computer won't boot (yes, I checked the Sticky above)

This machine is a six y/o HP Vectra, Windows 98. Recently became the second-hand computer in the house, has been used maybe once a week for the past several weeks up til Monday. That day, I hit the power button, got the usual blue “HP Vectra” screen with a kind of task bar that indicates it is booting up…but the task bar stops and I’m stuck on the screen.

It gives options: ESC - Summary, F2 - Setup Menu, F8 - Boot something (I’m operating on memory here at work). Hitting ESC or F8 does nothing at all; hitting F2 gets me into a b/w screen w several lines of text, ending with ‘loading setup menu’ where it stays locked. After turning off/on a few times (via ALT/CTRL/DEL) I put a rescue disk in the floppy drive and turned it back on but the machine doesn’t even get to the point where it fires up the disk.

Any suggestions before I fork over some dough to one of the IT guys here on campus? Were it not for some certain, ahem :eek: private movie clips the wife and I had saved on the hard drive, I’d gladly turn the thing over to a pro. Those files, obviously, make me hesitant to do so. Help!

Sounds to me like a processor failure. It could be a corrupted flash BIOS, but that very rarely happens, IME. Since at that age, it’s probably something like a relatively slow P-II or P-III class (or the Cyrix or AMD equivs), you can probably pick one up for a song, if there’s one available. Try eBay–you can likely find one for almost literally a couple bucks, and it’s a cheap enough option to rule out anything more expensive. If you’re not sure of the processor type, you can take a look at HPs site. Is there a model number?

I don’t have the machine in front of me (and won’t until later tonite) but its a P-III, 500 mhz processor.

I’ll check out eBay for the part - thanks for the tip, Q.E.D.

Welcome. I found this one for $5.50 + shipping. It’s a Slot 1 processor, so make sure your board is Slot 1 and not Socket 470 or something else.

QED’s suggestion is a good one but before buying any parts for it it might be useful to take the case off and

1: Remove and reseat the memory modules.

2; Remove and reseat any PCI or ISA cards.

3: Remove and reseat the CPU module.

Occasionally, over time, thermal cycling stresses will cause slotted components like the above items to loosen a bit and contact integrity. It might not be the problem but it will cost you nothing to find out by re-seating the components.

I just had a similar problem, and it was the hard drive. The screen that says “ESC - Summary, F2 - Setup Menu, F8 - Boot something” is usually stored in the BIOS and the inability to boot further could be the HD. Reseating everything is always a good idea, but I would also try to find a scrap HD and see if you can boot off of it.
Incidentally, are there any beep codes when you first boot?

The_Llama - no beep codes that i recall.

astro - I’ll give the removing and reseating a try. When a friend and I installed a cd-burner a few months ago (I was worried I couldn’t do it mysef but I think I could have handled it) he actually mentioned something about that.

Usually you won’t get the splash screen unless you have a working CPU, memory, and video card. If one of the above is slightly unseated though, the screen may still come up.

I’m not sure about HP, but on a lot of computers there’s some key you can press that will let you see the boot details instead of just the little progress bar. If you can see exactly where it’s stopping, it might tell you what is wrong.

My guess is either something is unseated (most likely the memory, but maybe the CPU) or the hard drive has given up its ghost. But that’s just a guess.