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I bought a pre-owned computer on Ebay. It booted fine, had to reset due to it not detecting USB mouse, but it detected the USB keyboard. Booted fine again, then I tried to install Ubuntu Desktop, when it was installing I got a phone call, when I'm answering it, I find a Blue screen of Death. I reboot the computer and nothing, no BIOS boot, no beeping, but one of the fans was on. I opened the cover and found a large amount of dust, removed it, still not booting.

I'm a complete novice with computer repairs, the most advanced thing I did was take a 286 harddrive and replace a 486's damaged harddrive with it (put the drive into the 486 that is), what could possibly be causing this?

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It might help to say what sorta computer it is. At the very least, brand and any other basic information you get on it, – Journeyman Geek Nov 7 '12 at 12:46
Ebay listed it as DELL DIMENSION 4550 - P4 1.8ghz/512mb/80gb/DVD/CD-RW/RAGE 128/WINDOWS XP & COA, but i'm not sure of anything else. – Michael Gaddass Nov 7 '12 at 14:29

It's alive, IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!

I'd given up and decided to take one last crack at it, before flogging it for spare parts on Ebay. It appears it was a ram stick causing the problem, every time i'd removed the ram, i'd always placed both sticks back in again, i was forced to set the system clock back to normal, but apart from that, computer appears fine. Thanks for your help Nerdwaller and Journeyman geek.

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Generally speaking, the BSOD is either hardware or software related and would only have come up in Windows. So probably after Ubuntu was done it booted into your windows side and had the error (unless you were installing with the WUBI -- from inside windows).

First, try pull the power from the wall and start unplugging the extras in your case (hard drive, graphics card if installed). Then reseat your RAM (meaning just eject it with the toggles at the end of the sticks and put them back in). Then try booting with just the monitor plugged in (no mouse/keyboard/other USB devices/ hard drives /disc drives).

If nothing there, try clearing the CMOS, which resets your BIOS. Potentially the issue. I would personally do the "jumper" option, however you have a few others as described Here (obviously option 1 will not work in the link).

The next option could be a dead CMOS battery, which this piece is in the link above. If you can measure its output, I would do so (and replace if necessary).

If any of those work, I would recommend you get the UBCD and test components to be sure they aren't dead or close to dead.

Report back if you don't mind and we can proceed from there.

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Thanks for the info, I found a card thing unplugged and slotted it in, now the computers making a beeping noise every few seconds. I'll try removing that card. Edit: Nope, and it's making a electonic crackling noise. I'll take it into PC world next week. Thanks for the help anyway. – Michael Gaddass Nov 6 '12 at 16:20
Took another look at it, turned out the beeping and cracking was due to the (long card thing, think it's the ram?) not being slotted fully in. Still can't get it to boot. – Michael Gaddass Nov 7 '12 at 8:35
So, so far i've checked the ram cards, graphics card and that driver card, so i'll try the jumper option. – Michael Gaddass Nov 7 '12 at 14:31

From the age of the card and the system itself you mentioned, it might be a fairly old system. If its from the early 2000s, its well, frankly geriatric and roughly the right age for capacitor plague.

Open up the system, and check for bloated capacitors - these would be the first thing I'd check. Older systems also suffer from power supply failures - try swapping it out.

I'd also try unplugging everything but the PSU, the video card and one stick of ram to test, just to make sure its not one of the other components.

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Thanks, ill try that then. – Michael Gaddass Nov 7 '12 at 17:46
It seems as though computers are not made to last these days, I had an old Compaq Prolinea 486, that was still running perfectly in 2009, until it was damaged when it fell from a shelf i'd stored it on temporary. oops. – Michael Gaddass Nov 7 '12 at 17:48

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