Resurrected Ethernet Card and Computer Power Problem

I hope someone could help me figure this out. I’ve posted about trying to help my neighbor get back online. Unfortunately, trying to connect the modem using the USB cable was unsuccessful as the USB modem light never came on. So, he was offline for a month, until last week.

That’s when he told me more about his computer problem(s). He has a HP Pavilion that worked well until December 2013 when it refused to start. For the next year, he had to turn off and unplug the power strip, wait 15 minutes, plug it back in, wait 15 seconds, turn on the power strip, wait 10 minutes and then the computer would turn on. Aside from this, the computer would stay on and restart. This routine worked until November 2014 when the unplug/plug routine stopped working. He finally managed to get the computer running and left it on, restarting it every other day, for a month. It was during this powering up attempt that the Ethernet card stopped working. After, a month, he turned it finally off, but it would turn on without the the unplug/plug routine (he first tried it on a whim) for a month. Then, last week, the power to his house outlets went out (The rest of the house lights worked). After he got them back on, his computer wouldn’t start again unless he did the unplug/plug routine, but now the Ethernet card works. While he was messing around in back of the computer, he absent-mindedly plugged it and noticed the unplugged network cable icon was gone.

So, I’m at a lost for a explanation for all of this. Has anyone encountered a computer problem(s) like this? Are the power problem and Ethernet card problem related or unrelated? If so, is it common to HP computers? Any help would be appreciated

This sounds like a possible power supply problem or the motherboard. Hardware before it totally fails can exhibit problems with heat. It working after it being off for 15 minutes is likely the time used for the hardware to cool down.

If it’s still under warranty, have it repaired. If not, considering the age of the computer I’d look into buying a new one if that’s a possibility. The cost of repair a computer that’s out of warranty to replace the motherboard once the thing is several years old doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Hope this helps!

Looks like a problem with the power strip for a start.

Never forget the danger of cargo culting.

Unplugging & replugging the power strip may have zero to do with the problem, but once the machine started one time after the owner did that useless maneuver, he kept doing it blindly every time thereafter, mistakenly believing not only that it was helpful, but that it was essential.

This is one of the reasons that I pay essentially zero attention to non-tech people’s description of their problems or solutions. The machine itself can talk to a skilled practitioner better than people can, and it seldom lies, misremembers, or offers bogus correlations and conclusions.

The house’s electrical problem interests me. I recommend plugging the computer into another home. If he’s close enough maybe run an extension cord from your home. If the computer starts OK that way, then he needs a home electrician ASAP.

I’m kinda seeing multiple problems here:

  1. Power
  2. Connectivity
  3. Computer

How old is this computer? Any POST indications or beeps? Anything in the Windows logs showing a hardware failure? Also, what does “Ethernet card stopped working” actually mean, the card died or no connection to the internet via the Ethernet cable?

Easy things I would try for power:

  1. Plug the computer into the wall without the power strip.
  2. Plug the computer into a wall outlet of another branch circuit.


Use a laptop and connect to his Ethernet cable and see if the green and orange lights become active. Swap the ports on the cable modem (or whatever).


Logs, check the hardware and systems logs. Should indicate malfunctioning hardware.

More than likely this is a PIBKAC issue.

It’s been two months since I made this post, so I’ll give an update. Since February, my neighbor has started the routine of turning off the DSL modem, waiting 1-3 minutes, and then turning on the computer followed by the modem. It’s started every single time. I think it might be a home electrical problem and maybe the Ethernet card as well, but he’s currently okay with the situation as long as it works.

He shouldn’t be!
He needs an electrician to check it out – that’s far more serious than a non-working computer.

And if he’s a close neighbor, increase your own fire insurance.