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Old 06-05-2009, 15:10   #1
gwalchmai
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Long distance third-hand harware diagnosis

Don't you love these?

OK, friend's mom tells me Jim is boogying along sending an email when suddenly his desktop makes "grinding noises" and shuts down, and won't come back on. HD was replaced two months ago and everything has been fine until today. That's the extent of diagnostic descriptions.

I'm thinking either another HD failure or the chip fan is toast. I told her to have Jim call me, but beyond that I couldn't help much.

What do y'all think?

(Oh, and before you ask, I doubt there's any worthwhile porn on it... )
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Old 06-05-2009, 19:38   #2
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I second the vote on the HDD. I had one fail almost exactly like that once several years ago. The good news is the data was recoverable, but I had to install OS on a new HDD. Oh and since there's likely no porn on the drive, don't expect free data recovery.
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Old 06-05-2009, 20:30   #3
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who the hell is jim
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Old 06-05-2009, 20:33   #4
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Dammit, Jim! I'm a doctor, not a computer technician!
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Old 06-05-2009, 21:00   #5
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I suspect one of 3 things (given the description, I don't even really consider the last scenario plausible, but, you never know).

One, could be the cpu fan, the grinding could have been the bearing(s) dying. If it is the fan, the computer should start up for just a second to a minute or two until the cpu over temps and shuts down automatically. It should try to boot normally and then essentially go blank when the temp limit is exceeded. It could last through partially booting the OS or just enough to POST, or maybe not even that, it really depends on the CPU and it's cooling requirements.

If that isn't the case, then that sound was probably the heads of the impacting the platter(s), in which case, the computer will post and then complain about having any boot device. The sound probably would have been pretty high pitched.

It also could be the PSU fan that died. That could be why it's also not turning on at all, signifying that it was more than just the PSU fan itself.

Possibly, it could be the mobo, which would explain the not turning on issue, but not the grinding sound, so I would consider that a pretty remote possibility.


Edit to add:

He should really look into getting a small (decent, maybe APC brand) UPS for just the computer itself (not the monitor or any accessories, to keep costs down) because it is possible he's experiencing an issue with the power at his location thats causing components to fry randomly. The UPS would help rectify the power as well as compensate for any momentary drop outs.

Last edited by kc8ykd; 06-05-2009 at 21:03..
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:16   #6
Tennessee Slim
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HDDs rarely fail so cataclysmically.

What about beeps? When he tries to switch it back on, is it making any beeping noises? If it is, they're like Morse code; their sequence and timing is a message describing what it sees as the problem.

If it isn't beeping, is it making any other noises, are any fans spinning or are any lights illuminating?
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