Unable to boot, (LONG Debugging)

By CattBoy
Jun 15, 2006
  1. Unable to boot, (LONG Debugging)

    (If you wish to skip to updates/skip the explanation scroll to bottom)

    Hello all, during the past month and a half I have been going through all of the sticky's, forums, and anything that has caught my attention in order to fix my computer. Let me begin the story.

    I’ll start with my specs –

    CPU: AMD Anthlon X2 3800+

    Motherboard: DFI LAN party nf4 Ultra - D

    Ram Speed, size and #sticks: OCz High Performance DDR Memory, Speed Unknown, 1 GB, 2 sticks

    GPU: BFG NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT OC PCI Express

    PSU (do not leave this out): OCz ModStream Power Supply, 450W / OCZ-450 12U
    12rails has a 26 amp range.

    OS: Windows XP Professional

    Old Hard Drive: MAXTOR 120 GB Ultra ATA

    New Hard Drive: Western Digital 250GB 16MB Cache
    From the sticky “Troubleshooting Sudden Reboots/crashes”

    --Also include details of the crash. When does it typically happen? What EXACTLY happens?

    About 1 ½ months ago I decided I needed a bigger hard drive because with all the crap I keep on my PC, I figured I should upgrade it into something bigger. After I would say half a month I noticed, what I would call “glitches” in my performance, but I thought nothing of it (Big Mistake). Upon contacting my mobo/cpu retailers and RMA'ing the parts, they said nothing was wrong on their hardware side. So its time to debug.

    ---And a history as well. At one point, did your system work? Have you recently installed some new hardware/software?

    I installed my new SATA Western Digital Hard drive 250 GB 16 MB Cache

    ---The main cause of system crashes is drivers. If you are ONLY able to boot up in safe mode, this is usually a sign that you have a driver issue.

    I was able to boot into safe mode until this morning.

    ---1. Before going any further, update the following:
    Video card drivers: or
    Motherboard chipset drivers: go to your motherboard maker’s website
    I laned together my desktop and my roommates to transfer all of my drivers and chipset and installed them all when I was able to enter safe mode.

    ---Also take a look at how outdated your bios are, and consider an update. If there have been 3 or 4 revisions since the one you have currently installed, it is probably best to update.

    I flashed my bios yesterday as to DFI’s latest revision on their site.

    ---6. Faulty Ram / Dying ram

    You can test your ram using memtest:
    download it and run it on your system from DOS. Let it run for 6 or 7 passes (takes a few hours).

    I made a bootable cd of Memtest and tested each of my ram sticks individually, both passing 10 times each and switching.

    From the sticky “Minidumps”

    A lot of BSOD`s are caused by faulty ram/underpowered psu`s/overheating/overclocking/dust and debris.

    ---Clean out all dust etc, especially from the heat sinks and fans. A can of compressed air is very useful for this.


    Next, take out your ram sticks and gently clean the gold contacts with an eraser. Blow away the remnants, also blow out any dust that may be in the ram slots. Replace the ram. Restart your system and see if it becomes more stable. You might also want to try placing the ram in a different dim slot.

    ---If your system still crashes, download and run the Memtest86+ programme from HERE.

    As previously stated, I completed this

    ---Check your system for overheating. The free Everest programme is quite useful for this. You can get it HERE.

    I cannot get into my safe mode anymore to even see, but I would assume not since both my cpu and motherboard have come back from the supplier and both saying they are fine.

    ---Check that your psu is putting out enough power for your system. Especially, check that there are enough amps on the 12volt rail. An underpowered psu can cause all kinds of random crashes.

    I Called BFG today and I looked on my power supply box and they said that it MIGHT be an issue, even though I have 12vrail and 26a on it.

    If none of the above helps. Zip 5 or 6 of your latest minidumps together (you will need a zip utility such as Winra or Winzip for this) and attach them to a new thread in the Windows OS forum.

    ---You can find your minidumps in the following directory. C:/windows/minidump.

    I cannot even boot into windows anymore to even zip up my minidumps.

    Explanation – So after taking out my new SATA hard drive and my old U-ATA hard drives and testing each one individually, I still cannot boot up on either, I get either A) I get just a black screen and my computer makes the boot up sound from the fans being used, but I see nothing on my monitor from my vid card. Or B) it is a continuous reboot loop after loading my (post screen I think it is called, bunch of stuff after loading my mobo).
    Prior to this happening early this morning I was able to atleast enter safe mode but since something has happened I am unable to get past my mobo load screen.

    If anyone has any helpful advice, tips, anything would be more than welcome because I am going crazy considering I have no idea what is wrong at this time. Thanks A LOT in advance.


    - Updates –

    June 6th – Received my CPU and Motherboard after RMA sent to the original company for defective testing and both came back ok they said.

    June 15th. I Contacted BFG and a VERY helpful tech “agent” said that I COULD be cutting it short with my 450w power supply, since the 12vrails have 26a on them, he said I should get an SLI certified PSU since I will be upgrading eventually, but it is pricey.

    June 15th. I contacted my OCz on my power supply, and he said that it is problem a video card issue since when I boot it doesn’t even show my bios/nothing on the load screen.
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    I'd take the mobo out, reset your CMOS using the jumpers (read your manual to find the correct jumpers) and set it on a box beside the case. Remove everything but the following:

    -one stick of ram
    -graphics card (with PSU connection if needed)
    -PSU connections to the motherboard (should be two)
    -if your case has a speaker, connect it to the motherboard
    -connect the monitor to the graphics card.

    then use a screwdriver to quickly short the two pins normally connected to the case's power on switch. This will attempt to turn on your system. You should be able to get into your bios this way.

    If not, do you get any beeps? Does your motherboard have LED lights? What color (before and after shorting the pins).

    If no beeps, then you probably have a dead/dying PSU. I say this because:

    -your ram worked before so we know it is compatible, and it also passed memtest.
    -Your CPU and motherboard came back from the RMA with a clean bill.
    -If it was your graphics card, the LED lights, or the beeps would tell us.
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