I know this isn't a tech support forum but...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Camp, Aug 16, 2001.

  1. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    Maybe someone here would like to take a stab at my problem.
    I built the following system about 3 months ago:
    Athlon 1.4
    Gigabyte GA-7VTX motherboard (Via KT266 chipset)
    Windows 2000
    512 MB Crucial PC2100
    Antec SX-830 Case
    Elsa GeForce 3
    Hercules GameTheater XP
    30 GB IBM 75GXP
    40 GB IBM 60GXP
    Pioneer slot DVD
    TDK VeloCD
    3 Com Nic
    It ran perfectly for 2+ months until this past Monday when, while playing Tribes the screen suddenly froze and all key presses resulted in an odd beep. The PC suddenly rebooted itself. It then failed to load Windows 2000 at all. It would POST fine but would automatically reboot right before drawing the desktop (though it did make it to the desktop once before restarting itself). It was a continual loop of rebooting.
    Here's what I've done so far:
    1. Tried to boot into safe mode by pressing F8 when the Win2000 boot up tells me. No good. The system kept rebooting itself before getting to safe mode.
    2. Tried to "repair" the Win2000 install with the install CD. No good.
    3. Tried a new install over the existing Win2000. I got a very generic "hardware error" each time I tried this. I tried it with the minimum hardware installed (only RAM, 1 HD, CD, video card, & floppy).
    4. Tried a total new install. Formatted the drive (bye bye data!) and install Windows 2000. This time I got an error saying that specific files (one at a time) couldn't be copied from the CD to the HD.
    At this point I though I narrowed my problem to the HD.
    5. Luckily, I have 2 other HD's laying around. Each HD has the exact same problem: the Windows install app cannot copy certain files from the CD to the drive. This probably rules out the HD as the culprit.
    My attention now turned to the CD...perhaps it's not getting the data to the HD's correctly?
    6. So, I hooked up my DVD as the boot CD drive. Same problem. This probably eliminates either of my optical drives as the issue. That leaves RAM, the Geforce 3, or the motherboard.
    7. One stick of RAM results in the same problem. I can't really test the Geforce 3 but I'm assuming it's not the issue.
    That leaves me with the motherboard. Perhaps the IDE bus is bad? Or the southbridge (isn't that the one that controls the IDE bus?) is dying? That would explain why files in the Windows 2000 set-up app can't be copied from CD to HD, right? Maybe that's why Tribes 2 crashed like it did...it couldn't transfer mid-game data from the CD to the HD and just choked? But why wouldn't I be able to boot to windows?
    Does my hypothesis sound plausable? Am I overlooking anything? Please, if you think of ANYTHING at all post it. I am at a loss at this point.
    I think a new motherboard may be the answer but I don't want to drop the cash on a replacement only to find I overlooked something else.
    If you've read this far (you're a saint) it may be helpful to note that all of this was working perfectly up until Monday evening. No changes have been made in Bios or Windows 2000 or in hardware.
    I'm open to any analysis of my delimma.
    Thank you,
     
  2. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    Could be a BIOS problem... can you give anymore info? When your system crashed, did you get a blue screen with a hex dump? (Note: this is NOT the standard Windows Blue Screen of Death). I fried a hard drive a few months back (my case was open, and I dropped a pair of headphones into the unit on accident... guess it provided one hell of a ground). It ended up frying both hard drives and my RAM (luckily it was a work computer, just went into the hardware room and got new parts).
    Also, try booting off of the CD and then running FDISK on the HD and deleting every partition. Repartition, then reinstall. Maybe something got screwed up in the MBR but I highly doubt it. I doubt this will solve the problem, but its worth a shot.
    [Edited last by Steven K on August 16, 2001 at 01:29 PM]
     
  3. Chris Mannes

    Chris Mannes Stunt Coordinator

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    Try taking everything off the motherboard: RAM, CPU, Cards, Cables etc.
    Then reconnect the bare minimum. CPU, Vid Card, 1 stick of RAM & Power.
    Then see if how far you get. I had a machine that would spontaneously reboot. Turned out that my case would slowly over time pull the video card out of it's slot.
    Not all the way, just enough to cause it to loose connection and freak my poor pc out.
    It's better now.
     
  4. SteveBjr

    SteveBjr Stunt Coordinator

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    Sounds like a RAM issue. If you have 2 or more sticks of RAM try it with each stick seperately. Especially since you are almost getting to your desktop and getting the lockups.
    ------------------
    Steve,
    DVD Collection
     

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