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Topic: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?  (Read 7113 times)

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Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« on: December 01, 2017, 09:39:58 AM »
Ok, it's an old Dell Windows 7 desktop. Been working fine, was on it last night and shut it down as normal. This morning I turned it on, went and got a cup of tea, and expected to come back to the sign-in screen. Instead I have nada. Monitor says no input. Switched everything off and back on, monitor (which is much newer) came up fine, computer sounded like it was booting, light on the external hard drive blinked a few times, then nothing.  Turned it off and tried again, nothing.  :\\\'(

Wah.

Is there anything I can do at home here to try to sort this out before taking it to someone to diagnose?  If not, can anyone recommend a reputable shop in Glasgow to take this to?  It may be time to replace it, but if I can get it to work again for less than the cost of another desktop, I'd rather.  :-\\\\

Also, do you know if it's possible, assuming the disk hasn't crashed or anything, for the repair guys to back up the desktop/disk for me if if the repairs will be too high?  I backed it all up prior to leaving the States, but not since. Haven't used it for a lot other than surfing, but I did have a lot of genealogy info sent to me a couple of weeks ago that I didn't get any farther than downloading to the desktop. Normally I would have backed up weekly to the external hard drive, but.... slacker! ::)

[Edit: I have found a replacement for GTW for 75 quid online and am ordering it, just to have it. If I can fix GTW, great, if not, at least I'll still have a Windows 7 machine. :)  ]
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 10:48:43 AM by Nan D. »


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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2017, 10:59:20 AM »
I'd think that there are two general ways that the computer is failing to boot. One is that there is something that is failing before the OS is loaded from the Hard drive, or during the loading. 

First, I would check that you don't have a disk or dvd or USB stick left in a drive. Sometimes the computer can think it is bootable and try to boot from that rather than your hard drive. That would be compatible with your symptoms.

Your power supply could have failed in a way that either gives no power to the pc, or stops after a few seconds.  This doesn't seem likely if the Hard disk light briefly flickers first time. 

If the computer can load the Bios, that's a start and you can diagnose from there.  Try pressing f2, ctrl alt enter or the delete key immediately after turning it on.  Try them all, both constant hold down and repeatedly pressing while it starts.  If you get into the Bios, then you can inspect which drives are being recognised and most importantly see if your hard drive is there. If you can get into Bios and your drive is not there, that indicates your disk may be broken and your data lost.  If you can't get into Bios, that indicates a failure of some type before your hard drive, which is good news for your data.

One small thing you can do is to replace the watch battery on your mother board. If that has failed, it can stop your Bios from loading. 

Assuming your Bios is loading and your hard disk is recognised, then the problem could be with loading windows.  It doesn't sound like that from your description, but if it is then look into starting windows in safe mode by pressing f8 repeatedly during start up
Good luck



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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2017, 12:02:41 PM »
I turned it on, went and got a cup of tea, and expected to come back to the sign-in screen. Instead I have nada. Monitor says no input. Switched everything off and back on, monitor (which is much newer) came up fine, computer sounded like it was booting, light on the external hard drive blinked a few times, then nothing.  Turned it off and tried again, nothing.  :\\\'(

If the monitor says "no input" did you check the lead from the monitor to the computer to make sure it is well seated at both ends, and that no rodents have chewed through it?

As the computer is making the booting sounds and lights are flashing, does the monitor show any indication of communication?  If not, check that lead again.
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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2017, 01:59:35 PM »
Hi. The monitor was showing no communication at all. I just got a different lead and tried again, nada. Put the original lead back on and tried again and I've got Gandalf back with a message that the computer had tried to boot unsuccessfully before at "Checkpoint 19".

I assume that the dear old thing is now on borrowed time and am backing up like crazy. Still will be ordering a replacement, just in case, since they are so cheap. There was nothing in the dvd player or usb flash attached, and the internal lights remained on at all times.

Not sure what's going on, but I doubt that it's good. :o
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 02:06:43 PM by Nan D. »


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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2017, 02:30:36 PM »
I guess it's going again?  You are smart to back up. If you can buy a new one, just copy what you need off the old hard drive and keep the drive.


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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2017, 02:34:01 PM »
Yeah, just color me paranoid, but this is a 7 year old computer that's been used a lot, suffered three major moves....  Best to be ready for grandpa to have to go to the old computer home.   ;)


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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2017, 06:17:20 PM »
Hi. The monitor was showing no communication at all. I just got a different lead and tried again, nada. Put the original lead back on and tried again and I've got Gandalf back with a message that the computer had tried to boot unsuccessfully before at "Checkpoint 19".

I assume that the dear old thing is now on borrowed time and am backing up like crazy. Still will be ordering a replacement, just in case, since they are so cheap. There was nothing in the dvd player or usb flash attached, and the internal lights remained on at all times.

Not sure what's going on, but I doubt that it's good. :o

I have Googled "checkpoint 19" and it may refer to memory (RAM) issues...

If it is the RAM, the good news is: RAM is cheap and, if you have any experience at all working in the guts of a computer, easy to replace.  Plus, the information on your harddrive would be unaffected.

The bad news: If you have never gone poking around inside your computer before, you will be overcharged by anybody you pay to do it, unless it's a trusted friend or relative who does it for the cost of the RAM chip(s) and a pint.

Then again, it might not be the RAM, anyway, in which case you'd be out the cost of the RAM you bought, and still without a functional computer.

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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2017, 06:31:12 PM »
Well, years ago I built a computer from spare parts, but that was in 1991 and a lot has changed. I've added my own drives and stuff until recently. So, being a cheapskate at heart, I'll always give it a try before taking it in, if I have a clue as to what I should try. Like when the Daughter dropped my laptop and the keyboard stopped working. Found video on YouTube about how to change keyboards. Took the old one out, blew the dust out, reseated it. Worked fine again. So, yeah, if it's memory I'll try. The Daughter says RAM is cheap.

Not sure it is, tho. Ran a memory diagnostics test on it and it came up with no faults. So...?

I can get a complete replacement of this machine, plus monitor, keyboard, and mouse, for about 85 quid on Amazon. I will probably do that, even if it's just to have it sitting in a closet for when this one does die.  I was able to do a complete system backup, twice (on two different hard drives, for good measure) and created a system repair disc tonight, just also for safety-sake. Hopefully I will not need any of this.

Ran across a message on a computer problems website that was mentioning something about USBs and this type of thing. Stupidly did not bookmark it. (Sigh).  It's been a long week.


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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2017, 08:14:05 PM »
I can get a complete replacement of this machine, plus monitor, keyboard, and mouse, for about 85 quid on Amazon. I will probably do that, even if it's just to have it sitting in a closet for when this one does die.

At that price, you should just get it, and skip the RAM!

But before spending money on RAM or a whole new system, you could just open up your machine and make sure yours is seated fully.  Maybe it's come loose for some reason?  It's in well enough to respond intermittently?  I dunno.  Try removing it and putting it in again.
9/1/2013 - "fiancée" (marriage) visa issued
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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2017, 08:21:06 PM »
Yeah, will try that tomorrow when I'm less frazzled. It did just come halfway around the world through the Panama Canal in a sea crate and all, so it's entitled to be wonky.

It was cold out today, and I ventured out for the xmas wreath and probably should not have. (Lungs damaged several years ago by a nasty immune-system thing, and they don't take kindly to very cold air!)  Going to just put Wartime Farm on to play and veg with some very nice chai tea, and see if they got their sub-soiler to work. :D
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 08:22:16 PM by Nan D. »


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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2017, 08:29:57 PM »
Yeah, will try that tomorrow when I'm less frazzled. It did just come halfway around the world through the Panama Canal in a sea crate and all, so it's entitled to be wonky.

It was cold out today, and I ventured out for the xmas wreath and probably should not have. (Lungs damaged several years ago by a nasty immune-system thing, and they don't take kindly to very cold air!)  Going to just put Wartime Farm on to play and veg with some very nice chai tea, and see if they got their sub-soiler to work. :D

I didn't realize you had just unpacked it from a sea voyage.  That could explain issues.  Hopefully, you'll sort it out and it settles down.

Enjoy your vegetating!
9/1/2013 - "fiancée" (marriage) visa issued
4/6/2013 - married (certificate issued same-day)
5/6/2013 - FLR(M)#1 in person -- approved!
8/1/2016 - FLR(M)#2 by post -- approved!
8/5/2018 - ILR in person -- approved!
22/11/2018 - Citizenship (online, with NDRS+JCAP) -- approved!
14/12/2018 - I became a British citizen.  :)


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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2017, 01:20:28 AM »
Well, not "just" unpacked. It's been up and running for a couple of months. But... so far, it's still up and running.

Vegging was good. Insomnia is bad.

A young woman was attacked on the exact walking route I would have to use to get the four blocks from my prospective employer's door to my bus stop, last night at around 9pm.  That is giving me some pause about the bit about getting off work at 10pm down there in City Center.   :-\\\\


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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2017, 09:28:33 PM »
A young woman was attacked on the exact walking route I would have to use to get the four blocks from my prospective employer's door to my bus stop, last night at around 9pm.  That is giving me some pause about the bit about getting off work at 10pm down there in City Center.   :-\\\\

Will you have coworkers that you can walk with? I wouldn't let that deter you, most attacks are not completely random. But it is always much safer to travel in groups.


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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2017, 08:59:12 PM »
OK, I foolishly shut it down today and it won't boot again now.

So I've found this one online 

and it's to replace a 2011 vintage Dell Inspiron 620S with a core i3 processor.

I am thinking these are probably comparable machines? I need it to be on the internet with, do some word processing, and stream video. I have a very few computer games, none more recent than 2014 so I assume it would handle them?

Advice? I believe the optiplex line was the business side of Dell and the inspiron were for home users. Other than that, not sure...
« Last Edit: December 04, 2017, 09:11:34 PM by Nan D. »


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Re: Gandalf the White (Computer) has died?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2017, 09:30:30 PM »
OK, I foolishly shut it down today and it won't boot again now.

So I've found this one online 

and it's to replace a 2011 vintage Dell Inspiron 620S with a core i3 processor.

I am thinking these are probably comparable machines? I need it to be on the internet with, do some word processing, and stream video. I have a very few computer games, none more recent than 2014 so I assume it would handle them?

Advice? I believe the optiplex line was the business side of Dell and the inspiron were for home users. Other than that, not sure...

It has decent reviews there. It won't be fast, and you may want more RAM if the motherboard will allow it (4gb will get eaten just by the operating system pretty quickly), but for under 100quid it seems fair. You may want to check out some of the Christmas deals on modern computers and tablets for what you use the desktop for, as you could probably get something that'll last a bit longer for not much more $$. (It depends on how long you want this computer to last honestly.)


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