Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

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Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Tomas on Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:37 pm

My wife has an older Dell desktop. Over the last several months, sometimes the computer would not start after being turned off. The trick that has always worked was to unplug the machine, until all the "lamps" inside the computer (+ the green light above the computer power socket) went dark. Then, after plugging it back in, the computer would start (after pushing the start button, naturally).

Unfortunately, the trick no longer works. After I finish my "I told you to do the backup" dance, what should I focus on to solve the issue? That is, does it look like the Power Supply (PSU) issue? And if yes, is it something that can be fixed easily/cheaply?

Thanks!!
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Crankshaft on Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:40 pm

older Dell desktop. That seems to be your problem, right there.
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Azkar on Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:40 pm

If you get absolutely no lights or reaction from pushing the power button, it could very well be a power supply, which is a pretty easy and cheap fix.
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby mac5155 on Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:43 pm

id try the power supply first. it is easy and cheap and dell's are infamous for crapping the bed.
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Jim on Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:48 pm

I third the power supply.
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Tomas on Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:49 pm

mac5155 wrote:id try the power supply first. it is easy and cheap and dell's are infamous for crapping the bed.


Just to make it clear. If the computer is plugged in, the green light over the power socket is on, and the inside of the computer glows orange (so I know that the computer is getting some power). But pressing the power button does not do anything (and in the past, the only thing that had to be done is to unplug it for the lights to go dark. Then, after plugging it back, the start button worked OK).
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Grunthy on Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:01 pm

Still probably a power supply issue.
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby mac5155 on Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:03 pm

Tomas wrote:
mac5155 wrote:id try the power supply first. it is easy and cheap and dell's are infamous for crapping the bed.


Just to make it clear. If the computer is plugged in, the green light over the power socket is on, and the inside of the computer glows orange (so I know that the computer is getting some power). But pressing the power button does not do anything (and in the past, the only thing that had to be done is to unplug it for the lights to go dark. Then, after plugging it back, the start button worked OK).


Yeah, this could still be a power supply issue.
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby GSdrums87 on Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:14 pm

Have you tried going in the back of the computer and checking the power supply?
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby shmenguin on Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:43 pm

well it's either power supply or motherboard. it's almost certainly not a hard drive problem, so you could get an adapter and hook it up to a different PC as an external hard drive (or use an esata port if available) and pull your old files off it that way.
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Shyster on Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:02 pm

If you try replacing the PSU, make sure you get a compatible replacement. Dell is well known for using parts that are proprietary to their own stuff. I heard once that Dell made a series of computers where the power supplies and motherboards used the standard ATX connector, but Dell changed what wires went to what pins. If you hooked a non-Dell PSU up to that motherboard, or hooked a non-Dell motherboard to that PSU, it would result in magic smoke and one if not two fried devices.
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby ExPatriatePen on Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:07 pm

Just to mention something no one else has, have you considered replacing the PS? :pop:
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Factorial on Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:52 pm

My bet is on the motherboard as that's what happened to the crappy dell desktop that I bought about 6 or 7 years ago for my kids.
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Factorial on Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:58 pm

As others have said, take out the hard drive and get one of the those usb hard drive cases so you can still access all your data.

Something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/SANOXY%C2%AE-SATA ... hard+drive

but check the size. I had a laptop coffee disaster a few months ago and pulled out the hard drive and it's now a usb external drive.
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Tomas on Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:59 pm

ExPatriatePen wrote:Just to mention something no one else has, have you considered replacing the PS? :pop:


OK, just to make sure (I am by no means computer hardware expert) - if PS means the cord - then yes, I have already tried to put one that positively works there. Same thing - everything's lit up - and the computer would not start.

So, between the PSU and the botherboard - the fact that until last week, getting the computer fully discharged always helped to get it start again - does this point to the PSU or the motherboard issues? Or something else?
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby ExPatriatePen on Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:00 pm

Seriously, move the PC to a different outlet/circuit and see if maybe it's that simple
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Tomas on Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:22 pm

ExPatriatePen wrote:Seriously, move the PC to a different outlet/circuit and see if maybe it's that simple


Oh that! The problem actually started before we even moved to our current place. So the outlet/circuit for sure isn't the issue.
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Factorial on Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:31 pm

What model number is it?
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Tomas on Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:19 pm

Factorial wrote:What model number is it?


Inspiron 620
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Tomas on Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:33 pm

So here is what happened: I found a repair shop, and told them I would bring it. Before I did, I had opened the computer, and was ready to remove the hard drive so that we can back it up. Well, then I saw that there was the little coin cell battery staring at me. So I told myself: "What the hell, why don't I just see what happens if I replace it."

I did and the computer works like nothing ever happened!!

I truly feel like a blind squirrel right now. :)

Can somebody tell me what exactly that little f#$%@# powers??
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby pittsoccer33 on Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:41 pm

the motherboard bios. date and time stuff. when you turn it on the computer asks the real time clock when it is. and I think it keeps bios setting from being lost in a power off
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Re: Desktop computer does not start (hardware question)

Postby Digitalgypsy66 on Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:02 pm

Yep, that's the CMOS battery. Sometimes reseating it can work miracles, as it did in your case. Congrats!
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