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Hello Everyone!

I'm new here and lukily to be a major pain, sorry about that.
I apologize for my English and for my lack of knowledge about computers.

My husband put together our computers, but he died last year, so I'm not able to tell you about the components, unless you can guide me step by step to find it out without opening the case.
I have a friend who can change/fix pretty much everything except for the motherboard, so I'm hoping it's not that.

There are multiple problems and unfortunately not showing up with the same frequency and symptoms, so I've been taking notes since Monday and I hope that you can help me out with the diagnosis.

I use Windows XP Professional.

Monday:

Started the PC. It made a machine gun noise for a few seconds, then a little rustling and then the usual beep. After that, the monitor and keyboard leds turned green and everything loaded normally.

Everything worked well for 8 hours, then the mouse locked.
I tried Ctrl+Alt+Canc, but I couldn't get the task manager, so I clicked Reset on the machine.
Reset was ok with regular noise and everything loaded normally.
I turned the PC off normally after about one hour.

Tuesday:

Started the PC. Same noises and loading as Monday.

Everything ok for 6 hours, then the mouse desappeared and the icones on the tool and task bar started to turn black. When I moved the mouse more icones kept on turning black.
I did Ctrl+Alt+Canc, got the task manager then I tried Esc.I got back to the page, but tool bar and task bar turned both completely black. Repeted Ctrl+Alt+Canc and shutted down from there.

I turned the PC on again after a couple of minutes. It didn't make any weird noise and loaded normally.

After 2 1/2 hours the mouse locked again, this time there were no colors changes, but I had to Reset because the keyboard wasn't responding.
I heard the normal beep, then the message: "Check disk for consistency...."

After another 2 1/2 hours the mouse locked again and again no response from the keyboard. Reset. "Check disk for consistency..."

After about 15 minutes, while I was on "Search", I suddenly got the full screen with orizontal and vertical red and green lines on a white background (Like orizontal outlined rectangles; sorry I can't explain better). No mouse, no keyboard. Reset like before.

I turned off the PC normally after 2 1/2 hours. Waited a couple of minutes and turned it on again. No weird noises. Normal loading. Turned off again.

Wednesday:

Started PC. Machine gun noise,then a little rustling before the normal bip.
Before loading got the message: "We apologise for the inconvenience, but Windows couldn't start succesfully..."

When I clicked on the update of the Trend Micro Pc-cillin 12 (I got the 1 month trial version installed because the 2004 version started not to work when all the other problems started too), it told me to restart, so I clicked yes.
PC restarted normally but without the usual "trun trun trun" and beep.

I don't know if this has anything to do with the other problems, but I found a "Welcome to Outlook Express 6" message in my inbox arrived at the time I restarted and all the previous read messages desappeared.

After a little over 2 hours I clicked on the Pc-cillin virus scan, the mouse locked immediately, the Trend Micro window and the scanning window took the all screen except the bars. The colors turned all weird (like a photo negative but in colors?), the icones on tool and task bar turned black. The mouse unlocked and the scanning started anyway.
It finished the scanning. Nothing found. Colors still messed up, but I managed to shut down regularly from the start button.

Turned it on again after a few second and everything loaded and worked normally.

I turned the PC off after 3 hours.

Thursday:

Started PC with the same noises of the other days.
After loading I got a message: "Windows has detected an error and will be shutting down to save..."
It restarted by itself and loaded normally without weird noises.

After 5 1/2 hours the mouse locked.The web address on top and bottom looked scrambled/broken/unreadable. The color turned dark blue and there were few broken white letters from the web page I was on. When I tried Ctrl+Alt+Canc and ESC the tool and task bar turned back to normal, but I had to Reset.
Normal noise and loadind.
I couldn't make it to read the temperature with details, but I've seen on the bottom left of the monitor a 53 on top and a 45 right below it.

Turned off normally after nearly 3 hours.

Ok, this is all I got for now.
Please, please help me save my PC if you can.
If you need more data, please tell me where to check and I'll try my best.
I've been googling like crazy trying to learn as much as possible, so I hope to be able to understand your replies.

Thank you so much in advance for any help that you can give me and sorry for posting such a long and maybe confusing message.

Kind regards,

Sabina

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Last Post by Dazed Murphy
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Hiya Sabina.

It sounds very much like you need to replace the hard drive in your computer. the one you have seems to be failing. Unfortunately, that will mean you'll have to reload Windows and all your programs on a new hard drive.

If you have a CD or DVD burner, and get time to copy your important data files to CD or DVD before the system mucks up you should do so, otherwise you will lose them

I wrote an article in reply to someone who experienced similar problems a while back, and did so in the form of a 'Rap song'. Hopefully it will inform you about the problem in a light hearted way

http://www.pcuser.com.au/pcuser/hs2.nsf/web/3765E45E202B5145CA256E7D002AB9EC


Replace that hard drive as soon as possible would be my suggestion.

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Thank you Catweazle!

I suspected it could be that again, but it got replaced about 6 months ago and with the exception of the starting noise, the other things were not happening.
I already have all the back ups on the other PC fortunately.
Do you think there might be something else going wrong on top of the hard disk?
Reading around the forums I got the idea that there might be a problem also with the video card.
I forgot to say that even before the noise started, the PC used too freeze every time I tried to watch a short movie or a CD.
My friend disconnected/unplagged? the CD and the Floppy drive/readers? the last time he checked it. He was trying to rule out at least some of the possible causes of noise.
So, in the end you think that also the mouse, keyboard and colors problems are all caused by the dying hard disk?
Would you rule out the motherboard anyway?
I sure hope so!

Thank you bunches!

Sabina

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I wouldn't rule anything out. but if the hard drive is indeed dying it would explain problems when in Windows, becuase accesses to the hard drive would often end up being misreads. Windows tries to access operating info, the read fails, windows gets confused and locks up.

I'd replace the drive and see. If the original drive eventually proves to be OK the worst you end up with is an extra drive to use, and that's never a bad thing :)

But eliminate the most likely suspect is the course of action I'd take, and hard drives are not expensive.

Edit: The 'check drive for consistency' messages are pretty telling ;)

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Ok, I'll do that first as soo as I can get the new hard drive and can steal some time from my friend.
I'm not risking any overheating? I'm not turning the PC on anymore, but I wouldn't want to risk to burn the video card, CPU or any other part right after substituting the hard drive.
Sorry for the stupid questions, probably my friend can figure that out without a problem, but I've been reading so many horror stories than now I'm rather worried.

Thank you so much for your patience!

Sabina

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If you suspect there may be a risk of overheating there is a simple thing to do to ease your mind. Open the PC case by removing the side panel, turn it on and visually check that the fans are working.

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Ok, sounds easy enough.

I'll have to wait a couple of days before I can get a new hard drive (shops are closed) and have my friend read this thread, so he can also see if I omitted any other important symptom.

I'll post as soon as I get any news.

Thank you so much for your help! :)

Sabina

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