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oh gosh..please help!

By Grafficks
Dec 17, 2006
Topic Status:
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  1. Hey everyone..

    Oh gosh..I am in need of desperate help here!

    Just about an hour ago, my main computer crashed!!

    It spontaneously restarted, with no BSOD or anything.

    When it restarted, I booted into Windows, but after the windows loading screen (with the windows logo and a moving bar at the bottom) the screen goes blank (black) and stays blank, then quickly flashes a BSOD for a fraction of a second before restarting again.

    Then when it restarts, it goes to a screen where it gives me a few options. It tells me that Windows could not start normally and gives me a few options:

    Code:
    Safe Mode
    Safe Mode With networking
    Safe mode with (something else..)
    Last known good configuration
    Start windows normally
    I have tried safe mode, last known good configuration, and start windows normally, all to no avail!! I can get into safe mode, but that doesn't do much. Last known good configuration doesn't work, it just restarts again as it is about to load, going to this screen again and presenting me with these options. Same with "start windows normally".

    I was able to save a few of my files on safe mode, then decided to reinstall windows. I keep a few partitions dedicated to be backups of my important files, so I was not worried if I had to reformat my C: drive. I also tried system restore in safe mode, but it still does not work.

    My Optical drive is set as first boot device in the BIOS. I booted up on the Windows disc, then it starts up by saying

    Good, the Windows installation is starting...or is it...

    Then that message disappears, and I expect setup to appear, but it doesn't!!

    It just stays at the blank screen and the cd drive stops spinning. During this time on the blank screen, the hard drive LED is constantly lit.

    I have tried both of my CD drives set on boot with the windows cd, but still nothing, it stays on that blank screen after that initial setup message. I have also tried this with two different windows CDs too, and both hang right after that message.

    Also, I have been getting BSODs at random lately, sometimes even once a day for the past week(s). Whenever I get BSODs, I always feel safe to place the blame on my unbranded generic RAM, which I was planning to replace later this week with some Corsair XMS2. This strange situation just happened today though.


    I am running out of ideas...

    I cannot get into windows to analyze some minidumps or run a hijackthis scan, which is the solution for many problems here.
    I cannot do a repair install of Windows, since it will not boot on the disc past the initial setup message.
    Pretty much I cannot do anything!! Hardware is the only thing I control now, my whole hard drive is pretty much inaccessible to me!!

    Please tell me anything that you think will help, I am in a desperate situation at the moment. Note that I do not mind reinstalling Windows or reformatting my whole hard drive, I always keeps backups in many forms, so I have a few DVDs of my important files. The specs of that PC is my System #1 in my profile (and in my signature), and currently I am on System #2 in my profile.


    I need to fix this problem ASAP. Any help is appreciated!

    Thanks!
     
  2. Teaser261

    Teaser261 TS Rookie Posts: 177

    I'm no expert,but, it sounds like your heatsink crapped out and you're overheating. I would start by checking that fan.
     
  3. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 454

    Thanks for your reply.

    Nope, heat is not the issue. Heat has never been an issue. I just checked, and all the fans & heatsinks are definately working like they always have.

    The maximum temperature for my processor is 63.4 degrees celsius. My usual CPU temperature when idle on the desktop is 40-43 degrees celsius. When the system is loaded, the temperature is anywhere from 50-55 degrees celsius.

    In the BIOS, the temperature was 46-47 degrees celsius. Temperatures are OK.


    Any other ideas, anyone?

    Thanks!
     
  4. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,438

    Hmm... do you have a virus on it or had a virus recently?

    Clean out all the stuff with compressed air and Switch the RAM sticks around.

    What is the wattage for the PSU?

    This probably wont fix it but it could be the problem :confused:

    Hope I helped any, After trying all this tell me if it did anything :D
     
  5. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 454

    To my knowledge, I have had no viruses on it. But since trojans are trojans, and disguise themselves as other things, there is just a slight possibility.

    However, I doubt that it is a virus, because viruses would be more of a software issue?

    Viruses should not have the potential to stop BIOS-level functions (such as booting up)...

    And even so, usually a re-installation of Windows would solve any virus problem, but I am unable to do that.


    My PSU is a pretty good PSU, the Ultra X-Finity 500W. It has 500 watts and 16A and 18A on the two +12V rails. People say it's not such a good product, but this PSU is made by Wintech, a reputable PSU component manufacturer. The PSU should not be the problem..

    I will switch around the RAM sticks first thing tomorrow, since it's getting late and I have a big test which I am not inclined to studying for. I will put the RAM in different slots, and try with just one stick. I will also try booting on memtest to see if it will at least boot on that. I will keep you all posted on this.


    In addition, I found this thread:
    http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic65351.html
    on this board and this person has a similar situation as me.

    The last part when he says
    is exactly my situation when I try to reinstall Windows. Unfortunately, nobody replied to that thread so I obtained no further info.

    Any more ideas?
    Thanks!
     
  6. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,438

    Hmm im not really a expert on BIOS so maybe someone else would have more information on how to fix this, You could always try google it? :D
     
  7. tall_tiger

    tall_tiger TS Rookie Posts: 22

    Do you have an Anti-Virus CD that doubles as a start-up disc? Ensure that any "start-up" is done with such a disc to eliminate any virus that could be activated by your normal start-up routine.

    If you don't have one do you have access to another system that is "up to date" with a reliable Anti-Virus? If so, you could patch that drive into another system as a "slave drive" and then scan the drive for any viruses.

    Do you have access to another hard drive that has been completely formatted? If you can reload your O/S on a temporary drive, then you can possibly isolate the discrepancy between being caused by something on your current hard drive or something in the existing hardware like memory or your motherboard.
     
  8. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 454

    I can't believe I forgot that...I guess I was too occupied for that to cross my mind.
    I have done quite a bit of research on this issue now, but they turn up with weird results and people fixing it in the strangest of ways, all differently.


    I don't have an antivirus boot disc. But I can try to find one if it is a definate necessity. However, I still doubt this problem lies with a virus as the culprit.

    My OS does not start up at all, so I don't see how a virus can be stopping my attempts to reinstall Windows. Viruses don't reach out to that level of functions, they are limited to infecting things within the OS, right? Viruses can be rid of by a Windows reinstallation, which is what I'm doing anyway. They cannot stop me when I try to boot my Windows XP disc, so it should be something else..

    I don't have another hard drive to try more things with. And my hard drive only works on that computer, since no other computer in the house supports SATA interface.


    At the moment, I am convinced that there are two seperate problems here:

    1. That fatal BSOD that caused my PC not be able to boot up into Windows anymore, which is the reasoning for wanting a reinstall.
    2. The system hanging at a blank screen after the initial setup message after inserting the Windows XP install disc.

    I believe that these two things are not connected with each other, and that I was just unlucky that these two problems were to occur at once.

    My plan of action now is to somehow fix #2 and get the Windows installation working. Then I will try to diagnose #1 with stuff like HJT scans, and other diagnostics (with your help!).

    Now are there any other ideas as to how I get my Windows install to work? I won't mind if I have to completely nuke my entire hard drive and its contents, in fact I welcome it. However, I cannot do that even if I tried, because the integrated drive formatting & partitioning tool on the Windows XP installation is not accessible to me (since I can't get the CD to start up!).

    Help Please, any ideas are welcome.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  9. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,865   +165

    Grafficks,
    pull your "C" drive out and put it aside for now. Grab another hard drive and see if the Windows install will complete. If the same errors occur, pull out any system memory greater than 1 stick, try and install a PCI video card, or enable on-board video. Set the motherboard bios to failsafe defaults and try the Windows install again
     
  10. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 454

    I only have one hard drive on that computer. The C: drive is just one partition on that disk.

    Maybe I can take the hard drive on the computer that I am currently on, a 30GB IDE one. Maybe I can hook that up and boot on the Windows XP disc again, to see if it starts up?

    With my current 250GB hard drive (if the hard drive is even the problem) the Windows installation hangs at "Setup is detecting your hardware configuration..." where the screen goes blank and shutting down is the only way out.

    If the install works past the "Setup is detecting your hardware configuration..." message screen for my 30GB IDE hard drive, then I will stop the install because then I will know that my other hard drive is the problem.

    However, if it still hangs at that point, then it will conclude it does not have anything to do with the 250GB hard drive?


    Is that what will be achieved through swapping the hard drive: confirmation whether or not it's the hard drive's problem??

    Thanks!
     
  11. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 454

    Update: Still completely stumped :(


    After endless Google searches, I have listed the possible culprits for the problem of the Windows installation hanging. Please tell me what you think about these possibilities, and add one of your own. Some of these possible solutions are from google searches, and some from forums of other people having the same problem who solved it. These are all the possible causes for the problem that I have found so far.


    PSU problem - it's not likely, yet I should not rule out the possibility. I will swap it out and test with another generic 500W I have lying around. It won't be easy too, I just got my PSU wiring perfect just a day before this issue happened.

    Memory problem - I don't have any new memory to replace my generic RAM yet, but I can swap the sticks around, use different DIMM slots, and run memtest, and will do so.

    Power Outlets - Skeptic? Me too. But some guy actually fixed it by exchanging the surge-protected power bar and it worked again (is this problem even power-related...?). In fact I got a new surge protection power bar just before the problem happened, so it just might be a possibility. I'll try it nonetheless.

    Hard Drive - The hard drive could be dead, which will be determined soon as I take out the HDD of the computer I am currently on to test it.

    Exchanging the Keyboard and Mouse - This was also a Google result, some guy actually fixed it by exchanging these input devices.

    Faulty Motherboard or Outdated BIOS - This is a feeling in my gut, and is in my opinion the most probable culprit for this problem, second only to a hard drive issue. I will try to reset the BIOS and start the install again before drawing more conclusions.

    Take computer to another room - Again, it was one of my google results where somebody fixed it by doing this.



    In a few hours, I will do a few things to eliminate some of the above from being a possible culprit of the problem.

    I will
    - swap hard drives and try to run the install again.
    - swap the PSU.
    - try a different power bar.
    - run memtest.
    - swap the RAM sticks around.

    I will also reset the BIOS, but can someone remind me how to do that? How long to I pop out the 2032 battery cell for? A few minutes?

    Sorry for the double post. When not on my main PC, I have pretty much nothing to do but try to solve the problem on my main. Besides, I think this update would make my post before too long.

    Thanks for all your help so far. :)
     
     
  12. N3051M

    N3051M TS Rookie Posts: 2,800

    here is a near-complete troubleshooting guide from step one in your situation.

    take out all extra components so you're left with just the barebones system. (cpu/mobo, power, audio/video onboard if possible, 1 stick of ram, 1 optic drive)
    Reset BIOS/CMOS while your at it as well. taking out the battery for a few seconds (or if you're paranoid a minute) should be suffice. Check for any signs of physical damage such as popped/leaking capacitors, burns, stains, smells etc. Run memtest at this stage to rule out the ram being faulty. do it for several passes (7 if you can). Remember any fails means its gone..

    the windows cd is trying to read the hardware and one of them is causing it to freeze up. booting with minimum setup should tell you if its one of the main three (cpu/mobo/power) or not. If you can boot up with the winxp cd here, and it comes up to the "cannot find HDDs" message, that clears those three, then power off and add the HDD and boot with the winxp cd again.

    If it freezes again on the HDD, there may be something wrong here. Download the data lifeguard diagnostic (cd) utility from WD's website and boot with it, do a complete scan.

    If it doesn't freeze on the hdd while its checking, first try to boot into windows normaly now, then if still not working try and perform a repair-install with the winxp cd.
     
  13. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 454

    Heyy!! :D

    Wow, I actually found a work-around for the BSOD problem where I cannot boot into Windows, so no need to reinstall windows anymore, and no need to troubleshoot the windows installation hang.

    It was actually simpler than I anticipated...
    I boot up, it asks the options including safe mode, last good config, start normally, etc. I select safe mode and boot up. From safe mode I do system restore to a week before today. Then it boots up again, I select safe mode from that list again, and upon logging in it tells me the system restore was successful. Then I reboot and select safe mode from that list of options once more. Then it worked..!!

    However, the problem with the Windows installation hanging after "Setup is detecting your hardware configurations..." is still present. It will come back to bite me in the behind the next time I wish to reinstall Wnidows...

    System restore reverts to the registry setttings of the selected restore point, which means something happened within the last week to cause this problem?

    Can someone link me to that thread that explains how to properly attach a minidump for analysis?

    I would absolutely love it if someone can look at my latest (the one that caused this problem) minidump for me and tell me the problem, so that I can fix it immediately.

    PS: Sorry for being an impatient annoyance before...I was definately posting too much crap regarding this :(. I had no idea what's going on and was worried. But now, it would truly be great if someone can help me with my minidumps. :)

    Once again, thanks.
     
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