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Screen Goes Crazy - Computer Freezes

by mmfrnt1 / September 8, 2012 11:48 AM PDT

Hello, I was hoping someone here could help me out with this. I have an older compaq that started giving me fits yesterday where the screen would display a crazy smeared graphics of sorts and the computer would just stop cold with absolutely no response to anything.

Not sure how to post images here but I uploaded a picture I took with my digital camera to this link (if it helps):

I am very sorry but I cannot provide the detailed specs because I honestly don't remember it's been so long since I looked... I know it has a nvidia graphics card, duel kingston RAM 1.2gb total, AMD 64 Athlon x2 processor (per the sticker on the front) and runs windows Vista Basic.

I checked to see if it had overheated (fan is still running). Could it be the RAM or the Video card that went out? The PC will start up but only runs for about a minute before it locks up again (with the same screen every time)

Is there a way to get the PC to run even for a couple of hours to get data off of it? (getting a new PC in the next couple of weeks but I really need some business files off this older system if possible!)

Sorry for the long question, and thanks in advance!

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by mmfrnt1

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It really looks like ...
by Edward ODaniel / September 8, 2012 11:59 AM PDT

the graphics processor has failed and probably due to heat.

You might, since you say it works OK for a few minutes, get a little more time out of it by using compressed air to clean out the inside of the case and if you leave the case side cover off and direct a floor fan across the insides of the case that might keep it cool enough to save files.

If that still doesn't do the job you can remove the hard drive from the computer and make use of a IDE or SATA to USB adapter to connect the drive to another computer from which you could copy the files to another external drive or burn them to CD or DVD.

The adapter is actually pretty cheap and can be very handy to have:

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by mmfrnt1 / September 8, 2012 2:05 PM PDT

Thank you for the speedy reply!

I wanted to post an update to say that I will try the first option you offered tomorrow morning (cleaning, opening case and using fan on it).

Just in case that doesn't work I did order the cable set because the little bit about a little bit that I know about PCs tells me that those look like a very handy thing to have on hand indeed! (never knew those existed but it makes sense that they would)

I am going to leave this open until I can report back that this has worked. Thanks again!

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Update... Marked As Solved
by mmfrnt1 / September 9, 2012 4:17 AM PDT

Thank you to those three that have replied so far! I do appreciate all the feedback.

I wanted to update this post and say that I tried to remove the cover, clean it out, place a fan blowing on it, and boot the system up this morning with no luck. The computer "ON" button lights up but the little "busy light" (don't know what else to call it) next to the "ON" button doesn't do anything to show that it's even working on anything. (normally, like most computers of this age, it blinks regularly when the computer is working on something)

The screen doesn't even come on now. (so it's not even booting at all now)

I am going to mark this as 'solved' because I took the advice of the first poster, removed the hard drive this morning and bought the conversion cables to extract the information. Those cables should be here sometime this week.

Thank you all for the help!

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Screen Goes Crazy - Computer Freezes
by baybreeze / September 9, 2012 2:02 AM PDT

Yep, the graphics processor is on it's way out or died. This happened to my sister not too long ago on her laptop. It gave her problems similar to yours, would boot up, give problems, screen would go black...for several days, then finally nothing happened at all. Actually this also happened to my nephew's laptop last year as well.

My sis brought hers to a repair place since it was about 5 yrs old and out of warranty, they told her she would need to replace the entire motherboard since the graphics processor was integrated. She ended up just buying a new laptop. My nephew's laptop still had a warranty and was fixed.

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Thank you...
by mmfrnt1 / September 9, 2012 4:18 AM PDT

Thank you for the reply.

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screen goes crazy
by bnber3451 / September 9, 2012 3:34 AM PDT

I had a similar problem recently and got it cured. Hope will be able to help u. Pls check as follows:-
1) After swithcing it ON, does it boot properly or there is any problem or fault appears before booting is completed ?
2) If the computer is rested for a long time ( say 7/8 Hrs.) , does it run for a bit more time before the fault appears.
3) Have u checked the "Diagonistic' provided in the OS installed in ur computer. Does it give any indication or before completion of the diagonistic run the fault appears.
4) Take out the VGA cord connecting the CPU and monitor. Now switch ON power without switching ON the CPU, i.e. only the monitor will get the power. See if the fault apears or not. If appears, the fault is in the video card of your monitor.
Hoping to get a feedback for further assistance.
B.N.Bhattacharya (

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Thank you...
by mmfrnt1 / September 9, 2012 4:19 AM PDT
In reply to: screen goes crazy

Thank you for the reply... although the system is not even booting anymore so I've taken the other advice to remove the HD and extract the information.

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