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Old 11-26-16, 05:17 PM   #1
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Problem booting up computer

Dell 540S running Vista 64, roughly 5 years old.

This problem started a few days ago. Overnight we must have experienced a split-second blackout. I don't know if that played a part, but I doubt it since we have everything plugged into a surge-protector power bar.

When I pressed the power button that first day, nothing happened. After much aggravation checking various cords and fiddling with switches, I managed to get it started.
The last several days, after powering down normally the night before, I manage to get the PC started by flicking the 115/230-volt switch in the back. This is not normal, states Colonel Obvious. Anyone know what's going on and what can be done about it, apart from nuking the whole thing? The computer otherwise still runs well, so I'd rather not replace it.
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Old 11-26-16, 08:08 PM   #2
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Sounds like it might be an issue with the power supply -- not wanting to start when you press the power button, and voltage switch toggle.
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Old 11-26-16, 10:25 PM   #3
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Power Supply Unit is very likely...

Have you tried plug in different surge protection - like plugging in outlet and see if it work?

If not, yeah, obviously PSU.
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Old 11-26-16, 10:25 PM   #4
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Re: Problem booting up computer

You mean the wall outlet is faulty, or the power cord, or something internal? I tried other outlets on the first day, with no success. Also, both of my laser printers are powering up.

I should mention that I Googled this issue a couple of days ago, and many results spoke of a problem with an external hard drive not being recognized. I looked under Computer and, sure enough, my WD external drive (J) was not there. I thought, bingo, this is the answer! Anyway, none of the solutions suggested worked until I switched the USB ports of the J drive and the mouse. Suddenly the J drive was there again, and the mouse worked fine in the other port that was purportedly problematic, but I still have the non-functioning power button.
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Old 11-26-16, 10:26 PM   #5
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Re: Problem booting up computer

We replied at the same time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by McHawkson View Post
Power Supply Unit is very likely...

Have you tried plug in different surge protection - like plugging in outlet and see if it work?

If not, yeah, obviously PSU.
Pardon my ignorance, but what's the Power Supply Unit?
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Old 11-26-16, 10:48 PM   #6
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Power Supply Unit is the internal power supply in the computer case. See here:

They're usually at the top (as shown) or the bottom... but always at the "back" side of the case.

It's the part that the power cable plugs into. Chances are, it's the problem. They're fairly easy to replace... but you have to disconnect ALL the cables that come out of it on the inside... which can be a pain... and might require some disassembly now that I really think about it. Better to take it to someone who knows what they're doing, I think.

edit: Just saw that you're running a computer that still has Vista on it. Umm... yeah. Maybe time for a replacement of the entire PC.
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Old 11-27-16, 12:15 PM   #7
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Re: Problem booting up computer

If the computer is 5 years old, then PSU could reach its life span. I have custom PC here that is still running over 5 years (most components, except for PSU, have been upgraded). It have experienced several black outs and it didn't seem to be the issue.

However, the most common issue related to power is PSU issue. Sometimes it can blame on bad surge protector or outlet.

Replacing PSU is pretty easy as mentioned above and fairly pain to disconnect/connect cables that are connected to PSU. Just be sure to get same wattage as old one or little more. Buying a new PSU is anywhere from $50 to $150 - depending on the amount of wattage.
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Old 11-27-16, 04:58 PM   #8
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Thanks a lot, gents. Much obliged.

Dan, I know, Vista, but I'm well used to it now, and the computer is perfectly sufficient for my/our needs.
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Old 11-28-16, 06:10 AM   #9
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Re: Problem booting up computer

That's a "slim" (small form factor) desktop, it will take a proprietary power supply and perhaps a bit of tinkering to replace it:

https://www.amazon.com/Slimline-Supp.../dp/B007PENNQ2
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Old 11-28-16, 05:04 PM   #10
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Thanks, kd5. I'm sure I can handle that installation myself, and that PSU is not expensive, but I'm going to use my "alternate" power-up method for the time being. Kind of like, in the old days, kicking the TV to turn it on.
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Old 11-29-16, 10:14 AM   #11
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Vista extended support only lasts through 4/11/2017, asuming you have SP2 installed:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...indows%20Vista

Windows 7 is so close to Vista SP2 I can't imagine it'd take you more than a few minutes to adjust. And at least 7 extended support lasts until 2020.

I'd plan on getting a replacement PSU now. You little trick on resetting the PSU is working for the moment, but the PSU is failing and your trick could stop working at literally any moment.

In fact, it may be time to just get a new PC.
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Old 11-29-16, 06:42 PM   #12
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
Vista extended support only lasts through 4/11/2017, asuming you have SP2 installed:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...indows%20Vista

Windows 7 is so close to Vista SP2 I can't imagine it'd take you more than a few minutes to adjust. And at least 7 extended support lasts until 2020.

I'd plan on getting a replacement PSU now. You little trick on resetting the PSU is working for the moment, but the PSU is failing and your trick could stop working at literally any moment.

In fact, it may be time to just get a new PC.
Good points, and I'll probably order the PSU sooner rather than later, but as far as a new PC, "planned obsolescence" as a business philosophy burns me up beyond description. This thing is 5-6 years old, for fuck's sake!
What would I have to pay for Windows 7? Maybe I can grab it for free somewhere. As cheap as computers are, I just have no appetite for the highway robbery that is continuous upgrading and replacement.
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Old 11-29-16, 08:50 PM   #13
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm de Plume View Post
Good points, and I'll probably order the PSU sooner rather than later, but as far as a new PC, "planned obsolescence" as a business philosophy burns me up beyond description. This thing is 5-6 years old, for fuck's sake!
What would I have to pay for Windows 7? Maybe I can grab it for free somewhere. As cheap as computers are, I just have no appetite for the highway robbery that is continuous upgrading and replacement.

Windows 7 came out in July 2009, so your machine is going on eight years old (at least) if you bought it new with Vista.

I'm not even sure if you can even buy Windows 7 now. Maybe off of eBay, or download it by using some nefarious means we can't get into here.

But you really should probably just invest in a new computer. If your current system is six or seven years old it had a good run. Even if you get a new power supply there's probably something else that will start going wrong with it. Your CPU might start over heating, or the motherboard could crap the bed. In the long run you're probably better off just getting a new computer instead of pumping money into the old one.
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Old 11-29-16, 09:41 PM   #14
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
Windows 7 came out in July 2009, so your machine is going on eight years old (at least) if you bought it new with Vista.
It looks like the Dell "Studio Slim" 540S was released in the tail end of 2008:
https://hardforum.com/threads/hp-sli...-540s.1374904/

It was probably still for sale in early 2009.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
But you really should probably just invest in a new computer. If your current system is six or seven years old it had a good run. Even if you get a new power supply there's probably something else that will start going wrong with it. Your CPU might start over heating, or the motherboard could crap the bed. In the long run you're probably better off just getting a new computer instead of pumping money into the old one.
Not to mention the harddrive is probably getting close to giving up the ghost.


Windows 10 eliminated the "planned obsolescence" by promising to support your PC for "the lifetime of the device."
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Old 11-29-16, 10:50 PM   #15
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Ah, I didn't know that about Windows 10. That is good news about the lifetime support. I suppose a new PC it is. I'll have to save our important shit to the external HD and run CCleaner's Gutmann file deletion on the 540S. Is that sufficient, or do I need to use DBAN or take a hammer to the thing? That's another frustrating aspect: the needless toxic electronic waste, which ends up polluting some Asian shithole that accepts our trash.
Thanks, Josh-da-man, Jay G., and the others who have chimed in. Grrr, thanks a lot!
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Old 11-29-16, 11:40 PM   #16
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm de Plume View Post
I'll have to save our important shit to the external HD
All else aside, please do this sooner than later. Multiple external HDDs, even.
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Old 11-30-16, 06:13 AM   #17
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
Windows 7 came out in July 2009, so your machine is going on eight years old (at least) if you bought it new with Vista.

I'm not even sure if you can even buy Windows 7 now. Maybe off of eBay, or download it by using some nefarious means we can't get into here.

But you really should probably just invest in a new computer. If your current system is six or seven years old it had a good run. Even if you get a new power supply there's probably something else that will start going wrong with it. Your CPU might start over heating, or the motherboard could crap the bed. In the long run you're probably better off just getting a new computer instead of pumping money into the old one.

You can still buy Windows 7 computers from Newegg, Dell, Windows 7 operating system software from Amazon, download it (purchase key) from any number of places.
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Last edited by kd5; 11-30-16 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 11-30-16, 06:42 AM   #18
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm de Plume View Post
That's another frustrating aspect: the needless toxic electronic waste, which ends up polluting some Asian shithole that accepts our trash.
Best Buy, Staples, Goodwill, and a few other places will take electronics for recycling.

http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/marke...solutions.html
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Global-P...at149900050025
http://www.goodwillsc.org/donate/computers
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Old 11-30-16, 08:29 AM   #19
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Norm's in Canada, but yeah, I've dropped electronics off at Best Buy before, too.
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Old 11-30-16, 08:52 AM   #20
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan View Post
Norm's in Canada, but yeah, I've dropped electronics off at Best Buy before, too.
Yeah, it looks like Best Buy Canada recycles PCs in every province:
http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/electron...20recycling;en

I also found this site listing other provincial electronics recycling programs:
http://epra.ca/provincial-programs
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Old 11-30-16, 09:36 PM   #21
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Re: Problem booting up computer

They take them, but are the electronic items actually recycled here or shipped overseas?
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Old 12-01-16, 04:09 AM   #22
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Yeah sounds like power supply. A cheap fix with a new one, so not that bad. But as some people have mentioned, I would consider a new computer altogether if it's still running Vista.
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Old 12-01-16, 05:44 AM   #23
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Re: Problem booting up computer

$25 vs. $500+, hmmmmm.....






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Old 12-01-16, 05:53 AM   #24
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Re: Problem booting up computer

Norm, if you do decide to replace the computer but are not interested in learning how to use that newfangled Windows 10, Windows 7 is almost identical to Windows Vista, but is updated and future-proofed till at least 2020, and will not actually belly up and die after Microsoft stops supporting it like what people were trying to assert with Windows XP (I still have XP on one of my laptops and it works just fine). Windows 7 is a good replacement for Vista...
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Old 12-01-16, 06:10 AM   #25
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Re: Problem booting up computer

One of my previous desktops had the power supply unit acting up. At the time, it was a 6+ year old machine running XP.

At the time circa 2010, I made the decision to just buy a new machine instead of fixing the power supply unit.

Nowadays, I just buy a new computer if there's major hardware problems after 4 years or so. (Such as hard drive crashes, power supply flakiness, etc ...).
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