TechSpot

Windows doesn't start from my hard disk

By apmseptimus
Dec 22, 2008
  1. Finally I have a problem where I can''t make heads or tails from.
    I have a very old Pentium II computer, using Windows XP which I use as a music cumputer. It suddenly stoped working. What it still does is booting: it finishes POST operation, checks BIOS, recognises that keyboard and Mouse are attached, it correctly sees my hard drive and cd-rom drive. Then it switches to my hard drive and is supposed to start windows, but it just gets stuck there, giving me an ugly black screens with a blinking cursor and that's all. I've tried reinstalling Windows from CD and that works fine until it restarts and the hard drive is supposed to take over from the CD-ROM. It gives me the same screen. The silly thing is that up until that moment the computer has been copying files from the cd to the hard disk, so the computer is able to work with the harddisk. I've checkdisked the HD and everything was fine. I've placed the HD onto another computer and it was able to read the HD,, so the HD is OK. I've repeated everything with another HD with exactly the same results. So, the computer is working, nothing wrong with the MoBo, the HD is working, cables are fine (I've replaced them as well), computer is able to work with the HD, but it just won't work when windows is supposed to start up. I've a;so made sure that the master/slave jumpers are ok, so that's not the problem either.

    HELP ME, SOMEBODY!
     
  2. apmseptimus

    apmseptimus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    anybody, please?
     
  3. poteljito

    poteljito TS Rookie Posts: 42

    The way I understand is that your first boot device is the CD-ROM and the second one the HDD. Did you try to switch them?
     
  4. apmseptimus

    apmseptimus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    yes, same difference :-(
     
  5. hrlow2

    hrlow2 TS Rookie Posts: 210

    How long have you had XP on this machine? CPU may not be enough to run it properly.
    How much RAM is installed? What speed?
     
  6. apmseptimus

    apmseptimus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    XP is running on the machine for over a year, I guess. I was wondering myself if another update of XP might finally be too large for this machine. It only has 256mB of RAM, speed I don't know from the top of my head, but I could look it up if you think that might be the bottleneck
     
  7. apmseptimus

    apmseptimus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That was one of the reasons why I tried to reinstall XP, because that way you would start with a `virgin´ xp, which would not overcharge the machine.
     
  8. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,366   +53

    Try booting into safe mode. Anything? On the face of it, the PC fails as soon as Windows XP tries to move into the proper video mode for the system (always XP boots in a basic VGA). If I am right, you can play around with the video driver in safe mode. Other things you can do is start in debug mode, which will enable you to find out what is starting when it goes belly-up. Did you change anything in the bios? video memory allocation, apic mode, anything like that?

    PC otherwise makes a fine footstool. Even a Linux footstool. Install say Ubuntu and play music just the same.....
     
  9. apmseptimus

    apmseptimus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The computer just stalls when it the hd is supposed to take over, so it doesn´t get that far, No possibility to use safe mode. I guess it is more of a hardware problem. Power supply?
     
  10. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,366   +53

    yes PSU is a fair bet. HD less likely but not impossible, it will be faulty boot tracks if it is. Substitute both from boot sale stuff..
     
  11. apmseptimus

    apmseptimus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, I'll go shopping for another PS. Any good tips? I've never dealt with power supplies before.
    Thanks for all the other help, by the way.
     
     
  12. tweaks_sav

    tweaks_sav TS Rookie Posts: 190

    Since you've swapped hard drives, I'll skip asking you to run a HD test.
    I would check for busted capacitors on your motherboard and if you have none, then run a memtest.
     
  13. apmseptimus

    apmseptimus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I hope it's not capacitators. You're never sure if they're broken and if you have spotted all the broken ones. I'll try the memtest. Thanks for the tip.
     
  14. tweaks_sav

    tweaks_sav TS Rookie Posts: 190

    Normally, busted caps are pretty tell-tale(sp?). If you see even one, then that's most likely the issue. I just look for any caps that are 'bulging', look out of the norm, or have fluid coming out.
    I've seen where you can replace the bad ones, but I've personally never done it.

    Good Luck :grinthumb
     
  15. apmseptimus

    apmseptimus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I once fixed my Kiss DP 558 powerunit by replacing some capacitators (with the help of a very explicit manual on the web). For only EUR 6 it was working again!
     
  16. apmseptimus

    apmseptimus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    In the end it turned out to be a faulty hd after all. After a format on another computer, and a windows install on the other computer I put it back in the okd computer, repaired windows to connect it with the new MoBo and the computer was back in business again. Thanks for all the help out there and thinking with me.

    regards, Sep
     
  17. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,366   +53

    That's fine, congratulations, but if it failed once it may fail again....soon. I would (a) buy another, (b) get imaging software and image the drive to the new drive, then swap them, and use the new drive for the live system, the old drive for backup. Image the new drive to the backup drive every couple of months, back up your data every day or thereabouts. There is plenty of imaging software available free - see here http://www.techspot.com/vb/showthread.php?t=117480

    Other posts on this site are pointing out that a huge number of HDD's are failing early nowadays, which rarely happened years ago, and I agree. People think worsening manufacturing standards, which is possible, of course, but in my opinion more likely to be the vast size of todays HDD require areal density (and so tolerances) some 10 times higher than a few years ago.
     
  18. apmseptimus

    apmseptimus TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sound advise. I already put a new one in and, thank God, all my computers are backupped every night, so no harm done!
    Merry Christmas everybody, by the way
     
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