains when it hasn't started properly. What is PSU? (Sorry, I'm not very technical)

  dave-jens 14:18 10 Jan 2004

PSU Power supply unit.
You say you switch it off at the mains. If the PC is booting up but the monitor is not coming on, perhaps it is a monitor problem. Although the monitor is off does the Hard Drive light flicker, indicating that it is loading windows?
If you switch off the PC when it has booted up without shuting down perhaps this is why you have the message about the CPU. Have you tried just switching the monitor off then on, and leaving the PC running?

  sjbell 14:27 10 Jan 2004

Sorry dave-jens, perhaps I didn't explain myself clearly. In the first post when I said there was no input to the monitor, the monitor was on and working with the message 'no signal input' displayed (despite the hard drive lights being on and the fan running, etc). It is not a problem with the monitor as far as I can tell. As to me causing the message about the CPU by turning the PC off and on again I can’t say, perhaps it is me, but that doesn’t explain why the hard drive isn’t starting properly in the first place.

  sjbell 16:40 10 Jan 2004

Thanks for all your help so far. Any other suggestions?

  gudgulf 17:36 10 Jan 2004

Im inclined to agree with Big Elf that it could be the battery on the motherboard. Let us all know what the pc specification is
---that may give some more clues to the problem.

  sjbell 17:47 10 Jan 2004

AMD Athlon 1.4GHz

512Mb DDR

60Gb IDE 7200rpm Hard Disk Drive

ASUS A7A266 DDR SDRAM 266MHz FSB AGP Pro/4x Socket A Motherboard (!)

I think those are the most relevent,though as I say, I'm not very technical. (There are also graphic card, DVD drive, etc)

  woodchip 18:03 10 Jan 2004

More than likely Heat Problem, Take the side of the computer to see if it improves, Also check CPU fan working OK.

  sjbell 21:10 10 Jan 2004

Hello woodchip. I can hear the fan so I think its working. Also, the problem can happen when the computer has been off all night and I start it up in the morning, so I don't think its a heat problem.

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