Computer Problem #2,000,000 for CiB (FUBARed Motherboard?)

Hello all!

The Past:

The Protaganist had been messing with his monitor in hopes of finding out the model number for reasons not relevant to the matter at hand. Whilst attempting to get said monitor back in the exact space it goes, The Protaganist’s left hand slips, hits the left speaker and it falls. It falls behind his computer’s tower, hitting the PSU’s on/off switch in the process. Curse words are subsequently uttered as The Protaganist knows this to be a foul happening.

The Present:

When I tried to restart the computer, bad things started to happen. The likes of which are very hard to describe, but the display has not once been correct ever since the accidental shut off.

If I can even get Windows booted up, there will be strange green lines all throughout the display. As exampled here

Making it that far is a rare occurrence now though. If I make it all the way into Windows, it shuts off very quickly and gives me this message.

Again, this is even if the computer makes it that far. Most of the times, I’ll get taken to that screen where the computer knows something bad has happened and it’ll give me a few options in which to load Windows.

Load Normally, In Safe Mode, In Setup Mode (or something I don’t exactly recall right now), Load Last Working Setup, et cetera and so on and so forth.

Also, that is even if I can read the options. Sometimes this screen has a ton of letters missing, though it is still functional.

I have done the Last Working Mode option and that seems to take me to Windows fairly consistently, but having it stay there is a problem.

The Future:

So um, help?

A cursory search of PFN_LIST_CORRUPT seems to indicate that it’s a RAM problem. Or specifically, some error in copying data from RAM to video ram. This does not necesarily mean that your ram is physically damaged, although that would be my first guess. I guess it might possibly be the video card, or some people have mentioned some screwed up drivers can write to the wrong section of memory and cause this problems - but since your preceeding problem is a physical disturbance, unless you were screwing with drivers before the power off, you can mostly rule that one out.

Do you have two or more ram sticks? If so, try removing all but one, and seeing if the problem persists. If it does, use another stick as the only ram. If it manages to boot and run on any of the ram sticks individually then you can narrow it down to whatever stick is bad.

If you only have one ram stick, you can try running memtest86. It requires you to boot up into dos mode to use it. You can either use a floppy boot disk or use this guide to booting it off a flash drive. Or you can use HP’s bootable flash drive tool, guide here. Method 2 is easiest in my experience.

If memtest86 turns up hardware errors, it is most likely bad ram. But you should try to find good ram to test it first to confirm it… since there’s a possibility it could be somewhere else in the system, like if the motherboard isn’t supplying proper voltage to the ram.

There could be 2 issues here. Graphics and corrupt OS. The OS could easily be playing up due to being shut down abnormally. The monitor issue may be due to a damaged cable or the graphics card being slightly unseated on the motherboard after your speaker took flight:-(
Check inside the case to see if anything is loose before trying any software diagnostics, as they could suggest a problem that doesn’t exist!

This is not a software pronblem. Do not go off on a software-oriented goose chase.

The lines on the screen point to a defective video card. Which could be just a partially unseated card, but is more likely a card which got mechanically damaged when the speaker fell on its external connector.

If you have mobo video instead of a card, well then yes, perhaps the mobo is physically damaged.

As others pointed out above, it could be badly seated or damaged RAM. Cheapo computers with cheapo motherboards use ordinary RAM for video.

So things to try:
If you have a video card, reseat it.

If you have a video card and mobo video, pull the video card out & put the monitor on the mobo connector.

Reseat all the RAM.

If you have multiple RAM sticks, try each one separately in the lowest-numbered slot.

If you have other compatible RAM sticks from another known-good computer, swap that RAM into your machine.

Have you checked that the fan on the video card is still running and is not clogged with dust and dander. It kinda looks like the GPU might be starting to overheat or that when the speaker fell it jarred the video card lose in its socket. The major problem looks to be hardware with a possible side problem of a corrupted video driver caused by the abrupt and ungracefull shutdown. Worst case fix is a new video card and reloading the O.S.
Good Luck!

It probably isn’t a software problem, but sudden shutdown of windows while it doesn’t have essential OS files closed properly can indeed cause lasting and weird problems.

The video card is likely damaged or not seated properly. Reseat the video card. I expect you did damage to the video card when the speaker hit the video cable connection, which transmitted the force to the card.

Okay, I have four sticks of 512MB each.

I took out the first three and everything seemed to work properly other than the quick message about me having less memory. I also got a message at the start of Windows informing me that the computer had recovered from a serious error and to click to see details, pictured here.

For reasons unrelated to the matter at hand, I have not been able to test the other three sticks of RAM.

But when I am able to test them, what do I do if one of them doesn’t work? Just leave it out and go with less RAM?

Also, the display seemed to be fine. No letters missing from any preWindows messages, no lines all over the screen once started or anything.

It would seem I have a motherboard video card, so I just kinda pushed it and the connecting cable towards each other to make them love each other. IDK what more to do with the video though.

Okay, was able to test the three other sticks of RAM to ill-effect. My monitor would say “No signal” for each of the other three. Only the very first one I tried gets anything going.

It will start up with a black screen and single cursor up in the left corner, stay there for a while, then boot up all fine and dandy as if nothing ever happened.

Now what do I do? There’s no way only 512MB of RAM is going to be enough for my computer is it?

Yes, if you confirm the one stick of ram is bad, either replace it or don’t use it. There’s nothing you can do to fix it. Probably some sort of electrical overload.

That’s pretty unusual that 3 of them would be dead though. Are you using them in the same slot as the one that works? 512 would be inadequate for any sort of reasonable user experience, yeah.

Yes. I took the three that were furthest away from the processor out and tested the closest one first, it worked. Took it it out and rotated through all the rest and I got a the no input message from my monitor for all the other three. Put the first one back into its original slot and bam (!) everything worked fine again.

It’s been on for an hour, so the spontaneous shut downs into blue error message screen is over with, but now I have inadequate RAM. :-/

I can try the other three again to see if maybe I was just doing something wrong with them or something, but as of right now, only one is working.

It sounds fishy, since either the problem is so severe you’d expect it to fry all the ram, or it wasn’t that severe and would only fry the weakest stick. Frying 3/4 is unusual. If you have another computer available that uses the same type of ram, you can try running that computer off of it to confirm that they’re dead, and it’s not an even more mysterious problem with strange symptoms.

Maybe this point got missed …You need to test each RAM stick in the lowest numbered slot. Testing just stick#2 in slot #2 by itself won’t work. As you discovered.

As a general matter I agree that unplanned shutdowns are not good and can cause weird software issues. But looking at the screen shot the OP provided, that is clearly a video problem. A bogus registry setting or corrupted config file is not going to cause what that screenshot shows.

The blue screen error code he has relates to an improper copy of ram to video memory, which could be caused by something like a damaged driver putting data into memory where it isn’t supposed to, which gets copied over to the video buffer - which would both corrupt the video and possibly cause other problems including that bluescreen. Unlikely, but not enough testing to rule it out at this stage.

Another simple thing to look for when poking around inside the computer case: Look for blown capacitors on the video card.

Though some might blow quite spectacularly, most just bulge a little at the top, possibly showing a small dot of brownish gunk in the center of the Y or K pressure relief cuts in the top.

Not sure if this can cause the problems you describe, but it is a very easy thing to look for. I had blown caps on my video card and my machine would shut down, without BSOD, at random moments. Took quite a bit of troubleshooting before I thought about looking at the caps. Once I spotted this, I replaced the card and everything was hunky dory.

I was putting each stick into the slot nearest the processor, if that’s the lowest numbered slot, I don’t know. How do I find the lowes numbered slot?

UPDATE: Three out of four sticks work on their own now, in the slot nearest the processor.

In which case you can try a pair, which will give you a 1Gb of RAM, which for most use is adequate if you have Win XP. You might also find the 3 sticks work ok together.

Has the video problem disappeared, or does the screen still have unusual patterns on it?

I am posting from the three stick setup and so far it seems all systems are go.

The video problem stopped when I would try each stick individually. It would load into Windows just fine, no random crashing and no funny lines on the screen. Same as now.

So, just a blown RAM stick, from me hitting the back of the computer with a speaker and turning it off accidentally?

Most likely the sudden loss of electricity created some sort of spike or other problem. Ram can be sensitive to electrical problems.