Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet

My Computer is not turning on!!! Is it dead!!! No POST!!!

My Computer is not turning on!!! This is a problem that everybody dreads. Their PC that they payed quite a bit of money for has turned into a piece of unopprative equipment. The symtoms range from a PC when turned on, that does not do anything, in other words dead, to my PC turns on and the fans spin but it doesn't boot. All of these symtoms are known as No POST or your computer is not POSTing, POST refers to Power On Self Test. A component has failed the test and your computer therefore can't or will not boot.

There are however certain techniques and ways to get it going again. Together we will go through the process of dianosing the faulty component/components and bring the life back into it. This is what you want to do before spending money on replacement parts.

We will start our adventure by earthing ourselves, open the side panel of your computer case, there are usually two screws holding it in place and touch the bare metal of the PSU which is the Computer Power Supply. The Power plug must be in the off position and the plug pluged in. Now we are ready to tackle this fault as we have discharged any static electricity that may have been present in our bodies. ESD is Electro Static Discharge. If you did not earth yourself for instance and you happened to have static Electicity stored in your body, you would simply fry any computer component you touched in an instant. It is always best to wear all cotton clothes if you can as cotton generates very little if any static electricity.

Now that we are free from the possiblity of ESD, we can move to the next step. Start by either using the clear CMOS jumper or by removing the BIOS/CMOS battery. The BIOS/CMOS battery is a silver button cell with a voltage of 3volts. Remove this cell for about one minute and then reinstall it in the correct orientation to restore the BIOS/CMOS to default settings. Now turn on your PC, any change! Beep Codes, one single beep represents all systems good to go, beeping a continueous fashion can represents a RAM problem.

Ensure that your PC is clean of any dust, pay special attention to the CPU cooler as a CPU (Central Processing Unit) that operates under high tempreatures will have a shorter lifespan and will be less effiecient compared to one running a few degrees cooler. Dust attracts moisture and prevents sufficient air flow through the cooler. It is an unwelcome guest and doesn't do your computer any good.
Clean the gold fingers on the RAM modules with tissue paper and when they are reinstalled, install them one at a time in alternating slots. It is always helpful if you have the opportunity to test them in a friends computer. The more you know that works the better.

We are going to talk about variables, by disconnecting all hard drives and DVD/CD drives, power included, we therefore eliminate the added varible that they are causing the fault. In other words if your PC now turns on then it means that the fault lies with the compontent that was removed from the system. If not then the fault lies with the remaining components in the system. If say at this stage it now POSTs then replace the components one by one to until it no longer POSTs then the last component installed can be said to be faulty.

Ensure that the graphics card is properly seated in it's slot, again it may be cleaned with tissue paper. However if your computer mainboard supports onboard VGA then try this, remember to remove the graphics card or else it will not work. Again varibles. An ideal test situation is one where you have a mainboard with CPU, know to be working RAM using onboard VGA. Three components! Now you have narowed the fault down to two or three faulty components. Here is where it gets difficult, you now have either a faulty mainboard or a faulty CPU. In this case the best thing to do is diagnose which is faulty before purchasing replacement components.

If you have access to a spare working mainboard then install the CPU from the faulty system in the working board. If this works then you have a faulty mainboard and if it doesn't then it is possible that you have a faulty CPU. At this stage i would recommend you taking these deemed to be faulty components to a computer technitian as he/she has access to all sorts of components and can swop these in a process of elimination to determine the faulty component. The cost of which is far less than that of purchasing say another mainboard just becuse it 'could' be the faulty component in your computer system.

I do reccomend doing all your testing out of the computer chassis, but this depends on your ability and skill. If you are not comfortable with out of case testing then do it in the case. I do out of case testing as it eliminates the chances of shorting with the case etc...
Place the mainboard on a non conductive surface, an anti-static bag is the best form and then perform your tests as per above.

I hope this answers alot of questions and is able to benfit all that study it.
Hey it works for me and I repair PC's everyday.
Thanking you all
See the Pictures Below:

Here is a photo of an AMD Athlon XP 3200+ Socket 462, try to tidy those wires, keep them together, out of the way to increase the overall airflow through your computer system.

Shown below is the CPU heatsink mounting clips, be sure not to damage them, check that they are properly seated.

The purple slot shown in the photo below in an AGPX8 slot, PCI-Express slot looks very similar, notice the white clip on the rear of the Slot. Be sure to unclip it to remove your Graphics card.
The golded heat sink to the left is the SouthBridge and the one to the right is the NorthBridge.

Here is the Silver 3V Button cell that keeps the information in the BIOS/CMOS alive. The yellow jumper in the middle is the clear CMOS jumper. The micro chip labled AG5 is the BIOS/CMOS Chip.

Ahh look at those capacitors, check them for leaks. They can pop in which case you will see the tops split. A leaking or blown capacitor results in a dead computer system.

I alway appreciate a Custom Cooler for my computer components to get the temperatures down. The cooler you get your components to run the the longer they will last and the greater there effiecincy.

Here below is that AMD Athlon CPU I was talking about. The makers name is AMD and the model is Athlon. It's model number is AXDA3200DKV4E. The model number is important as you will be able to find out the Specifications of the CPU and find it's socket compatibility etc...

Here is the CPU, the top white band shows the Socket type that the mainboard supports. Notice the Thermal Interface Paste/Material. It is applied each time the CPU Cooler is removed, it's task is to transfer the heat from the CPU Core to the CPU Heatsink. It basically fills tiny holes inbetween the Heatsink and the CPU.

Further Help, see these published guides:
How to Remove the Side Panels of My Computer Chassis!!!

How do I reset my BIOS/CMOS to defaults?

How to install Graphics Drivers, Nvidia and AMD Radeon!!!

Thanks again
Wishing you all the best and hoping that you will learn, as I did the internals of the computer system. All in an effort to get your computer system to go again or to keep those tempreatures down.
Till next time!

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