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HELP - REPAIRING GATEWAY PC

by rpierson77 / October 24, 2003 2:33 AM PDT

I was attempting to repair a Gateway computer for a co-worker of mine. He suspected a bad HD, but I suspected otherwise. I formated the HD and attempted to install Windows 98, and at various time in the install process, the PC made this buzzing-type noise that seemed to be originating from near or around the process, and as soon as that buzzing began, the entire system would lock up, and nothing could be done to unlock it other than turn off the PC. The buzzing sound would go for a few seconds and then go away, yet the machine was completely locked. Any ideas on what it could be?

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Re:HELP - REPAIRING GATEWAY PC
by David Chan / October 24, 2003 2:36 AM PDT

Why not try another HD to see if it locks up during setup?

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Re:HELP - REPAIRING GATEWAY PC
by glenn30 / October 24, 2003 3:20 AM PDT

I am not a tech person but the first thing that comes to mind is a fan/heat problem.

Why not remove the case and turn a fan on the processor/interior to see if the problem continues. Just a thought and simple test.

Good luck!

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Re:HELP - REPAIRING GATEWAY PC
by hecresper / October 24, 2003 3:21 AM PDT

Hmm, sounds like a bad fan on the Processor, but I would also try a different HD. If the processor fan is connected to the motherboard and it stops working, the system might lock up to save it from getting fried.

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LET ME CLARIFY -
by rpierson77 / October 24, 2003 6:50 AM PDT

I probably didn't do a good enough job in my original post. The processor was an AMD Athlon 1.1 Ghz processor with the fan/heatsink on top of the processor. I pulled all the cards (Modem, NIC, Sound) except for the video card, and I had the case open for maximum coolness. The only reason I don't think it's the HD is because it seems to be loading fine until the buzzing static-like noise that comes from the processor area for a few seconds when the machine locks up. There are times when you turn it on and the buzz occurs right away and the boot sequence doesn't even complete, there are other times when I've been 70% or so done with the Win 98 installation and the buzz occurs. Hope this helps! Thanks!

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Re:LET ME CLARIFY -
by David Chan / October 24, 2003 6:58 AM PDT
In reply to: LET ME CLARIFY -

When an OS fails to install it could also be due to bad RAM.

During setup of Win98 which you were trying to do it should have gone through a Scan Disk which would detect if your HD has any bad sectors.

If you suspect a heat issue try pointing a table fan and blow it into the PC with the side open and see if it works.

BTW, what is the size of your power supply?

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Re:Re:LET ME CLARIFY -
by rpierson77 / October 26, 2003 10:12 AM PST
In reply to: Re:LET ME CLARIFY -

Not sure about the size of the power supply, I'll have to look at the machine. The ScanDisk executed flawlessly every time it went to install, of course except for the time or two that the 'buzzing' sound would occur. Every other time though the ScanDisk executed fine.

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Re:LET ME CLARIFY -
by Willy / October 26, 2003 8:47 PM PST
In reply to: LET ME CLARIFY -

I agree with other posters it does sound like the cpu fan is failing. Even if it rotates, its not at the rpms to really cool the cpu. Continued usage at this rate the cpu will fry and fail itself. For the small sum of a fan replacement, look into a decent one or whole HSF setup rated for that cpu. Get that outa the way in order to continue the setup process since you've already noticed it freezes upon buzzing sound.

good luck -----Willy

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Re:HELP - REPAIRING GATEWAY PC
by rpierson77 / October 27, 2003 3:52 AM PST

The processor is an AMD Athlon 1.1 GHz 200 Mhz PC1600 Socket A processor. So, if I just purchase a new processor that meets that specifications, I can just replace the current processor? I've replaced everything in a PC before except for a motherboard and processor, so I'm learning 'on the fly' so to speak...

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Why replace the CPU when the fan is a lot cheaper?
by David Chan / October 27, 2003 4:06 AM PST

If the PC can boot into Windows then it should be fine.

The buzzing sound could be the fan/s which are $10 items and easy to replace.

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Further clarification....
by rpierson77 / October 27, 2003 5:27 AM PST

David -

As I stated in my original post, the computer will NEVER boot all the way into Windows, and won't allow a full windows install to take place without the buzz and subsequent lockup occuring. My whole basis for this thread has been to find out what exactly is causing this buzz/lockup to occur, and if it's repairable or not. The fan seems to be functioning normally, however perhaps for some reason it's not getting it cool enough, I don't know. Let me go over in a more detailed fashion the typical sequence of events -

Attempt 1: Turn on PC. PC is on, however does not even get into boot sequence, and doesn't even turn monitor on. Buzz occurs immediately upon turning on PC.

Attempt 2: Same as attempt 1.

Attempt 3: PC is turned on, this time monitor and keyboard are recognized, Gateway screen shows and loads, then disappears, and PC hangs in blank screen with cursor flashing in the upper lefthand corner. Buzz occurs upon hang.

Attempt 4: PC is turned on, goes to CD-ROM (containing Win98 CD) and asks if I want to boot from hard disk or setup from CD. I chose CD, setup gets to scandisk function, freeze and buzz.

Attempt 5: Same as attempt 4, except windows setup gets a little further.

After several more attempts to where it finally gets to about 70% done with the Windows install and I'm on about my 7th or 8th attempt at installing Windows I give up, format C: again, and start over, only to have the exact same thing occur again. Keep in mind, nearly every single time it locked, there was a buzzing type noise coming from the processor area. The fan on top of the heatsink was functioning seemingly normally, the HD wasn't making any strange noises or rattles. The only abnormal thing is this buzz. PLEASE HELP!

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So far it doesn't point towards CPU...Try these...
by David Chan / October 27, 2003 7:01 AM PST

Try the following:
1. If possible change the RAM or use one that you know is good.
2. If you don't have a spare RAM chip try running the memtest86 test which will tell if you have defective RAM which could certainly prevent the installation of the OS. http://www.memtest86.com/
3. I assume that you have checked your HD with Scan Disk and since you can format it fully the HD should be OK. But if you have another HD you can try installing the OS on it.
3. Is the BIOS updated?
4. Is the Win98 CD defective and thus may not copy the setup files properly?
5. Can you swap the CD-ROM drive for one that you know works?
6. Open the case and point a table fan into the PC at the CPU to eliminate the possibility of overheating.
7. Closely inspect your Motherboard to make sure it does not have any blown/leaking capacitors. Many Mobo are affected by poor quality capacitors and such can cause it not to function properly.

Hope the above gives you enough to work on.

Let us know how you progress.

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Re:So far it doesn't point towards CPU...Try these...
by rpierson77 / October 27, 2003 10:04 AM PST

Couple more things -

1.) Initial attempt always yields quick light up of keyboard lights, but then no response from keyboard or monitor....buzzing is inconsistent.

2.) After a couple of boots, then Gateway screen appears and keyboard is active.

Checked the board, looks as if everything is OK (no bubbles or anything melted or crusted over).

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Re:So far it doesn't point towards CPU...Try these...
by rpierson77 / October 27, 2003 10:15 AM PST

Couple more things -

1.) Initial attempt always yields quick light up of keyboard lights, but then no response from keyboard or monitor....buzzing is inconsistent.

2.) After a couple of boots, then Gateway screen appears and keyboard is active.

Checked the board, looks as if everything is OK (no bubbles or anything melted or crusted over).

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Re:Re:HELP - REPAIRING GATEWAY PC
by Tom Aikman / October 27, 2003 7:13 AM PST

This sounds familar. Take a look at the capacitors(round cylinder-like pieces). Especially around the processor and memory. If any have bubbled tops or crust you could be looking at a new Mobo.

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Re:Re:Re:HELP - REPAIRING GATEWAY PC
by rpierson77 / October 27, 2003 10:17 AM PST

After opening the case and examining the mobo, no bubbles or anything blown out or fried (to the naked eye), just a lot of dust, which I got rid of. I removed the processor and got rid of all the dust, and attempted again to get the computer to boot. Now PC won't boot at all. Bad RAM possibly? HELP!

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Re:Re:Re:Re:HELP - REPAIRING GATEWAY PC
by Willy / October 27, 2003 10:47 AM PST

Take nothing for granted and with power off, remove cpu again. Verify none of the pins are bent or broken, plus return the fan&heatsink back on, the cpu will burn-up if run w/o it in short order. You are using heatsink compound or tape to recoat the cpu before placing heatsink back on? But heck, when all said and done, get another cpu with new fan, etc. and install should the orginal cpu be bad. -----Willy

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POSSIBLE DISASTER
by rpierson77 / October 28, 2003 9:29 AM PST

Well, I was removing components and putting them back in and making sure all connections were secure, and attempted to reboot the machine. I accidentally put the 128 MB RAM chip in to slot 3 instead of slot 1 and put it in backwards (don't ask me why), attempted to boot, nothing happened, and I noticed a burning smell. I immediately shut off the machine, put the RAM back in correctly, and attempted a boot. The machine starts up, the lights on the keyboard flash but the monitor never initializes, the light on the CD-ROM flashes, but the screen won't come alive, and the CD won't spin. Have I ruined the machine beyond repair, and if not, what can I do to repair it? FRUSTRATED!

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Re:POSSIBLE DISASTER
by aln1215 / May 14, 2004 10:29 AM PDT
In reply to: POSSIBLE DISASTER

Hi
This has been a fascinating read ... Thanks. It has been interesting and informative to see how other tech types would handle this problem. Frankly I would have opted for a well placed explosive early on. AFTER removing all the removables such as hard drives, CD-ROM drives, RAM, etc.
Seriously I would consider getting a "barebones" system (for about $100.00) and moving the hard drive etc. to the new system.
By the way from this last post I suspect your RAM is fried and possibly the motherboard.
Good Luck

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Re:HELP - REPAIRING GATEWAY PC
by purrrs2003 / May 14, 2004 3:21 AM PDT

I too was trying to up grade a HP Pavillion pc and
(for some unknown reason) didnt get the ram seated fully in the slot. I rebooted the system and ,,,NOTHING....Just a black screen. I didnt get a burning smell or any thing, But I cannot get the screen to do any thing but stay black. Since this has happened I have seen 2 more HP's and Just today I was called to go look at a Gateway that is displaying the same symptoms. It seems to be catchy or I am missing some thing simple.
How would I get the Dos to boot or some thing,, even the blue scrren of death would be better than what I got.
BTW... all of these systems are winxp and have 128mb ram and 40GIG hds....
any information at all would be very helpful...

purrrs

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Tip. Make your own post.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 14, 2004 3:35 AM PDT

Your post is a bit light on details, but a partially plugged in card, connector, or stick of RAM can damage almost anything that its connected to...

Bob

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Re:Re:HELP - REPAIRING GATEWAY PC
by rancott / May 14, 2004 8:34 AM PDT

go into the bios and reset it to the factory defaults, then retry your intsall

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Re:Re:HELP - REPAIRING GATEWAY PC
by aln1215 / May 14, 2004 10:19 AM PDT

Hi
Assuming everything is plugged back in correctly and it still isn't booting I'd find a friend or co-worker with a Win98 system and make a boot floppy. (When you format a floppy there is an option to "add System Files")
If it boots to the floppy then you have options ... If it doesn't boot I would suspect the system is hosed. Try swapping parts such as monitor, video card, RAM. Exactly what you swap and in what order would depend on what EXACTLY are the current symptoms. For example is POST completing and the monitor is just not displaying?
Good luck

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Re:HELP - REPAIRING GATEWAY PC
by Willy / May 14, 2004 9:05 AM PDT

It msybe one of your fans or CD/HD drives. If CD/HD drive it maybe going bad or iffy operation of a fan(any fan) from being dusty/dirty or simply wearing out. I certainly take the time to check it out as during install it may cause future problems. -----Willy

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