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  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    Very strange series of problems

    Hello all,

    Last night, I encountered a technical problem with my pc that is so strange that I'd like to hear your opinions on it, even though I've managed to solve it (for now?). I had played a couple of hours of Minecraft yesterday afternoon, shut down my pc and went to make dinner. After eating and doing the dishes, I tried to start my pc again - only to notice that it didn't do anything. No lights or fans were on, not even the small light next to the on/off switch or the small light on the mobo. After trying another power cable, another wall socket and triple checking all the cables in the pc, I figured the PSU must have died. I thought that was strange, since I hadn't noticed any problems before, there was no ozone smell and the PSU had not made any strange sounds. In a last ditch effort I disconnected almost everything, including RAM and GPU, removed the mobo battery and reset the BIOS by temporarily moving a jumper on the motherboard (this procedure is described in the mobo manual). After this, the pc came back to life but refused to POST. After further tinkering, the POST beep code told me I had faulty memory - even though I had tried every combination of RAM available. I removed the RAM, put it back in the way it originally was and added all other components, and tried to boot. Suddenly, everything was working fine again.
    Do you understand what was going on?

    A question related to this: as soon as my pc was working again, I started making backups, just to be sure. The file transfer rate to my external harddisk is very slow. Does this mean the external harddisk is faulty? If not, how do I get my files across faster? And would a large flash disk (sd card for example) be a good solution for backups? I only need to backup about 15 GB of data.

    Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Want to add me on Steam? Steam name: Mr. Gert

  2. #2
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    PC Spec needed. External backups can be slow over usb 2.0.
    It's hard to narrow down such a problem. You can do a mem test (make a mem test boot disc etc). What version of windows do you have?
    It could be the PSU. The last 2 exampes similar to above I had was from old or underpowered PSU dieing. Once I replaced the PSU (one for a spare as it's a 10 year + system anyway, one for a new as it's a new system), they both worked perfectly.

    Ah, with the exception of the system that had double 12v rails to the CPU when it was a normal wattage CPU and only needed 1 12v rail. That was interesting as the MOBO reported "GPU/Video" errors, so I spend 2 days trying to sort out it's video settings/bios/card. :P

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    I have a relatively old pc (winXP, 2 GB RAM, Core 2 Duo processor, Asus P5K mobo, Corsair 620 Watt PSU, GPU I can't currently remember).


    Edit: when I check memory and CPU usage, neither is maxed out. It doesn't look like the pc is hitting it's limits when transferring files.
    Want to add me on Steam? Steam name: Mr. Gert

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bobtree's Avatar
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    Is the system surge protected and properly grounded? Dust free? Might there have been a lightning strike or static discharge or brownout?

    I once had a system that failed (fans would spin, but no POST) and would only cold-boot and only after being unplugged for a few minutes. It turned out to have cooked one of it's RAM slots after 6 years of heavy gaming, and it was a common failure mode for that particular setup (Shuttle SN25P). The memory modules were fine, but going from 2 down to 1 GB was unbearable for gaming on XP in 2011, and the box was already overdue for retirement.

    I've also had RAM errors due to cabling hanging by the memory chips in a different system. That issue was very hard to find and extremely tedious to test for.

  5. #5
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobtree View Post
    Is the system surge protected and properly grounded? Dust free? Might there have been a lightning strike or static discharge or brownout?

    I once had a system that failed (fans would spin, but no POST) and would only cold-boot and only after being unplugged for a few minutes. It turned out to have cooked one of it's RAM slots after 6 years of heavy gaming, and it was a common failure mode for that particular setup (Shuttle SN25P). The memory modules were fine, but going from 2 down to 1 GB was unbearable for gaming on XP in 2011, and the box was already overdue for retirement.

    I've also had RAM errors due to cabling hanging by the memory chips in a different system. That issue was very hard to find and extremely tedious to test for.
    My system is surge protected. Also, since a power overload in my last house fried the PSU I had before this one, I've always removed the plug from the wall socket when the pc is not in use. There was no lightning, or any other power problems as far as I know (the lamp next to my pc didn't do anything unusual, if that's anything to go by).
    Want to add me on Steam? Steam name: Mr. Gert

  6. #6
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    The PC won't hit limits when transferring. USB 2.0 is painfully slow in reality in comparison to Sata or IDE internally. Also, it depends on the drive. Was it quick last time? Is it slow just this once?

    The best best is to do things step by step. Check the ram for errors with a memtest disc. Should not take too long. If you know how to fit a heatsink and have some spare thermal paste you can check on overheating. Though you may have done this already. Or a quick check by swapping out the PSU for a spare.

    Oh, and some GPUs do cook themselves, so finding the spec and checking it's age can help narrow it down.

  7. #7
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechnicalBen View Post
    The PC won't hit limits when transferring. USB 2.0 is painfully slow in reality in comparison to Sata or IDE internally. Also, it depends on the drive. Was it quick last time? Is it slow just this once?

    The best best is to do things step by step. Check the ram for errors with a memtest disc. Should not take too long. If you know how to fit a heatsink and have some spare thermal paste you can check on overheating. Though you may have done this already. Or a quick check by swapping out the PSU for a spare.

    Oh, and some GPUs do cook themselves, so finding the spec and checking it's age can help narrow it down.
    The disc has always been slow I'm afraid. Overheating does not seem to be the problem, I'm not getting unusual temperature readings. I'll be sure to check the memory when I have time.

    Thanks for the advice so far!
    Want to add me on Steam? Steam name: Mr. Gert

  8. #8
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    Just remember. The PSU is the last thing I check, and it's been the problem twice. :P

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