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strange problems

a few months ago i helped a friend build a new comp, and as far as i knew it was working well untill a few days ago when he said it was screwed up & wanted me to fix it for him. first, instead of loading windows it pops up a black screen that says "NTLDR missing, ctrl alt del to restart" i was able to fix this, i then did some formatting & transfering & stuff to get windows & all his files on the drives he wanted them on, but there are still a few more problems. for one thing the computer turns itself on completely randomly. it scared the **** out of me while i was sleeping a few times. i thought lookse conection maybe, but i'd think that it would only happen when it was bumped. next, the comp cant see that the cpu fan is spinning, so it flips out when you turn it on, also the adjusting nob on it doesnt work any more, so its always on slow (its a volcano 9) & it is plugged into the right spot on the mobo. he says it was like this whenhe got home one day & that he wasnt screwing with anything. any ideas?

MSI KT4 Ultra
athlon xp 2100+
1024 mb pc2100 ram
windows xp


hardware monkey
some bioses have an 'auto turn-on' option. make sure that didn't get enabled on accident. but you probably know that... and you said it happens completely at random.

so, uhh... yeah, psu or mobo. :p
I would say mobo as the psu cant come on without the mobo's say-so (the power switch daisychains to the psu via the mobo - no mobo, no power tbh) - that might also explain why the hsf is only coming on at low speed with a broken speed switch.

BUT... if someone has had a similar problem in the past and it was resolved with a new PSU - it might be worth trying that.

Perhaps you could find someone who would be so kind as to lend your friend their PSU to test - at least then you'd know which it is.
awesome, thanks guys. everything in my system is compatable with his, so i'l try swapping psu's (i dont see how this could work, as jonifen pointed out, but il givei t a try) & if that doesnt work i'll switch mobo's (ugh, what a pain in the ass)

thanks a lot for the suggestions =)


The Voices Talk to Me
Well I have had my comp turn it's self on with no intervention at all, with all "turn-on" options turned off. This has only happen once (thank god) and I think it was the PSU that caused it.
Also, it couldn't hurt to set the RAM clock at it's lowest setting...see if that clears things up. Memory that is clocked too high (or just *cheap* memory) can give stop errors or make Windows claim that it has missing files.
The ATX systems are never really turned off completely unless you use a power strip with a switch. I do. The ATX case power switch is not a power switch, it is a reset button. All it does is ground a line on the mobo that goes to the power supply to tell the power supply to go to full power. Also if you don't have a real power switch between the wall outlet and your computer a lightning surge on the line can fry your computer even though it is turned off. They did this change to how power is handled to support server functions like remote re-starts and automatric restart after a power loss.

1). If the computer has "wake on lan" turned on and it is connected to the net someone outside can turn your computer on by accessing the network card. I think some dialup modems can do this too. The jumper that connects that feature from my lan card to the mobo is in my junk box.

2). You could also have a trojan, etc. The computer may be turning itself on to connect to the hacker who infected it.

3). There is a setting under power management (bios) that tells the computer what to do when it sees a power dropout (like lightning, a drunk running into a telephone pole, etc). You can set the computer to turn on or not turn on when the AC power comes up. I have mine set to turn on so when I hit the switch on the power strip the computer starts up without me hitting the case switch. Not all mobo's support this feature my gigabyte does but the wifes FIC does not.

Funny but true story - There was a file sharing service several years ago that allowed people to log into your computer when the computer was just turned off by the power switch on the case. A friend of mine woke up one night because his "off" computer turned itself on and started uploading files over the modem. After that he started unplugging the modem at night.

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What a long strange trip it's been. =)

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