PC will only boot after hard reset.

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After spending many hours perusing various threads on numerous sites I find myself no further on troubleshooting the following boot problem. The PC will not boot from cold, but will work perfectly after a hard reset. Apologies in advance for this massive post, but it will prevent exploring places I have explored already. I built the following system for my son for Christmas:

ABIT NF8 V2 mb
AMD Sempron 3000+ Boxed with fan
single stick 512 mb Kingston DDR 400 Memory
ATI Radeon 9550 256 mb video card
Sony DVD drive
Single Western Digital WD800 JD 7200 rpm SATA 80 gb HDD
Zoom G-Wireless USB 54 mbs card
TV 2000XP global TV tuner card PCI
LG 1917S TFT monitor.

350W PSU with 19V on the 12V rail

Windows XP home

On first assembly everything booted up and worked fine. The following day – on a cold boot, the system hung before/during POST. No single (normal) beep and fans were turning and both HDD and DVD drive lights came on. The reset button did not have any effect. A couple of hard power-offs did the trick - system booted into windows fine. Again the following day on a cold start, the system hung but I had a couple of different POST codes at different times:

Two tone siren – short beeps, repeating longer beep (about 1 sec long) but did not self shut down – just continued with the beeping until I switched the power off (reset had no effect)

On investigating various web sites/threads I decided on replacing the PSU (two tone beeps – out of limit voltage detection and on looking on ABIT TEQ the 3.3V rail was a bit unstable (about 6-7%) I also increased AGP and Vcore voltages by small amounts as recommended on the Abit Forum threads but no improvement. I replaced the PSU with a Jeantech 600W unit)

Bet you can guess though – New PSU did not help.

I have since done three clean installs of windows and formatted the HDD to try to eliminate virus/driver snags. Incidentally, on the windows install – the soft reboots initiated by windows setup resulted in single repeated beeps and system hangs. Hard power off and reboot again enabled a normal boot back into windows.

Other threads suggest that the single repeating beep is not a terminal main board problem and I suspected the CMOS battery – not enough juice to store the configuration – hence the hanging on cold boot but changing it has not helped either. I have also swapped RAM and graphics card ( ATI radeon 9600XT) from my other PC to eliminate those components as suspect. Also tried running the RAM as 333 rather than 400 - Symptoms remained each time.

I then noticed that the DVD rom was not always recognised in the BIOS and so suspected an IDE channel failure. After discussion with tech support people at ABIT I then RMAed the motherboard and replaced it for an ASUS K8V X SE.

Since fitting the ASUS board the only remaining problem is that the PC will still not boot first time from cold. You have to do a hard reset and then it boots fine and runs very well into windows. I have now been investigating threads about the WD800JD hard drive and its compatibility with the VT8237R chipset. I have jumpered the HDD to lock at 150mb/s. Have also swapped in a different DVD drive but no change.

I am left with thinking that this is a BIOS setting issue or a SATA/IDE conflict or BOOT issue. I have tried play with boot order and the RAID screen but there appears to be nothing to change there. I have also flashed the BIOS to 1015 from the ASUS web site. I have checked for motherboard shorts – seems clear.

I am also thinking of getting an EIDE HDD just to see if this is the problem but can't see why SATA shouldn’t run with IDE on the same board?

So far I have:

Changed PSU twice
Changed the mainboard
Swapped in RAM
Swapped in Graphics Card
Changed GPU fan supply source
Changed CMOS battery
Changed voltages in the bios at the advice of the tech support man in UK
Run various software based hardware checks eg PC Check 5.65 and memtest 86+ which have all passed.

Sorry 'bout the war and peace but having read many threads, it seems to pay to be thorough... I really am starting struggle with this one. Any help would be gratefully received…

Kev D


Posts: 139   +1
Wow, sounds like you've essentially swapped in a brand new computer.

You didn't put jumpers on the hard drive, did you? I've heard of that messing up SATA drives. Poke around the BIOS and mess with the drive settings, including raid configs that might not exist. it definately sounds like a BIOS problem related to your hard drive.

That does seem like a royal pain though.
Thanks for coming back. I have jumpered the HDD but only following Western Digital's instruction to short pins 2 and 6 to lock the drive at 150.

I can't seem to find any raid config settings... The tab function in the bios sends you to the right screen but nothing is adjustable seemingly cos I've only got a single drive in there.


Posts: 2,094   +3
run with a minimum setup PC. 1 ram, 1 hdd (os) audio/visual (onboard if possible), power, cpu/mobo.

If above, ok, then start adding hardware, starting from DVD drive, etc.

- have you tried changing the data cable from your hdd/dvd etc?
- check for shorts to the case.
- put every setting in BIOS to optimum or default for troubleshooting purposes. Use the CMOS reset function if needed to.
- download drive diagnostic utility from WD's site and check your HDD against it. It should tell you if you got a hardware problem (relating to the HDD) or not.
Thanks again for posting pack. I spent yesterday afternoon re installing everything (apart from the CPU). There definately is no short/grounding. After going back to the basic config (PSU, MB, Graphics, RAM & CPU) the system would boot fine right up to adding the HDD then back to the old problem. Removing the HDD then hard reset also failed to boot. Changing the PSU again got better (and worse) in that all it would do is reboot over and over again. Am now about to change the RAM divider from 200 to 166....

This morning, after PC booting normally all evening with the new settings, back to the old problem again...

Starting to suspect the CPU. Need also to get another HDD both IDE and another SATA. Nothing back from WD technical support yet on firmware update or some advice for the drive.


Posts: 2,094   +3
don't think you'd need any firmware upgrade for your HDD because it would be the correct one (how else can your HDD operate?). running their diagnostic utility from a bootable cd/floppy should tell you all you need to know about whats wrong in your HDD, if any.

Set the HDD back to factory conditions. (ie. remove any customized jumper settings etc). Reset CMOS. I believe you're changing too much settings at one time to effectively troubleshoot. Its a hardware based problem. If you can get past POST, then BIOS settings should be fine for now.

If the above doesn't get it working again, this time take a step back further by taking the motherboard out of the case, hooking it up ontop of a non-conductive surface (like a cardboard box) and then reseating everything, including the CPU, making sure its contacting properly etc.

Go to BIOS Hardware monitor and post the temperatures and voltages readings here.

Removing the HDD then hard reset also failed to boot
just to clarify, you did turn off and unplug the power before you removed the HDD right? :D
Thanks for your help so far. Its not the HDD. I got a brand new Maxtor IDE drive and rebooted with the same symptoms after resetting the CMOS. Suspecting the SATA channel/controller is wrong. I am now convinced this is a power/CPU/Mboard/RAM issue. Before I take everything out (again) I intending getting a different chipset graphics card from a friend. Although I have swapped one in before, they have been the same Radeon 9550/9600 chipset.

This is gonna take 2 days. Overnight tonite with the nvidia card and then overnite tomorrow with eveything out on the table.

Last time I reseated the CPU there was a bit of resistance in dropping the locking arm but a check for bent pins revealed nothing out of the ordinary. When you say "making sure its contacting properly etc are you talking about the heatsink?

Voltages/temps as requested:

CPU - 32
System 30


Vcore - 1.488
12V - 12.196
5V - 5.145
3.3V - 3.312

If anything the temp on the processor seems low to me but the guy in the shop said they do run cool.

Thanks for sticking with me - get back to you soon...



Posts: 139   +1
Got me stumped. I'd probably have to see it to troubleshoot it more effectively, but it looks like CPU is next in line.
System wont post

Hi Dolphin,
Read about the problem you're having. You have been very through in your troubleshooting. Could it be an overclocking issue? I have had a similar issue and the customer had set the cpu multiplier to high in the bios. The CPU seems to stand out to me. And be careful of ESD. Good luck
Say a little prayer for Alex's Computer (Alex is my son, the PC his troublesome Xmas present....) I think I might have cracked it. Turned it on this morning and it started first go.

Changed the graphics card again. The only other thing - hence the little prayer - is that I left the case cover off overnight. Has started fine all day today with the case on, but I won't be sure until tomorrow morning...

Live and hope.

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