Black screen

  jessej 09:39 08 Mar 05

I strongly suspect that something is on its way out, but what, and how do I find out?
The last three mornings I have switched on the computer,
1st. warning that Windows had failed to load and it would start with the last known good configuration.
2nd. It started briefly then switched off again.
3rd. (today) I had a completely black screen, switched off and restarted a few minutes later and got the same as the 1st.
All three times the computer has behaved itself perfectly after restarting.
In case it is relevant, I am running XP Home with SP2, it is up to date with all the Windows updates. Virus programme, and spyware/adware programmes are also up to date.
As always, all ideas gratefully received.

  FelixTCat 11:26 08 Mar 05

How old is the computer? Does it keep good track of date and time?

It is possible that the BIOS memory battery is running low.

  devil boi 12:41 08 Mar 05

i get the same problem, and i aslo get a message sayin must restart, system halted... (in front of a blue background)

  carper 13:00 08 Mar 05

Hi. I have a similar problem except that it doesn't start at all but says that the operating system cannot be found. I need to press F8 a number of times before I get the black start up panel. Sometimes it starts without trouble. Interesting thought about the BIOS battery. My computer is two years old and the clock loses a bit. Any comments would be appreciated but I hope I am not hijacking the post. Regards Carper

  FelixTCat 13:14 08 Mar 05

If it is the battery that is failing, you might all like to try going into the BIOS and setting it to auto-detect the hard disks. Then, instead of remembering the hard disk types (and forgetting them if the battery is low), it will interrogate the disks on every start-up, find the boot disk and boot up. You may have to adjust the date and time each time you start up.

If this solves your problem, then it is almost certainly the battery and you can replace it.

  jessej 17:57 08 Mar 05

Many thanks to all.
As to the age of the computer, that would be very difficult to answer as it is the result of a number of upgrades, actually there is now nothing left of the original at all. The motherboard is just over twelve months old, a bit early for the battery to fail I would have thought but, having said that, I renewed the battery on the old motherboard with a what turned out to be a dud so it is definitely worth checking, though the clock is keeping perfect time. The oldest part of the computer is the hard drive, approx. 3 years old from when I bought it, probably older as it was a recon from PC World. I'm not too bothered if that is the problem as I'm intending to replace it anyhow as it's only 40GB and slow at 54?? (forget the exact figure)

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 19:25 08 Mar 05

Could be a HDD error corrupt file during boot.

Scandisk and defrag may cure if boot files moved.

However some boot files have to be in a certain place on the drive if this starts to fail then drive become US.

  FelixTCat 19:27 08 Mar 05

3 years for a hard drive is nothing - you ought to see some of the stuff I'm running :) However, a 5400 rpm drive will not be doing you any speed favours.

If the clock's OK, it may well not be the battery. It still may be worth setting the BIOS for auto-detect.

Another possibility is a loose connector between the drive and the motherboard.

  canard 20:11 08 Mar 05

Happened to me resolved by removing Nvidia graphics card and replacng with Ati [still regret it because pics looked so much better with Nvidia].

  jessej 08:45 09 Mar 05

Many thanks to all, everything suggested will be checked out and, hopefully, the cause will be found and cured.

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