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:
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): http://www.middeng.com/img/screen01.jpg
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!