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I ended 2011 on a bad note. New Year's Eve I decided to clean the inside of my 6 year old IBM/Lenovo desktop. It has been a great friend (computer lovers will relate to that statement) and a solid workhorse for me. I learned computing on it and have used it a lot for multimedia projects for my kids.

 

I knew a cleaning was necessary for three reasons: 1. I have never cleaned the inside before now, 2. About two weeks ago I began hearing a sound like a bearing in a fan was going bad, and 3. The monitor was blanking out every few days. Regarding (3), when the monitor would blank out, I would still have audio. I don't know much about the inside workings of a pc, but I figured the fan on the video card could be going bad, thereby overheating the video card and blanking out the monitor. When I opened up the casing, there was plenty of dust and sure enough, it was the video card fan that was making the noise. I cleaned everything out with compressed air and took apart the video card fan and carefully gave it some oil. When I reinstalled it and powered up the computer, it booted just fine and the video card fan purred like a kitten. Job well done, I thought.

 

Then I did something stupid. Just before closing up the pc, I decided to give the insides one last quick shot of air...while the pc was still powered up and running. Immediately after doing that, the monitor screen froze. And after a hard shut down and attempted reboot, nothing happened except the cpu fan began to spin insanely fast. There was no video and no typical reboot sounds like I know I should hear after 6 years.

 

I made a rescue CD a couple of years ago and tried using that, but no joy. My best guess is that I fried the motherboard and/or CPU with that last burst of compressed air while the system was powered up. There are some diagnostic lights on the casing of the unit and they are indicating likewise.

 

If there's any good news in this, it's that I faithfully backup, so copies of all my folders and files are stored on my external drives.

 

In spite of the fact this is an old computer and the OS (XP Pro) is old as well, there are some reasons why I'd like to explore my options in getting it fixed if it is not outrageous cost-wise to do so and if I don't have major problems to overcome related to installing a new mobo or processor.

 

I googled the model of my IBM/Lenovo and saw places selling the OEM motherboard for ~$150 and the cpu for ~$75.

 

So here are my questions; I'd welcome your opinions and comments:

> Regarding the mobo and the cpu, how does one know which to replace? Is it better to just replace both?

> I'm tempted to try to do the job myself. But my confidence has taken quite a hit since I screwed things up pretty well just trying to clean it. How simple/complicated is this job for someone who's never done it before?

> What sort of complications are there if I replace the mobo and cpu? For example, would Windows need to be reinstalled? If not, would I still lose some or all of my settings? Does using OEM mobo and cpu parts reduce the complications?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Chris

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I really understand how you talk about your old machine. The old workhorse xp I have is now over 7 years old (and it is still my favourite!)

 

It sounds like you know what you did wrong... so we don't need to talk about that as I know you will be kicking yourself.

 

If by any chance you have a little PC repair shop (independent one, not from a big chain) go in and ask them what they think. Take the machine and ask them if they will take a look and then ring you.

 

There is lots of info here in sections with pictures right from choosing components to installing the OS and drivers.

 

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/the-geek-blog/building-a-new-computer-part-1-choosing-hardware/

 

This should give you some idea of how you feel about doing it yourself. I think you could. Google is your friend and so are we :)

 

This may also give you food for thought

 

http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news/2007/09/how-to-install-a-new-motherboard-without-reinstalling-windows.ars

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If you can / know how, it's easier to build your on PC. Usually makes replacing and upgrading components much more easier & cheaper.

I generally upgrade my PC after/between 1-4 years (gamer / power-user), not necessarily every part, but for example the graphics card or install more RAM.

 

For your questions:

1. Replacing OEM mobo/part is usually harder and more expensive than in custom-build PC's. Didn't you just mention you found a replacement for your mobo+CPU? I guess the main thing is to choose the right socket & RAM type so you can use your old/existing RAM/memory & CPU (or buy alike CPU if you want to replace that also). You probably have DDR or DDR2 in your PC.

2. Replacing/building your own PC ain't that hard, if you read some guides and manuals first and at the time you are replacing the part(s). You could also ask someone from family/friend/relative to do it.

3. When changing motherboard, I'd reinstall Windows. Atleast you have to uninstall old drivers and install the new ones. If the mobo is the same model but new/working, it might work without those operations. Also Windows validation may not work with same CD-key with a new motherboard; in this case you should call Microsoft and tell that you've just replaced your motherboard. Btw, do you have "complete" Windows install cd/dvd or just OEM "repair" CD?

 

hazelnut also got good points & links there, here's a few links more:

 

http://www.kitchenta...s.com/index.php

http://www.wikihow.c...uild-a-Computer (a bit older)

 

This simple & little software might help identifying your PC parts (like motherboard, CPU and RAM type/amount): http://www.cpuid.com...ares/cpu-z.html

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I wouldn't spend the money to fix this pc if its that old. You could get a better computer for about an extra $100 than what your going to replace the motherboard and cpu. Look on dell.com, hp.com, ect and see what kind of deal you can get. (or build it yourself, but I don't recommend that to everyone. only if you really want to do it.)

 

You could get lucky and find the replacement parts cheaper on ebay. 200+ is too much for old parts.

 

One thing to try though would be to take the video card out and try to boot the pc. I think its more likely it just died than that last blast of air doing anything.(unless you blew it directly onto the cpu fan while its running(in which case I'm still not sure it would hurt it. Never done it though).

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I wouldn't spend the money to fix this pc if its that old. You could get a better computer for about an extra $100 than what your going to replace the motherboard and cpu.

 

Absolutely. CC1 may drop $200 - $300 and still never succeed. I paid only $450 for this one. New pcs are cheap.

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I tell anyone who comes to me with severe issues with a computer old enough (usually xp or first gen of vista (the really bad ones that don't have enough hardware)) to just buy a new one. Sometimes, it's just not worth it. Really anything over 4 years old isn't worth breaking your back over.

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One thing to try though would be to take the video card out and try to boot the pc.

Tried that tonight, no luck.

 

A guy from our IT department at work offered to take a look at my pc tomorrow. Unless he tells me the fix is cheap and easy, it looks like it's time for a new desktop.

 

If that's the case, I know a local small business that builds and sells computers. Would you recommend that route...or go with one of the major brands? I like to do multimedia stuff with my computer...such as create dvd's for the kids, cd's, etc.

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If you know how or you have some close friend/relative who can build custom PC for you, I'd choose that route. If that's not possible, I'd ask for custom build at your local PC store, if it's not too expensive.

I usually don't suggest "major brands"/"OEM PC's" etc over custom build PC, but in some cases it might be easier. And maybe cheaper if you don't know how to build and break your parts or something. :D

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If you know how or you have some close friend/relative who can build custom PC for you, I'd choose that route. If that's not possible, I'd ask for custom build at your local PC store, if it's not too expensive.

I usually don't suggest "major brands"/"OEM PC's" etc over custom build PC, but in some cases it might be easier. And maybe cheaper if you don't know how to build and break your parts or something. :D

 

I learn pretty quickly, and I like the idea of building my own, but would want to partner with someone who knows what they're doing so I could be tutored during the process and mitigate the possibility of making some costly mistakes. Unfortunately, I don't have any close relatives/friends who are computer-skilled that can help. Assuming my pc is toast (and I'll have confirmation tomorrow when our IT folks at work take a look at it), my plan is to get a new one and keep the old one for tinkering.

 

Any suggestions regarding what to get on the new pc? That may be too vague of a question. I use my pc for multimedia stuff. Not much of a gamer. But, in general, I'm inclined to buy a system with features that may be more than I currently need.

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If you need help, I can help you more in PM.

But I guess the main thing is to get 4GB DDR3 RAM and dual- or quad-core processor. At the moment I have 8GB + 4core CPU, but used to have 4GB + 2core.

New motherboards have pretty decent integrated GPU, so it might be enough for you. You can buy later more powerful graphics card, if needed.

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If you need help, I can help you more in PM.

But I guess the main thing is to get 4GB DDR3 RAM and dual- or quad-core processor. At the moment I have 8GB + 4core CPU, but used to have 4GB + 2core.

New motherboards have pretty decent integrated GPU, so it might be enough for you. You can buy later more powerful graphics card, if needed.

 

Thanks, Nodles. I appreciate the offer and the recommendations.

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Hi, cc1. This is sort of a wild swing, but here goes. When you spray that canned air, it often drops the temperature of whatever you spray it on. Often suddenly and drastically.

 

It will freeze skin instantly, but I am not going to tell you how I know that. :P

 

If that last shot of air was on a memory stick, it might have ruined it. If it was me, I would try removing the memory sticks one at a time to see if one is trashed. If you sprayed something else, and the computer will run with it removed, try that.

 

fwiw, I completely agree with the desire to keep an old computer going as long as possible. Dread the day when old HAL the Haunted here goes out of service. Cheapskate...no, lazy...no, I just like old HAL. :D

 

But, that is a mighty good computer that Kroozer got for $450.

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Well Login...you were spot on with your above post.??But it wasn't a memory stick that was the apparent culprit.

 

I dropped off my computer with one of our IT staff and got a call a few hours later telling me my pc was up and running.??I was shocked.

 

It was a firewire card!?!??I didn't even know my computer had one and not too sure why.??I've never used it.??But when it was removed, my system booted up.??Maybe I sprayed it and fried it???I don't recall.

 

Step #1 - Wait a couple of weeks to be sure my system is stable.

Step #2 - Buy a laptop (never had one) sometime later this winter or early spring with Window 7 and start getting real familiar with it.

Step #3 - Replace this desktop in a year or two with a new, high-end unit (maybe).??

 

Question: When I was trying to figure out what was wrong with my computer a few days ago, I removed the heat sink and processor.??How necessary is it for me to put a fresh dab of thermal compound between those two parts???I have not done that, and some web sites have said do it, and others have said it's not necessary to reapply it.

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Really glad to hear you are back up and running with your old friend :)

 

As for the paste, if it's not cracked and loose perhaps not bother. If you do decide to do it just remember not to blast it with the compressed air afterwards :lol:

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But, that is a mighty good computer that Kroozer got for $450.

It only looked good until I saw the badge - HP :rolleyes:

 

My pre-installed Laptop had so much from the HP printer there was almost not enough disc space for the XP Home operating system :o

 

On the bottom of the spec it says "Titles Shipped with P.C."

and when you click to see what titles it admits

"This PC may have other software titles not listed in this specification."

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"This PC may have other software titles not listed in this specification."

 

Surprisingly, it didn't come with much bloatware. :)

 

The first thing I booted was Norton cos of the persistent nag box. Another three or so programs were dumped over the course of these two months, and undoubtedly I'll boot one or two more.

With a 1TB disk, a decent cpu (current Passmark bench 3280) and 6GB RAM which never exceeds 25% usage, all runs good save for a few faults. Firstly it's in a bad mood when awaken from sleep, so I don't use that. Secondly hibernate slowed shutdown, so I deleted it cos I never use it. Thirdly I still don't comprehend BeatsAudio and can't find a comprehensive tutorial, a minor issue.

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I think once you've had a few different makes you get used to what to take off when you first get a machine.

I always take the av off, cd labelling, burning and audio software, the trial games, and the 'helper' apps loaded by the pc maker.

 

HP, Toshiba etc., once you have got them how you like as kroozer said there is usually no problem in getting it running quite quickly.

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It only looked good until I saw the badge - HP :rolleyes:

 

My pre-installed Laptop had so much from the HP printer there was almost not enough disc space for the XP Home operating system :o

...

 

Thats true. As others have mentioned there is inevitably a bunch of junk to get off a new computer. I have always liked HP because they used good hardware. That is, the physical machines seem to last well. HP has recently undergone some broad organizational changes, so lets hope they continue to do so.

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