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No matter how much we think we know, it's so easy to overlook the obvious. My computer suddenly would not wake up yesterday morning. I usually leave it running for several days then let it reboot. This time no matter what I did it would not wake up so I had to do a hard shut down. Rebooted it and it took forever, then I see a blue screen MS update error. Oh, oh I thought. Did this thing shut down or lock up in the middle of an update? I get past that and then it booted to the bios screen for no apparent reason. Nothing wrong there as far as I could tell.

I exited the bios and it finally booted to the desktop but I could tell something was very wrong. I did another reboot. It took like 6 minutes and then I try to go online and it's like everything had slowed down 90%. I close the brower and opened a couple programs, same thing. Lots of hanging before anything happens including typing. My system was very sick.

Thinking I had a corrupted update I did a restore back to August 19. That only took 3 1/2 hours and when it rebooted I could tell it was still not right. Same long bootup, same hiccups going online and other things, same restarts hoping for the best but nada.

Suddenly I realized when I was standing next to it I couldn't hear the fan. I bent over and put my ear close and definitely no fan. I immediately opened CPUID and sure enough the CPU is running at 85c! I looked up my processor and the range is supposed to be 56-65c with an absolute max temp of 71. I shut it down for an hour and booted it up again but with my big floor fan blowing directly on it from two feet away. That was 5 hours ago and it runs perfectly. CUPID says it's about 59c. I say about because it measures each core, plus other stuff separately.

All that grief, and what happened is the fan stopped working and it overheated.

AARGGHH!

At least I don't need a new computer. Yet. I think it knows I'm replacing it when Win 11 comes out.

Bob


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LOL, I am laughing with you not at you Bob. I think your poor Intel 4770 should file an age discrimination lawsuit.

I had a similar overheating problem which I think was the eventual cause of the motherboard failure. I just finished rebuilding that Intel 4770 machine. New motherboard and new Intel i5 processor. I am very happy with the results.

Billy


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Good work diagnosing. The next step will be to see if the replacement fan runs, so you can determine if it’s the fan controller on the motherboard, the power supply, or just a plain burned out or frozen fan.


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I had a fan go on an old laptop. It wouldn't start, instead it gave me a DOS-Like "FAN ERROR" message. Fortunately, UTube taught me how to replace it.

I hope your replacement goes as easily as mine did. The hardest part was disassembling it enough to get to the fan.

Notes


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Originally Posted By: Notes Norton
I had a fan go on an old laptop. It wouldn't start, instead it gave me a DOS-Like "FAN ERROR" message. Fortunately, UTube taught me how to replace it.

I hope your replacement goes as easily as mine did. The hardest part was disassembling it enough to get to the fan.

Notes

At least the computer told you what was happening, and you didn't have to chase the problem down like Bob did! Thankfully for him his computer was designed to throttle the CPU when overheating to prevent damage, which was causing the slowdown and weirdness - though I'd personally give it a stress test once the fan is replaced, just to make sure there was no damage!


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Bob, there is a free program called Core Temp that you can download and put on the desktop. You can program it to display alarms/temps and even turn your computer off.

Billy


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That sounds better than CUPID, thanks. That would have saved me some time for sure. I'm away from home again but before I left this morning it booted up normal. I opened both Firefox and Edge to multiple pages, played some Biab songs and streamed some vids and it runs perfectly as long as my big fan is blowing on it, haha. When I get back I'll take it apart and see if I can replace the fan. It will be tight because it's a ZOTAC Zbox mini PC that I love because it uses mostly standard components without using mobile stuff. It's about the size of my 4TB full size external drives.

Bob


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Bob, I use open hardware monitor:

https://openhardwaremonitor.org/

It reads the cpu temps, fan speeds, and a ton of other information. Plus its free.


Why is it that the people who tell me to calm down are the ones who tick me off in the first place!

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Originally Posted By: Simon - PG Music
Originally Posted By: Notes Norton
I had a fan go on an old laptop. It wouldn't start, instead it gave me a DOS-Like "FAN ERROR" message. Fortunately, UTube taught me how to replace it.

I hope your replacement goes as easily as mine did. The hardest part was disassembling it enough to get to the fan.

Notes

At least the computer told you what was happening, and you didn't have to chase the problem down like Bob did! Thankfully for him his computer was designed to throttle the CPU when overheating to prevent damage, which was causing the slowdown and weirdness - though I'd personally give it a stress test once the fan is replaced, just to make sure there was no damage!

I agree. Another reason I use ThinkPads

I can troubleshoot PA systems, and even Cable TV Systems (I had a job doing that when I was testing out what it is to be 'normal') but inside the computer itself I'm afraid I'm pretty worthless at diagnosing all but the simplest problems.

I do know a good repair shop, though I hardly ever need to use them.

Notes


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I visited the website and discovered Zotac makes some nice looking, purpose built computers.

The +++ Zotac Download Center +++ has manuals available by model number. There maybe an exploded diagram or parts list to help with the fan.

The +++ Mainboard +++ picture on the website show the fan is held in place with spring clips. It's difficult to say from the picture but the fan looks to be a standard size.


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Interestingly, the fan on a refrigerator will also cause it to stop working. The evaporator fan.

Computers. Yep.... I worked for a company doing some 3rd party servicing on their equipment and systems. I got called to a hospital and was told the system was crashing and wasn't running right. I get there and the head of security starts telling me he wants a brand new server installed TODAY! I explain that I'm a 3rd party factory trained tech but I don't carry $25k servers in my truck. So he storms off and I start working on the system. I open it up and go into the CPU. First clue was the air intake filter was clogged by dust. Inside the CPU I found more dust than should be in the entire hospital. I used canned air to blow it out and the cloud of dust and dust bunnies was unreal. I reassembled it and called him to come back to the nurse station. He gets there and says... "Well?" I pointed to the dust bunnies on the desk, explained where they came from, and told him he really needed to set up a PM schedule to clean the dust filter on a monthly basis. He yells about wanting a new server and I pointed out that I doubted that they were going to replace a 9 month old server that had dust blocking the cooling air intake. Veins were throbbing on his temple and he stomps off.... I tried to call him back to sign the paperwork but he never returned. I left. The system worked well from that point and didn't crash as far as I know. He was not happy and told the company to never send me back. OK.... I'm actually good with that.

BTW.... I started this computer a few minutes ago.... the screen was blank. Nothing.... I know the HDMI died so I have been running on the VGA. I'm thinking the worst as well.... Oh great, the video outs are toasted.... I start checking the wires and the VGA cable had fallen out of the connector on the monitor. (wipes the sweat).... up and running. Maybe there's a lesson there? I should be looking for a replacement computer and switch everything before the inevitable happens?

Last edited by Guitarhacker; 09/14/21 08:40 AM.

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Yes, in my early years in repairing electronic equipment, a very experienced colleague used to always say: "start with a visual inspection". Your two examples above demonstrate how that is generally the best starting point.


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Also, consider it may be a short between the chair and the keyboard.


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Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
Also, consider it may be a short between the chair and the keyboard.


Yeah my problems are always a loose nut on the keyboard.


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Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
Also, consider it may be a short between the chair and the keyboard.

PICNIC? (problem in chair, not in computer grin )


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Yep. But to be fair, even these problems are not helped by poor software design or weak documentation.


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O.M.

One of the things I say all the time in my business.... Operator Malfunction.


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Add nothing that adds nothing to the music.
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I definitely sympathize with this. Sometimes all it takes to get your computer up and running is a replacement fan, although with some laptop models that come with the plastic clips it can be a bit of a pain the butt to do the replacement. Glad the resolution ended up being fairly easy to remedy.


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Originally Posted By: Ember - PG Music
...plastic clips...

Guitar picks are, hands down, the best tool for the job when it comes to things held together with plastic clips. They're cheap as chips too!


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Originally Posted By: Simon - PG Music
Originally Posted By: Ember - PG Music
...plastic clips...

Guitar picks are, hands down, the best tool for the job when it comes to things held together with plastic clips.


Another reason us keyboard players didn't get the chicks...


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Originally Posted By: jazzmammal
Originally Posted By: Simon - PG Music
Originally Posted By: Ember - PG Music
...plastic clips...

Guitar picks are, hands down, the best tool for the job when it comes to things held together with plastic clips.


Another reason us keyboard players didn't get the chicks...

As a keyboard player myself, I think it's mostly because it's impossible to look cool playing keyboards - unless your last name is Jarre of course.


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Are you saying Canadian born keyboardist Paul Shaffer ain't cool? C'mon


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Ha, he looks like an an aging accounting professor trying to look cool... Been busy, sorry to be late to my own thread. A followup to my system. I took it apart and there was very little dust but I cleaned anyway. When I went looking for my PC toolkit I also found a little USB powered external 3.5" fan I bought years ago and completely forgot about. I plugged that in, placed it right next to the cooling holes and it works great. I can move my 40" tall portable swamp cooler back into it's den until next summer. I use it to supplement my AC because the elctric bills where I'm at are horrendous.

Bob


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Well, I'm still not completely out of the woods. After fixing the initial glitches from over heating, the system starting taking 15-20 minutes to boot. I didn't say anything here because it was working and I needed it to get me through the October 15 tax filing season. Then I would look to figure that out. I checked the Start menu to see if some app was hanging things up but saw nothing like that.

Last week there was a Windows update and after it installed the boot time was back to normal but yesterday it's back to being over 15 minutes again but it's not consistant. It seems to be going back and forth between normal and taking forever like today. This morning it took almost 20 minutes, I had it on for a few hours and decided to do a restart as a test and it booted right up. Before I give up and get or build a new system I was thinking of doing the Windows Repair thing where it cleans up the OS but keeps all the files and see if that helps but I'm thinking it's probably physical like a failing power supply or the memory or something like that. Any ideas?

Bob


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I was thinking about your power supply as I read your report. It’s easy to use a power supply tester to check that. Mine is maybe 15 years old now but it only cost me about $20 back then.


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With an intermittent issue like that, I'm leaning towards hardware myself. Power supply, hard drive, RAM, in that order I'd say.

If you have a standard multimeter you can check how many volts your PSU is putting out - it should be within 10%. Unfortunately that test does not properly load-test the power supply, but assuming you test voltage with the computer powered on that should be a start. I'd test from an unused 4-pin Molex connectors - you should get 5v and 12v from those. Do NOT try to measure Amps using a multimeter unless you know what you're doing, that will likely short out the power supply and - at best - pop the fuse in the multimeter without further damage, and at worst could start a fire.

Hard drive, try and get the SMART data from it. Even if the software says it passes, look for things like Load Cycle and see if they're excessively high (over 300,000).

Ram - load Memtest86 onto a USB stick and run that overnight until it passes at least 3 times with no failure. It's possible for inconsistent RAM to pass, hence going for at least 3 passes. Leave it for a few days if you like.


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Memtest is a good suggestion. It’s the easiest way to rule out one possible cause.


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