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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
The Wreck of the Old P4
Moderators: Flash, Ian, JohnMurga
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beekster

Joined: 20 Feb 2013
Posts: 39
Location: North Carolina, USA

PostPosted: Thu 14 Mar 2013, 20:56    Post subject:  The Wreck of the Old P4  

I've been working on this old P4 computer, upgraded memory, new CD/DVDROM drive, etc. It seemed to enjoy Slacko, getting to the bottom of its issue with audio CD's and so on. I had the idea its better days were yet to come but I believe it's finally bit the dust. Crashed somethin' terrible while browsing on Firefox. Rebooted, and it began to make chirping noises, crashed again. Went into Windows and it bluescreened indicating device driver stuck in infinite loop (nv4-disp). On further examination it showed a corrupt file in the System Volume Information folder, but I couldn't gain access. At this point, nothing can make it boot up at all. Crying or Very sad
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 5056
Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Thu 14 Mar 2013, 21:38    Post subject:  

Two questions --

(1) do you hear a clicking sound coming from the insides, shortly before it bombs?

(2) where are you in NC? I'm in Siler City Very Happy

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Flash
Official Dog Handler


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 12699
Location: Arizona USA

PostPosted: Thu 14 Mar 2013, 23:18    Post subject:  

I just want to mention that if you run Puppy from a multisession DVD with at least 512 MB of RAM, you don't need a hard disk drive at all.
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beekster

Joined: 20 Feb 2013
Posts: 39
Location: North Carolina, USA

PostPosted: Thu 14 Mar 2013, 23:37    Post subject:  

starhawk wrote:
Two questions --

(1) do you hear a clicking sound coming from the insides, shortly before it bombs?

(2) where are you in NC? I'm in Siler City Very Happy


Yes, I'm in Garner. It sounded like insects chirping loudly!
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beekster

Joined: 20 Feb 2013
Posts: 39
Location: North Carolina, USA

PostPosted: Thu 14 Mar 2013, 23:39    Post subject:  

Flash wrote:
I just want to mention that if you run Puppy from a multisession DVD with at least 512 MB of RAM, you don't need a hard disk drive at all.

I'll have to give that a try, 'cause right now, I get absolutely nuthin'!
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 5056
Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar 2013, 01:03    Post subject:  

Problem's yer hard drive. "It's dead, Jim."

More seriously -- clicking usually indicates imminent failure of the drive, by force of something mechanical going bad inside. I say "usually" because in your case, it's sitting in the grave, just waitin' on the Reaper!

I have a bunch of hard drives that should work for you, in typical capacities from 10gb to 80gb (and a few oddball-sized ones). Tell me what size you'd like, I'll grab one and test it. (If you have a brand preference, that's good to know as well.) I'll gladly send it to you for cost of shipping -- or, since you're about an hour's drive from me, if you want to bring the whole box here, I'll put it in for you.

If you want to drop by, PM me for my phone # and we'll set up a time and day. I'll be out most of tomorrow but I'll be able to call you after 5pm for sure. My weekend's wide open, though...

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Ted Dog


Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 4013
Location: Heart of Texas

PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar 2013, 01:24    Post subject:  

beekster wrote:
Flash wrote:
I just want to mention that if you run Puppy from a multisession DVD with at least 512 MB of RAM, you don't need a hard disk drive at all.

I'll have to give that a try, 'cause right now, I get absolutely nuthin'!


I found puppy when jobless and unable to buy new hardware, after my HD controller on my mother board crapped out after a few mins of booting. Spend 9 months using linux just like this. I liked that puppy freed the DVD drive to playback videos.
Very Happy
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beekster

Joined: 20 Feb 2013
Posts: 39
Location: North Carolina, USA

PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar 2013, 14:38    Post subject:  

starhawk wrote:
Problem's yer hard drive. "It's dead, Jim."

More seriously -- clicking usually indicates imminent failure of the drive, by force of something mechanical going bad inside. I say "usually" because in your case, it's sitting in the grave, just waitin' on the Reaper!



I tried booting a multisession DVD like Flash said, but nothing happens; the fans turn on, but no graphics at all, just a black screen. which leads me to believe it's not only the hard drive. The processor had been maxed out with only a tab or two open on the browser. I wonder if it's the processor too.
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Ted Dog


Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 4013
Location: Heart of Texas

PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar 2013, 14:42    Post subject:  

Try an older version the new stuff has issues with X server changes not well worked out yet.
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Antipodal

Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Posts: 222
Location: The other side of the world

PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar 2013, 16:01    Post subject: The Wreck of the Old P4
Subject description: Similar experience with similar hardware
 

A similar thing happened to me.
I was using a P4 and at first I thought the HDD had wrecked.
Then I thought the processor could be damaged.

But I checked the power supply unit and though there had been no warnings beforehand, I found there was also a problem there.

So I replaced it and discovered the processor was ok.

I was able to recover what was in the HDD using a Puppy Live CD and a USB/SATA/IDE adaptor.

So, if I were you, I'd check the PSU before the funerals. Wink

Antipodal

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Saving my stuff on small flash sticks and in external USB HDD

Last edited by Antipodal on Fri 15 Mar 2013, 17:48; edited 1 time in total
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 5056
Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar 2013, 16:23    Post subject:  

Fans spin. Not the power supply.

Power supply is very simple to diagnose -- if ANYTHING gets power when the on-button is pressed... you can knock one thing off the list of possible problems.

If this is a dell, it may be overheating. EDIT: this is because dell has used for a very long time a truly HORRIBLE method of cooling their stuff -- one case fan, and a shroud over a passive CPU heatsink. Very stupid, particularly on insanely-high-wattage P4s. That chip very likely pulls about 100w all by itself.

If you want to bring it by, I can almost certainly fix it. If I can't fix it, I've a couple spare desktop boxes, and I can give you one of them.

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Antipodal

Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Posts: 222
Location: The other side of the world

PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar 2013, 18:41    Post subject:  

Sorry for not being clear enough.

@Starkawk:
I don't want to interfere with your offer,
As you can see I live on the other side of the world but, if I were about an hour's drive from you I would probably pay you a visit carrying at least my HDD.

In a future post I will clarify exactly what happened to me and why I rushed to write what I wrote.

Antipodal.
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beekster

Joined: 20 Feb 2013
Posts: 39
Location: North Carolina, USA

PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar 2013, 19:50    Post subject:  

You guys are great, and I really appreciate your help! As an old timer in the world of designing, building and fixing things, I'm enjoying being a new kid in the world of computers and IT.

First, the idea here for me is to learn, second to fix this thing if I can, and I gotta say, this old computer is proving to be quite a learning experience. I had hoped to get beyond the hardware stage by now, but that's OK. So, there's a lot of stuff that has to work together in a well integrated fashion. I've been suspecting the CPU for a while, because it seems to work awfully hard just browsing with a tab or two open in Firefox for instance. I sent to Newegg for an aftermarket fan/cooler to make it more comfortable, but I'm not going to open the box yet. The PSU wattage (350), should be adequate, but what if part of it isn't working right? My understanding is the P4 doesn't have an integrated GPU, so maybe the problem's in the MOBO.

If I can solve this for very little cash, then I'd like to do that. Otherwise, maybe I'll salvage the case, combo drive and whatever else and build something new.
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 5056
Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Fri 15 Mar 2013, 20:08    Post subject:  

@antipodal -- that part of my post was actually directed at beekster. Sorry for the confusion.

@beekster -- if you bring it to my house, I can either fix it or have you walk off with a replacement of similar specs. It will cost you nothing more than the gas and time to get here, plus a little while for me to diagnose and (attempt to) fix the problems.

I cannot help you adequately over the Internet, because there are many things that could be at play here -- and figuring out which it is with only a 'Net connection and a novice PC user at the other end would try even Mother Theresa's patience.

Possibilities --
You may indeed have a failing-but-not-dead-yet power supply.
The capacitors (electronic components of significant importance) on the motherboard may be bad.
You may have a bad CPU.
You may have a bad graphics card.
You may have bad RAM.

We know you have an inoperative hard drive.

Or... almost all of this could be caused by a particularly severe case of dust. Since high temperatures will kill a hard drive (like the rest of the computer it slow-cooks to death) -- even that could be caused by the dust.

Your aftermarket CPU cooler will almost certainly not fit if this is a computer made by a corporation. With eMachines and possibly Gateway you have a chance. With nearly any other big-name company, you will be having that cooler returned for a refund in less than a day.

I have a maxed-out eMachines T2596 that I can give you. I've long forgotten what hard drive is inside, but IIRC it has a 2.2GHz Pentium 4 CPU and 1-2gb RAM. That is the most I could put in it.

Or you can spend some of an afternoon at my house (unless you are allergic to cats) and you will be all set within a matter of a couple hours at most.

It's up to you -- but I cannot and will not spend days or weeks trying to help you remotely. If you insist on that sort of route, my best suggestion would be to find a computer place that can look at the thing for you (I will ask my father for a recommendation -- he lives in Raleigh) and tell you what to do with it. The alternative is to pitch it out and get something else. I have a friend who got a similarly-specced system (a Dell Optiplex GX260) for $50 at a yard sale, complete with keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

EDIT: I will PM you my phone number and hours that I'm available.

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Sky Aisling


Joined: 27 Jun 2009
Posts: 1137
Location: Port Townsend, WA. USA

PostPosted: Sat 16 Mar 2013, 00:32    Post subject:  

beekster

I had an old P4 that appeared to die too, but, it was dust in the fan area...just like Starhawk suggested.
I blew like crazy into the vents and cleared it out, didn't even have to take the machine apart. Very Happy

If I were you I'd take up Starhawk's offer.

Starhawk

Hello, while your at it, have you had a chance to locate that HDD we talked about last month? Very Happy
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