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Black screen of death.


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A few days ago my computer rebooted itself without warning. I have no idea what caused this. It could have been a power blink, software blip, anything.

About five, maybe ten minutes after Windows had restarted and I logged in again, the computer froze. Mouse wouldn't move, keyboard commands did nothing, and it eventually began emitting a constant beep through the system speaker. I had to switch it off at the mains.

I suspected overheating, so I switched the computer off for a couple of hours and opened the window to let the room cool down. However, soon after I switched it back on, the same thing happened.

Following that it continued to freeze up regularly, and when it hadn't actually crashed it was running slowly, taking much more time than usual to start up.

I tried to load in safe mode twice. The first time was successful, although it took a VERY long time. The second time, the computer froze.

Following that I tried to run a system restore, but to no avail. The progress bar got 90% of the way there and then stopped for an entire night.

From there it ran smoothly for about a day, and I thought the problem had fixed itself. When I returned after an evening out, however, it had frozen again. The mouse cursor would move, but that was it; nothing else was responding.

After that I deleted a hefty chunk of files from my hard drive (which was 96% full) and tried defragmenting, leaving it to complete this task overnight.

The next morning, the same thing had happened, only this time the monitor had gone idle, which it is set to do after a couple of hours of inactivity. No amount of key-tapping or mouse-dragging would get it to respond again. I also noticed that this time, when I started the computer again, it didn't sound the same. Usually I would hear the fan whirring briefly, then it'd stop for a split second, then start up again along with a beep. This time there was no stop; the whirr was constant, and I also heard no beep.

And so here we are at the present day. There is obviously something wrong with my computer, but I can't work out what it is, because the monitor claims it isn't getting a signal (and I've tried with two different monitors). I've tried to use a system recovery disk, but because the computer isn't talking to the monitor I can't see what I'm supposed to be doing, or even if it's working at all.

Any suggestions?

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Sounds like either your processor or motherboard are damaged. If there's no beeps at POST, then chances are it's the motherboard. Other possibilities include a bad video card or bad power supply, but if it's the video card the computer should still beep once at POST.

It's difficult to tell with these things, but there's a good chance something died.

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when I was building my system It happened alot to me when I started it up because of over heating. Being a noob at the time I didnt properly place the heatsink... The thing kept shutting down due to overheating. Fixed it and it started working up again for me.

Maybe it's still an overheating problem; maybe replacing the heatsink could help or clean out any huge dust bunnies..?

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All I really need to do is determine if the problem is software or hardware-related. If it's the latter then I'll just have to get someone to look at it, because I don't know a damn thing about the hardware side of computers. I also don't want to spend hours frustrating the hell out of myself trying for a reformat if it's not going to help. There's a lot of stuff on there that, while not absolutely vitally important, I'd rather not release to the data afterlife without good reason.

(I also forgot to mention that I ran Chkdsk a couple of times. It didn't turn anything up.)

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It's a hardware problem, like Suzu said. A software problem doesn't cause this kind of stuff. And anyway, if it was software, you should still be able to get into BIOS. Can you?

Your description of the fan's activity seems curious though. If you can get a signal to your monitor again, get into BIOS and check your temps. Or take off the case and watch the fans when you start up. What is your CPU? Do you have a fan on it or just a heatsink? Does that fan start up, does it act strangely? I've had so many stock CPU HSFs fail, and the issues are similar to this.

Of course, if the mobo is failing, it could cause the same wackiness all around. It really is hard to say. Let someone take a look at it.

If you have data on your HD that you want to save, take it out and back it up on another comp.

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Well, apparently the motherboard isn't the problem, or at least it isn't the *only* problem, as the PC was tested today with a shiny new one and it still didn't work; no beep, no nothing.

There were also a couple of baked capacitors on my graphics card, but replacing that didn't seem to solve the problem either.

All the fans are working as they should, although there was a lot of dust in them. Removing the RAM from the computer resulted in beeping of some description, but it repeated for as long as the computer was on, which obviously isn't supposed to happen.

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