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Strange bootup problem

by Artie62 / September 14, 2008 5:49 AM PDT

This happens only once every 3 weeks or so. Rather than booting to XP, I get a black screen with a small white underline at the upper left - as in MS-DOS. I resolve this by shutting off power, waiting a minute, and powering up again while holding down F8. I then usually get a menu from which I can choose to start Win XP. One time the computer showed a blue screen and made a loud alarm-like noise through the speakers, with text indicating a possible hardware problem. Shutting down and starting again, it booted normally.

I've been told there may be a problem with the BIOS, but I'm not familiar with this and have never accessed it.

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My first ideas are:
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 14, 2008 7:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Strange bootup problem

1. The CPU heatsink has fallen off. Fix that!

2. The motherboard or something else has BAD CAPS. To learn what these are and how to inspect for such type BAD CAPS at and make the inspection.

In closing you didn't give make, model, age, story or much to work with so my ideas are what's sending machines like that to the service counters.

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Bootup problem
by Artie62 / September 15, 2008 4:23 AM PDT
In reply to: My first ideas are:

Thanks for the reply - I appreciate it.
I have a Dell Dimension 8100.
This problem has existed for a long time. I recently had my computer completely upgraded with a larger hard drive and additional RAM, and the tech found no problem with any heat sink - although if that were the cause, I'd think the overheating would not be present immediately upon bootup when the computer had not been powered up for an extended period.
I'm an electronics engineer, and am very familiar with capacitors. I doubt that these are the cause, as if they were it would happen far more frequently - probably every time I turn the computer on.

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Sorry but the BAD CAPS issue is...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 15, 2008 4:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Bootup problem

Only when the unit is cold. After it warms these caps work fine.

You may know caps but these are BAD CAPS and after you've done your google on it, I will discuss it. Yes, I design embedded electronics so I can talk to this but if you dismiss it we can't do much until you catch up on this not so new issue.

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Bootup problem & bad caps
by Artie62 / September 15, 2008 5:09 AM PDT

I read up on this via Google - thanks.
My Dell is about 7 years old and has the original motherboard.
Yes, I could spot a defective cap, but I am reluctant to disconnect and disassemble things now, as the problem only appears once every few weeks and I know what to do when it does.
While I've encountered a bad electrolytic cap now and then in other electronic products, I have never seen a situation in which it would only be symptomatic once every few weeks. The tech that upgraded my computer said he had no idea of the cause of this problem - he said nothing about the caps. So maybe it's a bad cap, or maybe it's just a "bad bootup" due to RFI - which there is alot of in my environment.

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