After trying to diagnose 1 PC no 2 PCs now stopped booting

January 12, 2012 at 06:03:44
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a few weeks ago i removed a strip of ddr ram from an old pc that works but i rarely use. I placed it in a new pc--both running windows xp. I began to notice that when i would click a link, or try to open a program--my pc would just shut off and reboot. Usually with no problems but sometimes it wouldn't reboot at all. My monitor light would be green and then would just just change to orange. I would get no beeps and my pc power light would stay red and my cd rom would just flash but not operate.

A few days ago--it just shut off and would not come back up. I suspected a bad monitor--i had recently changed monitors that was given to me. I switched the monitors back and still nothing would happen. The pc would attempt to boot--sometimes i would get to the windows start up but then it would shut off. I must not have turned off the pc when i left (this is at my business) for the evening and the next day it was up and running. Another employee thought I had fixed it. It worked for about 10 minutes then shut off.

One reason i thought it was the monitor was because when I hooked up my older pc (which in the past i could do with no problems) the exact same issue occured. I tried three different monitors---i even moved the video cards from one machine to the other and had no luck---both pcs are doing the exact same thing.

In total i had 3 different sticks of ddr 512 ram. I'm not sure how important which slot is (3 in older machine, 2 slots in the newer one) but, I took the one stick of ram that had always been in the older machine and removed the two in the newer machine. Then i unplugged my cd rom drive and tried to boot up the newer machine. worked---i quickly plugged in my mouse and keyboard and backed up my important documents. Then I rebooted to see if it would come back up---IT DID. So thinking I had bad ram--and wanting 1024 in the system--i put in another stick....rebooted and back to the same old problem---NOTHING. I removed the ram i just put in and again----NOTHING.

Is it possible i've destroyed my ram? and why didn't my older pc work when it had in it the ram that seemed to work in the new machine.

I'm stumped.....and now i don't even have my back up pc anymore.

any help would be greatly appreciated.

I have three fans in the newer machine---all work. I did see in the bios that my system temp was 175f and my cpu temp was 85f. Also there were two voltage readings. the first one was 11.something and the one below it was (-)12.something.

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January 12, 2012 at 07:03:48
"I placed it in a new pc--both running windows xp"

It's not a new PC is it's running XP & uses DDR memory. It may be new to you, but it's an old system.

"I suspected a bad monitor"

I doubt it's a monitor problem. The monitor doesn't appear to be receiving a video signal, that means the problem is with the graphics card or another component within the tower.

"I did see in the bios that my system temp was 175f and my cpu temp was 85f"

It's unlikely the system is 175F. If anything, the system & CPU temps are flip-flopped - the CPU is overheating & forcing a shutdown. BTW, temps are generally reported in Celsius, 175F = approx 80C.

Are you unplugging the power cord & grounding yourself before touching anything inside the case? Also, not getting any beeps is a bad sign. Try removing all the RAM, then trying booting the system - it should beep like mad.

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January 12, 2012 at 07:34:17
new system... new systems these days my friend dont have windows xp nor DDR memory once i read this i thought wth!! a DDR ram in a new system then i figured that u might think its new...
anyways first check that the board is not defective and not reporting signs of damage remove all ram as riider said then check if it beeps.
to get this straight u want 1024MB in total in ur new machine and u have 3 sticks of ram, did u try different combinations of ram? try each one alone if one of the rams did not allow the pc to boot then u have found ur defected ram if all works then tell us what your motherboard is and we will help more.

computers are a second home

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January 12, 2012 at 10:10:57
If the computer ran for at least some time, the problem is probably not RAM incompatibility. More likely you bumped the heat sink and dislodged it.

Restore the RAM to the original configuration, including placing it in the original slots. If the computer doesn't start up then, re-seat the graphics card and the cables. If you get video then boot directly into the BIOS to monitor the temperatures. You probably need to remove, clean an re-install the heat sink.

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January 12, 2012 at 10:12:00
Thank you for your quick replies. I do realize that the pc isn't brand new. i was trying to use words that differentiated the two different pcs one being newer than the other. in my haste to ask my question i probably wasn't clear on that. the pc in question is about 4 years old.

i took out all the ram and when i turn it on--i get no beeps. i had the pc built by a local (now defunct pc store) so i don't know what motherboard is in it. it's got an intel chip that i can see---everything else says made in china.
i did remove and clean the heat sink---perhaps i didn't replace it properly

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January 12, 2012 at 11:00:13
Did you apply thermal paste when you installed the heat sink? A little dab is all you need.

You also need to be sure the locking mechanism is connected correctly.

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January 12, 2012 at 11:05:38
i didn't use thermal paste...i did lock it down. however the problem existed before i removed it to clean it.

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January 12, 2012 at 11:32:37
You MUST use thermal paste or a thermal pad. Must be applied correctly too. Each type of CPU has slightly different techniques.

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January 14, 2012 at 04:23:48
i understand the need for thermal paste---however---the same problem which existed before cleaning the fan still exists...and it transfered to my older pc.

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January 14, 2012 at 07:26:20
Randomly swapping parts is not good troubleshooting.

I suggest you install ONLY the one known working stick of RAM into your computer and then go to When there allow crucial to scan your system. They will then show you what type and how much RAM your system can accept.

Just because RAM will snap into the slot does not make it compatible. There are many reasons why RAM may not work. Speed, capacity, density are a few.

I also suggest that you boot into the BIOS (setup) screens and look for the screen with the system temperatures and voltages. Leave the computer running with that screen open for at least ten minutes to see if the temperatures climb. Post results here. Also, the voltages are important. Especially the +12V. That value should read within +- 5% of 12V.

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