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Intermittent Boot Failure


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#1
Topaz

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The Computer is a NEC Powermate , Intel Celeron 2.60 GHz , 256 RAM , 40 GigByte HardDrive.
Pre-Installed XP Home Ed.
Windows XP SP2 Home edition . All MS Updates.

The problem first occured when I started computer a week ago and the screen said "Boot Failure"
My Son Had the computer ON and The Monitor off; I think I thought the computer was OFF and pressed the power button. The initial facts are a bit blurry .
This machine had been Formatted and Windows re-Installed from the hidden partition pre-installed machines have by a Technician in July this year. It has been running really well till last week.
I run Zone Alarm free Firewall , Avast! AntiVirus Home Ed. as a resident program , Ewido free as a secondary 'On Demand 'scanner , Spybot S&D , Ad-Aware SE , Spyware Blaster , Firefox 1.5.0.7 as my default browser.

So I don't know if I accidentally turned the Comp. OFF with the power button , or there's been a power outage.
Problem : Power on with switch , "Boot Failure" , Boot device cannot be found!
Turn machine OFF , leave it for more than 2 hours and somedays it starts , runs , if I try CHKDSK , get a boot failure on the re-start.
Got into BIOS (F2) , no Master HDD installed , just going in circles , set Primary HDD to "Auto" , save settings , try to get into Safe Mode (F8 Tapping ) , presented with boot options "A Drive " , "Cd-Rom" , Or Network . Either of these options selected and I get "can't find boot reord" . Once after setting to Auto detect HDD C:\ in BIOS and tapping F8 , Hard Drive was presented , so I put it after the "A" Drive in 2nd place boot priority , machine got to Desktop , loaded Icons , almost loaded taskbar and "Black Screen" of death .
Obviously the more times I try booting and it fails and I have to turn off at power button the machines getting less stable.
Last night after another day of trying setting BIOS and trying to get to the Safe Mode options , "Last Working config." , etc. gave up and turned "it" OFF . Couple of hours later turned it on & it just booted normally , I tried the HDD scan of bad sectors which runs with Windows on , then tried CHKDSK and when re-starting boot failed , so I turned it OFF at Computer power button .

Today , like 12 hours later it has started ! I have made a restore point , cleared them about 10 days ago during disk clean , they do add up in size after a couple of weeks , so have 10 days of Restore points , but haven't tried rolling back .
So I feel scared to turn machine off , If I run CHKDSK as I did last night re-starts with the "Boot Failure" .
Really stumped here. Have printed out lots of sytem info , like the HDD data so I could set BIOS up with its settings i.e. Cylinders , sectors , etc . There are no Errors in Event viewer , i.e there are logs , but nothing pointing to any obvious problem :whistling: oNE THING IS aUDIO IS SKIPPING IF TRY RUN Media .

Any advice would be really appreciated . I Have the CD which Formats and Re-Installs XP , but want to save my data and am on DialUp which is why I spent money for a Tech to reinstall MS Updates , SP2 , and use "Acronis" to transfer data to another drive , then back to mine. Can't afford to do so again.
This is really weird , as I'm online , but have no idea what's going on . No Malware , checked with HiJackThis , all o.k. ( same looking log as 2 weeks ago , clean )
Have ran Avast! Ewido , Spybot ... :blink:
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#2
System101

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If able to, try a system restore to a point to when the computer was working normally, if this doesn't work post another notice and we'll go from there.

Does the boot failure error say anything else? Like numbers or letters I,e, an error code of some kind. this could be helpfull in diagnosing the problem.

Also, how old is the HD and does it make any type of wierd abnormal noises, like a click or something simular?
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#3
Topaz

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Hi System101, thanks for your reply .
I better explain that this computer is my Son's and His Mother's . I'm not there all the time so I was writing in the 3rd person , from what I could ascertain from their desciption of events.

So , I'll see what happens after restoring back to the very last point . I believe this is the only 'stable' restore point .

Does the boot failure error say anything else? Like numbers or letters I,e, an error code of some kind. this could be helpfull in diagnosing the problem.

No , I've only seen terms like " Boot failure , insert disk" , " Boot record not found" ;" Network not found , check cable " ; terms to that effect.

Also, how old is the HD and does it make any type of wierd abnormal noises, like a click or something simular?

The HD is around 12 months old. When boot error is occuring the HD sounds kind of 'sloppy' like it's just idling really slow .

I did run a check on the drive . Right click HD in 'My Computer' , Properties , Tools , Error checking , Check Disk (C:) , "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors". No errors were reported .

Will try system restore and report back .
Thanks .
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#4
Guest_rushin1nd_*

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are there any stop errors with your crashes

if there are what are they

Edited by rushin1nd, 25 October 2006 - 10:40 PM.

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#5
Topaz

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Hi rushin1nd , thanks for your reply .
No there aren't any stop errors . Just the cyclic "boot Failure" message when in the past I've re-booted , or it re-booted itself. I've done every possible malware scan , CWShredder , HiJackThis , Avast! , Ewido , Spybot S&D , Ad-Aware SE , Spyware Terminator.
This my Ex-Wifes Comp. , ( :whistling: ) the situation at the moment is She's left it ON for the last 24 hours or so , been able to go online , mainly my 13 year old Son uses it .
I'm beginning to think it's a hardware problem , maybe a loose lead inside the box , or a sticky Power switch. Definite memory problem though , Media Player 'skips' sound when opening a new App. or Window . Just leaving it alone as " She " don't wanna muck with it no more . I'd love to get to the bottom of this , but seems time is gonna tell what is up . I'm really surprised it's been ON for over 24 hours without a crash :blink:
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#6
Guest_rushin1nd_*

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try adding more memory ...more ram to give it a boost
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#7
Topaz

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rushin1nd :

try adding more memory ...more ram to give it a boost


Yes more memory would be great ; 256 MB RAM is not really enough , but nothing memory "Hogging" has been added to the system , so I'm still unsure what the heck is going on to warrant the system instabilility all of a sudden :whistling:
She's had the computer running 70 hours now , too scared to shut it down :blink:
Sorry, seems to be a dead end till I convince the owner to risk a Re-Boot , or Shutdown.
Running quite well , using the thing now ...
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