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My Compaq Presario is having a meltdown! It began with loud clacking noises, and moved to shutting down randomly and refusing to restart. It is also getting very hot (the fan may not be functioning, but I honestly don't know!). I would greatly appreciate any help I can get! Please keep in mind when responding that I do not have a background in computers, but I am a fast learner! :)


Thank you!!

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Last Post by JANINE
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Chadrenne,

Let me get this straight. Your computer does not turn on anymore?

IF not...
How far into startup does it go? i.e. how much do you see on the screen?
e.g. BIOS information (black screen & white letters/numbers) or the Windows splash screen telling you that it's loading, or can you boot sometimes but then sometimes it won't boot?

After we iron that all out, we can move on.

J_

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errmmmmmm.........

Do not turn that computer on!

Open the system case and clean it free of dust inside. Then turn the power on briefly to see which fan(s) aren't working. Turn off immediately. Replace the non-functiong fans and then try to see if the thing will work.

If that sounds too difficult, take it to a repair shop instead!

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THe computer will turn on, however it will run, on average, 15-20 minutes before it shuts down. Sometimes it will stay on longer, but in general it begins to make a clacking sound and turns off. Once this has happened, you generally have to wait several hours before it will boot up again at all.

Generally when you are able to reboot, it comes up with the black screen with that gives you the options on whether to do a safe mode boot or regular boot.

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Open the system case and clean it free of dust inside. Then turn the power on briefly to see which fan(s) aren't working. Turn off immediately. Replace the non-functiong fans and then try to see if the thing will work.

We did open the case, however we were unable to get it off completely- even though we removed all of the screws, it appeared to still be attached somewhere in the middle. We blew the inside out with sterile air, but were unable to see the fan.

Do you know what we would need to do in order to open the case completely in order to test the fans?

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No, I don't sorry. Some more recent Presarios have a thumb operated lever or wheel which needs to be rotated to allow the side panel to come loose. Others I've not seen may have different mechanisms. 'Name brand' manufacturers often seem to do their best to STOP you from getting in, which is rather silly as every PC needs to be regularly opened and cleaned!

If you can't work it out, take it to a repair shop. The important thing is NOT to use it in that state. Loud noises, shutdowns and overheating will cause damage if you continue to use it. Damage may already have occurred.

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hi chadrenne.

how old is your machine?

if its making a clacking sound it could be that the hard drive is wearing out or that a fan is ceasing to function or is catching on something inside the case. if its the processor/heatsink fan catching then this would also explain the excessive heat as the fan wont be able to dissipiate the heat generated by the processor properly hence the heat. By the sounds of things also the heat is causing the thermal cutout to kick in and this is shutting your machine down to prevent unnecessary damage.

i'd get it to an engineer pronto however.;)

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Thank you. I contacted Compaq and they sent me the maintenance and service guide for my laptop, so I am going to try and replace the fan. If anyone has any recommendations or warnings before I begin I would appreciate it! :D

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Thank you. I contacted Compaq and they sent me the maintenance and service guide for my laptop, so I am going to try and replace the fan. If anyone has any recommendations or warnings before I begin I would appreciate it! :D

just be very careful and make sure that you properly ground yourself by using antistatic wrist strap etc. we dont want you having a look at your fans and what not and then frazzling out your motherboard because you havent grounded yourself properly. also dont use anything with a strong magnetic field near it.;)

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  • The computer generally runs for between 15 minutes to an hour before shutting down
  • It frequently freezes before shutting down.
  • the loud clacking noise begins- it is coming from the hard drive area
  • a couple minutes later the program you are working on shuts down and won't restart, or the entire computer shuts down
  • After putting it back together last night, I started it to make sure I hadn't damaged anything, and it sounded like the fan was working- there was a whirring sound from the vent
  • the computer does get very hot- much hotter than my laptop

I ask your advice: does this still sound like a problem with the fan or something else? I realize it is difficult to diagnose without it in front of you, but I don't have fifty dollars to spend, and I want to make as sure as possible that the fan is the problem before I spend it.

And don't worry...I know that nothing is for certain! :)

Thanks!

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Ahhhh- it cut off the entire beginning of my previous post!

To summarize- I took the computer apart last night, all looks well, though I know that doesn't mean anything. The fan sounded like it was running when I turned the computer back on to make sure I hadn't destroyed anything. Before I purchase the fifty dollar + fan (I am only a public school teacher) I wanted to run an updates more detailed version of the problem by you.

Please see previous message at this point.

Thanks!

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For starters you don't go and buy $50 fans unless you KNOW that they are needed!

Having trouble determining exactly where the noise is coming from? Make yourself a makeshift 'stethoscope'. Get one of the 'fat' drinking straws, stick a small plastic funnel in the end of it, bung the funnel against your ear and use the straw to check various areas for noise. It'll help you pick out exactly where the clatter originates!

If the noise comes from the hard drive the drive is dying. Simple as that - they should make clattering noises!

Are you sure there isn't something contacting fan blades somewhere? A wire or cable that been pushed aside perhaps, and the fan blades rubbing against it?

It's not enought to 'think' the fans sound like they are working - you have to SEE that they're working.

I really do think that the money spent on having a repair shop inspect the system and advise you would be well spent. It is only a standard service charge for someone qualified to do that for you, and that s quite likely a move which could SAVE you money in the long run.

I have to admit that I'm a tad nervous about your situation. I'm usually quite good at detecting if someone is going to be comfortanle with doing their own repairs and you seem very hesitant and nervous about it all.

Here's a trick to try. Remove the hard drive from the computer!

Take careful note of how everything is connected and which direction connectors go. Take notes and make diagrams if you need to, so you can put it back later. Then start it up and run it for a few minutes. Visually inspect that ALL fans are operating when you start it of course, (shut it down if they aren't) and listen for noises. If you don't hear any replace the hard drive and try again.

If it's the hard drive you'll need to replace that. If the noise persists without the hard drive you'll have a better chance of seeing where it comes from.

Let us know how you go.

P.S. If that's too difficult then you DEFINITELY should not be trying your own repairs ;)

Votes + Comments
Good post, mmf
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Thanks for the advice :) After taking the entire computer apart last night, I am feeling quite comfortable messing around with it. I didn't know if it was wise to try and run it with it splayed open so I did not, however I will now. I am quite enjoying working on it- as I said, I'm a quick learner and I like learning new things. You all have been quite patient and helpful, I appreciate it!

I will check out the fan, with and without the hard drive in, and see if I can figure out the source of the noise, and whether or not the fan is actually working.

I have a question that I think I know the answer to, but I don't want to make a false assumption- the hard drive is what contains all of the information, software, files, etc., correct? So if I need to replace the hard drive I will need to reload all of my software etc. on the new hard drive?

Thanks again! :)

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some very good points there Catweasle. :)

Chadrenne, i'm not entirely comfortable with you going it alone seeing as this could be a big job for someone inexperienced.

there is only 2 reasons why your machine would be making clacking noises and both have been pointed out. fans or hard drive (as said will make noises when failing). hard drives can also generate heat.:)

take it to someone who knows their way around a machine please!!!

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Thanks for the advice :) After taking the entire computer apart last night, I am feeling quite comfortable messing around with it. I didn't know if it was wise to try and run it with it splayed open so I did not, however I will now. I am quite enjoying working on it- as I said, I'm a quick learner and I like learning new things. You all have been quite patient and helpful, I appreciate it!

I will check out the fan, with and without the hard drive in, and see if I can figure out the source of the noise, and whether or not the fan is actually working.

I have a question that I think I know the answer to, but I don't want to make a false assumption- the hard drive is what contains all of the information, software, files, etc., correct? So if I need to replace the hard drive I will need to reload all of my software etc. on the new hard drive?

Thanks again! :)

you got in there first. i was just writing my post. In answer to your question at the end there - unless you have all your files backed up to removable media ie a cdrw then kiss bye bye to you files. you will need to reinstall all your programs though.

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Some advise, possibly a bit late in this instance, but if you work on a PC, and that PC has a three pin plug, (where one is earth), and a power switch to cut power to the system - you should only cut the power via the switch, and leave the plug in as it provides earth. Then as you work on the system, ensure that you make regular physical contact with the (unpainted) metal frame, either by grabbing it for a few seconds, or using, as suggested, an ESD wristband.

For some more info

http://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/Computer_Science/2002/static.asp

Be safe...

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That's what I was afraid of.....

I do have all of my files backed up on CD-R's (I do so every few months), so it will just be programs that need to be installed. I do however have a problem with this. When I first purchased the computer in 2000 it came with Windows ME. The computer kept crashing, and doing all the horrible things that came along with ME. It was under warrenty and I kept taking it back for them to "fix." They finally got frustrated with me and loaded XP onto my system. I never purchased XP, and they never gave me a disk, so I have no way to reload my OS....Are there any places to get cheaper versions of XP?

Thanks :-|

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That's what I was afraid of.....

I do have all of my files backed up on CD-R's (I do so every few months), so it will just be programs that need to be installed. I do however have a problem with this. When I first purchased the computer in 2000 it came with Windows ME. The computer kept crashing, and doing all the horrible things that came along with ME. It was under warrenty and I kept taking it back for them to "fix." They finally got frustrated with me and loaded XP onto my system. I never purchased XP, and they never gave me a disk, so I have no way to reload my OS....Are there any places to get cheaper versions of XP?

Thanks :-|

if you were in the uk then i'd suggest loads. tell me if you want me to suggest them anyway cos i think they do also ship abroad.;)

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I'd like the info, that way I can get a variety of sources to research.

Thanks : )

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THank you. Do I need to have SP2?

initially no.. as long as you've got the operating system installed but you ARE going to have to install it at some stage very soon after purchasing the o/s.

on the other hand get an o/s disc with sp2 pre installed. it will save a hell of a lot of time and hassle later. make life easy on yourself.:lol:

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