General discussion

PC starts up, then just stops - blank screen

I'd really like to know what's going on here.
Thisis an HP PC with Windows XP/SP3 "worked fine before..." then, after many months of flawless performance, the PC started up ok, got the XP splash, then the screen went black - no further activity. It SOUNDS like it's running, but there's no action on the screen. Could get boot choices with F8 but could not get to safe mode. I got "last known good configuration" to work once, but the PC went black again after a few minutes.

I tried HP PC Recovery (accessible through the POST screen) and got the system back, but it went to a black screen a few seconds later. I even got the CD key and reinstalled XP to ANOTHER HARD DRIVE and entered the CD key from this PC and that also went to a black screen after a few seconds. HOWEVER - note that it stays up for as long as necessary to install the system.

This is an HP Pavilion A705W with nothing changed but the HDD, 1GB RAM (512 twice), XP Home/SP3; I can provide any other details that might help. Can something be affecting the HDD and, if so, where can it be lurking? I await enlightenment.

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(NT) Tried booting to the 'safe mode ' ?
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. . .tried booting to the 'safe mode'?

Yep. See above.
Details: after pressing F8, I get the customary choices, but when trying for safe mode, I get the scrolling list of lines that typically display on the way to safe mode, but that ends abruptly and I get the (now familiar) black screen.

Back to you.

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Is this the equivalent of your current machine?

If so, you are completely out of luck. I could not find the exact model that you have. It is not in HP's current support database.

Here is a picture of what you are faced as a major problem here: My Emachines of 8 years ago is newer than this HP model of yours. And, you will not find expansion parts for it either.

Do you think, that it is a prime time to go and buy yourself a much newer machine than that one. Since, it seems, to have suddenly, died on you?

It is all up to you now. Wink
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Thanks for your reply.

The 704k looks very similar in many respects. Why do you predict such a dire outcome? Because of no support? (There is actually a lot of info on the HP site - but you have to dig for it.) Or because of something common to both designs? I expect no support from HP - I expect to have to replace whatever has failed. But I want to know what component is responsible for this behavior, even if it is more cost-effective to replace the whole computer.

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Some checks....

Boot-up and get into the F8 display and just let it sit there for 10-30min. what does it do? If it blanks out after a few minutes and it doesn't come back after you move or activate the kybd. you have a video problem. If it works and then fails upon entering the system, then maybe an OS one. Are the recovery discs the ones HP or generated from that system, orginal? The last area to look at is the PSU, is just starting to falter. It doesn't have the ummmff it had when new, though that's a idea for now. HP and Compaq tend to not like big changes when installing the OS again. If you install as it was upon day 1 when you recieved it and it works OK. Then add the devices/items later. Also, remove any USB devices hanging at the ports, except kybd. and mouse(if present) and retry again.

tada -----Willy Happy

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some checks

Thanks, Willy, but I've covered most of those suggestions; please read my original post.

The black screen appeared after a couple of years' problem-free use.
The system stays "up" for as long as necessary to reinstall, either through PC Recovery (NOT using recovery discs -using the HP utility on the HDD), or through reinstalling from a Microsoft Windows XP CD. Once the system is restored or reinstalled, the behavior returns.

I'll try letting it stand at the boot choices screen that I get with F8 and see what happens.

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Response to LucJPatenaude

LucJPatenaude, your reply to tim-b's post above was totally unnecessary.

I have deleted it. Please refrain from such posts again.


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A report has been made directly to the Cnet professional

staff and this Moderator will be dealt disciplinary action(s), anytime soon.

The original poster and topic thread starter was not expected to answer to my blunt reply, either.

Have a nice day, posting, everyone.

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No disciplinary actions will be taken...


The CNET forums are here for the free exchange of information to help resolve technical problems, regardless of the age of hardware/software involved. No one is obligated to assist other members or even respond to a post, but when you do we ask that you be considerate of others. That includes avoiding the use of insults and demeaning or otherwise offensive comments.

Mark was simply enforcing the forum policies when he deleted your reply, so no disciplinary actions will be carried out against him. I would, however, ask that you leave the decision regarding disciplinary actions to the moderators/administrators and not make claims regarding what will or will not happen. In addition, please keep in mind the old adage, "if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all." Blunt replies are fine, but some things are better left unsaid.


P.S. Any responses regarding this should be sent exclusively via PM or the alert system to avoid further deriding of the original point of this thread.

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One thing you may not have checked?

Tim, as well as the other considerations given here, have you opened the case and removed any dust from the fans and air vents? If you haven't done this in this last 2 years, it might be worth a look inside. Dust is a killer for electrical circuits and need to be removed regularly.

Here's CNET's video about it;;rb_mtx

I'm not convinced myself because you say the system still seems to be running, and over-heating normally shuts the system right down to save it from damage. However, possibly the graphics card is over-heating.

Other than that, I agree with Willy, either a failing graphics card, or a failing power supply unit.

Good luck.


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Troubleshooting hardware...


Because you can make it through a full Windows installation without issue, I think it is unlikely that you have a heat issue. However, I do have a few thoughts that may shed some light on the matter:

1.) Download a copy of Ubuntu (a free Linux-based operating system) and burn it to CD/DVD. You can run the OS from the disc without installing to your hard drive. (Note: You may need to edit your BIOS to boot from CD/DVD before your hard drive; Windows will boot automatically otherwise.) See if you can boot Ubuntu and perform normal activities for an hour or more. This will confirm/refute a heat issue as the cause.

2.) Unplug your computer and disconnect/remove everything that's not necessary, including any networking cards, modems, sound cards, much, printers, CD/DVD drives, etc. before booting Windows. I know Willy already touched on this, but extend it to include internal devices as well. This will help determine if a component is failing and causing Windows driver issues.

3.) Try removing and reseating your PSU, RAM, etc. to test for loose connections. Booting up with only one stick of RAM at a time, alternating sticks and slots used, can also help detect a bad stick of RAM or a bad slot on the motherboard.

Let us know what happens.

Hope this helps,

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Replying to just about everybody

Replying to Willy, LucJPatenaud, John.Wilkinson and MDFlax.

I have actually skipped resolving my problem by refurbishing an old HP with XP on it. However, I am still pursuing a solution to the odd behavior I see on this box. I have, as a matter of fact, cleaned out all the dust & lint (there wasn?t much), re-applied fresh paste between the CPU and heat sink/fan assembly, and yanked the NIC. The sound adapter and video adapter are integral to the Mobo, so disconnecting those is not practicable.

Considering the age and degree of neglect, I?m leaning toward the responsible gremlin residing somewhere in downstream from the power supply, if not in the power supply. On the other hand, it really seems to be related more to signal-handling than signal-maintenance or power management, since the thing stays up through out a reinstall. So, maybe there?s some post-install event that invokes enervation of a component that isn?t called into play otherwise, but then causes the failure I?m observing.

Now that I have the user operational again, I can devote whatever time is necessary to chasing down this annoyance.

Please continue with suggestions and I will be glad to come back with whatever turns out to be the answer.

As an aside, I was unable to log in for most of the day today (16 Oct) ? the login link just plain didn?t respond, and I tried four different browsers.

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Yep, Others, Including Me, Have Had Forum Issues Today

Hopefully, such are remedied quickly.

Hope this helps.


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Good work! Tim. Glad to see you back on the horse so soon.

So, how's the machine running now? Been 3 days since your last post.

Hope you got that gremlin out of that machine.

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