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Random letters and excalamtion marks on start

Hewlett-packard Pavilion a1200y desktop...
January 17, 2010 at 05:18:30
Specs: Windows XP
My computer shut down, and when I restarted it, it booted up to a black screen filled with exclamation marks and unreadable text. For example, instead of windows safe-mode it might have said weopiws sbgf-npef. If you click on anything it restarts the computer. I was wondering if was a bad hard drive. I reinstalled Windows Xp, which I think reformated the hard drive, and it worked fine that night. The next morning it was back doing the same thing. So I was wondering if it might be a bad hard drive or something.

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January 17, 2010 at 06:05:31
Do you see that stuff as soon as you boot the computer?

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January 17, 2010 at 07:18:44
Don't double post. It clogs up the system and causes confusion so I have deleted the other thread.

It is probably more a video problem. Did you see the BIOS screen when you booted.

Did you see the BIOS screen when you booted?


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January 17, 2010 at 07:32:58
Im not sure what the bios is...when i boot up the HP screen comes up, then the black screen and exclamation marks come up. and I can barely make out what the words are, kinda like they are jumbled. But like I said I put windows xp back on there and it worked that night but it quit the next day

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January 17, 2010 at 07:37:06
My wife said she saw an error message saying something about bios but she couldnt remember

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January 17, 2010 at 07:53:57
Try hitting the Escape key when booting to possibly view the POST screens. Try entering the setup screens and disable fast boot if that option is there. Might be able to disable the HP logo too. That may allow you to view the POST screens and any error messages.

Are you using any adapters on the video cable?

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January 17, 2010 at 07:58:29
No cable adapters, I tried everything, we had the hardest time just trying to boot up from the windows xp disk, when it booted from that the first three or four times it was doing the same thing, the words were jumbled on that too, and the last time we tried it it finally worked and reformatted it and booted the windows program on it, it just didnt last very long

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January 17, 2010 at 08:14:54
If the screen is jumbled when installing from the CD then it probably is not the fault of the hard drive. Sounds more like a defective video card/chip.

I suppose a power supply that is feeding the wrong voltages could cause problems like that also.

If the computer does that when it is totally cooled off then that should eliminate overheating. Although a defective CPU cooling fan or improperly installed heat sink could allow almost immediate overheating.

Open the case and first look for axcessive dirt/dust that could impair the fans and the cooling. Then try starting and see if the fans are all rotating as they should, especially the CPU fan.

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January 17, 2010 at 09:02:14
Could be a bad video card/chip or could be a corrupt BIOS. When you 1st bootup, do you see a brief prompt saying "Press F2 to enter setup"? Pressing F2 will get you into the BIOS menu.

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