Windows 2000 won't boot with 4GB RAM

By TrevDog ยท 13 replies
Sep 30, 2008
  1. I'm working on an Intel D865GLC with 2.4 GHz P4 (800 MHz bus). It has Win2k SP4 installed and a pathetic 512 MB of memory (2x 256). The board has 4 DDR-DIMM sockets and supports up to 4GB of PC3200 memory. It has the latest BIOS revision.

    I bought 4 new PC3200 modules, installed them, and fired it up. It flew through POST (I enabled extended memory tests for the first boot). Then the system hung up as Windows tried to start. The display was missing colors, flashing bars and blocks as it sat in the Win2k loading page.

    It seemed like a memory issue, so I rotated through each of the 1 GB modules. Each time I got slightly different results, but always ended with it locking up. The farthest I got was the user login screen, but with funky colors and it hung as I tried to log in.

    I've installed memory in plenty of machines, but never with results like this. The Windows installation isn't happy with even 1GB of memory, and it should support 4GB.

    Is there any other troubleshooting that I can do? I'm thinking about trying Ubuntu to verify the system can be stable with the 4GB. The customer doesn't have a budget right now to purchase XP for this system.
  2. Achilles_ny

    Achilles_ny TS Rookie

    What's the manufacturer part number on the PC3200 modules?
  3. TrevDog

    TrevDog TS Rookie Topic Starter

    They are brand new Elpida PC3200 modules, compatible with the D865GLC motherboard. (1GB DDR PC3200 400MHz CL3). Not sure of the MFR P/N, the vendor private labels the modules with their own number.
  4. shadowfox

    shadowfox TS Rookie Posts: 25

    let me get this straight
    u installed the Ram in the wrong way and then it got screwed up
    this is y its not wking
  5. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Does it run with less than 4Gb installed? How is it with 1 then 2 then 3Gb ? You say not happy with 1Gb, what does that mean?

    Secondly, I have found the compatibility between memory chips and motherboards is very hit and miss. In my case, I bought new chips only to find no boot, not even bios, and had to RTB. In general, it is advisable in my experience to stick with only the recommended chips for the motherboard, as found by enquiry in the motherboard properties manual on the web.

    In other words, the kit may run perfectly well with some other make of 1Gb chips, or may never in fact have been validated with any 1Gb strip. Do some research.

    Have you booted from a bootable disc or floppy disk and run memtest86?

    Running from a Ubuntu boot CD is a good way to test. Do it. Can you reinstall the Win2k video drivers from a floppy?

    What you say about boot up symptoms says to me - onboard video, incompatible timings. See if the bios allows different memory settings for video, or failing that, will run off a boot CD ? And if video ok then reinstall Win2K from scratch.

    Finally, as a practical point, I think 4Gb is a total waste of money for a Win2K system. 2Gb should be more than enough for anything.
  6. TrevDog

    TrevDog TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I did the research on the system and the O/S to ensure compatibility a week before purchasing the RAM. I placed the system on a static-free mat and used a static strap when removing the old modules, and installing the new modules.

    In 18 years of working on PCs, I've never run into one that didn't like a RAM upgrade. Usually it is just the wrong type of RAM. As stated above, this system supports 4GB, and should easily support 1 or 2 GB - and it doesn't.

    I've yet to run Memtest86 or an alternate O/S on the Intel board. I just got another system that also supports PC3200. I can use it to test the RAM before going nuts on my vendor.

    Now let me get this straight, shadowfox:
    You've got nothing better to do than hassling people who appear to be noobs.
    Grow up, play nice, and try to be part of the solution instead of the problem. :blackeye:
  7. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Worth a check One point made is the need to register the CMOS sometimes. You could clear the bios with the shorting pins or remove the battery for 15 minutes then try again. I dont have to remind you to note the current settings before, do I?

    Good idea to test the memory in another PC. You might find you have been mis-supplied. Or faulty, but not all 4 surely?
  8. TrevDog

    TrevDog TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It boots fine with the original 512 MB, but has issues with all of the new modules. I've tried single 1 GB modules and different 2GB combos. I figured if I couldn't get it to work with 1, 2, or 4 GB, 3 was pointless.

    This system is actually using an AGP card and not onboard video. I've seen where bad RAM will do things to onboard video, but never experienced video issues with an expansion card.

    I think you are right and the 'flavor' of the memory I bought might not be 100% compatible with this board. Intel's site indicates it is compatible as long as all the standards were followed. I've never used Elpida's RAM before, usually Micron, Samsung, & Infineon.

    I'm trying to avoid a fresh Win2k install, but may have to give that some consideration. The system is being used as a small workgroup server and workstation. The extra RAM hopefully will give it some pep. I'd be happy to get 2GB working on it at this point.

    I agree that 4GB is a bit much for a mild 2k box, but the RAM wasn't really that expensive.
  9. TrevDog

    TrevDog TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That's a good point, I'll check into it.

  10. mattfrompa

    mattfrompa TS Evangelist Posts: 553   +57

    DId you try taking out the CMOS battery for about thirty seconds and seeing if the pw was still there?
  11. TrevDog

    TrevDog TS Rookie Topic Starter

    After some exhaustive tests, it turned out the Intel motherboard was at fault. It didn't work with the new RAM and Ubuntu 8.04. The new RAM passed Memtest86 and was very stable on a different system (Ubuntu 8.04 and XP).

    I began to suspect the DIMM sockets were corroded or had a bad solder connections. I couldn't find anything, so I had a colleague look at the system (he's an avionics technician).

    One quick visual look and he said it was without a doubt a bad board. It has 7 capacitors with what he describes as 'capacitor plague' - poorly manufactured capacitors that can wipe out quality boards and other components. They all were showing signs of internal pressure and, when tested, were out of tolerance.

    This might explain why it would sometimes have issues with a warm boot or a power cycle of less than 5 minutes. If left off for an extended period, it would boot up without any issue. As a test, I popped the 4GB in, left it on the bench for a couple of hours, and then turned it on. Lo and behold, Win2k booted fine and had access to the new RAM.

    Fingers are crossed that none of the pesky little capacitors vent or explode before my customer gets a replacement.

    Thanks to all for the good tips! This was a tricky one.
  12. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    If you know someone skilled with soldering abilities you could order the right capacitors and just replace them, should be pretty cheap.
  13. shadowfox

    shadowfox TS Rookie Posts: 25

    hi TREVDOG i didnt mean to b rude
    i guess i misread ur message and got the wrong mesage from ur post il b careful futheron
    if possible forgive me for being arrogant
  14. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Congrats on a good result, thanks for the update too - very useful. Going back a moment to 4Gb memory, this poster (part #13) has evidence of 2Gb being better than 4Gb on XP, and mentions other posts also advising this. new to me, but worth thinking about, because Win2K will certainly be worse than XP at memory utilisation, not to mention that no 32bit system can access more than 3.2Gb anyway....
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