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An electrical storm hit earlier and has taken out my phone line, router and a PC. Both PC and router were plugged into a surge protector.

The PC no longer POSTs. I've swapped out the PSU to no effect, it does power on it just doesn't beep.

I removed the RAM and powered it on, at which point it started beeping frantically. Does that suggest the RAM is fried? Might clearing CMOS fix things?

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Describe exactly the beeps. There should be a pattern like for example 3 long beeps and 3 short or a certain number of beeps and a pause or something like that. – AndrejaKo May 9 '11 at 22:59
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Without any RAM installed the computer will not boot. The beeps you hear is probably the MB complaining that it can't find any RAM and refusing to continue. This means:

  • The MB is not completely dead.
  • It may be the RAM is dead, but it could also be that the RAM still works fine and something else (incl the MB) is damaged and can't continue after it has established that there is RAM present.

Consult your MB manual to find out what the minimum RAM configuration is and if you have more RAM sticks try some combinations (in case only 1 or 2 RAM sticks are dead).

If that does not work you might need to get hold of spare parts to replace one by one to locate the fault. If you don't have ready access to spare parts, taking you PC to a trusted computer repair shop is you best option.

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This has helped me with similar situations at a few client sites over the years:

  1. Un-plug the computer (and any other peripherals that have their own power supplies)
  2. Press the power button to turn it on (it won't turn on, that's the point)
  3. Plug the computer back in (and any other peripherals you un-plugged at the initial step)
  4. Press the power button to turn it on (now it should power on)

What this does is flushes out any excess power that can sometimes prevent the system from powering on. Hopefully this works for you.

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Eh? Do you mean you are trying to flush the capacitors? Leaving the machine off for a few minutes should do the same. – ChrisF May 9 '11 at 23:18
ChrisF: A few minutes doesn't. In fact, nearly all modern machines depend on closing a low-voltage circuit that connects directly to the motherboard, which in turn sends a signal to the power supply to power the machine on. This mechanism also supports the option of powering on certain computers by the user pressing a key on the keyboard while the computer is off -- a small amount of stored power is needed to accomplish this. – Randolf Richardson May 9 '11 at 23:23

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