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If it has been off for a long time, it will boot.

Reboots work fine. Sleep and coming back from sleep work fine.

But if I shut it down and then try to turn it back on, it does nothing. For a number of seconds, I can hear a very very faint high pitched noise--like power/capacitor/something or other so it registered the button push.

Suggestions on troubleshooting?

It's an old dual proc dual core opteron 885, K8WE motherboard with 7 GB RAM.

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Test the power supply? – Tanner Faulkner Aug 1 '12 at 17:20
What is the motherboard model? some mobos have temp alarms that prevet boot or force shutdown. On the other hand You could take apart the cpu's heatsink and clean it carefully. I solved a bad overheating AMD case like that. – Bruno9779 Aug 1 '12 at 17:20
Does it work normally if you pull the plug for about 15 seconds, replug and then try to turn it on? – Tex Hex Aug 1 '12 at 18:28
I'd download CPU-Z and let your computer run normally for a few hours, under normal use. It's unlikely (since the computer doesn't shut down when under normal use), but it could be overheating. Also - how long is this pause? My desktops take a second for the BIOS to turn on as well.. is it more than 3 or so? – cutrightjm Aug 1 '12 at 19:51
r.tanner.f how does one test the power supply?; Bruno9779 the motherboard model is in the question: K8WE; TeXHeX I've tried that, doesn't work; ekaj By pause, do you mean the faint noise? I don't know, but it doesn't turn on after the faint noise stops. – taotree Aug 6 '12 at 14:13
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Thank you for the comments. My guess is that it was probably the insane amount of dust that had accumulated, or overheating because of that dust. After a good thorough cleanout and installing new heatsinks, it appears to be stable.

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