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canadaclub 02-24-2010 12:16 PM

boot delays?
Hi all, I have a e-machine computer from FutureShop. Had it for about 6 years but still works fine. (Although its starting to run a little slow now) Anyway, the last few times, after I defrag and reboot, the 'e' symbol shows up on the monitor with a note saying "F2" for bios and it just stays that way...forever! It seems to be ahit and miss thing...sometimes it boots just fine. The last time however, I unplugged the PC and let it sit for an hour and then it booted. Any ideas what would cause this?


DangerMouse 02-24-2010 12:25 PM

so what happens if you hit F2?
does it go to bios?


canadaclub 02-24-2010 01:09 PM

No..does nothing, even if I try it when the screen first comes up

DangerMouse 02-24-2010 01:13 PM

any fan noises? could be power supply ready to fry....
could be loose ram... pull stick(s) and reset.
check speed on cpu fan...
TRY to get to cmos/bios and reset defaults...


canadaclub 02-24-2010 01:16 PM

I had the fan replaced about 6 months ago and it is running. I will try reseating the ram though

DangerMouse 02-24-2010 01:16 PM

could be dirty heat sink over cpu...
could be corrosion on any other pci card... or video, etc...
if you're comfortable inside the machine, (be sure to stay grounded) pull the chip and re-seat that too.
old age could just be setting in....


DangerMouse 02-24-2010 01:19 PM

be sure all the mouse/keyboard/audio/etc. connections on the rear are tight too.
loose cables could cause what you describe as well.


canadaclub 02-24-2010 02:52 PM

Thanks DM for your help..I try to make a point to vacuum all the vent slots and the fan. I guess it may be time for a new PC but I have so much info on my drive!

cellophane 02-24-2010 02:56 PM


Originally Posted by canadaclub (Post 405325)
Thanks DM for your help..I try to make a point to vacuum all the vent slots and the fan. I guess it may be time for a new PC but I have so much info on my drive!

external drive enclosures are cheap ;)

it's also super easy to swap your old drive into a new PC. if your old box is an IDE drive your best bet will be an external enclosure since 99.9% of new pc's use SATA connections instead of IDE.

DangerMouse 02-24-2010 02:58 PM

just go grab a flash drive and copy all of your stuff to that... they're a real help to me.


Caromsoft 02-26-2010 01:35 PM

Try a different keyboard. Not being able to press F2 and go into the CMOS settings could be an indication your keyboard is going bad. Also some machines will hang with a bad keyboard plugged in.

Fox 03-01-2010 02:14 PM

I think the important question to ask here is: "What does the POST screen show when the system /does/ boot properly?"

It's been a while since I've seen an E-Machine, but I believe their POST screen always shows the E and F2 note. It's typically simply not there long enough to be paid any notice before the system boots. If pressing F2 does nothing, I imagine ESC will not either, as ESC typically cleared the big green E, and showed the actual POST process.

An intermittent hang during, as Caromsoft suggested, either the keyboard has failed, and perhaps we've that amusing error message we can't see (or doesn't show up on E-machines) "Keyboard error: Press F1 to continue", or perhaps the system has hung entirely, and no keyboard in the world has the power to convince it to sally forth.

My first suggestion? Start with something easy. Unplug your keyboard, then turn on your computer. Then wait and see just how angry it gets. If it doesn't care, it's likely not a keyboard error. (Some machines will boot without a keyboard!) Swapping out the keyboard (and type! Get a USB if it is PS/2) will eliminate it as a variable causing the issue.

The next step I'd recommend (if possible) is to enter into BIOS (if you're comfortable doing this) and see if there is an option to disable the "E" splash screen so that you can see the post at each boot. Perhaps there's an error message you usually can't see. If not, try hitting ESC when the system first posts to remove the "E". We need to determine if the keyboard is simply failing to respond, making the system seem to hang, or if the keyboard works fine, and the system is locked up.

This is likely easiest to figure out with a few keystrokes: The next time the system hangs at boot, hit CTRL+ALT+DEL. If the system reboots, it listened to the keyboard, and that isn't your problem. If it didn't, that doesn't immediately make it the keyboard. The system could be locked so hard it is ignoring such inputs. The next step is to hit the POWER button, NOT reset. If hitting the power button for a single second does not shut down the system, (Holding in the button for approximately 7 seconds should always kill power to any ATX system) your system is hanging at boot and we'll have to see those POST messages I mentioned earlier.

I apologize if I'm talking in circles here, but it's difficult to diagnose without more information, or the system directly before me. This will likely either be something very simple to deduce, or something very difficult, as intermittent issues are some of the most irritating to diagnose.

When in doubt: eliminate variables.

canadaclub 03-16-2010 10:10 AM

Thanks so much all. Unfortunately, the problem has not repeated since the post...maybe by unplugging things and plugging them back in fixed it! Fingers crossed.

I do have a new problem, but I will start a new thread.

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