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Tech Helproom


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Intermittent boot failure and pc freeze


Picklefactory
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Hello folks Just wondering if anyone could try and guide me in troubleshooting a friends pc. He had his PSU die a few weeks ago and replaced with a larger one (750w increased from 400w), but since then the machine is not happy. It always fires up but intermittently hangs during Win XP boot. When it doesn't hang fully, there still seems to be a pause where the blue loading bar freezes for approx 10-20 seconds before then continuing the load and all seems OK for a limited time before the whole pc freezes up and needs restarting (Anything from a few minutes to 30 minutes). He is convinced it's his mobo, but I'm surprised the thing would start and run at all if that was duff and my thought is HDD as that seems to be working very hard on boot and when I accessed the bios setup screen on boot it is hanging on search for SATA drive. Any suggestions please, on how to try and bottom out root cause? He does have a spare HDD which we're going to install tonight and load XP into, so that is a start, but if that fails to provide a definitive answer, I'm a bit stumped on where to go next? Thanks

The mc has a single SATA 320Gb HDD, 4Gb RAM running XP Pro

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KRONOS the First

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I'll ask the obvious but you do have all the necessary cables plugged in to the mobo.The 24 pin or 20 +4 pin and the 4 pin 12V ATX cables?

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Picklefactory

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Chronus

Haven't checked that yet, to be honest, I didn't install anything but I didn't suspect that either, as I didn't realise it might still run at all with incorrect or missing cable connections. I'll get him to sort out manuals and I'll double check tonight. I'm certainly no expert, and only self built a couple of pc's, so I don't know what goes where without instructions. Thanks for the suggestion

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Terry Brown

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I suggest (after unplugging power cables)remove the main PSU plug, look to see if any of the cable are loose in the plugs (might be a faulty PSU connection)and re-plug in firmly.

Does the machine boot from IDE or SATA harddrive, as you may need to reset the prioity settings i the BIOS.

Terry

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Picklefactory

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Thanks Terry It only has one HDD which is SATA although his spare HDD is an IDE, I think. So hopefully tonight I might know a little more.

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Fruit Bat /\0/\

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Blip when loading during blue bars is usually down to a driver error.

Which could also account for the freeze up.

When up and running do a repair

Type

sfc /scannow

in the run box, press enter and let system file checker find and replace missing / corrupt file in windows and explorer.This will take awhile to complete and you may be asked for the CD to be in the drive if windows is not preinstalled on the hard drive.

sfc /scannow problems http://www.updatexp.com/scannow-sfc.html

Also try updating drivers

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Kingfisher

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I had a very similiar intermiient problem to this after installing a new hard drive. I eventually tracked it down to loose connection on one of my dvd drives, please ensure all connections to all components and mobo are a nice tight fit, good luck

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Picklefactory

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Thanks folks I'm off round there soon, I'll update later with results, but I have something more to go at now. Cheers

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Picklefactory

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Didn't go as planned. House full of highly inquisitive tiny tots not exactly conducive to a focussed attempt at solving the issue, further compounded by my mate being Polish and the XP install being Polish, so struggled to really get into it.

Checked all connections, and they appear sound, so far as I can tell. Tried to run scannow, but all the options then came up in Polish and the translations I was getting weren't particularly helpful, so had to sack that as I'm not familiar enough with it to know which option by rote. Trying to change the language through Control Panel didn't work as the main install had been Polish and it refused to speak English. Or, of course, I could have been missing something daft, but I think it would need an English install

The option of ruling out the HDD by trying his spare was also a miserable failure. He couldn't be certain that the spare IDE drive was good, although he wasn't aware of any issues when he removed it. But trying to load XP proved troublesome, with numerous dll errors popping up during install, but I don't have a spare drive. I'll take my own XP disk over tomorrow and try again in case his disk is damaged and install in English if I can.

So after about 4 fruitless hours, I'm really none the wiser.

I may take a hammer too!!

Would it work if I removed my working HDD, which is also running XP Pro, and just install that in his pc? Would that start up? That at least would prove/disprove HDD issue, and possibly driver issue too? If my HDD and OS worked OK, it would show that at least mobo/processor/graphics were OK.

I can also try a fresh install of my XP disk on his SATA drive, and should that still cause issues, at least I can attempt scannow again in English

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KRONOS the First

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The chances of his PC booting with your HDD in is doubtful as all the drivers for motherboard etc will be different and I expect XP will be miffed at that. I woud go for the fresh install on his Sata drive at least that will rule out various components if you succeed.

Also check that his RAM is seated correctly.Surely he is able to translate for you if you gone repair install route also?

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Picklefactory

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Sorry for late closure of this, but been away.

Managed to get some peace and quiet to look again at this thing, and TB was spot on. I had gone through and initially looking for anything obviously loose, but found nothing. Visited again and I thought best to start at the beginning before moving on to more complex trials, so I removed/reseated all cards and all internal plugs and connections, rather than just prodding and pushing to check them, and hey-ho, so far so good. Seems to have been as simple as that.

Thanks folks

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