Check video cable connection

April 24, 2006 at 22:12:36
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Okay so I wake up one morning, turn on my computer and the monitor displays "please check video cable connection." I made sure that everything was pluged in tightly, turned everything off and on again, made sure the little teeth/pins were correctly vertical, changed video cards, changed monitors, etc. What else could it be? This sucks because the tower sounds and looks like it is working, but nothing with a monitor. Please help me!

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April 24, 2006 at 22:38:33

It's probably a hardware problem with the PC and not the monitor. That message is telling you it's not getting a signal and that's usually because a signal is not being sent. You can't really go by 'it sounds and looks like it is working' since when the drives power up they'll do an initialization on their own regardless of whether anything else is working. That will usually sound like a normal startup.

One thing that is often overlooked is a power supply with a 115/230 voltage switch. In the US it should be 115. It it got switched to 230 the PC may not be getting enough power to fire up the cpu.

Do you get any beeps? Usually one beep is normal. Do you recall hearing that when the PC was working normally?

You've tried a different card and monitor so that's not it. The next phase would be to disconnect all the drives and remove all the cards except video. Then see if it'll at give you a posting screen. If it does then something you disconnected must be the problem.

Then try removing the ram, clean the slots with some compressed air and reinstall it, making sure it's in firmly. You could also try removing and reseating the cpu, although on socketed motherboards it's often difficult to remove the heatsink/fan assembly. One slip of a tool and you can ruin the motherboard (I've done it several times).

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April 24, 2006 at 23:27:21

I will try that, but it cannot be the voltage it is getting because it has been plugged into the same place for like 6 months. Umm, what drives should I disconnect? Won't I mess some things up? I don't wanna loose anything I saved on my computer

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April 24, 2006 at 23:56:46

No, that won't hurt anything, provided you don't accidentally break something.

Your data won't be harmed by this, but if the hard drive has failed, then it may already be lost (or difficult to recover)

Standard procedure for troubleshooting, as failed parts may prevent a machine from starting at all.

With the hard drive etc. disconnected, the idea is to see if the machine will work well enough to produce a video signal, and get you to the POST or BIOS screens. If so, then you would reconnect one component at a time in order to determine the culprit.

We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true

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April 25, 2006 at 00:00:54

... and there are flowcharts too

We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true

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April 25, 2006 at 00:05:11

You'd temporarily disconnect all the drives. All you want to do is get something to show on the screen. The posting screen or system logo comes up before an operating system loads. You don't need to have any drives connected for that or any cards like modem, network or sound. As long as you reconnect everything correctly afterwards you won't do any damage--well, any additional damage given some hardware item is probably bad.

The voltage selector is usually a small red switch on the back of the power supply near where the power cable is connected. I just mentioned it because I've run across a few where the switch was in the wrong position. If no one has been fiddling with your computer then that's not going to be the problem.

But it's possible the power supply itself is getting weak and it may be the problem.

It could be one of the cards, one of the drives, the cpu, (probably not the ram as you'd get a beeping error then), the power supply, a short in one of the data or power cables or some motherboard failure. Based on its symptoms, there's just no way to know for sure. The best you can do is rule out things by disconnecting them and then seeing if it makes a difference.

Just recently someone brought me a dead PC. By the above process of elimination, I found both its power supply and motherboard had failed. I didn't know what specific part on each was bad but that didn't matter because neither would have been practical to repair. So I replaced both and reinstalled all the other original parts and it worked fine.

If you're uncomfortable fiddling around in the case you might want to find someone more knowledgeable about computers to help. You don't want to end up making things worse. I'm just saying the above procedure is the best non-technical way of getting started.

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April 25, 2006 at 00:07:14

Oh, and make sure the power cable is disconnected before making any hardware changes and be careful of static. You don't want to zap anything.

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April 25, 2006 at 06:38:33

Make sure you at least wear an ESD strap while inside your computer, you can get a cheap one at your local computer store.

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April 25, 2006 at 09:28:33

If you are hesitant to take things apart, you might consider taking it to a repair shop.

Do yourself a favor BACKUP!
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April 25, 2006 at 14:23:51

The 'strap' is somewhat overrated

We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true

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