HELP! Emachines T4170 Failed - now can't boot at all

By MarkInTx · 22 replies
Apr 11, 2004
  1. Hi All,

    I have a hunch that this is a dead computer, but in case anyone can help me, here's my problem:

    Yesterday, XP was sluggish. Then nothing would run, so I had to restart.

    Restart Froze.

    Since I don't have a REAL OFF/ON switch (the switch on the front didn't work, natch) I was forced to unplug my computer from the wall. (I have done this before.)

    Windows freezes on reload.
    I try again.

    Windows comes up and wants to do a disk check. I tell it, sure, go ahead.

    Windows freezes during disk check.

    I do the UNPLUG/REPLUG reboot again.

    I get a message screen telling me that Windows did not shut down properly, and I should reboot from last known good configuration. Again, I say, fine.

    Windows locks during load (little green progress bar freezes for fifteen minutes.)

    I "reboot" again.

    This time, getting the same message, I decide to boot into Safe Mode.

    System hangs as it gets to "Loading MUP.SYS".

    Nothing gets me past that. I figure I'm dead, so I reach for the restore CD.

    Restore CD gives me the cheery news that it will wipe out my whole hard drive first. I call Emachines to confirm that. (They want to charge me $20 to answer that question, but finally relent, and tells me that, YES, the restore is destructive, but if I need more help, I must pay $20.)

    I decide to go get a new hard drive, do a system restore to that, and keep my old drive as a secondary, so I can still get my data.

    I run restore CD. It fails because Ghost is trying to create an error.txt file. I'm not exactly sure what it is doing here, because the CD is mounted as Disk R at this point, and the restore program itself is on Disk A, which does not appear to be the harddrive, so I really don't know where it is trying to create the error file.

    I copy all of the "A" disk information to a floppy, and run it from there. Ghost gives a system error, and tells me to reboot.

    OK, so reboot again.

    It is during this reboot to run that strange things REALLY begin to happen. (As if this isn't strange enough so far!)

    Sometimes, when I turn the computer on, I get a blank screen. There is power. I can hear the hard disk cycle up, but no information on the monitor at all. I have to unplug and replug it, and try again. Many times. Then I get to the system check. But it hangs in various places.

    It never gets to the "Boot from CD" section.

    I go into CMOS, and restore defaults.

    Several more attempts, several more blank screens, then suddenly, it goes.

    I run Ghost to do the restore off of my floppy.

    What should take a long time, finishes in about 30 seconds (wow, pretty fast restore!) and the sysetm reboots.

    Blank screen.

    This goes on for hours. Sometimes I get to the system check information -- but never past it -- sometimes I don't even get the Emachines Logo screen (which precedes the system check).

    I never get to a place where I can do anything.

    I try going back to the old drive. No change.

    I take EVERYTHING out of the computer except essentials (no modem, no firewire card, I even unplug the mouse.)

    Nothing. The results I get when I power up vary, but I never get to a boot of the CD (or floppy).

    A couple of times, the system emits a series of long beeps. But not always.

    I go to bed frustrated. Today, I try it again, and now the off/on switch seems to have no effect -- meaning as soon as I plug it in, it powers up. But never to a boot.

    So -- Is my MOBO dead? Or what?

    I've thought of getting a new MOBO, but resist because:

    A) I don't know if that will even solve the problem, and right now I am already out $100 for a HardDrive I never got working, I hate to add to my cost. Maybe I should trash the Emachines and get a new computer??? (are these all pieces of junk?)

    B) I've read that changing MOBOs invalidates my system restore disk, and I don't want to have to buy Windows XP, etc all over again.

    Anyone have any ideas?


    System Specs (according to Emachines)
    Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition
    Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 1.60 GHz (w/256KB L2 cache)
    Intel NetBurst™ Micro-Architecture
    SiS 650 & 961
    60 GB HDD
    256 MB DDR (PC2100) -- I expanded it to 500MB -- months ago
    10/100Mbps built-in Ethernet
    24x10x40x Max. CD-RW Drive
    3.5" 1.44MB FDD
    Integrated SiS Real 256
    (1 AGP slot available for upgrade)
    4 USB ports (2 on front), 1 Serial, 1 Parallel, 2 PS/2, Audio In & Out, MIDI/Game port, Mic-In & Head Phone jack on front, 3 PCI slots (2 available)
  2. Rory7

    Rory7 TS Rookie Posts: 119

    how about getting the xp boot disks of a bootdisk site, load the data onto the floppies. Can you get into to bios and change any stuff? ifso change first boot device to floppy, stick the first floppy in and follow the instructions, eventually you will have a clean hardrive waiting to have a nice new xp put on it. This way ghost doesnt get a look in. However, if you carnt get into bios then your f****d. If this is the case ring up e machines and then ***** like hell about having to pay for somthing that has nothing to do with you (dodgy pc)if they fix it for you at no cost then great if not then god knows. File a law suit? You can sue for the silliest things in America carnt you? you are american arnt you?
  3. Hitman`

    Hitman` TS Rookie Posts: 41

    first off, the power supply should NOT be unplugged like that. as i have stated countless times before, there is a +5VSB current at 1 to 3A even when the machine is off. by unplugging this and replugging it in will "jolt" all the components in the system that use the standby power, cpu, memory, hard disk, and graphics cards. rapid cycling like this will eventually overstress the components, causing a failiure. i dont know for sure if this is your problem and solution, but get a new power switch or power supply for your case. also, even though this failiure was on-going (by that i mean it failed a little at a time) try removing all but the critical boot components, cd-roms, extra addon cards, disable on-board components if you can.
  4. tbrunt3

    tbrunt3 TS Rookie Posts: 313

    Yes Never unplugg it form the wall .. THis is not good for eletronic stuff at all I try getting a new switch so you can turn your computer off.. Also do a search for a program called Ultimate boot cd which i found on a microsoft link for downloads there is also a better one called Hariens Boot cd this a very good one and will help you..

  5. Guru2000

    Guru2000 TS Rookie

    I don't know what college any of the responders went to but they frightened you beyond reason.

    Yes hard booting and cold booting can damage certain components of the OS but when that has already OBVIOUSLY happened, who cares, besides it's windows. If you want an OS that can run for years without rebooting go to a command prompt and type in "format c:" then proceed with Linux install.

    Microsoft somehow needs to reboot the system 18 times a day, without any particular benefits. If your system is corrupt there is hardly any loss in hard booting it or (from my understanding of the posting) unplugging it from the power source. In fact, this is recommended to ensure erasure of the RAM and the memory on board. (BTW make sure you wait 10 seconds before repowering the system).

    My best advice is to reinstall, format and restore all functions. Unfortunately, if you haven't made a backup of the CD's and the CD's are in bad repair, you are in bad shape. XP (pro or home) is the worst thing that MS has come up with since DOS or Qbasic.

    E-Machines are a very close second to the worst. Sorry about that. Any proprietary system will have problems when the drivers are hidden in a vault. Fortunately, there is a Linux-Tech working on the problem as we speak. Seek and ye shall find. Sorry about that.

  6. Guru2000

    Guru2000 TS Rookie

    Rory7 ... Floppies???

    I don't know what sort of proprietary "Ghost" Restore disks they have in England but the Restore Disks this poor fellow is discussing requires over 1.3 GB of data. That is... 1,300 MB of data. or in other terms ... 100 floppies. This only refers to the compressed files and not the program files or driver files.

    To render an opinion on this matter with such a response is absurd to the max.

    Was this a serious reply or rubbing salt in the wound of a Microsoft/E-machine VICTIM.

    Not a a nice joke
  7. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,058

    First of all MarkInTx, without any O/S bashing, it sounds to me like your hard drive is dying a quick death. Is there any way you can get your hands on a similiar hard drive and try using your system restore cd? You will need to try swapping out individual components one at a time and that is where I recommend you start.

    Also, Welcome To TechSpot :wave: and I hope we can get your issues resolved. Please make yourself comfortable and I'm sure people will come in to give you a hand as you've already seen.

    Secondly, in deference to Guru2000, I have to agree that physically plugging and unplugging most likely won't have a lot of effect unless you use it as the primary means to start your system on a long-term basis. BTW, our welcome to Guru2000 as well. :wave: any and all.....please avoid bashing people on their attempts to help somebody and respect peoples likes/dislikes for hardware and operating systems. We DO have an "Alternative O/S" forums for those discussions.

    Thanks all.
  8. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    I would try to completely remove the old hard drive I don't think you will have issues with xp and reg. if you have a good copy (restore disk)
    load new OS then install the older one as 2nd drive you may get a window
    after this, that xp will begin fix 2nd drive
    don't let it you have about 20 sec's to stop the count down
    should be able to see older drive
    If your imaged disc does not load at boot after that it is corrupt(bad image):grinthumb

    Attached Files:

    • me.jpg
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      7.8 KB
  9. coolibop

    coolibop TS Rookie

    Same problem here

    Just recently my eMachine T4170 did the exact same thing. Sad to say you keep saying stop pulling the plug from the computer but there is no other way to shut the machine off. Anyways, I believe it stops at the same drive yours does. Strange that they both died around the same time. I was talking to my friend and he said it might be a memory problem. I have ordered some memory and I will get back to you to see if it works. I also tried the boot disk but it didn't even work properly. Luckily if it isn't the memory I am able to send it back for a full refund.
  10. torrent12

    torrent12 TS Rookie


    i've had the same trouble with them my comp kept askin for ghsterr.txt file i tried everything and in the end i reset the bios clock back 2 1999 because e-machines contract with ghost restore ran out even before they sold me the machine i hope this helps
  11. pizzada

    pizzada TS Booster Posts: 72

    You can't change hard drives with e-Machines,

    You can't change Motherboards with e-Machines,

    You can't change video-cards on e-Machines...(well, sometimes you can)

    You can't find upgrade or gaming peace on e-Machines,

    You can't do anything but talk in chat to an eMachine tech on an eMachine...and he will just tell you all the above.

    ATTENTION!!!: Run away from the e-Machine as fast as you can...Go to mom/dad, grandma, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, friend, ...knock on their door and ask if they need their lawn mowed, dog walked, car washed (good, honest work)etc...and save, save save for a new system.

    Seriously, if you want to get your system running, you will need to 'restore' your hard-drive....and lose your DATA. The ghost partition is there specifically to prevent a hard-drive/MoBo upgrade. ( I went through the mill with both Msoft and eMachine on this issue)
    The restore disk/s will not/cannot be installed on a new hard-drive according to them.:suspiciou I understand that someone out-there may have some way around this, but you'll probably spend more hours trying to get it to work than you would working at the McD's drive-thru to save for a new, upgradable system.

    It took me 16 weeks to save $600 ($40 a week)....but now I have an Athlon64 3000+ socket 939--a Nvidea 6600GT--2 Geil 256mb 3200 memory sticks in DUAL Channel on a Chaintech s1689 motherboard, (not an ASUS, I know, but I had to cut costs somewhere :D ), a new harddrive, new WidowsXP, and a new Antec case&PSU...and it FLIES!!!!!!!! compared to my eMachine.
    The only part I didn't get new was the monitor and CD/RW drive. $636 at, incuding shipping, right to the door.
    And it was worth every single stale & crusty saltine cracker that I had to eat in place of real food, and every toilet I had to scrub along the way. If you start now, you can be flying on a new system by the first week of July,(God willing, of course).
  12. longocorp

    longocorp TS Rookie

    Since the original question was never answered...

    As a person in the IT profession, I must say that there sure are a lot of dweebs out there venting unsupported opinion based on beliefs rather than facts.

    Fact #1
    The purpose of this discussion was to identify the problem with his HDD freezing. A condition, in which, no one asked if there were any error messages detailed or posted to the event log versus a hardware system freeze that yielded no response from user input or the exact frequency when the lock ups occur (ie. opening an application vs doing nothing at all, which would easily indicate a software vs hardware problem).

    Fact #2
    If the secondary purpose was to help him reimage his eMachine. The answer is that "yes" the imaging software can expire. The factory license limits the end user from utilitizing other features that would normally function. It also minimizes people from trying to install illegal copies of the software onto non-eMachines because it checks to see if you have the original hardware. DO NOT INSTALL ILLEGAL COPIES. BAD!!! Assuming that the author of this original string owned the machine and had the legal rights, the solution to this problem would be to...
    1) acquire an independent valid licensed copy of the Ghost software, preferrably the version that was used to create the image- probably Symantec Ghost 7.0 or higher. Copy ghost.exe and ghost.ini to a floppy.
    2) Boot your computer with the eMachine restore disk. Select option 2 for command prompt.
    3) Insert your ghost floppy disk. Map to drive B: (type "b:" press enter), and run ghost.exe from the floppy.
    4) Use the ghost interface to load the eMachine image from CD 1, and change to CD2 when prompted.

    Granted that for all this to work: you would have to RTM (if you dont know how to use ghost), have another working computer to put the software on a floppy, and assume that any replaced hardware was installed correctly.

    Disclaimer: Material posted here is meant for informational purposes and should be used in accordance of any applicable laws.
  13. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    "QUOTE=pizzada]You can't change hard drives with e-Machines,

    You can't change Motherboards with e-Machines,

    You can't change video-cards on e-Machines...(well, sometimes you can)

    You can't find upgrade or gaming peace on e-Machines"

    pizzada should qualify the above statement. You can't do all these things and expect to be able to successfully "restore" an Emachines computer. I've said over and over again that when an Emachines fails, more than one piece of hardware is at fault. This is something that people like Mr. IT longocorp don't realize. IT people truly don't know hardware! They really can't help this though. It's not their fault.

    MarkInTx has not been back. Maybe he found out that there was more wrong than just his hard drive, with his Emachines. Out of the 25 Emachines I worked on last year, none of them just had a bad hard drive
  14. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    I've never called an IT tech except once when required to in order to get a replacement part (I already knew the problem.) I have never run accross an IT tech that was worth anything. I will NEVER PAY for IT support either. There are too many free sources to get info. it pays to build your own computers - you learn a lot in the process.
  15. spow

    spow TS Rookie

    I have actually been working on almost the exact same problem with my mother's emachine. Unfortunately, I tried all of these suggestions before even finding this forum. None of them have worked. I have been able to successfully run the ghost utility and watched as all the files were run through from each of the 3 CDs. Then when going through the reboot and trying to restore or start from command prompt (didn't matter which way) whatever, it goes through the "e" boot up screen and then goes black with nothing but a cursor and you simply cannot proceed from there other than restarting and hitting F8 to get the command prompt when the machine restarts. By the way, telling it to boot from CD produces the exact same results and I know its not the CDs and the ghost utility seems to work fine (except for not being able to create an error log file). One thing that has caused me to scratch my head in all of this is that the hard disk drive appears to be labeled "A:" however if you try to format a: the machine tells you that 1.44MB could not be formatted (treating A: like a floppy drive). Further confusion is that the CD-ROM appears to have a drive name of "R:" but when I try to access it from the command prompt (A:\) by typing "cd r:\" or anything similar to that it says "invalid drive specification".

    My impression from reading a few other posts here about eMachines products is that basically at this point the machine is only good for propping up the short leg of my computer that about right?

    Thanks for any other advice/info/help.
  16. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    All you have to do is replace the power supply and the motherboard in any failing Emachines computer to get it up and running. As long as you buy a copy of the operating system of your choice, and forget about saving any data off the Emachines... you will have a good computer, with nothing left of the Emachines except maybe the processor, memory and the name on the case
  17. russ

    russ TS Rookie Posts: 39

    One of the easiest and cheapest things to do here is to switch out memory (and this does have excellant symptoms of having a memory problem). You have said you put in 512mb memory, take one stick out and see if the computer runs, if not switch them out and run on the other stick. You may have your problem solved with this simple proceedure as I have found that memory has been suspect in many recent cases.
  18. cubecompMTDX

    cubecompMTDX TS Rookie Posts: 48

    yes you can swap HDD's in emachines, and power supplies. and if your're lucky like I was, you can use those junk emachine cds on a different mobo. I replaced the HDD, PSU, and mobo(Asus P4B533-VM) in an emachine one time, and used the restore CDs to re load everything back onto the system
  19. cubecompMTDX

    cubecompMTDX TS Rookie Posts: 48

    if you can get a XP install CD by itself, you can re-use the COA key on the emachine when replacing the mobo, instead of having to spend $99 for a new COA key and CD
  20. pizzada

    pizzada TS Booster Posts: 72

    Well, according to the e-Machine tech that I talked to part of the XP O.S. is on the e-Machine package hard drive, thus a new hard-drive that didn't come from another e-Machine would not...because it could not work since it would not contain the missing XP code that is NOT on the 'restore CD's' that come with the e-Machine, even though there used to be(it may still be there) an article at e=Mach's website on changing out HD's.

    I'm not convinced that the tech knew quite exactly what he was talking about...nevertheless, there is an EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) 'tattoo' on the MOBO that needs to match up with the code on the package specific 'Restore Disc/s'. If the hardware in question does not match the 'tattoo' then it will deny certain predetermined functions.

    I'm not sure exactly what you did...but both e-Machines...and Microsoft told me that it was not supposed to and also should not work(legally anyway) if not done under specific warranty conditions.

    I suppose it's possible that by some quirk, you got an 'un-tattooed' MOBO...but there are countless e-Machine owners that have not been able to do what you have said...and there are a whole host of e-Machine approved Warranty Techs that have had countless headaches with installing fresh HD's/MOBO's in old e-Machines because of the 'tattoo/Restore Disc' issue.

    One thing for sure...I could not in good conscience, having owned four different models, recommend an e-Machine to anybody.

    I hope those who own them have them to work perfectly forever, but keep in mind,,,there has been at least one successful class action suit agains e-Machines that was started late 2005...and I know there was at least one other 'in the wings' after that.
  21. cubecompMTDX

    cubecompMTDX TS Rookie Posts: 48

    Yeah, all I did was stick in the cd set, and it ghosted the files onto the HDD, and XP started right up with no problem. It took me to the start screen where it says "welcome to MS windows". The original board in that system was an Intel D845GVSR, which had an AMI BIOS on it. The board I stuck into the emachine was an Asus P4B533-VM, not an OEM board, it has OC'ing features and is supported by the Asus website, which it has an Award Medaliion BIOS on it. I was able to complete the start menu, go into windows and Activate it just fine. I think the people at Emachines like to make up a lot of stuff to get you to buy their motherboard for $150!! 150 dollars for an old outdated board that is probably only worth $35, since it's in intel board.

    Yeah, I was really shocked that it worked though. I guess it was because the Intel board and Asus board had the same chipset, LAN, sound, IDE controllers and some other similar things.
  22. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    That is pure Bull. We repair eMachines every day. We use new, pristine hard drives. We use the eMachines install discs. There is never a problem.
    However, those who say you can use the product ID off an eMachines certificate of authenticity with a Windows XP OEM disk are full of it, as well. That was only true of four eMachines, and they had it long corrected by the time yours came out.
    The real problem is that you have one of the high failure motherboards. I doubt you will get it working properly until you replace the eMachines board with another eMachines board.
    So now is the perfect time to upgrade to a better unit. Any money you spend on that unit will be money flushed away.
  23. cubecompMTDX

    cubecompMTDX TS Rookie Posts: 48

    I have used OEM XP discs to fix OEM computers from customers who needed a XP repair or a true clean install of the XP OS without the preinstalled junk. Using the key on an emachine with an OEM XP CD has worked fine for me. It activated just fine as well.
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