Boot Trouble

By SledgeProne
Jul 22, 2007
  1. Hello,

    I've got a friend's PC that hosed up the other day.

    Currently on dial up, he attempted to check his mail, and upon opening IE, the machine immediately froze, including the mouse cursor.
    He powered off using the AC switch on the rear panel, and it hasn't booted back up since.
    Perhaps relevant, he was in the process of getting DSL, and I noticed he received the modem, and had already plugged iit into the machine.
    Now, with everything unplugged from the rear panel but the basics, the system isn't making any startup beeps. The power supply comes on, and the CD/DVD drive lights up, but simply blinks in a repetitive cycle, never posting anything to the monitor.
    I've tried resetting the CMOS, unplugging the power, and removing the jumpers on JP1, from pins 2 & 3, to 1 & 2 and back as the manual suggested, to no change in effect.

    Should I try pulling the battery?

    Thanks for any help with this.

    His PC:

    WinXP SP2
    MB- ECS 661FX-M
    CPU-Celeron D 2.66
    HD- Hitachi Deskstar 40GB
    RAM- 512 mgs.
    PS- 250wts
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Older computer with marginal Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) motherboard.
    Extremely limited RAM memory... which by itself is enough to cause problems.
    Very limited power supply by today's standards.
    Due to age and other components, my guess is that the hard drive has gone dead forever, but of course testing is required.
    Try a new hard drive, assuming you have the recovery discs, after you had added another 512 MB, or more of memory, though you can get some good indications just using another 256 mb temporarily... 128 MB is simply not enough to test and use.
  3. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    Yes, I need to edit that.

    After speaking with my friend this afternoon, he reminded me that when he purchased it a few years back, I had convinced him at the time to at least buy a 512 stick of RAM for it, since he was going with such a bare boned, budget PC in the first place.
    I incorrectly listed the RAM at 128mg, when in fact it has been operating with a modest 512. The 128 was listed on the original packing sheet.

    The PS was the other glaring deficiency, that caused me to shake my head when hearing the specs, and frankly I'm surprised it's lasted this long.

    Nevertheless, having just signed up for DSL, its possible his original meager investment, at a particularly insideous point in time, has inexorably come home to roost.
  4. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    He does have the recovery discs, along with a mainboard support disc, which I assume are the original outdated drivers.

    The 512 was a single chip.

    I suppose I could borrow one from my system for testing purposes.

    Would this be solely for determining if the issue is memory related?
  5. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Posts: 243

    I have a similar problem on my brothers PC which has similar specs. Sometimes It will post, but other times it will just have a black screen and not load at all. Even when it manages to turn on win XP freezes everytime. Only way is to load into safe mode when it actually manages to post. I think it is related to the onboard gfx as when i put a new card in it managed to load xp normally most of the time. It also booted after removing the test gfx card and reseating the ram etc. But now its back to the same situation.
  6. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    Some searches for previous issues related to this motherboard brought up similiar problems of freezing, with unfortunately few solutions.
  7. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    If the problem lies in the mobo, would it be beneficial to seek out another 661FX-M board as a replacement, which although discontinued, could perhaps allow for a seamless fix, maintaining both the OS and existing data, or would any compatible board be equally plug and playable?
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    I would think it is a great opportunity to upgrade to a better motherboard. I don't see any reason to get another 661FX-M
  9. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    Yeah, your right, I suppose even a new processor/motherboard combo would be be an advantageous move.
    Given the HD is still ok, could I swap it out with any Celeron, or Pentium 4 and still be able to use the existing Windows install, running temporarily on generic drivers? That is, along with a new power supply.
  10. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    u do realize that the drive can be put as D: (second hard drive in any configuration) and will work to get all off that he might want to keep.
  11. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    from the beginning this looks like a PSU problem. It just happened to stop at that time - what it was being used for is not important.
    Your last comment that it would not pass POST - have you tried a boot with the HDD and CD disconnected? I have had systems fail POST because of a bad CD drive. If it still fails POST you have a good chance that the HDD is OK. If you get no POST beeps at all but the PSU is powering on, the chances are that it is the main board, but before you condemn that, try taking all the cards out except the graphics to see if it will pass POST. If it does, then plug each compontent back one at a time and reboot until it fails again.
    Hope this is helpful!
  12. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    Thanks AlbertLionheart, for the info.

    I did read in some related threads of stripping down the system, to just the motherboard, CPU, RAM, power supply, and graphics card, but in addition to doing so, numerous other connections were listed. Of these, I had no idea what, or where they connected to.

    Dubbed as an "all in one" mainboard, it supports integrated sound, graphics,and ethernet, which I presume then, will be tested with the MB

    The HD, and DVDROM can be disconnected, but not sure if "both" the ribbon and power cables need to be removed. Do they? USB ports?
  13. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    Good point,

    I believe his main interest however for keeping the install whole, was a number of business applications that he has currently installed, for which he no longer has the original files to reinstall.
  14. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    Well, I disconnected the HD, DVDROM, Floppy, and unplugged the only card, which was the modem, as the graphics and sound are onboard, turned on the system and still no post. Just a blank screen, and the sound of the PSU.

    Even though I followed the manuals directions, I'm considering removing the battery to be certain about the CMOS.

    Think so? Or is it looking like the mobo went south?
  15. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    it is looking like the mobo went south, but taking the bat out of the mobo will not hurt a thing other than u will have to set thinks as they need to be in the BIOS.
  16. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    Yeah, if i'm already resigned to getting a new board anyway.
  17. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    New P4 board, old processor, some arctic silver, and a new PSU seems to have rectified the issue.

    Seems Microsoft noticed the new board as well.
    Er, actually just noticed a new system, with a yet to be registered copy of its software.
  18. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    The Microsoft thing with Windows is normal - you do not have to reinstall everything just because it will not boot!
  19. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    Whats the ruling these days with MS, do they allow you one mulligan, per PC for each licensed OEM version of Windows?
  20. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    You can go on re-activating the same installation - Windows will ask for this if there are any major hardware changes such as main board, hard drive reinstall. It is not usually bothered by RAM, graphics, etc.
    Follow the activation wizard and phone if you have to. You will be asked how many PC the software is installed on - you are allowed only one for an O/S
  21. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    Ok, Cool!

    Thanks Albert!
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