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Author Topic: Computer question
Strider
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A friend of mine is having a computer issue. Now, I haven't actually looked at this myself, so this is all second hand information. But he tells me that on boot up a message pops up saying something about a previous fan failure. He then proceeds to get on his computer and it works fine for a little bit and then the screen starts going all wonky after a little bit. If he then tries to restart, the screen will instantly be all messed up(even on the boot up screen), unless he lets the computer sit off for a while.

Also, every time windows starts the found new hardware wizard pops up telling him it's found a new video card. every time.

I told him that it sounded like something happened with his fan at some point and that he might have fried his processor or motherboard, but the thing about the video card is throwing me off a little bit.

Any suggestions? Is there a way to troubleshoot this besides replacing the processor and seeing if it works okay? I said I could try replacing his fan, but I'm thinking that if the problem started as a simple fan problem, it's progressed past that.

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Sterling
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Given the fan failure message and that it's the screen itself going wonky, my guess is that it's something wrong with the coolant fan on the video card.

One suggestion: does his motherboard feature any sort of built-in video? If it would be possible to remove the video card and enable onboard video and try running off of that, and it works fine, you'll know the culprit. And a video card is usually a lot cheaper to replace than the processor or motherboard (depending on what the spec of each was, of course.)

Edit to add: Depending on where the computer is set up, it might also be worth trying to boot it with its case open to see if you can visibly notice, say, the video card or system fan failing to oscilate.

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Boris
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Open it up and turn it on. Make sure all the fans are actually turning. Heat problems can cause all sort of wonky behavior, so make sure they're all running and replace any that aren't turning as fast as you can. Sometimes a "Previous fan failure" message means "Like...2 seconds ago...it's not working right now" so just make sure everything works right now before you start digging into the hardware testing.
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Strider
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k, i still have to get the computer from him, but I'll check that stuff. He said that things have been getting progressively worse over a period of weeks, which is why I had assumed it had gone past a simple fan problem. But I'll make sure to check that first.
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Mr.Funny
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Well, I'm no expert, but it seems to me that repeated exposure to heat (as a non-functioning fan would cause) could do permanent damage to whatever the fan was supposed to be cooling, which would explain the deterioration over time.
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Mathematician
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I had the same thing happen to me - right down to the rebooting not fixing the computer part.

For me, it turns out that the fan on my video card had become clogged, and failed to spin. I replaced the fan first (~5$ to 10$). This made it better for awhile but (according to nerd friends of mine), the previous overheating of the video card had caused some sort of permanent damage.

Eventually, I replaced the video card with another, and haven't had a problem since.

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