|For the first time in the time that i've owned it, my Compaq Presario 5365 is finally starting to give me BIG problems...|
(Grab a coffee and donut - you're in for quite a read! lol!)
It started when Windows 2000 started being really slow on it. I did a Disk Cleanup, a Defrag, and TuneUp Utilities 2008 didn't show any problems.
I only had 3 MB worth of documents I wanted to save, so I threw them onto my MP3 player, and reinstalled Windows, this time with Windows 98SE.
(Just to let you know, I used the same copy of Windows 98 and drivers as I did the last time I put Windows 98SE on this computer, and everything worked perfect that last time.)
Anyway, I reinstalled with Windows 98SE. The install went flawlessly.
I installed most of the drivers, which went flawlessly. After I installed the SiS 530 driver, however, the computer would completely freeze at the Windows 98 boot logo screen. Windows would only start in safe mode. If I booted into safe mode, and uninstalled the SiS 530 driver, Windows would boot in normal mode again.
This was the same routine that I used to install Windows 98SE before, and it worked perfect.
When Googling the freeze-up problem, I read that it could be due to a RAM stick going bad. I reinstalled the SiS driver (Windows once again froze at boot-up) and I removed one of the sticks of RAM. Lo and behold, Windows 98SE would now boot up in Normal mode with the SiS driver installed.
I figured that the stick of RAM I pulled out was bad, but when I took out the "good" stick (which is the original stick that came on this computer in 1999) and put the "bad" stick in it's place, Windows would still boot up in Normal mode with the SiS driver installed.
So I figured that the sticks were incompatible with each other, although Windows 98SE worked fine with them together before.
What I did next was swap the two sticks in each other's slots. Now Windows 98SE would boot normally with both sticks of RAM installed.
To make things worse, when I swapped the two sticks of RAM, I forgot to tuck the PSU cables away from the CPU fan (bad case design?) and the end of an unused power cable got lodged between the fan blades, so the fan wouldn't spin. I turned the computer on (I did not know if swapping the RAM sticks would cure the boot-up problem yet) and left the room.
The computer ran with no CPU fan for almost 10 minutes before I came back into the room. I was surprised from two things: One, Windows was waiting for me at the login screen, working with both sticks of RAM, and two, I smelled something like plastic burning.
The plastic burning smell was very weak, and there was an electric heater running in the room, which I figured that was where the smell was coming from. When I moved the mouse, the arrow moved very slowly, and then I got a BSOD.
I turned off the computer (with the power button). Not because I discovered that the CPU fan wasn't running, but because I got the BSOD.
I realized after I had turned off the computer that the CPU fan wasn't running. The heatsink burned my finger when I touched it. When I realized what the consequences of what happened in the last 10 minutes might be, it was "Oh shoot", to put it politely.
I cleared the power cable out of the CPU fan's way, and after letting everything cool down for about 10 minutes, I turned on the computer. The CPU apparently lived, because Windows booted up, and everything worked flawlessly.
I sorted everything out, and installed AVG Free Edition 7.5.
When AVG tries to update, though, I get a BSOD, and everything freezes.
So, Windows 98SE now works, after a 10 minute CPU overheat, and the RAM sticks swapped, except once in a while, I get a random BSOD, and I always get a BSOD when AVG tries to do an update check.
Windows 98SE and AVG and everything else always worked perfect before.
So, i'm going to run MemTest86 when I go to bed tonight, and let it run all night.
Two questions I have: one, could all of this be a RAM or CPU issue, or could this old computer finally be wearing out, and two, even though it seemed to have survived the 10 minute overheat, could the CPU still have sustained *some* damage?
Thank you very much in advance,
"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving may not be for you."
-Our tour guide at Fenway Park in Boston, MA.