Gateway 838GM start problem

This is my first problem during 6 years I've owned a Gateway 838GM: "while playing a utube video of the allman bros' going down slow, experienced screen and sound freeze. tried to restart several times with ctrl-alt-delete-twice,,, nothing happened. mouse frozen too, eventually did a power off shutdown. Here's the Problem: upon power up the next day, I can hear what sounds like a fan or drive running HARD, but the screen stays black and it never boots up. it just continues with the hard run sound without advancing through the start up sequence."
What can I do, short of taking it in to a computer repair store? (if I ever made a recovery disc when it was new, I don't recall where it might be now)
Thanx B

Discussion is locked
Reply to: Gateway 838GM start problem
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: Gateway 838GM start problem
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
- Collapse -
Clarification Request
Have you tried ...

to boot into Safe Mode by repeatedly pressing the F8 key as you power on the system?

If you can boot into Safe Mode try logging in with the default Administrator account and creating a new account. Can you boot into the new account - if yes then your old account is most likely corrupt.

If you cannot boot into Safe Mode does ANYTHING show up on the screen such as the BIOs screens?

If you have a floppy drive see if you can boot with a floppy boot diskette. If you do not have a floppy drive try booting with a bootable CD (you can download several Linux distros to make bootable CDs or a quick and small ISO for burning a bootable CD can be found here:

If the boot diskette or Cd boots see if the hard drive can be seen. The CD based on Linux will show the drive if it can be read but the DOS floppy will need you to make use of the FDISK command to see if the hard drive is recognized by entering FDISK /STATUS on the command line.

- Collapse -
Loud fan

You said you've had it for 6 years. How often have you cleaned the heatsink and fan? These usually cool both the CPU and GPU. Overheating causes problems or protective shutdowns. Also, after 6 years, your BIOS battery is suspect. Some systems start with the fan at full throttle by default. If no POST, the fan may stay in tornado mode. If you've not replaced the battery and done general cleaning, I'd do that first.

- Collapse -
Gateway 838GM

Thanks Edward and Steven, will try the clean-up and battery first as may need hand holding during download and create fresh rescue disk advice. will return after trying both.
PS: also hear three weak 'beeps' when powered on and tornado fan running.
Note: this was my last of 6 Gateways (and first problem), everything since has been 'HPs' (4) with occasional small problems that fixed without a sweat. Most important, this Gateway (with maximum expanded memory) contains a ton of very important data that will kill me to lose. To say the least, I've learned the value of backing up my data.
Thanks Guys,,, I'll be back

In 1954 I had a motorcycle that, 50% of the time, wouldn't start. I'd become so frustrated that I'd haul off and kick the s**t out of it, causing it to fall over on the ground. Never failed, when I'd catch my breath and pick it up, she'd start on the first try.. Oh,,,, if only 'puters' were 'putters'.....(smile)

CNET Forums