HP Pavillion 761n, XP Home, Athlon 1.67, 512 RAM, 80 GB hard drive, ATI Radeon 9200 GPU - 128 PCI
Its my brothers computer, Im no computer expert by any means but I know alot more than he does. This computer has not been maintained at all except for when I've had to try and fix problems. Had lots of games installed, and I had to deal with some hardware conflicts after installing a different graphics card. The integrated GPU would not permanently disable.
As you can imagine, the registry got FUBAR'd. The problems were steadily getting worse and I was trying to diagnose over the phone with him ( he lives 250 miles away). Long story short several System Restore attempts were tried after Norton Utilities was unable to solve all the problems.
Eventually it progressed to the point that Windows would no longer load. The boot process would start, hang, and then an error message appeared saying that Windows could not load. It gives these options:
Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Safe Mode with Networking
Start Windows with previous configuration that worked
Start Windows Normally
None of these options works and it returns to the same screen. I went into setup, enabled the diagnostic screen and disabled Quick Boot. Memory test checks out ok and some other processes complete before it returns to the error screen again. It happens so fast I cannot tell what the last few commands are before it fails to boot.
HP made a genius move and did not provide any recovery discs with the computer, and instead relies on a hidden recovery partition on the hard drive. I was unable to use this with the state the system was in, so I had to get some recovery discs mailed to me. I went ahead and reformatted using the 8 System Recovery discs provided by HP, which utilize the Recovery Console. Everything went smoothly and the system booted normally afterwards. I had it up and running for about 10 minutes, loaded the drivers for the ATI graphics cardwas changing some display properties and the computer just died like the power went out. It automatically tried to reboot, but the same error screen appeared.
Thinking since I was changing display properties, maybe its the graphics card. Removed it and reformatted again. Same problem, up and running, then it dies. The only way to get it up and running again is to use the Recovery discs. Which btw, takes about an hour each time.
Went through this a few more times, talked to some people, and came to the conclusion it was bad boot sectors on the hard drive. Replaced it with a new Western Digital unit, formatted, booted up. 15 minutes later, dead again.
Talked to some more people, decided the BIOS needed updating. Hooked up my computer again and downloaded the BIOS update from HP.
This is what the label reads on the BIOS chip:
This is the previous BIOS config. before I updated:
Award Medallion V6.00PG
BIOS Core: V6.0
BIOS Revision: 3.02 03/05/2002
The update I downloaded from HP is version 3.06. Release date: 05/15/2002
Installed it, booted and got the same screen. Formatted again and seemingly I had the problem fixed. Used the computer for a few hours. Installed all the necessary programs, removed all the junk, setup Internet connection and used it, updated drivers. Everything was running great and I had gone through numerous restart sequences. Ran LiveUpdate on Norton SystemWorks and downloaded everything. Had to reboot for changes to take effect.
Want to take a guess what happened then? Same error screen, cant get Windows to load. Several hours of work down the drain. Ready to beat this thing "Office Space" style.
Any ideas on where to go from here? Sorry for the long post. Im just trying to give you all the info I can, so you can get a good idea of what I've done to try and fix this.
Thank you very much for any help you can give in this matter.
If you need more info I will do my best to provide it. Im a novice at best and this is the first time I have really dug into a problem like this. Its been an incredible, and incredibly frustrating, learning experience so far.