Verify my computer is toast

Looks like my 4 year old cheapo Acer desktop PC has bit it. Started acting funny on Sunday and got to where stuff wouldn’t load normally, Firefox crashing and stuff like just the control panel taking many minutes to load. System restore to a previous date ended up not possible, there were no restore dates to use, though I’ve used it before without issue. Don’t know what happened there, unless it’s part of what a virus might do.

Since I don’t store much on my PC, stream most everything and what is stored is backed up on Google Drive, I figured I had nothing to lose by doing a Windows reinstall. It took 5 hours, and now won’t complete the startup. So, that’s it. Right? I’ll try the reinstall one more time, but figure it’s a waste of time. Time to buy another cheapo?

Since I’ll likely spend $250 or less on a replacement, I don’t know if it would be worth taking it to a repair shop before giving up completely, if they can’t fix it, it’s just more money I don’t really have to spare.

Did you reformat the drive while reinstalling Windows?

And yeah, deleting system restore points is something the smarter malware do.

Will it start in Safe Mode? If so, check the Event Viewer. Your PC sounds basically okay, but it might have a failing HDD or failing RAM.

Oh yes, open it up and check that it’s clean inside and all the fans work.

I’m not positive the reformat took place. I followed instructions to use Alt + F10 upon power-up to get to the screen that allows erasure of everything and do a factory reinstall. Not sure if that includes a reformat.

All is fine inside, or should be. Just opened it up a month ago because a fan was making noise. All OK inside, it was a layer of dust and cat fur on top, between the outer case and a close-fitting shelf. I was surprised how clean it was inside after 4 years in a dusty and furry house.

Safe mode is also a no go. It gets as far as listing all the drivers being loaded, then saying it’s starting Windows, then a blank screen. Forever.

Sometimes I wish I knew a little more about computers. Then I get through the crisis and everything is fine and then I can’t find the time.

Thanks, guys, for your help. I tried another reinstall then went to bed. Blank screen and hasn’t finished. Guess it really is done. Boo. Found a refurb with better specs on Newegg for $250, gonna go with that. Of course I just got my tax refund back, earmarked for other things! Dangit.

Hmmm. Delicious with butter and Marmite. Yes! :slight_smile:

That would be tastier than being a doorstop.

if you had an external version of Windows then a format of the C drive and install would be worth a try.

if you had a version of Ubuntu Linux you could live boot that. format the c drive and install some operating system from a recovery partition or external. this might all be a new experience but if you feel adventuresome and had the time.

"Ok… " blam! “… Definitely toast. now what?”

You probably just need a new hard drive (~$60 fix). The other biggest possibility it is overheating, either the CPU fan on the heatsink is not spinning or the CPU heatsink has come off the CPU partially - the clips or pins could have broken (~$20 fix). Those are if you do it yourself. You get killed on labor at the repair shop, especially if you have them reinstall windows and programs - the parts probably aren’t going to be expensive.

Eeep. Me and DIY with hardware is not a good idea. I’ve done a couple basics, but I’ll leave it to the shop. Took it in already, if they can fix or even so a little rebuild or upgrade if nothing too catastrophic is wrong, then I’m happy. We’ll see. No charge if they can’t fix it, and I may see if they can rebuild it if the price is right. As in, same or less than I would pay for a refurb from Newegg.

Let us know how it turns out please. I for one am interested in the outcome.

Will do. They said 3-5 business days, so probably won’t know until next week.

Too late now, but another thing worth trying when you get odd behaviour, because it’s trivially easy and free, is to jiggle, or better unplug and replug, all the interior cables. When they sit around a long time you can get a fine layer of oxide building up between the conductors and the resistance will rise. It’s unusual for the resistance to rise high enough to make the connection flaky, but it does happen. Usually taking off the connector and reseating will improve the connection.

The technician called today to tell me he’s been trying to reinstall Win7 since Monday. It’s been running so slow he has to put in whatever command and then walk away, sometimes for a couple hours, and once he left it to run overnight.

Hello? That’s why I brought it in.

So he said he’s trying different configurations to try to get it to work faster and still doesn’t seem to think it’s a hardware issue, though if it is he’s looking at the hard drive or the processor (it’s an older Athlon dual-core), memory tested fine. He replaced a couple of wired connections with the motherboard because they were pinched inside the box - something about the SATA, I didn’t write it down.

This is what I bought from Newegg in 2010, and it came with a 1TB instead of 750GB hard drive.

Ultimately, I told him it’s primarily an entertainment computer and it MUST be able to stream 1080p HD without buffering or hitching, because that’s what I’m accustomed to it being able to do. If he can’t fix it, we need to start replacing parts or I need to buy a new computer.

Of course this happens right before House of Cards is released and now I’m in the dark about what happened and I’m behind on a couple shows I timeshift. I refuse to watch these things on my phone, though I could. I’m having withdrawal issues, and an ocular migraine is coming on as I’m typing.

I guess I don’t get why he can’t just swap out the processor with something they have laying around to see if that’s the problem. If it’s not, swap out the HD and see if that does the trick. Are those difficult things to do? I dropped it off last Thursday evening, it’s been 5 of their business days.

You need to find a competent technician.

I called back today, after some rest and less stressed on my part. When we talked more in depth about all the troubleshooting he has done, turns out he was trying really hard to avoid doing anything that would cost me more money than the Win7 installation fee. When I started asking about just putting in another hard drive and said I was willing to spend a little more to get it working, he set me up with just an extra $70. Called me an hour later to tell me the OS was done already and updates were running well. Should be ready to pick up tomorrow.

He kept checking the specs and asking me about them, and asked me more than once whether I had replaced the hard drive. Turns out the 1TB drive it shipped to me with is not the one the computer was built with originally, going by the manufacturer’s website. He said the one that’s in there is something called a Green drive or something like that, made from recycled parts. He said that he tells people not to buy them because they’re known to have issues. Maybe that’s why it was so cheap.

Anyway, all fixed, and for under 200 bucks. I’m OK with that.