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I have a PC that seemed to have died years ago that I am trying to revive. It has a dual core athlon processor and a gigabyte motherboard. It had two dual output graphics cards, and I have long since forgotten which output would print out the diagnostic information as the PC starts up. Also I suspect that the resolution set on all the monitors was probably higher than my current single monitor is capable of displaying. The motherboard also has a built in graphics card, so I thought it may be simplest to remove both the graphics cards and plug my monitor into the onboard graphics just while I get things going. Does that seem sensible?

Now the other problem: The PC has two hard drives. I have no idea which one is the primary one it is attempting to boot from. When I power up, the fan comes on and I hear some chuga-chuga-pause chuga-chuga-pause repeat indefinitely. I'm not sure which device is making the noise. There are no-beeps at any time. I see nothing on the screen at any time, not even for a second.

Any suggestions?

EDIT: If T start up the PC without the power connected to the CDrom there is no chuga-chugan noise.

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Open the case and listen. I hope that the chuga-chuga is not the dreaded Click of death. – harrymc Nov 22 '10 at 21:04
@harrymc: see edit – Mick Nov 22 '10 at 21:10

Put both hard disks in an enclosure, or inside another computer, and it should be immediately clear whether:

  1. If they still work, and
  2. Which one is the system drive

Leave just the system drive, disconnect all possible accessories and internal cards and boot.

Replacing the BIOS battery is the next step, and its cost is peanuts. Next is juggling the RAM sticks (leave just enough to see if you are getting the BIOS boot screen).

If no go, try with one of the video cards, then the other. You can also try the cards inside a still-living computer.

If nothing helps, this may be a job for the tech-shop, but I doubt that the computer is worth the investment.

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Sounds like the CD ROM was the noise issue. Connect the monitor to the onboard video and see if you can even see the startup BIOS splash screens. Should work unless something else is broken

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may also want to remove the cmos battery, in case on-board was disabled and it needs to forget that – RobotHumans Nov 22 '10 at 21:14
I disconnected both the power and the erm.. "other" cable from the CD rom and restarted. Nothing appearing on monitor. Still no beeps. Monitor works fine when tested with other source. – Mick Nov 22 '10 at 21:18
Re: beeps: did you ensure there is a PC speaker connected to the motherboard so the beeps can be emitted? – horatio Apr 12 '11 at 16:45

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