Two crashed PCs

  Diane-1437962 23:17 31 Mar 10
Locked

I'm putting this query for someone else as they don't yet have broadband connection, so I apologise for hazy details. I'll try to be brief. The situation at the moment is this:

Computer 1: when switching on the machine the red (hard drive?) light comes on but not the blue power light. Nothing happens.

Computer 2: The motherboard won't activate unless it's switched off again, unplugged at the mains and then plugged in again.

There is a history between the two machines. Machine 1 developed a problem which was unclear as to what the problem was or where it had come from. It was taken to PC World who said that there was nothing wrong with the machine (I don't think they checked the software, just the hardware). It was still playing up, so Machine 2 (an old games machine) was unearthed (it had been sat in a shed, safe from the weather) and files and folders from Machine 1 transfered directly to Machine 2. Machine 2 soon started to exhibit the same problems as Machine 1 - i.e. freezing or simply not booting up. In the meantime, Machine 1 was taken to Mainly Media who did a reinstall of the Windows XP application (and nicked the modem because they "thought it was useless because everyone uses broadband" - my mother doesn't!)

My mother (who is the user) wants to get another computer but is worried about transferring her mass of documents, either by disc or direct transfer, if there's a chance that there's a corruption somewhere that's causing the machines to break down. Is it worth asking PC World or someone to run a diagnostic on the software in the machines? She has AVG which hasn't picked up anything lurking - and it is working because it flagged up 3 Trojans when one of the machines was actually working. She hasn't done a defrag, which I suggested she might do to see if that throws anything up. Although, as you can tell from my username, my knowledge of what to do remains on the safe side of trying things out.

If you need any more info, let me know and I'll see if I can get a more detailed history of everything that's happened.

Basically, she wants to get a new computer but doesn't want to risk breaking a third machine by transferring something corrupted.

Many thanks for any help.

Kind regards

  robin_x 00:40 01 Apr 10

Why pay PC World?

It's easy enough.

Download malwarebytes and run a scan.
And/or superantispyware and its scan.

They will check nothing slipped by AVG.
(is it up to date?)

You could then use another antivirus for real belt and braces.
eg Avira - AntiVir Personal - Free

All available from click here

Save downloads to a flash card as well for future easy use.

=============
In view of your flaky PCs and Mum wants a new one, get one. Unless it breaks the bank.

Personally I would go for a sub-£400 laptop with W7 64 bit, 3GB RAM, 250GB HDD, as a min.
(check printer and modem support W7)

I assume your Mum is not a games monster.

Don't pay for Norton or McAffee on it.
Some suppliers will knock £30 off or so without it.

AVG or Avira are fine.

===============
Assuming you get a new computer:
Make sure Antivirus is installed as soon as you get it running (Use AVG or Avira that you saved on the flash card)
Note Windows often says "Not recognised or installed" to a card when you plug it in.
Try again, a couple of times or another USB port.

Also for W7, turn UAC onto max.

Start Menu, type UAC in the search box and click the icon that pops up.

If it annoys you, you can reduce it one notch when you are familiar with it.

===============
If you are not transferring too much data, you could use flash cards.

Or buy an Ethernet Crossover cable and link the two computers directly.
You would need to run Network Setup Wizard on an old XP computer.
New W7 may sort itself out automatically.

Google "peer to peer" network if a problem.

  robin_x 00:42 01 Apr 10

Note: Disable AVG realtime monitoring, if you want to try avira.

You can't run two AVs at same time.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 10:38 01 Apr 10

Computer 1: when switching on the machine the red (hard drive?) light comes on but not the blue power light. Nothing happens.

Computer 2: The motherboard won't activate unless it's switched off again, unplugged at the mains and then plugged in again.


They both sound like they have failed / failing Power supply units.

  Diane-1437962 11:46 01 Apr 10

Thanks guys. We'll give your suggestions a try.

Fruit Bat - the computers have been plugged into various sockets and extensions with the same results. I still wonder if it's one of those weird coincidences that both machines just happen to have broken at the same time. I'll let you know.

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