To those who have built their own computer, can you help me?

Ok, so here's the breakdown. At one point with my ex we built an HTPC for my home.

As of about 6 months, it has been having some issues, such as the computer freezing at random. For awhile I was under the impression my graphics card was dying.

Well, last night my computer was freezing more frequently, right after start-up, so I got the bright idea to reformat my computer because I thought maybe I got a virus at one point and it wouldn't harm anything to do a reformat to determine if that would fix the problem. For some reason I kept getting an error message saying that reformatting was not possible. So I decided to take a look at the inside of the system. I realized that the CPU was completely covered in dust, so I took the fan off and cleaned off the dust with a Q-tip. I put the fan back on, turned the computer back on. It loads the AS Rock screen, but afterward it went completely blank. For sure, there wasn't a problem with the HDMI cable.

A tutorial online said to unplug elements and replug them in, because maybe I accidentally unplugged something in the process. For me, it was a bad idea to do, because when I took some of the pieces out, such as the RAM, when I put it back in I didn't get it in all the way. So when I turned on my computer I started to smell a burnt plastic smell. The PC was only on for a second before I immediately powered it down. When I tried to turn it back on, it now won't even boot up. Did I burn up my motherboard and RAM? The fan has started to sound weird, and now there are times where the computer just won't power on.

Great new, everyone! Well, OK news so far. We were able to get my computer to turn on to the point that the As Rock motherboard screen appeared. Turns out the RAM was the only thing that was failing, so we switched out the RAM.

However, the computer still won't boot up to the Windows login page once the As Rock motherboard loads. My ex believes it's because I was originally attempting to reformat my computer, so Windows has currently been wiped clean from the computer.
When I was trying to reformat the computer originally, it went to 75% completion before I received the error message stating that my computer couldn't be reformatted. I didn't think anything of it at the time.

He currently has the computer, so he will be running more tests to determine what's going on. But, hey, at least now the computer will actually turn on haha.


Most Helpful Guy

  • I agree with @bcromartie At first it sounds like an OS problem. If you have an image to load I'd use that.

    If a computer doesn't turn on it's usually due to the PSU or if not, the motherboard. I'm guessing that you've got an unbranded PSU? If so that's a bad idea. You want to get something that's 80+ at least.

    It could be multiple problems, remember that a dodgy PSU can damage the hardware

    If I was you I would buy a new PSU + Motherboard, salvage the rest of the components, then run a hardware test and re-install the OS

    Also you might want to buy a PSU tester. You mentioned you got it 6 months ago? Everything should still be in warranty then. Get those parts tested if you can

    @Tdieseler thanks for the mention, when it comes to any question about PCs DooMguy wants to be there

    P. S. @ Asker did you use anti-static?

    • ... and this is why i use Mac.

    • Show All
    • @FakeName123 You were correct. It was the RAM that was failing. We've replaced it, and he will be working on it more tonight :)

      Thanks for your feedback!

    • i may be incapable of answering much this weekend...

What Guys Said 8

  • I think @DooMguy has written an article on PC maintenance. especially one that you built yourself. I believe we agreed compressed air was better than most methods... as for the burning smell, that could be anything (check your power input). hopefully you didn't use any liquid with the Q-tip...
    These guys might also be able to help.
    @Chief16 @Mistnigqa808 @Jager66
    DooMguy's link:

    • No, no liquid, just a plain old Q-tip.

      Thanks for your advise! I'll check out the article :D.

  • Could be a few things, kinda hard to say without looking it over. First thing make sure it's not human error causing the problems, like the wiggle test you were doing, you should finish that then maybe check the bios to make sure your ex didn't change any settings that could cause instability, like a bad over clock or something.

    If it's not human error than it's going to be a hard ware problem. I'm not a professional so others will likely know better then me but when I've got problems like this I usually start with trial and error, switching out components to see if I can narrow down the problem. Or I just send it in and pay someone to fix it.

    I had a bad PSU a few years ago, it ended up damaging the MB and processor, it was sending the wrong voltages. Only found out it was the PSU because all the parts were still on warranty at the time and after being serviced for the third time they sent the parts off to get tested at the factories and it turned out the PSU was culprit.

  • Sadly, depending on what it is that you failed to plug in, you may have fried your computer. There is one chance. You have a fuse inside your computer. Replace that and then make sure everything's seated and turn it on. If that doesn't work then maybe you can use some of the parts on your next computer.

    • The truth of the matter is that if this computer is even one year old, you can probably buy an equivalent used computer for about half what you paid originally.

  • If the computer won't #post it's probably a CPU problem

    if it beeps it's a ram problem

    if it's cutting off randomly it's probably a PSU problem.

    And when all else falls it could be a MOBO problem (hopefully you didn't shock it to death)

    • If I were you i'd get Linux on a usb + a cheap 8$ HDD to see if the computer works better that way.

  • You shouldn't have touched the CPU like that. Did you use a static strap? Are getting any POST beeps?

    Is the board getting power when you turn it on? ie does the CPU fan come on.

  • I'd have to see it. Too many causes.

    • Come on over, haha.

      I'm just fed up with it to the point that I'll just part it out and buy a laptop. I don't need anything for intense mainstream gaming. I did use Illustrator and Word quite a bit, so I need a computer that can power those types of programs. I also used Steam, and have a few games that I play on there.

    • If you're doing intense graphic design i do not recommend a laptop. It will cost you significantly more to get the same functionality that you would in a desktop.

  • When u put the fan back on the CPU, did u reapply the thermal paste? If u didn't then the heat won't transfer away from the processor fast enough, and the computer would turn off in seconds due to overheating. Thermal paste is rather cheap to buy and is useful for the future.

    With the problems that you're mentioning, I think your hard drive needs to be replaced. You can get a TB hard drive (1000GB) for about $60.

    I would take it to a shop, or take it to a friend that knows how to build PCs so they can troubleshoot it for you.

    • Thanks @Prof_Don. I have updated this question. My ex currently has the computer, and we were able to get it up and loaded to the motherboard. The RAM stick was the thing causing the problem.

      As for the fan, I didn't feel/see any thermal paste when I was examining it. I will ask him to see if he needs to add more.

      As for the hard drive, that's a good idea. I currently only have a 60 GB SSD, but I told him that it's probably time to upgrade to one with more memory. I personally don't use up a lot of space, but I know that my SSD had 15 GB available up until the computer started failing. I'll definitely look into the TB drives. Thanks!

    • Glad i could help. ☺

  • Replug the DOS battery and restart your pc


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