My desktop is not booting up. Power lights come on, a brief moment of disc whirring, then sinister quiet and a dead monitor screen.

Fortunately, we are a networked household so I can use another computer. BUT I WANT MINE!!! Not least because that’s where all my work in progress is saved, and this computer doesn’t have any of my nice Firefox extensions installed.


Categories: technology

10 replies

  1. During start up check to see if a sequence of lights on the back (yes, the back) of the computer lights up – most PCs have indicator lights and if you check either your manual or the online instructions for your puter you can use these to diagnose major problems such as motherboard failure.
    grendel’s last blog post..The Age of Coffee

  2. Thanks for the hints. My usual approach is just to wait until mr tog, who is better on hardware than I am, comes home. I’ll give your approach a try.
    Having now installed all my must-have Firefox add-ons on this machine I’m coping a little better. All my bookmarks and passwords from the malfunctioning desktop have been imported to this machine using the Xmarks synchronisation app, and it’s moments like these that are why I continue to use Gmail (secured) – so that all my emails are available to me anywhere.

  3. You have my sympathy. Spent a great deal of last evening deleting almost a gig of crap from my computer (someone else’s computer game stuff that he hasn’t played for years!) and trying to get the anti-virus working. Download a new copy they say. But when I try to do that, it says I only had 30 days to do it back when I bought it. An email to their customer service has gone unanswered.
    Then I tried to download a free one from the net (AVG) but now the computer hangs every time I try to run it. I gave up in disgust.

  4. We’ve used AVG for years, so I’d be surprised if their software is what is causing the problem, although of course the vagaries of interactions between their programs and your config settings could be screwing something up.
    Found a new Greasemonkey extension – folders for GMail – woot! That tidies up the system remarkably.

  5. I’m hindered by a complete lack of knowledge on these things. I’m seriously considering removing the other anti-virus altogether and ditching the last 12 months of the subscription and seeing if that does anything. I seem to have some nasty thing on the computer that stops any anti stuff downloading updates – Ad-aware, Anonymizer etc all tell me they are either updated already or unable to update. Weird.

  6. tigtog, I feel for you.
    (BTW you probably already know this, or if you don’t, I’m sure mr tog does, but just in case: if you can get access to the hard drive of your computer at some stage but you’re going to need to keep using another computer, you can simply copy the firefox extensions folder across – well, if you haven’t already downloaded them all, anyway!.)
    Mindy, re Ad-aware at least: are you talking about updates to the program itself, or updates to the detection files? I had a similar problem re the detection files, and then I got around to getting the new version of Ad-aware and all was well again. But if you’ve got the latest version of Ad-aware, well, please ignore this paragraph entirely 🙂
    I’ve had similar problems with AVG significantly affecting performance, by the way. I think it’s a memory thing, though, so if you’re able (and inclined) to boost memory, it should be ok.

  7. If it’s much quieter than usual, it could be that the fan(s) are no longer working. With a few different BIOSes i’ve used in the past, that alone will stop a computer from starting up properly. Might want to open the computer up, see if there’s any dust accumulation jamming up the works. If you turn it on with the case open, and don’t see the fan(s) running, it may be as simple as replacing them.
    Also: Most computers beep once or twice when they boot up; this is for the RAM check. If yours used to beep and now isn’t beeping at boot up, try re-seating the RAM stick(s); if you have extra sticks lying about, maybe try swapping them to see if that resolves it.
    When a computer won’t boot up and the sounds it’s making are much less or much different, it’s less likely to have been caused by a software problem and more likely to be a hardware issue. That being said, for future reference i highly recommend the following computer clean-up programs: Malwarebytes Antimalware, CCleaner, Spybot Search & Destroy. They are all free and can be safely downloaded from I have used AVG for years and have it running now; it can be set for minor usage: turn off all of the options except a daily scan, and schedule that for when you’re most likely to be asleep.

  8. Thanks for all the technical advice people, I shall try it when I get home.

    Thanks Jo, I ended up deleting to old Ad-aware and downloading something else which found a couple of nasties. So I will see how I go. We are seriously considering upgrading anyway when the new version of Windows arrives later this year.

  9. Looks like my puter’s motherboard is hosed. Awaiting more tests to see whether data on disks still safe.

  10. I had a win. The computer opened itself in safe mode (I think) and did a few things then started normally. The old anti-virus and annoying parent controls were removed and the new one established. After almost two hours of scanning it found nothing, which makes me wonder if the other company just stopped providing updates for their software. I also deleted the Spyware Doctor which claimed I had spyware on my computer (low threat) but that I had to buy the whole package to actually remove it.

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