WindowsXP won't reinstall - graphics card fault?

  rogermatthews 22:58 23 Jun 2009

the long way to my question first, then the short one.

My PC was working OK but with a few niggles which I though the Windows disk Repair option might fix. Half way throught the repair it 'froze' then the screen said 'no signal input' and switched off. This prompted a full reinstall, with the same result. I have tried many times but it never completes, sometimes it locks during formatting, sometimes during the install process, always with the monitor eventually turning off, though sometimes I hear the hard disk is working furiously.

There is also no doubt that it gets further the longer it has been switched off. I have:

- cleaned the fans and left the casing off,
- removed all unnecessary cards, disks etc
- tried with a different hard disk
- tried different memory cards
- even reset the bios and checked for boot viruses

Could be PSU though that didn't seem to be a problem before. Or down to mobo.

BUT - today I noticed the fan on the video card wasn't working. This seems to be consistent with overheating and the monitor shutting down. But what is odd, is that the card works fine at other times - it is in the PC I'm working on now and doesn't give any problems

So - the short question - is there something during a Windows install which would cause the graphics card to get hot, given there's no fan, something more than in normal use?

It seems odd to me that the simple screens shown during install could cause overheating whereas windows itself (including media player etc) doesn't, but the symptoms seems consistent with this?

Obviously I need to buy another graphics card but not until I've tracked down the problem - in case I also new a new mobo or PSU

Many thanks

  woodchip 23:04 23 Jun 2009

Fans are there for a purpose, as I am sure you know. And if its not working thats the first thing to fix. however if its been like this for a while it may have done some miner damage to the card

  phono 23:52 23 Jun 2009

You state that the fan on the video card is not working, normally this would cause, at the very least, system instability and could even lead to permanent damage being caused to the video card and possibly even the motherboard.

I suspect that when you are installing Windows the amount of activity from the hard drive, optical drive, the video card itself and other hardware is increasing the internal temperature of you system's case, with the fan on the video card not working this may well be overheating and as a result it is either shutting itself down to avoid permanent damage or is becoming so overheated it is 'crashing' and taking the system down with it.

This is only my guess and I would suggest trying another video card in the system to see if it fixes the problem.

  rogermatthews 07:00 24 Jun 2009

thanks phono,you're suggesting that even though the card itself isn't necessarily doing much the general activity during windows install may be causing the overheating? Well, makes sense, though I do have the casing off.

Puzzling though that the card is working fine otherwise - in use right now with no sign of instability.

Still, I can't let it go on and obviously need a new card. I'll tend to that today and see if I can then install windows. Either way it will be another addition to the learning.


  phono 22:03 24 Jun 2009

With the casing off it can sometimes have a detrimental effect as most, if not all, cases are designed to have a specific airflow path for optimum cooling of the internal components, by removing the sides of a case this airflow can be disrupted and can lead to less effective cooling, unless of course you have something like a desk fan pointed at the motherboard providing extra air flow.

As an alternative to a new card why don't you try and source a new fan, measure the size of the current fan and replace it, some examples can be seen at click here

  rogermatthews 22:28 24 Jun 2009

thanks phone.

Useful info, I'll note for future ref. However, a windows install should be possible with or without the casing (check any engineer's workshop!) and the airflow probably wouldn't be directed at the graphics card fan. Still, I'll take your advice and put the casing on.

Good advice also about the fan, though it didn't seem to come off the card easily, not that I tried that hard though. In any event, new graphics card should be here tomorrow, in some ways I'd rather have the correct thing than 'bodge' a repair. Still, once the new one is installed I'll look into fitting a new fan.

But you're right, I've yet to see whether a new graphics card solves my basic problem.

Cheers, Roger

  phono 23:10 24 Jun 2009

"However, a windows install should be possible with or without the casing (check any engineer's workshop!)"

I know what you mean, I have done it many times myself. ;) I bet you though that you wont see many 'engineers' continue with an install, or anything else for that matter, if the fan on the video card is not working. As woodchip said in his post, "fans are there for a purpose".

  woodchip 23:48 24 Jun 2009

My Dual Boot 98se and XP home runs all the time with both sides of the tower as done for at lest two years no problems, I only have a CPU cooling Fan and PSU fan no extra fans

  rogermatthews 05:48 25 Jun 2009

thanks phono, woodchip

Problem with the graphics card fan, of course, is that it is underneath the card, so not visible. In the PC I've borrowed, ie the one I'm using now, the mobo is fitted on the LHS of the case, so everything is upside down, that's how I noticed the fan was not turning.

It's been working fine on this PC running Vista for a week, and presumably was running like that for some time in my other PC with XP for a while. Yet it couldn't handle a fresh install.

That's what I find so odd - if indeed that is the problem!

I'll know later today!

Cheers, Roger

  rogermatthews 12:35 25 Jun 2009


Yes, it must have been the graphics card. A new one inserted and windows installed without problem. Old graphic card still working perfectly in the PC I borrowed though obviuosly I'll take the advice and try to replace the fan asap.

Who would have thought - a graphics card with faulty fan can run perfectly well (for months as far as I know) but can't handle a simple windows install. That's one new learning point for me.

(Incidentally, why do they put these new fangled connection sockets on cards - I had to hunt around for an adaptor. Luckily I had one, otherwise it would have been another few days delay!)

Thanks a million for all your help guys.


  phono 14:58 25 Jun 2009

Glad to hear that it is all okay now, you can tick as resolved if you have no further issues.

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