HP desktop won't start

Intel Celeron 2.6ghz processor
February 23, 2010 at 12:00:02
Specs: Windows XP
Ok so my computer won't boot up. It has not booted
up since july of 2009. Every time I boot it up i just
hear a long string of beeps that don't end. I know for a
fact that it is not the ram, hard drive, or power supply.
I have narrowed it down to the processor or
motherboard. My computer screen does show a
picture though. It shows the HP & Intel Inside screen
and that's it. Could the processor be dead since I
didn't have a lot of ram in it and the cpu had to run
over time? SO it overheated and died? I just orderd a
similar cpu from ebay and hopefully it fixes it.

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February 23, 2010 at 13:01:20
"Every time I boot it up i just
hear a long string of beeps that don't end. "

Describe the beep pattern.
Short beeps? Long beeps? etc.

The only beep pattern that I know of that is continous is for when you have no ram installed,or a poor connection of the ram in it's slot(s), or, possibly, for when you have installed ram that is incompatible with using it in your mboard.

E.g., as in this....

Make sure you have a speaker or speakers or the equivalent connected to the mboard so you can hear mboard beeps (see your mboard manual if you need to).
Remove the AC power to the case/power supply.
Remove all the ram.
Restore AC power.
Try to boot.
If nothing else is wrong, you will get no video but you will hear a pattern of beeps that indicate no ram is installed, or a ram problem.
E.g. for an Award bios or a bios based on one, that's often a beep of about a half second, silence for a half second, a beep of about a half second, silence for a half second, continuously.

If that sounds like the beep pattern you have....

If you're SURE the same ram worked fine previously....

A common thing that can happen with ram, even ram that worked fine previously, is the ram has, or has developed, a poor connection in it's slot(s).
This usually happens a long time after the ram was installed, but it can happen with new ram, or after moving the computer case from one place to another, and I've had even new modules that needed to have their contacts cleaned.

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

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

For a brand name computer, see the Owner's or User's manual if you need to - how to remove or replace the ram is usually in that - it may already be in your installed programs. If you can't get into Windows, it may be on a disk that came with the computer, or you can go online and look at it or download it - it's in the downloads for your specific model.


If you CHANGED which ram you had installed just before this first started to happen...

Ram that works in another mboard , or any ram you buy or have lying around, may not work properly, or sometimes, not at all - even if it physically fits and is the right overall type (e.g. SDram, DDR, DDR2, etc.; PCxxxx, xxx mhz) for your mboard. In the worst cases of incompatibilty your mboard WILL NOT BOOT all the way with it installed, and the mboard may not even beep - the ram has to be compatible with the mboard's main chipset, or in the case of recent mboards, compatible with the memory controller built into the cpu.

If you still have the ram that was installed when the system worked fine, try installing ONLY that ram, if you know which module(s) it(they) is(are).

See response 5 in this for some info about ram compatibilty, and some places where you can find out what will work in your mboard for sure:
Correction to that:
Mushkin www.mushkin.com

Once you know which module ID strings (part numbers) work in your mboard, you can get them from anywhere you like that has ram with those ID strings.

If you have brand name ram, it is usually easy to look up whether it's ID string is in a list of compatible modules found by using your mboard or brand name system model number.
If the ram is generic, that may be difficult or impossible.

Some ram manufacturer's modules do not strictly adhere to the JEDEC standards that most mboards bioses use to determine ram settings.
In that case, the ram settings in the bios Setup that the bios has automatically chosen may not be correct.
Check the ram settings in your bios - the ram voltage, and the ram timing numbers - those should be the same as for the specs for the modules themselves. Often the ram voltage and timing numbers are printed on the label on the modules.

If the voltage setting or timings settings in the bios are different from the specs for the ram, change them in the bios. The timing numbers must be as close as you can get to the same, or slower timings (higher numbers = slower) - you won't notice the difference the slower settings make.

If you have a mix of different modules
- don't mix ram that different voltages arespecified for - the bios will force the ram to use the lowest voltage, if "by spd" or similar is used (default settings) - ram that a higher voltage is specified for is more likely to not work properly in that situation.
- the bios settings must be those for the slowest timing settings of all the modules, or slower (higher numbers = slower).

If your ram passes a ram test, on your own system, it's working fine, even if you can't determine whether it's listed for your mboard or system model anywhere

If you do a ram test, do that AFTER having tried cleaning the contacts and making sure the ram is seated properly - otherwise any errors found may be FALSE.
If the ram is incompatible with the chipset, or on more recent computers, incompatible with the memory controller built into the cpu, it will likely FAIL a ram test - that is NOT a true indication of the ram being faulty - there is probably nothing wrong with it, and it will pass the test if installed in a mboard it is compatible with.
NOTE: Sometimes incompatible modules (or matched pairs) won't work properly when more than one is installed, but will pass when by itself.

If you want to try a memory diagnostic utility that takes a lot less time to run a full pass than memtest86 does, this one is pretty good - Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.
If you don't have a floppy drive, see the Quick Start Information at that Microsoft link for how to make a bootable CD of the Windows Memory Diagnostic (you need Windiag.iso - you don't necessarily need to use the program they mention to add it to the CD).

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February 23, 2010 at 15:27:21
IT"S NOT THE RAM! I took the ram out. Heard the ram beeps.
Put the ram back in herd beeps that didn't mean anything about
the ram. I tried both types of ram that my computer could have.
PC-2700 & PC-3200. I still hear the long string of beeps I herd
before I did the ram thing. I AM PRETTY SURE IT'S THE

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February 23, 2010 at 19:43:46
Describe the beep pattern ! !

Is the beep pattern the same or different when the ram has been removed ?


I've / we've heard that hundreds of times.
Sometimes it IS the ram, despite what the computer user thinks.

However, if you're SURE the SAME ram worked in the mboard previously, it's probably not the ram,

....unless some external event damaged it - a power surge or spike, a power failure event, a nearby lightning strike on the power grid, a static electricity discharge including that caused by using a vacuum cleaner on the mboard, a power supply that caused damage while failing, etc.. etc., all of which can damage other things as well as the ram.

Tell us the make and model of your brand name system, or if you have a generic desktop system, the make and model of the mboard.
The specific model of a brand name system is shown on a label on the outside of the case somewhere, or it can often be determined by going to the brand name's web site.
The model, sometimes the make, of a mboard in a generic desktop system is usually printed on the mboard's surface in obvious larger characters, often between the slots.

The model is often also displayed on a logo (graphical) screen early in the boot, but it's often not as specific as the specific model number.

For Dell computers, they have a Service Tag number - the specific model can be determined by using that on their site, or can often be determined there automatically by you downloading some software. The Service Tag number should be on a label on the outside of the case, probably on the bottom on a laptop, on the back on a desktop, and is often also shown in the bios Setup

"Could the processor be dead since I
didn't have a lot of ram in it and the cpu had to run
over time?"

How much much ram was installed ?
512mb or more is a decent amount.
256mb is just barely enough for XP to work as it should - if you aren't using onboard video.

Not enough ram causes more wear and tear to the hard drive Windows, or whatever operating system, is on, but it has little if any detrimental effect on the cpu.

"SO it overheated and died?"

Cpus that worked fine previously do not fail spontaneously - something must have caused them to fail. In addition to the above possible causes, the most common cause of cpu failiure is it overheated to the point that it was damaged.

Not having enough ram won't make the cpu overheat, but other things can certainly make the cpu overheat.
- aggressive overclocking settings in the bios
- a heatsink and cpu fan combo that are inadaquate to properly cool the cpu - if they came with the cpu in a matched set, or if they came with the brand name system and you haven't changed the cpu or the fan , they're fine
- someone re-installed the heatsink on the cpu but didn't do that properly

The most common causes.....
- too much mung (lint, dust, etc.) on the heatsink and cpu caused poor cooling
- the bearing(s) in the cpu fan deteriorated to the point such that the cpu fan could no longer spin it's full desgned speed, or it stopped spinning altogether.
In the cpu fan bearings are failing, the cpu fan often makes rattling or screeching noises, most likely to be noticed when the computer has cooled to room temp, has not been used for a while, and then is started up.

You usually get plenty of advance warning that you have a overheated cpu problem.
- the computer black screens and shuts down for no apparent reason after it has been running a while and has had a chance to heat up, because of default or custom temp threshold settings in the mboard's bios. The computer will not start up again until the cpu has cooled to below some threshold temp.
That tends to happen more often as time goes by.
- some mboard bioses also produce warning beeps before the mboard shuts down.

A few cpus have a built in thermal sensor that shuts them down when the cpu temp exceeds some temp threshold, so they can't overheat to the point that they are damaged.

Some mboards have this problem - it can cause just about any symptoms.....

Open up your case and examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

This was the original bad capacitor problem - has some example pictures.
History of why the exploding capacitors and which mboard makers were affected:

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:

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