View Full Version : Just need a second opinion

01-30-06, 10:04 AM
Hey guys, I'm working on a 5 year old Dell PC right now and just needed a second opinion on something. About a week ago, I reformatted this computer, installed a stick of 512MB RAM and Windows XP Pro, worked fine. I get a call a few days later saying that whenever the owner dials up to AOL, it'll only connect every other try (hope that makes sense). So I thought the modem was going out, hence it was old. I replaced the modem and I started to get a different message of "Modem is being blocked by the connection". I moved the entire PC to another phone jack in the house and get the same thing but another problem arose.

After putting the old modem back in just to check things out, I couldn't get the PC to go past POST. Ya know, the older Dells have the small "loading bar" as I like to call it, while going through POST. It'll freeze right at the tail end.

At first, I was freaking out because I thought I might have really messed something up without knowing it lol. I unplugged the PC and turned it back on a few minutes later to see that Windows XP booted up fine . . . . but the mouse and keyboard(PS2, not USB) quit working. Again with the reboot, but now it won't go through POST.

Here is where I need the second opinion. With all of this happening, my first thought is that the problem is the CMOS batttery, BIOS chip or the RAM. I told the couple that I could try and replace the CMOS battery but if that didn't work, it was a dead PC (or getting real close). Am I missing anything here? Since I've worked with PCs before, I've seen some pretty odd things due to a chip or bridge gone bad on the mobo but it's really hard to troubleshoot like that. Anyone got any advice?

01-30-06, 03:53 PM
Anybody? I'm fixin to call time of death on this Dell if the CMOS battery doesn't work.

01-30-06, 04:06 PM
Here is what I would do:

1. Take everything (and I mean everything, even processor) out of the case (PSU included).
2. Check for damage on all parts. Smell the PSU and visually inspect the mobo for burned traces.
3. Put everthing back in their original slots/places/etc.
4. Fire the thing back up and cross fingers.

I have fixed sooo many machines just by taking them down and then putting them back together. Have no clue why....guess the PC just wanted some attention...:p

01-30-06, 04:20 PM
I belive that darkrider01 advice was good. And, I do not know what the problem is, but as a person that only builds my own computer, I can only think of what I would do, and that would not include condemning the entire system. Since you are doing this for someone else, I have no idea what lengths you or they are willing to go through, but when there is a will, there is a way.

01-31-06, 12:56 AM
The only thing about me going through a PC that old is that I honestly don't want to and don't think it's necessary. I mean come on, it's 5 years old, pretty darn slow and the couple has a brand new Dell laptop to play on. I dunno if I made it clear enough in explaining the diagnosis, but I believe that the mobo is going out. I'm not gonna try replacing the CMOS battery or anything else.

Thanks for the advice but breaking down the entire PC is def out of the question. Time of death . . . 5 years ago lol.

Capt. Picard
01-31-06, 01:23 AM
It's the motherboard. It's always the motherboard. Motherboards are as fragile as glass babies. Check the capasitors on the motherboard. That might be the cause for the intermittent problems.