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What was the last thing you did on your computer before this happened?
Did you change any system settings in the BIOS?
Did you add new software? or update any software or drivers?
Did you add any new hardware?
Is your system BIOS infected with a virus?
Because it appears that your PC is hanging up during the Power-On-Self-Test [POST]
Here's what happens; when the power is turned on, the computer BIOS [Basic Input/Output System] runs a POST (Power-On Self-Test). It is a diagnostic testing sequence that the computer runs to determine if the hardware [like the mouse, keyboard, hard drive, etc.] is working properly.
If the necessary hardware is detected and found to be operating properly, the computer begins to boot; If the hardware is not detected or is not operating properly, the BIOS issues an error message.
The error message may be a text on the display screen and/or a series of coded beeps, depending on the nature of the problem.
The series or pattern of beeps may vary...they may be in a number of long or short beeps or a mixture of long and short beeps, or even one long continuous beep, depending on what type of BIOS is installed.
Since POST runs before the computer's video card is activated or the integrated graphic chip on the main board, it may not be possible to progress to the display screen.
So if an error is detected during the POST it will halt the boot process because the hardware is essential for the computer's functions.
How many beeps do you hear during the initial POST?
You may have a burned out video chip/card; or corrupt drivers; or even an IRQ [Interrupt Request] conflict.
First check your power supply section and check your power fan that is running properly. if ok then the suspected area is your processor section. please check it if its collar fan nor running properly then clean up or change that. and the other advice is please check your processor pin which are too tiny. be careful about these.
If it beeps and not boot then it is the post routine telling you there is a problem. The post routine is run when you turn the power on to ensure the computer hardware is ok to run. The manufacturer of the bios routine can tell what is wrong by the type, number and duration of the beeps. Look up the code meanings and it will indicate the problem. If this sounds like nonsense to you then give the make and model of your machine and what the beeps sound like. ( beep beep beep delay beep beep beep) etc. and I'll look it up for you.
Vista is available in 32 and 64 bit os.
if your system ran xp which was most likely 32 bit. And you have installed a 64 bit version os.
this will be your problem, also Vista requires more system RAM/Memory to run it.
If you get 1 beep at startup, it states the system is ok.
Alternatives are device drivers incompatability.
Check M$ website, regarding vistas minimum system requirements.
If it is just shutting down for no reason while you are working with it, then the first suspect would have to be the memory.
Run a memory diagnostic on the computer ,memtest is a good program for thes and it will let you know very quickly if your memory has problems.
The fact it boots means nothing since the memory etc are not 100% checked, just a quick test and nothing more.
The beeps that you are hearing are messages created by the POST (Power On Self Test) to indicate that something is wrong. If you know your motherboard type it is possible to find the documentation explaining what 3 beeps mean.
Because we don't know the motherboard type (At least for now) let's use the common sense. Did you verify that the power supply is properly connected to the drive? Can you confirm that removing the second Hard drive it boot again ok? In some type of BIOS 3 beeps means memory problem. By accident did you touch the memory? Are all the ribbon cables well plugged in?