[techtalk] Help with hardware woes?

Eric R. Turner turnere at cc.wwu.edu
Thu Mar 8 13:58:39 EST 2001

I had a similar problem. One of my IDE hard drives started making some
clicking noises. The OS (Linux) was still working OK, but I shut down just
in case. I decided to pull the offending drive out of the computer, but
first I needed to get some important files off of it. Tried to boot the
computer (to get the files off of the drive) but it wouldn't POST, and I
wouldn't even get a video signal from the video card. Here's the similar
part: it wouldn't power off when I pressed the power button!

After several phone calls to the manufacturer, I sent the motherboard in
for warranty repair. It's a long story, but after $30 in phone calls,
shipping the motherboard to them TWICE, and being without my computer for
three months, they finally sent me my repaired motherboard. It turns out
that a few resistors were fried. I really think the bad hard drive damaged
the motherboard. I haven't connected it to any other motherboards yet, and
am reluctant to do so unless it's an old 386 that I don't mind losing.

Maybe that doesn't help you, but you're the first person I've heard of who
has a problem even remotely resembling the one I had.


On Thu, 8 Mar 2001, Wood, Mary wrote:

> Putting out a general distress call to see if anyone
> else out there has run into a similar problem ... and
> was able to do something about it besides convert the
> PC into a cat litter box.
> I'm working on a Dell Optiplex GX200 running Win2k (no, not
> Linux, but I'm reasonably certain this is hardware and not
> OS related).  User left PC on when he went to lunch, came 
> back to find monitor in power save mode (which it should be).  
> But moving mouse/pressing keys on keyboard did not bring up 
> video.  He tried powering off PC, but it wouldn't power off 
> (being a Dell, he probably didn't hold power button in long 
> enough) so he turned off surge strip to cut power to PC.  
> Waited a few seconds, powered PC back on, got a pre-POST 
> message saying "memory parity failure."  We have since been 
> unable to boot machine past this message and address given 
> is different each time we get the message.  More often than 
> not, attempts to boot result in no video, yellow light on 
> monitor as if it's not detecting PC. 
> Called Dell yesterday and they took me through the usual 
> steps; "disconnect this and test, disconnect that and test, 
> disconnect everything but power supply and test.  Dell and
> I concurred a new motherboard was the next logical step and
> they shipped one to me.
> Just put in the new motherboard, testing each time I connected 
> something new.  All ok until I hooked up HD and CD-Rom/floppy 
> (CD and floppy both on IDE 2 ... it's one of those new super 
> floppy jobs).  PC powered up ok, but didn't detect any drives.  
> I powered down, pushed cables in to make sure they were secure, 
> powered up and it's back to the same problem; memory parity 
> error.  Disconnected drives, connect that, disconnect this, same 
> problem ... back to square one.
> I've also tried switching memory chips (PC uses RIMM; 1 memory
> chip and 1 dummy chip).  No effect.
> Any ideas?  Ever run into something like this before?
> Thanks in advance 
> - Mary, the ever growing little PC tech.
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