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There is a lot of background to my computer problem so hopefully you can bear with me. I have a 2 year old HP media center m1050e, running Windows XP media center, 80 mb harddrive, 512 ram, AMD. My harddrive crashed 2 months ago, 9/24/07. I stupidly took it to Best Buy Geek Squad, I say stupidly because it took 7 weeks to get it back.

They first diagnosed a virus, then a week later (!) a harddrive crash. When pulling out the harddrive they damaged the CPU chip and had to ship it to HP for repair. HP put a new motherboard in and shipped it back to Best Buy. Before shipping it to HP, Best Buy said 80 mb harddrives are not made any more and they were going to put a 160 mb harddrive in. When it came time to put the harddrive in they now said they were going to put a 320 mb harddrive into it because 160 mbs are no longer made for this model. They also said they were going to have to try to ghost the info from the old harddrive restore because they didn't have the correct cds to reinstall the operating system (?)

They put the harddrive in, reinstalled the OS and I brought my computer home on 11/7/07; it was working fine at the store. I installed my printer (HP office jet K80xi) on it and the computer worked ok for a few days then I started getting errors due to the printer. I uninstalled it and tried to reinstall it but some files were missing and reinstall kept shutting down. I checked HP website for updated drivers and there were none so I restored the system to before the time that I uninstalled the printer and it worked ok for a week.

On 11/14/07 I took it to a certified computer technician at a shop I'd started dealing with since Best Buy shanghaied my computer, to install more ram. He installed 1 gb Super Talent ram, same type and speed as the old sticks (I had 2 256 mb ram sticks originally) and a 512 mb ram stick, same type and speed. He booted up the computer and the computer recognized the memory, all was ok.

I took the computer home, plugged it in, turned it on, it got to my desk top and started to make a long shrill continuous beep. I tried to move the mouse, computer was frozen. I shut it down and rebooted and all I got was a blue HP invent screen with white symbols in the upper left corner, symbols look like hebrew or chinese or something. I called the computer tech that installed the ram, he told me to remove the 1 gb ram stick and reboot, I did and still only got the blue screen. I took the computer to him and he booted it up, looked at the symbols and, without doing an indepth investigation because that was going to cost money he said he thinks it's a motherboard issue and to take it back to Best Buy. He said he'd been doing ram installs for 11 years and he'd never seen anything like this happen as a result of ram.

I took the computer back to Best Buy and they're saying that because I had someone else add the ram, and not them, it invalidates any warranty they give on the motherboard but they think I'm getting the blue screen with the symbols in the corner because of faulty ram and implied the ram blew out the motherboard even though they didn't test the ram (is there a way to test to see if ram is corrupt?)

Anyway, the questions I have are 1) does this sound like a motherboard issue and could adding a 320 mb harddrive and then having to ghost it have had anything to do with my problems or 2) does this sound like a harddrive issue or 3) does this sound like a ram issue and did bad ram screw up the motherboard like Best Buy is insinuating (this was brand new ram that was ordered from the manufacturer by the pc tech and installed by that same pc tech) or 4) does it sound like an OS corruption issue caused by ram (another computer person told me it might be that).

Sorry for the long post but I need to know what in the world might be the problem because I cannot trust Best Buy to give me correct information (I have caught them in 2 lies already during my dealings with them over the last 2 months) and they are the ones I am having to deal with unless I want to spend more money by taking it elsewhere and I've already spent $400 on this pc for them to fix it. I know I could have bought a new computer for what I've paid them and I don't want to waste any more money which is why these questions.

Thanks for your help.

Debra
 

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Well they duped you on the hard drive ( there are still 80G hard drives available ) and you can basically install any hard drive you like on your system as long as it is the same interface, EG SATA or IDE.

I have not seen any instances of installing ram on a system that causes damage, I have seen ram stop a computer from booting due to incompatibility and once the ram is removed and compatible ram install all is well.

Best buys are taking you for a ride and trying to play on you not having a lot of knowledge.

It could be that they did a bad job of installing the motherboard and it is possible that it is earthing on the case ( touching )

The statement that getting some one else to install the ram voiding warrenty is also a cop out and i wouldn't stand for it, especially if he is a qualified computer person.

Don't back down on this one, stand your ground
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Blackduck,

Thanks for your quick reply. I did find out about the 80 mb harddrives still being available when I started looking for another computer after mine died the second time, so it's actually 3 lies I've caught them in. I'm not going to back down on this. I already submitted a quality survey on this to Best Buy telling them that their service stinks. I rated them so badly and gave so many bad comments that the operations manager of the store contacted me and told me he wants to resolve this and that the Best Buy geek squad manager would be contacting me to resolve this. I'm going to be talking to her on Monday. I just needed some information that I could use so I could talk to them with at least a "little" bit of knowledge. I appreciate your help.

Debra
 

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Hey Debra,

I hope I have given you some fire power and feel free to ask anything else you think might help your cause

I hate shop people taking advantage of people and trying to pull the wool over there eye's to cover there own butt's
 

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Blackduck,

You are not going to believe this. I haven't plugged the computer in since I got it back from Best Buy. When I took it there, the "expert" was fiddling with this and that inside the computer (he took out a piece of trash paper (?) and the battery)and he finally just put it back together, when he found out about the extra memory I had had installed, shut it up and gave it back to me with me all the while telling the "expert" that I was going to complain all the way to the top. He didn't plug it in before I left and like I said above, I haven't plugged it in either. I was waiting for the holiday to be over to call the manager. Anyway, don't ask me why, but I just plugged it in and the bugger went past the blue HP screen to a black screen with "Disk boot failure. Insert system disk and press enter." on it. Apparently the "expert's" fiddling with it did something to it but now since I did not create recovery discs (I tried but the computer kept saying it couldn't write to the disc supplied....I must have been using the wrong dvd type.......pathetic I know :4-dontkno ) I'm going to have to take it back to them to reinstall the operating system, correct? Good grief, I probably could have read a book and built one myself by now...........

Debra
 

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OMG, Debra that is terrible.
I can not believe that he did not at least try to fire the thing up, that is just plain bad business.

I do not know if you know your way around the bios or not but i would first go into it and check the boot order or at minimum make sure that your hard drive shows up, Your "expert' may have knocked a cable loose to the hard drive.
Also with him removing the CMOS battery he has reset all the bios to default so that could be contributing to the "boot disk failure " message as the boot order may be wrong or like i said if he has knocked a hard drive cable loose the system will not see your hard drive and give you an error as well.

By rights the operating system should still be intact.

let me know your level of competence in regards to going into the bios and if you are not sure we should be able to get you in there for a look and if changes need to be made there shouldn't be any problem giving you directions.

I would really hate you to have to deal with these idiots again if we can get the thing up and running. That can then leave you free to chastise them without them having to touch your computer again
 

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Blackduck,

I would appreciate some help with this however, I have very minimal experience on the insides of the computer. About the most I have is taking the ram out and putting it back in, although I know where the harddrive and the motherboard are from watching while that twerp at Best Buy fiddled with it. I'm able to hit F1 and get into setup but don't know how or what to check for in bios, though I did notice the date said January 2, 2005. I did open the computer up and there's only one cable going into the harddrive but my upgrade/maintenance manual is saying that a data cable AND a power cable should be plugged into it. I only see what I suppose is the data cable plugged into it (the other end of it is plugged into the motherboard). As for the power cable, the only plug (small white plastic piece with 2 rows of 4 wires) that looks as if it might be the correct plug is just a little too big for the hole in the back of the hard drive. That hole is on the left side of the data cable. There is another hole/slot on the right side of the data cable that one of the flat black plugs will fit into but I don't know if that's the correct wire. And all this guessing is making me concerned that I may plug the wrong thing into the wrong hole and blow the whole thing up. :sigh:

Debra
 

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Hey Blackduck,

Well, I was able to figure out which cable was unplugged from the harddrive.......I have the booklet that came with the harddrive Best Buy installed and was able to see the picture........duh! Anyway, I plugged it in and it booted and rebooted a few times saying new hardware found; it also froze up a few times. I went into the bios and now the harddrive is showing up, however the date and time in the bios is not current date and time, should the date be the current date? Also, the boot order looks like 1) floppy drive (which I don't have one installed), 2) dvd drive and 3) harddrive. Is this correct? I can't believe the thing is running........

Debra
 

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Blackduck,

I have another update (I was too late to update my previous message). I've tried to get on the internet (Comcast broadband) and it keeps freezing during internet explorer boot up. It also freezes during other application start ups during the booting up period. It's almost like it's in an unstable condition. Also, when I turn the computer on, there is no beep at the beginning like there used to be.

Debra
 

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Hello Debra,

I am glad to hear you did find that the power was disconnected from your drive. These guys just go from bad to worse.

You should be able to change the time and date in the bios to the correct one, not knowing the bios that is on the computer it can vary how it is changed, you can try to use the arrow keys or the tab button to high light the time ect and then hit enter, generally on the right hand side of the bios screen it will tell you how to change the value, same goes for the boot order, so high light the floppy and hit enter and see if you get the option to set CD/DVD first and then hard drive then floppy.

Have a look here and see if there are any drivers you require

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareList?os=228&lc=en&cc=ie&dlc=en&product=436879&lang=en


Also see if going back to your original ram only helps stability

Do you have the XP CD ?

If so are you able to do a repair install ?

If XP was only just installed by BB's i would be tempted to just format the drive and do a full reinstall and start fresh, by the sounds of it they can not really be trusted, i am not even confident they have installed any drivers for your system. Does your device manager have any yellow marks against any devices ? I suspect that the reason your internet is not working may be due to the fact that they have not installed the driver for the ethernet connection or if you have dialup , the modem driver.

Sorry i couldn't get back to you earlier , I was at work and also our time zones cross at funny times considering I am in Australia :grin:
 

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Hi Blackduck,

No worries about your not getting back to me sooner......I saw your info under your avatar & saw you were from Australia & kinda figured there'd be some wierd time differences, I'm just so grateful for the help! Besides, when my computer crashed, I went & bought a laptop, always wanted one & it's been a lifesaver, so I guess that's why I'm not in that big of a rush to fix it........however my kids are kinda freakin' out :laugh:

Anyway, they'll be happy to know IT'S FIXED!!!!!!

I got into the bios, was able to change the date & time & boot order. I had to take one of the ram sticks out & it's working perfectly, hasn't frozen at all...it's been running for the last 6 hours. I was able to install a router on it and had no freeze ups. There was one driver with a yellow mark by it, the Microsoft Kernel Wave Audio Mixer, don't know what that is because I have sound & it's working. All other drivers were there.

I didn't have the xp cd set, didn't make one when I purchased it 2 years ago..........big mistake. Needless to say, I made a set for the laptop, first thing. I did start making a set of discs for the desk top, do you recommend I just go ahead and finish that?

Anyway, I really appreciate your help & I'm on my way right now to make a donation to the site...........

Keep up the good work and God bless you.

Debra
 

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Hi Debra,

Thats great news, I am happy that you managed to get your system up and running .

Maybe you should apply for the job at best buys :laugh: you managed to do a way better job than they did.

If your system is running nice and stable well I would make those disks just to be on the safe side, it won't do any harm to have them put away.

I was pretty confident you would be able to get the time/date and boot order sorted out, the only thing you really have to remember is when you make any changes in the bios you have to save them as you exit, usually the F10 key will do that but i'm sure it would have prompted you to save if you didn't anyway.

well i'm glad you have your compter up and running for the kids, i'm sure they will appreciate the effort you put in and also be jealous about your laptop purchase.

Thankyou for the well wishes, it is what makes helping people all worth it. Thankyou also for the donation, it is kind people like yourself that help keep this site free.

:wave:
 
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