POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

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My computer (with the one-month old case, power supply,
mobo, CPU and Windows XP) crashed while I was on the
internet a little while ago. It tried to restart, went
through what I think is the "power on self-test" routine
(detected the CPU and the RAM), then the display went almost
blank. The only thing that appeared were a number of random

The hard drive on this computer is only a few months old.

I tried pressing F8 and del per the instructions at the
bottom of the POST screen, but it either froze or the specks
just returned.

I am posting from my old computer, with old hard drive with
Windows ME on it, configured for the old mobo and old CPU. I
tried swapping hard drives in both computers, but didn't get
very far. The specks kept re-appearing, or the old mobo/CPU
are not yet compatible with the new Win XP, or the new
computer's mobo/CPU is not compatible with the old Win ME.

All suggestions welcome. I will be googling for what the
random specks on the display mean, meanwhile.


Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display


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What a bummer.

First thing is go into the bios screen by usually hitting the DEL key
when its powering up and trying to boot but some systems are
different. Leave it on and see if it stays OK in that mode.

Also there should be a HARDWARE monitor screen. CHeck the temperatures
and voltages etc just to make sure there isnt anything obviously

If everything is OK here then its probably corruption of your
data/programs/WINXP or virus or something or HD going bad.

Its probably not that likely your new PS etc is bad but I would try to
test memory too. Of course your display could be bad but I doubt that.
You say you see a normal screen until it tries to get into WIN XP.

Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

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the DEL key
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I have tried this several times. The computer either freezes
or advances to the gobbledy gook display of random specks.
So I can't get into any other test procedures (that I know

I have also put the Win XP CD Rom disc into the CD Rom drive
and tried to boot from it. No change.

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The monitor works fine with my old computer.

I will call Computer Renaissance later today and see if they
can offer suggestions or are willing to check a few things.

I appreciate your effort.

Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

I  just hooked up the newer hard drive to the old mobo/CPU,
in a slave configuration to the old hard drive. All the
files I use for day-to-day work (spreadsheets, word
processing, photos) are intact, and I backed them up. A scan
disk turned up some errors, but from the descriptions, they
seem to be configuration kind of errors. Perhaps due to
using a scan based on Windows ME (on the older hard drive)
on a newer hard drive with Win XP? I am hesitant to repair
them at this point.

If Computer Renaissance (where I bought the mobo/cpu) finds
nothing wrong with the mobo/CPU, I'll try a reformat and
reinstall of Win XP on my newer hard drive.

I am posting this update in case anyone is reading the
thread and has further ideas. The newer mobo is a one-month
old Microstar International (MSI) PM8M-V. The newer CPU is
an Intel Celeron D processor, 2.13 Ghz.

I also tried booting the old hard drive on the new mobo/cpu,
from the old Win ME Gateway restore yada CDs. No change:
Just the random specks on the display. Can't get into the
screen for changing BIOS, etc.

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Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

"Elle" wrote:
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Probably your video card is on the fritz; get a cheap PCI video card and use
it to diagnose if this is the case.


Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

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video card and use
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The only video card on this computer is the one that came
with the new, approx. one month old Microstar International
mobo. It's described as an "S3 Graphics Unichrome Pro
Integrated Graphics core" at one site.

The mobo/CPU is at Computer Renaissance now. Forty dollars
for diagnostics, unless the problem is covered under the
mobo/cpu warranty. I chose to gamble that it is. In the
alternative, either the brand new Kingston RAM stick is bad,
or the Antec power supply is bad.

I will update and let you know. What you  propose certainly
does seem consistent with the symptoms.

Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

Elle wrote:
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I agree with Jon. The symptoms you describe are what I'd expect if the
graphics processor / graphics RAM (if it has dedicated RAM) had packed up.
Being on-board a new board it would be unusual if that is the case. However,
that would be my initial guess and the first thing I'd check.

Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

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expect if the
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RAM) had packed up.
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the case. However,
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Thanks for the input.

Computer Renaissance found that the Kingston 512 Mbyte DDRAM
stick was bad. This is also consistent with another problem
I was having but didn't know enough to blame on RAM: Editing
and reloading my web site using Earthlink's tools. (My old
computer with a mere 128 Mbyte of RAM made my editing work
much faster.)

Cost me $40, like I mentioned before, for the diagnosis. I
am talking to Kingston about an RMA and Circuit City (where
I bought the stick a few weeks ago) about an exchange.

Considering how much I am learning with this experience, I
am not too put off by Kingston or CC. I'm better prepared
for next time. Slowly I am accumulating more spare parts so
I can swap things out and so do more of my own diagnoses, at
least of hardware.

Now I also know that backing up files from one hard drive to
another is super fast.

Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

On Wed, 22 Feb 2006 03:51:47 GMT, "Elle"

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Whenever you get a new computer, add memory, or otherwise
change the memory configuration (such as a faster CPU, using
a higher memory bus speed), it is a good idea to first test
the memory before ever booting windows (because once running
the operating system, any file created, written to disk is
then potentially corrupted by memory errors, they don't only
have the potential to crash the system, BUT after a memory
problem is fixed, bad files written to the disk while you
had the memory problem, may still persist in causing

The more common memory test is Memtest86+ (Google will find
it).  It can create a bootable CD, an executible to run in
DOS (or from a DOS-bootable thumbdrive or other external
bootable device), or a bootable floppy.  It deliberately
does not depend on windows so the maximum amount of memory
can be tested.

Also, if you were backing up files while the memory was
instable, try not to rely on that backup if at all possible
since those files may also be corrupt.   Since the system
was at least able to run (somewhat) you probably had a minor
memory error rate and yet, random errors are just that- can
effect anything at random.

Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

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Thanks for the tip. I was backing up using the old computer,
old hard drive, and newer hard drive, but I will consider
copying and pasting info from my important financial
spreadsheets, for one, and re-saving them anyway. I don't
know if that's overkill. The last year or so has seen too
many headaches for me not to backup and at least spare
myself the agony(!) of recovering needed files.

I'd been keeping my file creation light in the last few
weeks, while I "broke in" my new self-assembled computer.

I am trying to look on the bright side here, because I am
plenty sore at myself for having to spend $40 for a minor
glitch. While the tech and shop earned their money, it's a
waste from where I'm sitting. On the other hand, not having
many spare parts as yet, in hindsight I suppose there really
wasn't a cheap and relatively expeditious way to diagnose
this problem at this stage of my hardware "education." I did
feel pretty confident the problem could only be with the
CPU, mobo (including integrated video adapter?), RAM, or
power supply, with the power supply being least likely. I
felt good eliminating Win XP and my drives as being a part
of the problem.

So now I know of the memory test above. Wealth. :-)

I have been doing a lot of work with my web site on my old
computer, with a puny 128 Mbyte of RAM, today and am amazed
at how much faster it is (for this application) compared to
my new computer. The new computer's RAM must have 'gone bad'
very early on, because I was cussing how slow the system
seemed when working on my web site, thinking the problem was
at my ISP's end, for the last few weeks.

I should remind myself, too, that my new computer rig, now
up to about $400 in costs, works so much better with my
monitor that it's worth it. It's like I have brand new eyes!
(Well, much better ones, anyway.)

Intel stock fell to my desired price today and I bought
some, so I guess I should also be thankful that my new Intel
CPU was /not/ the problem, too. :-)

Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display


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Kingston is pretty good at replacements at least they were when I
tried it. I had a stick go bad over a year later and they replaced it
no problem , no hassles. Hopefully they are still like that.

They also replaced it with the same exact stick which sort of
surprised me. They used to sell CL2.5 sticks in the past and changed
over to CL3 in all their recent cheap sales sticks of 3200 DDR.

I thought for sure they would give me a cheaper new stick which Ive
had problems with my PCs. Nope. They gave me one exactly like my older

Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

On Tue, 21 Feb 2006 22:01:46 -1000, ""

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My new favorite is OCZ... Sent them 1 x 512MB module of
their Gold-something-or-other, they sent twice what I sent
them, a matched set of 2 x 512MB.  

Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

Elle wrote:
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All of which could have been avoided, at less cost, if you had
simply insisted on ECC memory and an ECC capable MB in the first
place.  Now you have unknown amounts of faulty files on your HD,
unless you discard everything and reload from known good CDs.

"If you want to post a followup via, don't use
 the broken "Reply" link at the bottom of the article.  Click on
 "show options" at the top of the article, then click on the
 "Reply" at the bottom of the article headers." - Keith Thompson
More details at: <
Also see <

Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

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I chose what I felt was an intermediate mobo and CPU, for
price considerations and in view of my computing needs. I
see this all as an experience-building process. Maybe in a
few years I will come to the conclusion that paying more
would be worth it. I don't know yet. My computing needs are
not what I would call extensive.

I read that ECC memory is more expensive. The reports on
Kingston RAM sticks have been consistently positive. I am
hard-pressed to believe what happened to me was anything
more than a bad roll of the dice (insofar as getting a bad
stick--or who knows, maybe I didn't install it correctly
etc.) and my own lack of capability in diagnosing (which is
now improved from this experience).

I draw a lot of comparisons between my beloved 15-year old
Honda automobile and this experience. I was paying through
the nose for others to do repairs to my Honda for about the
first half of its life. Then I got sick of being so
dependent on outside shops and also quickly found I did
better work. So my mastery of Honda repairs and maintenance
rose steadily in the second half of its life; it hasn't seen
a shop for almost three years now. Today I do all my own
work on it. But one reason I can is because I learned a lot
from what the shops were doing (right and wrong; candidly,
mostly wrong). That experience cost money, but it was a kind
of investment, too.

Today I can say I've spent more on computers in the last 15
years than I have on my automobile. And the automobile has
been way more reliable! But now that I am "resigned" that
the only way to have reliability with my computer and not go
broke is to attempt to master its maintenance and repair, I
suspect my computing costs will steadily decline.

Much credit to internet fora like this with serious posters
like Kony, Paul, John, and many others (pardon my not
remembering all names of regulars here) for making this

It occurs to me that in some respects I could be ahead by
purchasing a Dell package. Naw. I can hardly bear to think
of working with its tech support people (whose English is
unimpressive), struggling also with doing diagnostics over
the phone. I want to call my own shots. I can install a hard
drive, power supply, mobo and cpu now... It's wealth.

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John, I've been reading Kingston's warranty and spoke to
their support people yesterday. They're happy to RMA the
stick. OTOH, Circuit City is exchanging my old, defective
stick with a new one later today.

Re: POSTs(?) Then Random Specks on Display

Elle wrote:
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Cicuit City seem pretty good from what I hear. We don't have them here in
New Zealand.

I have a friend in the US who knows nothing about PCs, never opened one in
her life. She has a Celeron 1.3GHz running XP that only had 128MB RAM. It
was slow as a wet week. A Compaq I think it is. Anyway, she knows I know a
bit about PCs and she expressed an interest in getting more RAM. I asked the
model number, then sent her several links, to Compaq's site, where there was
a short video on installing RAM, and to Crucial's site (I think) confirming
what density module she'd need. She only wanted to fit another 128 despite
my efforts to get her to get rid of the existing 128 and get 2 x 256.

Armed with this info she went to Circuit City and asked for the RAM. They
questioned her about the specifics and she showed then some print-outs
stating what type she needed. When she got home she couldn't get it to fit.
I don't know if she had it around the wrong way (although I doubt it as I
stressed the point, as did the video I sent her the link to). She did say
that she didn't like the term "press firmly until it clicks into place". She
claims it's too ambigous, it should have been expressed in a range of lbs
pressure, what might be firmly to a 200lb man might be extreme to a 100lb
woman (She is very slight) and vice-versa. Anyway, she pushed firmly, and,
on the third attempt, it clicked. However, the click was the module breaking
in half.

She took it back to Circuit City, convinced they'd given her the wrong RAM.
They said they hadn't and, to show her, took her out back where they had a
similar machine. The upshot of it all is that they asked her to take her
machine in and they replaced the broken module and fitted it at no further
charge. No *that's* service! Customer error and still replaced without
question. And fitted!  Mind you, she is an extremely attractive 26 year old
woman. Some people have advantages others don't. ;-)

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