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  #1  
10-30-2011, 04:03 AM
Sossity Sossity is offline
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I had an odd incident today when starting up a dell pc (specs; windows xp home service pack 2) 1gb ram, 160gb hard drive; dell 2004.)

when I turned on the power strip it is plugged into & pressed the center button in the tower to start up, it did all it's usual stuff, showed the dell logo, then, it seemed to get stuck at a dark screen, I would not say it was completely black, the monitor was getting power, it seemed it was light up, but was blank, or a low glowing dark blue or black, the hard drive sounded normal, & the modem started up with all it's green lights like normal, but windows never came up, it seemed the computer went on to start without it.

One thing I did notice was the printer seemed to be stuck making it's loud adjustment noises, when it is alining it's mechanics, it does this sometimes when it is out of paper or very low on ink. It was a bit low on a couple of inks. I often let the inks go until it will not print to get the most that I can out of the ink cartridges. It is an hp c6100 inkjet printer, where I can replace individual ink colors, but at $10.00 or more a pop, I want to get all that I can out of them.

When it seemed the computer would not start up, I went & replaced the low inks in the printer. I then went & turned off the center power button on the tower to shut down, I could not use the mouse to click on start>shut down, because the screen was blank, (this is the way I usually shut the computer down). Lastly completed the shutdown with the switch at the power strip.

Then after a few seconds I started up again, turned on power switch, pressed center power button in the tower,& all went ok then & was a normal start up, the dell screen logo, a few flashes of the screen to different colors, then, windows came up & loaded the desktop, & with printer starting up normally too. It seemed ok after this.

what happened?

i then decided to check the disk for defragmentation, it was quite defragmented, when it did a first analysis before defragmenting, it said there was not enough free disk space, there was only 15%. So I went & organized & deleted some unneeded files, & got the space to 25%. It then went on to defragment.

I dont know if this is what caused the hang at startup, but I do remember reading somewhere that a computer's OS needs a certain amount of space to function, so I thought I would go check the disk space. I thought doing a defrag & freeing up some disk space can only help, even if it may have not been the cause of the hang.

I am a little nervous about turning it off tonight, for fear it will not start up again. My mother prefers that it is shut down every night when we all go to bed. In summer 2009, after a disastrous attempt at an update to windows xp service pack 3 we had to have the hard drive replaced with the 160gb one we have now, with a complete reinstallation of the OS & software & internet connection.The hard drive it originally had was an 80gb drive.

And that leads me to another question, is it better to shut down & turn off the dell pc every night? what about my my 2010 macbook laptop? or can it be left on all the time? which is less strenuous on it's organs?

I looked this up online & there sees to be an even divide on this, some say leave it on, that startup & shutting down every night puts strain on the hard drive. Others say leaving it on can make it too hot, or suck in more dust if the computer is in a dusty environment, it is in our home.
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  #2  
10-30-2011, 04:43 AM
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It may be a simple power pull. The power supply in a computer draws the most power when turned on. For that reason alone, turning on everything at once (via a power strip, for example) is a horrible idea. A power strip should never replace power buttons found on devices that have them. Printers and monitors, especially.

In this order:
  1. Turn on a monitor.
  2. Turn on a computer
  3. Turn on a printer when needed.
When a computer doesn't receive enough juice, it may not start all devices inside the tower. Specifically the hard drives. I've run into this problem myself. And that does present itself as a "black screen" that does nothing.

Your mother is right -- turn it off when not in use. Why?
  • Hardware will last longer.
  • Less power use, not a power vampire (wastes electricity -- tons of it, equates to lots of lost $$$ each month/year)
  • No potential in being harmed by power spikes/etc when not turned on.
  • Not a fire hazard, should anything ever get too hot; some power supplies do get overly toasty after excessive use.
Same for the Mac.

(Disclaimer: I leave my Mac on 24/7 because it's used for work, and is rarely without a project left on-screen for the next day.
If mine fries itself, I'll just buy another one. It's a work tool.)

Nothing "strains" a hard drive more than 24/7 use.
A hard drive cannot "suck up" dust; a computer, however, can and will. There are fans for the case, for the mainboard CPU, and for the graphics card.

The only hardware made for 24/7/365 use are servers. Not home computers, not laptops.

Remember to remove thumb drives, CDs, floppies, DVDs etc, before shutting down. Otherwise a computer can try to load from these items, which can put the computer into a neverending startup loop. If it's a DVD-Video or a CD-Audio, it's usually a guarantee to confuse the computer at startup. And the older the computer is, the more likely it is to be confused.

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  #3  
10-30-2011, 05:17 AM
Sossity Sossity is offline
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How do I do this when everything is plugged into the power strip?

they will not power on unless the power strip is turned on first, all the peripherals & computer it's self is plugged into a Belkin power surge strip.

how do I get the printer to not automatically start up/turn on when I first turn on the power strip? how do I keep check/control over what starts up & when?

It is a bit difficult because my home is older with no grounded wiring, & few extra outlets. In our kitchen especially, there are only a few outlets, & fewer that can be reached. So I found one in a part of the kitchen that had the power plate replaced with 3 prong plugs, so I could plug in the power strip with all the computer & it's peripherals.

The shut down is a little tricky as well, I shut the computer down, all gets turned off except the modem stays on & lit up unless I turn the power strip off. This has worked as with my wired set up, whereby I can shut down the kitchen pc, but still be able to use my laptop in my room for internet access, because the modem to the kitchen pc is still on.

In order to start up again the following day, I have to completely turn off the power strip & the modem along with it. I have tried to just startup again with modem & power strip on by pressing the center button in the tower, but the computer just hangs with a blank screen & blinking white cursor at the very top left of the screen, it has always been like this, so I have just gone along with what works, either completely powering down, & completely starting up again.

thinking about this, I realize I have alot hooked up to my mac laptop that starts up as well, an external monitor, keyboard, mouse & now a wacom tablet. Is there any way to keep the power draw to a minimum here as well? I have this set up all plugged into a belkin power surge strip too. Perhaps that was part of what caused a kernel panic on my mac a few months ago, when I started it up.

I may sound a bit dumb how I am going about the computer power up & maintenance, but I this task has been left to me, as my mom does not know a whole lot about computers, she likes them, but she only knows so much. My dad knows nothing at all, can barely surf the internet, & is afraid to turn on the pc himself, from all the troubles we have had, I understand, so this is left to me. When we first got the pc, in 2004, I knew nothing as well, my mom & I have had to learn together, I had to go on & learn more to do the things I needed to do.

Now that I think about power in general, it is not the most reliable in my area, specifically, my neighborhood consists of 1950's era houses with old wiring with 2 prong outlets, although many have been retrofitted. It has been a little flaky this past year, starting with an outage this spring when family was using a vacuum cleaner that tripped a beaker, then in the summer my neighborhood had an outage, I was at my laptop with an external hard drive powered on, when all of a sudden my room went dark, the power came back in about 5 minutes, & luckily, I was not writing any data to the drive or mac, they were just powered on.

Then later in September of this year, where I am, I am not sure if you saw it in the news, but the whole of southern California from LA to south San Diego lost all power for several hours.
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10-31-2011, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
How do I do this when everything is plugged into the power strip?
they will not power on unless the power strip is turned on first, all the peripherals & computer it's self is plugged into a Belkin power surge strip.
Why do you keep turning off the surge strip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sossity View Post
using a vacuum cleaner that tripped a beaker
Vacuums are also notorious for killing power strips, surge protectors and UPS bricks. Never plug vacuum into anything other than a direct wall socket. And ideally on a circuit/breaker not used by electronics. I run a long extension cord to the plug in an unused room, so nothing else is zapped. I've lost gear from vacuum cleaner damage, as silly as that may sound.

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  #5  
10-31-2011, 04:40 PM
Sossity Sossity is offline
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I turn off the power strip because I cannot get the pc to start up again the following day by just turning the tower power button on, when the power strip is on, I have tried just pressing the tower's power button to start the pc up again, but it will not, it just hangs, I get the Dell logo, then it goes to the blank screen just before windows, but it never gets past this, it just stops at a dark screen with a blinking cursor in the top left corner & it just hangs there, it does not boot up.

So I press the tower power button to tun off the pc, & have to start from scratch. Starting from scratch I turn off the power strip, & turn on, with everything coming on at once, then the pc will do a full boot up. It always been like this since I can remember.

I would prefer to do it as you stated, but as my knowledge of this stuff only goes so far, & from the problems I have had before, I just go with what will work.
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  #6  
11-01-2011, 05:04 PM
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I tried something different today, the kitchen pc was shut down, with the modem still on & the power strip was still powered on.

I thought I would try to turn it on again by pressing the power button in the tower, but before I did this, I checked to see if the printer was still on, & it was, so I tried powering off the printer.

with power strip still powered on, & modem & monitor on, I tried powering up the pc with the tower power button without doing a complete shut down of the power strip, (it was still on).

And it booted up, this is the 1st time I was able to get the pc to do a complete bootup without having to completely shut down the power strip. One big difference this time was I had the printer powered off before I booted the computer up.

This leads me to believe that the printer must be a bit of a power drain for the computer or power strip, & manually turning on & off helps the bootup process.

I will see how it affects the shut down process as well.

I think from now on, I will only have the printer on when I need to do a print job, & power it off after I am done.

will this be a better & safer way to bootup & shut down the pc? as opposed to how I have been doing it, completely turning on & off the power strip?

I read online somewhere that even if a computer is shut down, if the power strip it is plugged into is still on, a power surge or power outage could still cause harm, is this true?

also, is it safe to leave the modem on nearly all the time? even when the computer is shut down? how would it be affected in the event of a power surge or power outage?
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  #7  
11-03-2011, 07:48 AM
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Some printers require the computer be turned on second, but that only works if there's not a power draw issue. Based on what I've read, the printer is drawing too much power and the computer isn't getting what it needs. This isn't a normal situation, and is likely caused by having ancient 1950s power grid inside the home. It may also be a hint that the power supply inside the computer is going bad, and likely has leaking/busted caps in it.

If a computer is off, and power surge isn't going to harm it. That would require a direct lightning strike. Everything in the home will be destroyed in that scenario.

Leave the modem on at all times. It could be harmed by a surge, but I've never seen it happen. Put it on a UPS if you're worried.

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11-03-2011, 04:32 PM
Sossity Sossity is offline
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Busted leaking caps sound a little scary, when the power supply does go, will it blowup? cause a fire?

what do I do about it? just wait & see?
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11-04-2011, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
when the power supply does go, will it blowup?
Yes, but "blow up" is relative. The power supply is in a case inside the case, and only the caps would "blow up". At most, you'd hear a pop/zap, maybe see a tiny blue flash, and then the computer would have no power. It might even smell like burnt electronics and solder (like ozone). This happened to me over the summer. My office chair was almost a toilet (but wasn't), as that's not what I was expecting to hear and see while I was typing an email on another computer. It was old, it gave out. It was a surprise, and I don't startle easy.

New power supply for $35 off Geeks.com, and all was fine.

Quote:
cause a fire?
No. The odds are probably similar for winning the lottery or being struck by lightning.

Quote:
what do I do about it? just wait & see?
Given your skill level, I'd leave it alone for now. This can get complicated, since it's a Dell.

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