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...
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: "DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER"
- 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?