New Comp - Boot Problems

Joe_C

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Just like the subject says, the new computer I'm building is not allowing me to continue on with the boot process past the BIOS Startup Screen. I have all the components installed already, but when I tried to put my boot disk in the floppy to start working on the software, the computer just freezes/stops on that screen.
I've tried different cables for the floppy drive, and a different drive altogether but nothing seems to work. One of my friends mentioned that maybe the disk I'm using isn't bootable, but I'm positive it is. I've tried the Startup Disk which came with my other working computer, and I've also made a new boot disk off the working comp. Neither seems to work.
It gets to that the end of that first screen, and the floppy drive begins reading the disk but it never goes beyond that. Oh, and the problem isn't that the ribbon cable is upside down. That happened to me right away, but I fixed that immediately. This problem is a little different.
And my system is as follows:
Athlon 1.4 GHz (266MHz)
Asus A7M266
512mb Kingston DDR
Leadtek GeForce2 Pro 64mb
IBM Deskstar 40gb 60gxp
Plextor 16/10/40 CD-RW
Please help me! I've been working on this for three days straight! I've read just about every word of text on your entire site. It's been extremely helpful, but it doesn't help me with my specific problem. Although after implementing some of the suggestions the BIOS no longer just "freezes" after it checks the IDE slots, and now a cursor blinks at the bottom of the screen.
Thanks in advance for any help.
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Kelley_B

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What OS are you planning on installing? If its anything beyond Windows 98, you should set the boot priority to have it boot off of the CDROM first and then it will boot off of the Windows CD. Let me know if that fixes it.
 

SteveBjr

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Try what Kelly said...if the ram you are using isn't confirmed to work i'd test out another stick. Let us know if you get it working
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Joe_C

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I checked the RAM and it's not that. I also tried booting off the Windows CD, after I gave the CD-ROM boot priority. All that happened was the drive kept whirring at higher and higher speeds, slowing down, and then revving up again. I'm even more confused now then I was before

I'm also getting a little stressed since I need this computer for school, since I leave this Saturday (UCLA starts REALLY late).
Oh, and I'm installing Win98 right now. I'm getting XP tomorrow, but I'm going to wait on installing that until all the game compatibility problems I've been hearing about have been smoothed over a bit - which will hopefully be in time for its October launch.
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[Edited last by Joe_C on September 18, 2001 at 12:36 AM]
 

CRyan

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Well, you will need to take everything out.
Take out everything except for the floppy drive and video card. Boot and see where it gets you. If you are still having problems, then you probably have a bad mainboard. That is if you are CERTAIN that you do not have a bad floppy drive and/or cable or stick of memory.
If you get to a prompt, then start using the scientific method till your system hangs again. That is all you can really do. Just isolate the problem.
Is your Power Supply AMD recommended? I doubt this is the culprit, but you never know.
Let us know what happens.
C. Ryan
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CRyan

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Oh and a few more things. Make sure that your video card is seated properly. This can easily cause the problem you are describing. You may want to pop in PCI video card to make sure it is not the video card or AGP port.
I had a problem when I first built my current PC. My cheapo case was preventing me from completely inserting my video card, although, I thought it was.
C. Ryan
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Joe_C

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Thanks for the help so far.
Take out everything except for the floppy drive and video card. Boot and see where it gets you. If you are still having problems, then you probably have a bad mainboard. That is if you are CERTAIN that you do not have a bad floppy drive and/or cable or stick of memory.
Right now the only components I have in there are the video card, motherboard, cpu, memory, harddrive, cd-rom, and floppy drive. I've tried a different floppy and cable from another system with no change.
My powersupply is AMD recommended, I made sure about that beforehand

If I could get to a prompt of any kind, I'm positive I could handle it from there. The problem is, the screen/BIOS just freezes after the BIOS Startup Screen.
One thing that I forgot to mention last night was that about every tenth restart ends with the comp beeping three times (indicating a problem with the video card I think), but every single time the video card BIOS runs before anything else and it runs correctly. It's very bizarre. I took the card out and reinserted it the last time it gave me those beeps, and the next time I restarted I didn't get the beeps but the screen did freeze at the same spot again.
Every so often I'm "lucky" enough to where a cursor flashes at the bottom of that initial screen, but I still can't do anything more with that than when the entire screen freezes up completely. It just REFUSES to go past that initial screen.
A few other people I've talked to about it have suggested that I flash a newer BIOS, since the one I have may be out of date or something like that. But with this mobo, I have the latest Award BIOS version, so unless you guys think that might still help out I'm going to disregard going in that direction.
I'm going to take it in to my buddy who's a tech, but it's kind of a blow to my pride as a computer tech that I can't solve my own problems
I have a feeling that the motherboard or some other components may need to be replaced, but I would really rather not deal with such a huge f'ing hassle. Oh well.
Keep the suggestions/advice/help coming.
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Ron_S

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The three beeps do indicate a video card problem. If you get a flashlight and look closely, you will find that the end of the video card is not seated well. You really have to press down on the card pretty firmly to seat it properly.
Next, use a Windows 98 boot disk (make certain that the A: drive is your first boot device in the BIOS) to boot to a prompt...this may take a while, be patient, since the hard disk does not have a valid partition.
Use FDISK to create a valid partition.
I had similar problems recently. Hang in there.
 

Joe_C

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Ok, I was pretty sure that's what those beeps meant, but I had always heard that you would tell if there was a problem BEFORE the BIOS had a chance to even bootup (or in my case partially bootup).
I'll go take a look at it now, but that by itself doesn't explain why the CD-ROM kept revving up and slowing down on a continuous cycle. Or does it?
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CRyan

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Honestly, as I mentioned before, your best bet is going to be to try out a PCI video card in your machine. If that works, then you simply have a bad MB or video card. When I said take everything out, I really meant EVERYTHING except for the video card, processor, and floppy. And only have a keyboard and monitor attached.
But anyway, itt really does seem that you have a video problem and you should concentrate on that.
Your variable speed CD-ROM will do that when it gets stuck cycling. More than likely your BIOS is checking the CD-ROM and before it has a chance to "cycle down" you computer freezes leaving it cycling without anything to tell it too stop. This is of no consequence.
C. Ryan
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