AMD 1.33 Mhz (not overclocked, bus speed multiplier is 10x), 512 PC133 SD-RAM, ECS K7VTA3 (I think)mother board, Windows XP Home.
Creating this post from my work PC. Spec above are on my home PC.
As of this posting I was able to get my PC to start normally again. Once able to get into the BIOS settings, I set my BIOS settings to the default/safe values. When I was having problems and getting the error message above, I found that if I stuck a 3.5 in the floppy drive and re-booted I could get it to start up to the point where it identified an invalid system disk (at which point I simply removed the disk and hit enter).
I restarted the computer a few times to be sure the problem was gone. At first, it wasn't and my little disk trick stopped working until I tried a different floppy than the one I had been using.
This happened this morning (Tuesday, April 25th, 7 am EST). Last night I had installed a new version of a program called DAZ Studio. So I unistalled the programs and all files associated with it. When I left the house the computer was up and running. My concern is there may be a problem with my motherboard or RAM. I ran scans with HiJackThis, CWShredder, AntiVir, and Windows Defender (didn't have time to run Spybot and AdAware) and results came up negative for malicious content. This is to say I don't think it's a virus attacking my bios settings.
So what's my question? What is the best way to run a diagnostic on my motherboard and RAM to assure things are really ok? I still have my BIOS set to the defaults but I understand these settings may not be optimal for my PC. Oh and what "system disk" is it talking about? Thank you.