Help Save This Kid's Computer; Thanks!

By strum4u ยท 21 replies
Jan 29, 2007
  1. Hello Everyone,

    I am new to this newsgroup, as I am trying to help my next door neighbor's 13-year old son get a computer (that he built himself) up and running.

    The father allowed the kid to purchase the components online, shortly before Christmas, using his credit card, but when boy failed to get the computer running, the father became angry and threatened to throw out the whole system. In fact, in an apparent tirade, he may have already thrown out some of the boxes with included software.

    The kid is a parent's dream. He's quiet, well-mannered, does everything that's expected of him (homework, chores, etc.), without having to be told.
    His main passion is playing games on the computer.
    Thus, when the father explained his frustration over the issue, I offered to help, and explained that building one's own computer is only half the battle, and that setup can involve a number of issues which must be dealt with using patience and perseverance.

    Regardless, the system involves the following components:

    --ASUS Crosshair AM2 nForce 590 motherboard
    --2 sticks of 512mb DDR2 RAM (Part #512MB532D2)
    --Lite On CD/DVD combo
    --Western Digital WD3200JB (Caviar SE--OEM version from

    The first problem encountered was that pressing the Delete key during boot-up would not allow access to BIOS. There was just a screen showing the Crosshair logo with "Republic of Games."

    By calling ASUS and explaining this problem of not being able to access BIOS, they agreed to send out a new BIOS chip, free-of-charge.

    After receiving and installing the BIOS chip, I was then able to access the BIOS.

    I set the Boot Priority to "Boot from CD ROM" as the first order of preference.

    With a Windows XP Professional (with SP2) disk installed in the drive, the computer booted up, and began running the XP setup.

    After only a few minutes, the computer displayed the following error message:

    Windows XP Professional Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed on
    your computer.

    After contacting both ASUS again, as well as Western Digital, I am getting conflicting information regarding jumper settings. I did set jumper on the CD ROM to slave, and the jumper on the hard drive to master.

    I also experimented with setting the hard drive jumper to master, and the CD ROM to Cable Select, as recommended by ASUS.

    In either of these configurations, the BIOS is showing each device under the main section, yet when booting up the computer, the CD ROM starts spinning and the screen turns to color of an illuminated form of black, with a flashing white cursor.

    As I used the Clear CMOS button, perhaps something was erased, which no longer allows the computer to recognize the CD ROM, even though it shows
    up in the BIOS?

    All I know is that when I first installed the new BIOS chipset, it did allow access to the BIOS, and that was the only time that Windows setup ran,
    albeit, unsuccessfully.

    Hence, given the aforesaid, if anyone can answer the following questions, I'd greatly appreciate it:

    1. What are the correct jumper settings for these components?

    2. Does this problem (not booting from CD ROM) sound like a BIOS issue?

    3. If so to above, what steps should be taken, and in what order?
    (e.g. Clear CMOS, Reset BIOS to factory defaults, use EZ FLash 2 or
    other utility to flash BIOS through USB port, etc.)

    In closing, I've read that this motherboard is one of the best for gaming, but that it is also one of the most troublesome to set up initially.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this rather long post, and for any advice or input you may be able to offer, from your own experience.

    You just might help me save this kid's computer from the trash bin!

    Respectfully submitted,

    Glen (strum4u)
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    1. Master (usually MA) for the hard drive, Slave (usually SL) for the cd. Don't use CS at best it does what MA and SL do, and at worse it causes things to behave strangely.

    2. Its a BIOS issue in that you must set it to boot off the CD before looking to the hard drive.

    3. Clearing CMOS woudln't be a bad idea, that sets the BIOS to factory defaults, but you could also do that after a CMOS clear just to be sure. I wouldn't flash it yet, check what the versions of the BIOS fixed what, if your problem isn't listed no reason to flash it.

    4. I gather you are using an IDE CD drive as well as an IDE HD. So the driver settings in point #1 are crucial. Just making sure you are using IDE interface rather than SATA.

    5. Download memtest86's bootable ISO ( ) and run that if you can get it to boot off cd. Normally you'd want to run that several hours, but if the problems you are having are caused by RAM you'll likely get errors very quickly (seconds to minutes into it).
  3. nonda

    nonda TS Rookie Posts: 35

    little gold pins?

    When he installed the MOBO did he install the little gold pins that raise the mobo off the case? Its so simple, but can be forgotten if a 12 y/o is building a computer, belive me ive seen it before. This can cause a pc not to post properely due to some sort of electrical issue of being grounded or something, make sure the kid has the mobo raised off the case. err- look for RAID drivers, most likely came with the mobo, usually a floppy, sometimes these little black things can be overlooked when scravaging through a mobo box filled with all sorts of new toys.
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    He won't need raid drivers for a single ide hard drive.
  5. nonda

    nonda TS Rookie Posts: 35

    kid shoulda bought a dell, LOL, they come with warrenties
  6. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST TS Rookie Posts: 596

    No he shouldnt have. Dell sucks.
  7. nonda

    nonda TS Rookie Posts: 35

    Do u like Alienware computers?
  8. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    If the kid shorted out the mobo the computer would never have started up at all.

    Do you get any BEEP codes? This does definately seem like a BIOS/mobo issue.

    edit: Dell and Alienware both suck ^^
  9. nonda

    nonda TS Rookie Posts: 35

    not true, ive knocked resisters off of the motherboard before and it still boots up.
  10. beef_jerky4104

    beef_jerky4104 Banned Posts: 822

    I'm assuming that he is running an IDE Hard Drive and CD-ROM drive. Get another IDE cable for his drives, set both to cable select and hop on one foot and rub your tummy and pat your head. I hope it works. I've been in the same situation.

    Good Luck!
  11. Tedster

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

    worst case you might need to RMA some parts. I'd start with the MOBO.
  12. Exonimus

    Exonimus TS Rookie Posts: 77

    guys, dell and alienware both aren't superb. But let's not start flaming about that.

    if it doesn't work you can also try a different cd-rom drive/harddisk and see if that does any good. If it does, it's not the motherboard. But this does sound like a motherboard issue..
  13. robin_bga

    robin_bga TS Rookie Posts: 171

    Sorry to the Kid, anyway do a full reset by clearing the mobo (remove the batt or reset with Jumper) then make sure u separate the IDE by giving each Drive its own IDE cable, u can set the Master being the are on different channels.also make sure u don't fault Ram, u can do a memtest86 test like what *SNGX1275* told u. Then lets us know what u came up with.Raid is not really important.But make sure that u leave the Advanced Setting of Bios to Auto detect check if the system is set and both IDE channels are enabled in bios.However it would be best if u don't addon any other addon card, just the basic ones,the other will come later.
  14. beef_jerky4104

    beef_jerky4104 Banned Posts: 822

    Now that I think about it I've had this exact (but with diiferent hardware) problem. The solution I had to fixing this was replacing the Power Supply. If he used the one that came with his case, then that is likley the cause. If it is possible test the PC with a different one and see if that helps.

    Good luck.
  15. beef_jerky4104

    beef_jerky4104 Banned Posts: 822

    Any luck so far, if you fix it tell us what the problem was.

  16. Bluemouse

    Bluemouse TS Rookie Posts: 195

    Yea, beep codes might help. When the computer starts up do you hear a single beep (normal)? The screen changing colours does seem like a mobo issue though :S
  17. Midgetmax

    Midgetmax TS Rookie Posts: 49

    I Had the Exact same problem, it resulted in the computer turning the power on, but with an intensly high pitch noise. almost like the noise a tv makes.
  18. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    RMA the mobo. Get something like an M2N32 SLI Deluxe.
  19. beef_jerky4104

    beef_jerky4104 Banned Posts: 822

    Any updates?
  20. strum4u

    strum4u TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Help Save This Kid's Computer (Follow Up)

    Hello Everyone,

    It has been some time since I have visited this thread to follow up on the problem that I initially reported, and I thank everyone for their input.

    I had ordered a new hard drive ribbon from ASUS, and after installing it, the problem persisted, and windows would not boot up.

    I managed to have a friend of mine who is extremely talented with computers, come over to my neighbor's home and inspect the computer.

    He didn't like the sound of the hard drive and suspected that, even though a new Western Digital Caviar purchased from, that it was defective.

    My friend was correct in his diagnosis, and after an exchange took place, the new hard drive allowed the computer to function as it should, and Windows was installed successfully.

    Again, thanks to all, and I apologize for not checking back to update the status of
    this thread until now, more than a year later.


    Glen E. Sarkis
  21. resu

    resu TS Rookie Posts: 172

    aww man .. missed out on all the fun

    well at least you managed to get it up and running!

    hard drives can be so touchy its stupid :)

    but hey thats the fun of computer building :D
  22. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Wow, thanks for the update.

    Now don't be a stranger :)
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