Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a 5 year old dell desktop (that was the cheapest when I bought it). Just recently it started hard stopping. The monitor just goes black and the status light on the computer changes from green to orange. I wasn't sure if this was a hardware problem or a software problem. I figured I'd try installing (or at least running) ubuntu and see if that had a problem, but I can't get it to boot from CD. I tried the windows installation CD as well. It just won't boot. I'm thinking maybe it is a hardware problem. It's probably better to just call it a good 5 years and move on, but before I do - does anyone have any tips I should try before I pitch it? I've already got the thing open.

share|improve this question
Is optical disc drive boot enabled in BIOS? – Diskilla Sep 8 '10 at 12:37
Often pressing F12 during bootup will present boot drive options, choose "optical" or "CD/DVD". – kmarsh Sep 8 '10 at 12:43
yes, I did that. I have to cd drives - I tried them both. Neither of them worked. One almost worked, but then not. – andersonbd1 Sep 10 '10 at 18:43
up vote 1 down vote accepted

1) First check your CD/DVD Drive is working , it might be because of dust.

2) If possible try installing your OS using a USB PEN-drive

3) Second Basic thing to do would be To disassemble everything in your CPU Cabinet, clean them and Assemble them back. Most of the my hardware problems have been solved by this method.

4) Make sure you clean your RAM (the golden part) with a dry cloth. I face sudden system stop like this mainly in the monsoon season since moisture gets inside the hardware

Here are some tips to remember before throwing away your old computer

share|improve this answer

Forget installing a new O/S on an unstable system. (Which, by the way, points to a hardware issue).

If you have an Ubuntu install CD, just boot to the memtest86+ test. If memory errors are found, you either have bad memory or a bad motherboard.

share|improve this answer
+1 for mentioning memtest. – lajuette Sep 8 '10 at 12:38
He said he can't boot from CD ... – harrymc Sep 8 '10 at 13:46
See comments under question. – kmarsh Sep 8 '10 at 17:55

Last-gasp efforts before throwing it away :

  • Have a professional clean it internally (he will get at places you won't, and will tell you more about the problem)
  • Try another CD drive

However, 5 years is old age for a computer.

share|improve this answer
"5 years is old age for a computer" This is true for low-end (when new) and poorly cared-for computers, but with proper care and a little organ replacement (new hard drive and RAM upgrade) 5 years can be merely Middle Aged. – kmarsh Sep 9 '10 at 12:20
@kmarsh: Sorry doctor, but to quote from the post: "that was the cheapest when I bought it". Replacing parts here can be a case of "operation success patient died". – harrymc Sep 9 '10 at 12:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .