Freezes on Boot up

February 8, 2009 at 18:46:47
Specs: Windows Vista
I have an HP m8120n Media Center PC I tried to reboot, It shut down normally but when I tried startup it only gets to the screen with the green bars that scan side to side, after one cycle the green bars freeze and that’s as far as it gets. I don’t think it’s my hard drives because I was able to get my info off them using another pc. I think it might be a hardware issue it may have overheated. Any Idea’s

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February 8, 2009 at 19:05:18
Why do you think it may have overheated?

Try booting into the BIOS (setup) and view PC Health to monitor the system temps.

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February 8, 2009 at 19:49:39
Lots of things can cause a freeze.

If it's an overheating issue
- you will not have the problem when you first boot after the computer has cooled to room temp. If it happens then, your problem is not overheating.
- it will show up in the bios Setup when it has overheated - after the computer has been on long enough to warm up - e.g. ten minutes - go into the bios Setup and take a look at the current CPU temp reading - on an HP you often press F2 to get into the bios Setup while booting - tap the key, don't hold it down. Tell us what temp you find.

- for a desktop computer, make sure the the power supply fan is pushing out air from the back of the case when the computer is running. If it isn't, the power supply fan has failed, and the PS may be already be damaged.
If the fan has failed, see the link below - if the PS seems okay otherwise, the fan is easy and cheap to replace - you can use a 3 wire case fan of the same size if you like, and connect it to the mboard PS or case fan 3 pin header so you can monitor it's rpm. The fan should have the same current draw, wattage, or cfm rating as the original one, or greater, and two ball bearings or better - if it says ball bearing without the s, it probably has one.

If it is overheating....

If it's a desktop computer....

Make sure the power supply fan is blowing air out the back of the case when the computer is running.

Open up the case - you remove the left panel, as viewed from the front of the case. Start up the computer and make sure the cpu fan spins - if it doesn't you may need to replace it.
- shut down the computer and look at the cpu fan and heatsink to see if they have accumlated mung (dust, lint, etc.) on them - if they do, clean them off. You may need to remove the fan in order to clean the top of the heat sink properly - if you need to do that, unplug the computer, or switch off the power to the computer.
Don't use a vacuum cleaner - it produces a tremendous amount of static electricity - unless you can rig it up to blow air and you do not touch anything with the hose or it's attachments. Use an artist's brush, or canned air, or if you have access to an air compressor, blow it off with an air nozzle.
If the fan wasn't spinning before, power up the computer and see if it spins now - if it doesn't, see the link below regarding checking you power supply - if there's nothing wrong with your power supply, shut off the computer, remove the fan, and get another one - don't use the computer until you have replaced the fan.

If it's a laptop - make sure nothing is obstructing the openings in your case that let the air in and out of the bottom of the case, or interfering with the air flow to those holes - check for mung (lint, dust, etc.) in those openings, remove that if you find it. If that doesn't help, you may need to open up the case and remove mung from the air passages inside it, or clean the cpu fan and heatsink, or replace the cpu fan if it's not spinning when it should be, or if it is but it's not spinning fast enough (laptop cpu fans often do not spin all the time).
HP usually has a Maintenance manual for your model, or model series, if you need to take apart the laptop.


If it isn't overheating...

If it's a desktop computer...

Failing power supplies are common and can cause your symptoms.
See response 4 in this:

If you have a video card in a slot with a fairly recent video chipset, especially if it requires an extra power connection from the power supply, your original HP power supply may not have enough capacity, and you may need to get one with more. See the specs for the card model on the manufacturer's web site - if it requires more than an average power supply, the minimum system PS capacity and often the minimum current it must be able to supply at a voltage, is stated in the specs somewhere - often under system requirements.

If it's any kind of computer...

Ram that has a poor connection can cause your symptoms.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:

For a laptop, you must remove both its main battery and AC adapter before you do that.

If those things are ok, your problem may be a software problem.

Remove any bootable CDs or DVDs you have in drives.
Try repeatedly pressing F8 while booting - don't hold it down - from the boot choices menu - try
- Enable VGA mode - if that works your problem is caused by something related to the video drivers
If that doesn't work, try
- Safe mode
If that doesn't work, try
- Last known good.....

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February 8, 2009 at 19:52:58
I had it in a confined space and some papers fell on the side of the case with the vent holes. I am not sure if this caused the problem. As far as the bios goes I have a friend that works on software problems and she said she tried everything but got nowhere, she doesn’t deal with hardware problems. She even contacted HP but that was a waste of time.If it was a hardware issue wouldn’t it show up while the pc is on. Then again something might have burned out at startup,like when bulb burns out when you turn it on.My next step is to check all the connectors Thanks for your help

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February 8, 2009 at 20:59:39
I looked up your model - apparently it's a desktop (tower) computer.

"I had it in a confined space and some papers fell on the side of the case with the vent holes."

Does the problem happen when the computer is first booted after having cooled to room temp??

If it has a least an inch or more of space around it on both sides the bottom, and the back if the back of where you have it is enclosed, it would be okay - if it doesn't, do not put it there if you want to avoid overheating problems.

The paper over the vent holes on the side of the case would not cause a problem unless there is a fan behind the holes that blows through a duct towards the cpu, and that's the only fan cooling the cpu. The case gets most of the air that goes through it from under the front of the case at the bottom, and from the holes at the bottom of the case in the back, otherwise.

You must also have enough space around the case for the warmed up air that exits the case to have some place to go easily.

"If it was a hardware issue wouldn’t it show up while the pc is on."

Ram connection problems, and defective power supplies, often first cause problems while booting.

"Then again something might have burned out at startup,like when bulb burns out when you turn it on."

A computer is not like a bulb - it is extremely rare for anything on it to burnt out - but sometimes power supplies become faulty, ram develops a poor connection, or other connections develop a poor conection, over time.
If a power supply becomes faulty, it's not deternined by anything but itself, unless it was damaged by a powerfailiure, or a power spike or surge, or by you overloading it (if you have a video card with a recent video chipset installed that needs more PS capacity).

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