OT computer issue

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My old tower computer is now failing to start up. When powered on - it starts all 3 fans ; begins to boot for about 3 or 4 seconds - then stops. < fans off - nothing > I cleaned out some dust, wiggled some connectors, checked the MB battery. It has beed totally reliable for 10 years, but in recent 2 years has seen only occasional use due to the laptop taking over. P4 2800 XPpro HP machine. No hardware or software changes recently to cause this. Any intelligent guesses about where I could start troubleshooting this ? Thanks. John T.
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On Mon, 01 Aug 2016 13:27:46 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

Can you get it into the BIOS setup? Does it power off there too? Is the CPU fan running? That is the one that will overheat the fastest. You might just have a bad power supply but if it will hold in the BIOS setup the power supply is probably OK.
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On Mon, 01 Aug 2016 13:54:53 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

All fans running for the 3 or 4 seconds that it tries to start. 3 or 4 seconds isn't nearly enough time to boot - even when it was brand new and empty. John T.
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On Mon, 01 Aug 2016 14:14:03 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

I was just wondering if you got as far as the windows splash screen. After that, a lot of things start happening.
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On Mon, 01 Aug 2016 14:14:03 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

Find a used (known good) power supply and change it. Could even be bad RAM memory.
Is this a Dell brand? Those older Dell machines were known to do odd things....
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On Tue, 02 Aug 2016 04:06:58 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@unlisted.moo wrote:

The Dell from Hell syndrome.
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Thanks - any quick and dirty test for the power supply ? .. before I go scrounging the electronic re-cycle bins. John T.
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On Monday, August 1, 2016 at 1:15:37 PM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

P/S can often test good (with a shop tested) and not work under load. They have them sometimes at Goodwill or the like. Spikes will cause them to fail prematurely, but they are a common failure component. And the hard drive.
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On 01 Aug 2016, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote in alt.home.repair:

You can test the voltages in the connector's pin pairs with a multimeter. You will have to google for a diagram of what the pins are. The pin configurations are standard for a given type of power supply.
As was mentioned, the test isn't definitive - the PS could act differently under load.
Another possibility is that some of the capacitors on the mother board or other components have failed. You can sometimes recognize a bad cap when it swells up and sometimes leaks. They can often be replaced, though there may be other damage that's not visible.
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On Mon, 01 Aug 2016 16:54:22 -0400, Nil

Thanks for the info. I'll stop short of MB repairs - probably buy another tower and plug in my hard drive to retreive data. Similar towers are almost free these days .. John T.
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On Monday, August 1, 2016 at 6:22:01 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

If you just want to retrieve data and not replace the PC, you can buy powered adapters that will connect to the drive and give you a USB connection.
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On Monday, August 1, 2016 at 6:21:29 PM UTC-5, trader_4 wrote:

http://tinyurl.com/hnhs5dc
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On Mon, 1 Aug 2016 16:29:52 -0700 (PDT), bob_villain

Thanks guys - I didn't know that they were so available & inexpensive. John T.
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On Monday, August 1, 2016 at 8:10:04 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

You probably don't know that USB thumb flash drives are so cheap you can get a 32GB one for $7 at Kmart. You could probably put everything from that HD that you need onto one of those. I hadn't bought one in years and was pleasantly surprised to find that I got a 16GB one in Jan for $7. Now you get 32.
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On Mon, 1 Aug 2016 17:50:17 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

These days I would say people should image their new C: to one of those sticks as soon as they get it all loaded up and running good. Then you can get back there pretty fast if you lose a drive or get some ugly virus. Get in a habit of keeping all your data (everything that is not "installed") on a D: drive and that is very easy to copy off and copy back. Save C: for the software that is hard to restore without an image. I have lots of copies of my D: drives, going back years.
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On Monday, August 1, 2016 at 10:13:04 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Good idea, but you'd need a 128GB one, probably could use a 64GB with compression. And for the price you'd pay today for that, for not much more you can get a 1TB HD and have a lot more backup space to save multiple copies, etc. I made an image of a clean install of Win 7 fully updated and then one of Win 10 right after the upgrade. You can get a USB to SATA powered adaptor for $20 to connect it and make it convenient to use with more than one PC too.
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On Tue, 2 Aug 2016 04:43:05 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

If your C: only has the software on it, you have a hard time filling up a 40g drive. The worst thing Microsoft ever did was default everything to "My Documents" in the applications and vendors jumped on the band wagon. That is buried down in the guts of the C: drive. You are much better off to create a directory on your D: called my documents and point your applications to that. Backing it up becomes a lot easier. I really prefer losing the whole "documents" idea and creating a directory for each application so I know where things are.
I suppose most people are not really comfortable with understanding file and directory structures so they take the easy way out ... at their own peril.
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On Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 11:32:33 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I have an HP that I did a restore to Win 7 factory software on, followed by all the updates, then Win 10 upgrade. It's 68GB. I understand I can go back to Win 7 within 30 days by doing an undo, so Win 7 must be saved on there somehow too. Maybe after 30 days MSFT gets rid of it and the space will go down. But right now, when I backed it up, I needed something that's 69GB+
The worst thing Microsoft ever did was default

I've been mostly doing what you do too. I tend to create folders in the C drive and put my stuff there. But it's not that hard to find where MSFT puts pics, documents, etc. It's under
C:\users\username where username is your user name

Yes, I see that with most of the people I know too. How they get by, IDK. A lot of it is because they don't have all that much to find and organize, they don't make backups, and they haven't had a drive failure.
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The problem there is that here is a ton of other stuff there...stuff in which most users have no interest.
I'm with gfretwell on this one. I made a folder on C: named _My Stuff. The underscore is so it will sort at the top. Under it I have...
Archives which is where I keep everything that doesn't belong in the following
My Programs. I install everything to a folder heirarchy here
Photos etc.
My Toolbars
I use a keyboard shortcut to Karen's Replicator to copy those to a USB3 thumb. I can copy just "Archives" which is usual and very quick (5-20 seconds depending upon how much has been changed) or the whole works which takes 1-5 minutes depending upon the same factor.
I also got rid of all the MS "special" folders except Desktop. Ctrl + E now gets me something that is legible :)
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On Tue, 2 Aug 2016 08:43:56 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

I imagine that W/7 is in a separate directory so you should be able to split it out. Two sets of bloat ware is going to be pretty big tho My C: (XP) with 10 years worth of software is about 25g.

The problem with C: is that is the one where you really need an image for backup because of the way software is "installed". I do not want that image to get too big because I keep multiple copies over time. Data is just data so backup is as simple as drag and drop. Trusting system restore is only going to save you from most of the stuff you do (but not all) and it is useless if you get hacked. The last time I tried to restore my way out of a driver screw up, my restore points would not work. It went through all of the motions and when it rebooted it said that restore point was not usable. (for all of them). I was rescued by an old image and since all of my data was on another drive, I did not lose anything.
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