The Power Went Out


One evening my house’s master breaker box was shut off while my computer was still on. I went into the BIOS and ensured that all my settings were set as before, but since then, every time I start up my computer cold it starts to spool up, then stops for about two seconds, and then boots. If I restart after my machine has been running for a while, it boots with no delay. I went into the BIOS to see if there was any problem in the APM settings, but I still got delays during cold boots. My last resort would be to cut the power again. Except for the annoying delay, it runs rock-solid in every game I throw at it—from Crysis to Modern Warfare 2. Hope you can puzzle out what caused it and the fix.

—JR Bivens

Usually power outages, brownouts, and spikes lead to hardware damage. This is a wild guess, but it’s possible the damage is related to other devices connected to the machine. The pause during a cold boot suggests it’s possibly related to something being initialized by the PC at startup. The first step is to make sure Quick Boot is disabled in the BIOS. Quick Boot bypasses some POST settings, so that could be causing the pause. So, enter the BIOS, go to the Boot menu, set Quick Boot to disabled, and then restart to see if that fixes it. If not, try disconnecting all of your external devices, printers, and USB hubs, and shutting down to see if you can replicate the issue. If it still occurs, you may want to try removing individual components from the machine, including individual DIMMs. Finally, one thing to consider: Are you sure the machine did not do this before the power outage? Cold boots usually take longer to start, as more hardware must be initialized. With a warm boot, most of the hardware is already, err, warm, and reboots are usually a few seconds faster.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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