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Hard drive problem... or not?

by pt77 / April 3, 2008 9:17 AM PDT

System: HP Pavilion Media Center PC bought December 2006.
Windows XP MCE, 250 GB HDD, 2 GB RAM, Intel Core 2 Duo processor.
I use AVG anti-virus.

About 3 months before the warranty ran out, I started having problems, which varied from boot to boot, day to day:
- freeze during use (and hard drive goes quiet)
- after HP invent splash screen: just a blinking cursor
- and some other very grave sounding disk-related error messages

Hardware diagnostics have never shown anything.

Strangely (and luckily) once in a while the computer would boot up fine (sometimes with a boot CD, sometimes without even) giving me a short window (before it freezes) to back things up to an external drive.

HP tech support sent a new HDD, I changed it, everything seemed fine. And now the problem is suddenly back, leading me to think it's not the HDD but a driver? controller? something else? But when it comes to motherboard stuff, firmware, etc. I am lost.

Any suggestions of what it could be? Do I need provide more info to form a hypothesis?

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I am actually thinking power supply.
by strickjh2005 / April 3, 2008 1:39 PM PDT

I know that might sound weird, but you are having intermittent problems that could easily be caused by bulged degraded caps.

See if you can borrow a psu from a friend and try the computer. If you had a throw away computer I would put the old psu in it and see if I could replicate some problems...

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bulged degraded caps?
by pt77 / April 16, 2008 6:14 AM PDT

strickjh2005, thanks for the response. I might take it in to a fixit shop (seems perilous in itself, never used one before) where someone can swap psu's in and out or try the drive in another computer.

In the mean time... where would I find "bulged degraded caps"? HDD unit? Motherboard? Cable? PSU?


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Check the mobo.
by strickjh2005 / April 16, 2008 2:43 PM PDT
In reply to: bulged degraded caps?

The motherboard may have buldged caps near the proc (integrated VRMs often fail, this is why servers have separate VRMs).

You can look inside the PSU if you want to but everyone else will say it's super dangerous because of the horrible amperage that is in there. Pshh. It's bull. Just leave it unplugged.

And as far as a fixit shop goes, it probably would have been cheaper to just get a new power supply then to just have it diagnosed at the shop...

You can get a new PSU for $25 to $40 online.

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