Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Computer Hardware Issue, multiple boots before success.

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by brownyy, May 21, 2009.

  1. Hey all;

    After finishing lunch, then having a conference phone call with a Russian Oil Rig with a 1 second delay somehow it popped into my head that I really need to sort my home computer out.

    I've got this strange issue, When I start the computer, it will take several boot attempts before it actually starts. Here's the full step through story;

    Was running windows XP, turn it on, boots, gets to the XP loading screen, pauses, then reboots itself and makes that bios beep sound. Continues to boot again, gets to the XP loading screen, pauses, reboots making the bios beep sound (sound which is always made as the computer boots) and continues. After several attempts it decides it's happy and just runs normally no problems.



    At this stage the computer had been running at a server with no protection and I figured software wise it was totally fooked. Formatted the sucker and installed Ubuntu as the OS.

    Same thing happens. I turn it on, beep, starts loading at the Ubuntu load screen, pause, reboot with beep, continues. Does this 2 or 3 times before it loads properly.


    Now, what the hell is wrong with it?? Is it a bad sector on the HDD? The current HDD in use was the main storage HDD for the HTTP & torrent server so I was thinking the constant wear made have worn it out.

    Is it the RAM? Motherboard? What ever it is it has created cracks in the side of the case where I have tried percussive maintenance.

    Stats (if i can remember, its almost 3 years old).
    Asus MB (no idea on serial), x64 bit processor dual core AMD I think.
    1GB Ram
    OS / Boot HDD is Sata 320GB.
    Power supply is 430W and pushing 4 HDD's, MB, very basic graphics card, wireless card, Raid card and rarely a DVD drive... (too much?)

    Any ideas computer Guru's?

    thanks in advance.
     
     Top
  2. Replace Power Supply
     
     Top
  3. bigger one or just a new one??

    Cheers!!!!! :grin: (so glad not any of the other bits)
     
     Top
  4. To require a new PSU it doesn't really make sense to keep rebooting there, normally it'd be on first HDD access, but maybe it does.

    I would be inclined to take a closer look at the RAM, maybe HDD for bad sectors, or motherboard.

    Oh, do you have onboard graphics, or a separate graphics card?
    The card might be requiring too much power to go into full graphics mode, or just generally faulty till it warms up? :?

    Get Hirens Boot CD, i think its up to version 9.8 ATM, and run a few tools from that.. mainly:
    1. memtest86+
    2. Seagate test (assuming you have a seagate HDD)
    3. Try to boot the miniXP image on it and see if it fails on that too
     
     Top
  5. does the little battery on the motherboard do much?
    Could it be almost flat and causing these issues?
     
     Top
  6. How many beeps? When your PC beeps during boot-up it can mean a failure of something is detected during the Power on self test (POST) - ie RAM failure will give 8 beeps.

    Check following link to see if your system is trying to tell you something....
    http://www.pcnineoneone.com/howto/bootprob2.html
     
     Top
  7. spontaneous re-boots and dodgy start-ups of the Hornet PC were the signal of flaky RAM....
     
     Top
  8. Hardware almost for sure. But just what, is another story.

    Your PSU sounds enough at 430w, but the voltages could be fluctuating a bit too much. Hit DEL or whatever to go into the BIOS and see how the voltages are. It should show a safe range and the voltages you're getting. Keep in mind that a fluctuation that doesn't bother the system before Windows starts can be an issue once it does. That's hard to pick.

    If you've been belting the case you may well have caused the hard drive heads to touch the rotating disc platters, causing damage and making it hard to to read the data. I forget how now, but you can do a disk check for damaged sectors, so try that.

    Also any software that goes to work before windows is up, like security programs and utilities such as Asus Q-Fan or AMD Cool'n'Quiet might also be the culprit, what with motherboard BIOS versions vs software versions on top of where Windows is at (like SP3 or the latest .NET framework update).
     
     Top
  9. I'd be borrowing a couple of sticks of ram and seeing if that fixed it after removing yours.
     
     Top
  10. It could be as simple as too much dust on your cpu heatsink or some other cooling component... It could be something on your motherboard, RAM, unlikely to be the HDD since you managed to install ubuntu...

    I'd disassemble everything, clean all the dust off everything, reassemble and try to get it into the bios. If you can't it's mobo, ram, video or CPU. To test ram, if you have multiple chips try one at a time in all the different slots... Troubleshooting video is best if you have onboard video. If you have a replacement card that works too... If you've isolated to the video and it happens with both cards then obviously it's the mobo/video interface.

    Kicking the computer is stupid, doesn't EVER fix anything so don't do it. It can break components like the mount between your heatsink and CPU...


    It might be the power supply but at this stage you have the nightmare scenario for faultfinding. Intermittent problem on boot... could be anything. Try what you can BEFORE you go buying new stuff... try to find the manual for your motherboard and read what the beeb code is telling you. They actually mean stuff. as in 1 long beep or 3 short beeps or whatever... means different things - memory, video, cpu etc.

    I once worked on a computer that had a problem like this... took several attempts to start the bastard... I just told the guy to leave it on. been running ever since. It was a faulty mobo though and he didn't want to replace it cause it was a dinosaur.


    Anyway don't listen to anyone who says "it's defnitely this" - they don't know it is and you could be wasting money replacing something that's not broken.


    Your problem sounds like the one i had with that one PC. It could just be dust on contact points... or a dry solder joint that only contacts properly once the pc is a bit warm cause of expansion.

    Blow a hair dryer all over the inside components for 5 minutes then try to boot it see what happens. also ake out and reinsert your video card about 5 times to get any surface corrosion off. Same with ram.
     
     Top
  11. Keeps bios settings and time. Nothing to do with his problem.
     
     Top
  12. unlikely... memory problems cause blue screens and reboots and stuff won't stop his booting and running in the first place...
     
     Top
  13. The last time I had similar problem, it was power supply.

    Its likely to be either the power supply or ram
     
     Top
  14. Hey all;

    Thanks so much for all the replies. Between myself and a mate I've come up with a fault finding plan that hopefully works. First up, the bios beep I was talking about is standard, same beep it always has been since I got the MB, but cheers for the heads up.

    --Isolate DVD drive. Mate reckon these things can cause all sorts of random shit. So as I hardly use it, it's getting unplugged. Will test with several boots after.

    --PSU loading. My mate advised if I have all the HDD's off one power line it can load too heavily on that power rail. As I have no idea what is where, I'll check those over.

    --HDD. I have 2 spare 320GB's that have been waiting to be RAID'd together, to test i'm going to install Ubuntu onto one of the HDD's (no raid etc) and boot off that for a few tests.

    --Video card. Remove and boot off new HDD recently tested (possible re-install with new video settings etc).

    --RAM. memtest86 and other software based tests. Failing that see if I can borrow someone's. However as mentioned above somewhere, years ago I had a laptop with failing RAM and it was doing the bluescreen off death stuff. This isn't doing that.

    --PSU. About this stage it sort of limits me to PSU besides Motherboard. Will replace and see. Have been advised 430W is Heaps for my load.

    If none of these work then I'm inclined to think motherboard or something... will jump that huddle when I get there...

    thanks all for your help, i'll update when I get the chance to play the ultimate game of "how-many-reboots-can-you-do-in-a-day"...

    --brownyy
     
     Top
  15. Not with my machine about 18 months ago
     
     Top
  16. I personally think that your problem is that you have a female computer. Think about it. One minute it's perfectly happy doing what it's told, the next, it throws a fit and goes out of it's way to be difficult. Another symptom, it won't tell you what the problem is. Just makes irritating noises and assumes that you "know" what is wrong. Getting a new one does'nt help in the slightest. It will be fine for a while, but will eventually revert back to this behaviour. And cost you a shitload for your efforts. You are in a no win postion. In all the years they've been around, no one has yet managed to produce a definative guide as to how to deal with these problems. Many "think" they know, but hard evidence would suggest otherwise.
    My suggestion, try to find a male computer.
     
     Top
  17. Dowload teh Ubuntu 9.04 iso, burn it to a disk and then boot using the Ubuntu disk.

    If it boots fine, it's windows failing to boot, if it still has the samed problem you've at least eliminated the OS.
     
     Top
  18. Also, check the Admin Tools -> Event Viewer in the Control Panel, under system, then check to see if any events were recorded at that time to help it narrow down for you

    When I first got the computer, right from day 1, I had hanging to various extents while on the loading screen. Turns out, it was a case of an error with the hard drive, that apparently the Hard Drive manufacturers and the Software manufacturers keep shoving off on each other as the problem is "too difficult" - Solution was a new HDD.
     
     Top