Black screen after numlock boot up

Microsoft Windows xp professional w/serv...
July 11, 2010 at 08:07:08
Specs: Windows XP
After numerous different kind of errors over a long period of time everything culminated today as my system crashed just after BIOS loaded and numlock booted up but before XP started loading.

Since then my system crash at every start up attempt. BIOS menu is available but it's not possible to boot up safe-mode.

I suspect some kind of overheating issue as I don't have an extra chassi fan. Besides, I guess it could be some motherboard error if it wasn't for the fact that I replaced it less than a year ago.

Any ideas?

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July 11, 2010 at 09:45:55
If it was a heat issue, the whole machine would shut off. Since you can't access your drive, even in safe mode, you could have had a hard drive failure.

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July 11, 2010 at 10:11:40
You can go into the bios and look at the current temperature of the CPU and the mboard, the fan speeds, and voltages, due to sensors having been built into the mboard, but to add more to what grasshopper said, if the CPU had overheated to the point that the CPU or the mboard bios shut down the mboard automatically, the mboard would NOT BOOT AT ALL after that until the CPU had cooled below some threshold temperature.

Your ram must be working properly in order for your system to work properly and for you to be able to test the hard drive.

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.

For a generic desktop computer, see the mboard manual if you need to - how to remove or replace the ram is usually in that.

If you were fiddling inside the case with the connection to the hard drive.....

It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittent, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, mere vibration can cause a poor connection of it - use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)

The same thing applies for the SATA power connection.

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibility, on another computer if you need to.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.

less likely according to the info you have supplied so far ....when you have a desktop system...

Check your PS.
Make sure the +3.3v, +5V, and +12v readings in the bios are within 10% of their nominal value.
See response 4 in this:

Some mboards develop this problem - electrolytic capacitors were installed on them that were not properly made, and they fail eventually - the mboard manufacturer didn't know they were improperly made at the time the mboard was made.

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.:

Unplug the case/power supply, or switch off the AC power to it otherwise.
Power off your monitor.
Open up the case by removing the left side panel as seen when you're looking at the front of the case.
Check all the connections of the wiring to make sure they are all the way onto their pins and into their sockets, especially the main connector from the power supply. The wires close to the mboard going into the main power connector/socket should be more or less perpendicular to the mboard surface rather than at an angle. Make sure all cards in slots are all the way down in their slots.

Some Dell cases have a latch you must push one way rather than screws you must remove at the back of the case.


While you're in there, if the cpu fan/heatsink has mung (dust, lint, etc.) on it, clean it off, but DO NOT use a vacuum cleaner to do that (they produce a tremendous amount of static electricity when running, and anything connected to them can discharge that to your components) - use canned air, or an air nozzle if you have access to an air compressor, or an artist's brush that can be used in small spaces, etc. It may be difficult to clean the top of the heatsink under the cpu fan - the most likely place to have mung on it - and the bottom side of the cpu fan blades unless you remove the fan. If you have a case fan, clean that too if it needs it.

Also check for mung on the video card fan and heatsink if it has that, and the power supply's openings / fan.

With the cover still off, restore the AC power, start the computer and make sure the cpu fan spins - if it doesn't spin, if you're sure the power supply is working okay, don't use the computer until you have replaced it.
If it spins too slowly, and/or if it 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, the cpu fan's bearings are failing - the cpu is likely to overheat as a result of that if it can no longer spin it's full speed - replace it as soon as you can.

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July 16, 2010 at 06:24:16
I installed a new fan and everything seemed to be working, although I'm not so sure it was the fan that made the case. A few days later thue, the problems came back.

This time instead of a black screen replacing Windows start-up screen I'm stuck after the boot prompt displaying that a boot record was found. I've tried to run a repair installation but the Windows Installation CD can not find a Windows partition and lists my C:-partition as damaged.

My other partitions are detected so the problem doesn't seem to be related to damaged partition tables nor a damaged MBR as the boot prompt detects a boot record.


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Related Solutions

July 16, 2010 at 11:26:00
See Response 2

Re-seat the ram, if you haven't already done that.

Run hard drive diagnostics.

If the hard drive fails the diagnostics, you need to replace it with a new one, or a good used one.

The MBR and partition table(s) are at the very beginning of the data on the hard drive. A failing hard drive can have bad sectors anywhere on the drive. If there are no badsectors at the beggining of the data, the hard drive will boot fine, but that doesn't necessarily indicate there are not bad sectors elsewhere.

You may be able to copy files off the present drive that you don't want to lose to elsewhere, if you access it from a Windows installation other than it's own.

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