My compac presario sr1215cl sometimes takes 5 or 6 attempts before it will boot. Other times it boots on the first try. When it doesn't boot I get one long beep every few seconds. When it beeps I know it isn't going to boot so I try again until it does. 

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How do you feel about taking the case off so that you can have a look inside? Please don't touch any of the components inside. (Sorry for saying that if you know what you are doing here.)

When you turn the computer on do you see that all the fans are turning?

Now you will need to inspect the motherboard very carefully, without touching anything, except perhaps to gently move some cables aside so that you can see the motherboard's features clearly.

What you are looking for are swollen or leaking Capacitors. The image at the link below is a motherboard I took out of a system recently. Please have a look at this image and see if you notice anything similar on your motherboard:

Example of faulty capacitors.

Please let us know about the fans and capacitors.

The beeps are either caused by an unplugged hardware mybe due to falling. The beep actually shows one of your hardware is failing either the hard disk, or the memory. blow dust away with computer vacuum. Shut down before you do this and then remove hard drives and memory> insert back and then tr rebooting.

Sorry about taking so long to respond. I do appreciate your help. I finally got a chance to take a look inside and the capacitors all looked fine. There was very little dust and the fan was fine. I removed the memory and reinstalled it and also the hard drive and still have the same problem.

Could it be the power supply? The fact that it only boots up properly sometimes and works OK other times might suggest that the power supply is at fault. Try swapping out the power supply if at all possible. Those things have a tendency to show behaviour such as this...

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