Computer issues: not booting up right away?

Here is a weird computer problem:

If I turn my computer off, most often it will not boot up again right away. What I mean by this is that when I hit the power button, the hard drive light will flash, then the CD-ROM drive light will flash, and then it just stops… I never hear the hard drive spin up or anything else. When it hangs up like this, I have to disconnect the computer from any power input (usually I just turn the surge protector that everything is plugged in to off with my toe and then turn it back on), and then try again. Usually it takes several tries to get the computer to boot up. Once I hear the hard drive begin spinning it boots up normally.

This has been happening for several months, but doesn’t usually bother me much as there are no other problems and usually I leave the computer on 24 hours a day.

I’m sure this must be a hardware issue, as the computer doesn’t get far enough in to the booting process for it to be an issue with the software (I think, that is…).

Anyone have any ideas what might cause something like this to happen? Could it be a bad power supply? A BIOS or CMOS issue?

The power supply most likely is not putting out enough voltage. But as with the other computer questions, what kind of computer is this? What operating system too?

Pentium 4, running at 1.7GHZs, the OS is Win 98SE… but I don’t think it would be an issue with the OS, as the booting process doesn’t get that far.

It could be a problem with the hard drive. Sometimes they “stick” on start up (I keep my computer in a cold basement have have a problem booting on very cold days until the room or computer warms up a bit). If that’s the issue, the options are to replace the hard drive or reformat it and reinstall everything.

I’ve also seen the problem when I left a CD in the CD-Rom. For some reason, it tried to boot from a nonbootable CD and nothing happened until I popped the CD out.

Wouldn’t be a drive. If your motherboard ‘boots’ it will imediately look for a bootable device (hard drive, CDROM) and if it can’t find one it will say so.

If you get absolutely nothing on the screen its definitely your power supply or your power cord or your house’s AC outlet. I would track it down ASAP. Computers don’t take well to flakey power.

My thoughts exactly.

I know for a fact that it’s not the house AC, as the computer was doing this in Korea as well (I just moved). It can’t be the power cord, as the power cord is brand new… I had to replace the 220v power cord with a 100v one when I got to the states.

So… power supply maybe. Fortunatley they’re cheap… maybe I’ll pick one up this weekend and throw it in to see if that fixes the problem.

It’s concievable that a partially-working HD (ie, one with sticktion) could cause the BIOS to freeze… not the likeliest problem though.
It could be the power supply, or it could be the mobo disliking one of your cards. My friend was building a machine, and it would work on alternate boots until we found it didn’t like the NIC for some reason.

Your HD has a direct connection to the PS though, and while some of my SCSI drives wait for the machine to tell them to spin up, I’ve never had an IDE drive do that. This would seem to indicate there’s a problem with either the PS or the HD.
Don’t know how you’d test this though. Perhaps have just your PS and HD plugged in. Of course, the lighter load might make the PS seem ok. :dubious:
So yeah, my guess is also PS. :wink:

Does the monitor turn on? I have had this problem with two separate computers and both times it was graphics card related. The monitor wouldn’t switch on, and so nothing after that would happen, no HDD boot, nothing.

Only a new card (or a new AGP port) solved the problem. I suggest you test it with a different graphics card.

Otherwise, as the others suggest, the PSU seems the best bet.

OK, thanks all!

I’ll grab a new power supply in the next few days, and see if that solves it…

My roommate has a similar problem, 4 times out of 5 it hangs on the windows 98 startup screen. He has a P4 with 98SE. We haven’t figured out what could possibly be causing it though.

My roommate has a similar problem, 4 times out of 5 it hangs on the windows 98 startup screen. He has a P4 with 98SE. We haven’t figured out what could possibly be causing it though.

I recall reading about similar-sounding boot problems with early VIA motherboards and Athlon chips.

But… I don’t think VIA makes any mobos for the PIV, do they?