Computer does not power on with RAM

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I am attempting to troubleshoot a computer workstation belonging to
one of my clients, but the computer's behavior does not match any of
my previous experiences.  The workstation is a Compaq Presario, I did
not bother obtaining the exact system number or specifications.

When a memory module is installed in the system, be it the original
module or a brand new replacement module, the workstation begins to
power up, and about two seconds after the power on sequence begins it
powers completely down.  When no memory modules are installed the
system powers on, does not display any video, but issues a POST error
beep (presumably indicating there is no memory modules installed)

I have disconnected all other hardware devices (HDD, DVD-ROM, and
removed a dialup modem expansion card), and have tested the system
using two additional power supply units.  It's always the same: the
system begins to power on, then cuts off before there's any sort of
POST alerts or display on the screen as long as there is a memory
module installed.

The only hypothesis I have left is either a bad CPU (doesn't seem
likely) or that there's an issue with the memory controller on the
motherboard.  However, before I tell the client that repairing the
system would require a time-consuming, extensive hardware replacement
and possibly a Windows re-install, I wanted to see if anyone else has
any alternative suggestions on what the problem may be, and relatively
inexpensive solutions to try and resolve the problem.


P. Starr

Re: Computer does not power on with RAM

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Scrambled CMOS settings can give this kind of error, rare but possible.

If you can get to the bios screen, minus the memory, try to reset the bios
to factory settings or else try removing the power cord and the battery for
a minute or so.

Re: Computer does not power on with RAM

CPU's rarely fail, unless they have been thermally 'cooked'.  With those
symptoms the odds are definitely favoring a bad motherboard.


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