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In dire need of help & advice to bring dead pc back to life.


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#1
unhappy bunny

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Ok please bare with me as I am new to computers.
I bought a second hand custom pc, the only specs I know about it are as were told on purchase...
AMD Duron
512 MB Ram 2.1 GHZ
111.2 GB Hard drive
DVD ROM DVD ROM RW
CD ROM CD RW
REAL TEL AC'97 audio

Now this is where I apologise for my lack of jargon, my pc was running fine apart from every now & then it would say it was 'dumping physical memory' but after deleting files, mainly stills from when my son had been playing sims on it, it died then each time I tried to turn it on it would shut down a few seconds into the windows xp screen...the one with the loading bar...so I googled & done a bit of homework, everything I read seemed to be pointing to my hard drive, so I replaced a maxtor 80gb PATA 133 ide (<<<haha cant help but giggle at that as not long ago it would have just been numbers & letters to me) for a maxtor 160gb PATA 100 ide. I installed it formatted it & tried to install windows XP only to be met by the same problem I had before I replaced the hard drive...installation would hang at 34 minutes remaining, so again I googled & found a solution which meant finding the last 'INF' file & deleting it. The last one I found was 'netsis.inf' I deleted & finally installation completed, but instead of starting up I kept getting the screen which said 'windows could not start successfully' & offering me the options to start in safe mode etc. But it just wont start in any mode, I have restarted installation & re-formatted but I'm now back to the hanging at 34 minutes remaining....I'm starting to think maybe it is my ram? I have one PC133 SDRAM connected. I'm happy to order more ram as if it isn't the problem it will still upgrade me, but what else could the problem be?

I am sorry that this is so long winded but I have no previous experience of pcs & I would really like now if I could get this problem solved without the need to go to a pro & spend silly amounts of £'s so any ideas/advice would be gratefully received.
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#2
Tyger

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When you replaced the PATA drive with the SATA did you go into BIOS setup to make sure that it was set to boot from the SATA device, and is your SATA drive the first SATA device? Also you may need to get drivers for it, they may be on a disk but the Windows driver site will also have them.
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#3
unhappy bunny

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I have replaced my PATA with another PATA the only difference is my first was 133 & the new one is 100 from what I have read this shouldn't be a problem :)
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#4
happyrock

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Tyger

When you replaced the PATA drive with the SATA

they are both PATA drives and if it was going to be a problem with a SATA drive ...windows would not even see the SATA drive..

unhappy bunny
try reinstalling xp but DO NOT USE THE QUICK FORMAT OPTION..doing it that way can cause problems like yours..
no joy ...
get memtest 86+ here ...this will test your memory...let it run for at least 2 hours...if you get any errors then the ram is bad and will have to be replaced...no errors after 2 hours.......then its probably good and we can try other things..
it will run until you press the escape key
the how to is here..
if you don't have a burning program that will burn .ISO files go here and get burncdcc ..a small FAST no frills iso burning program...

NOTE...do not put a blank cd in until burncdcc opens the tray for you
1. Start BurnCDCC
2. Browse to the ISO file you want to burn on cd/dvd ....in this case its memtest86.iso
3. Select the ISO file
4. click on Start

make sure in the bios the cd drive is the first boot device....put the cd in the cd drive..boot your computer....

BTW no need to apologize...you were very clear on what you did and the results...I wish everybody was that clear
:)

Edited by happyrck, 02 May 2008 - 11:20 AM.

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#5
unhappy bunny

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@happyrck
I never opted for the quick format either time, from what I see from your link for mem86 I need to purchase a disc, I would rather just spend my £'s on a new ram as if it isn't the prob it'll upgrade me & also the pc I'm now on uses the same sdram. So shall I just do that?

& thank you for your compliment, I honestly didn't know anything beyond turning a computer on 18 months ago but I like to think I've now embraced technology & willing to learn :)
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#6
123Runner

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Memtest is free to use. Like anyone else they would like a donation, but not necessary.
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#7
happyrock

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do you have a friend or coworker that could do this for you...(burn the memtest cd using their computer)
how much ram is installed anyway...besides...you will STILL have to test the ram you have...
you could also try running chkdsk from the xp cd recovery console...lowdown is here..
no joy...

you can also run ...from the recovery console
• Fixboot writes a new startup sector on the system partition.
• Fixmbr repairs the startup partition's master boot code.

Edited by happyrck, 02 May 2008 - 12:14 PM.

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#8
unhappy bunny

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sorry for being so dim but....if I did get someone to burn mem86 how can I run it on my pc if it wont start up?
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#9
unhappy bunny

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Ram installed is....PC133 SDRAM 512MB

I have 2 slots but only 1 is occupied, this is why I'm thinking I could buy another ram & if it isn't the problem at least I'll have upgraded. Does this make sense?
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#10
123Runner

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memtest will run from a floppy or a cd. You might have to go into the bios and set the boot order.

Even if you add new memory and the old is still bad, you will still have problems. You need to test it.
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#11
unhappy bunny

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I'm actually keeping up with you when you mention the bios, I presume your meaning that I need to change it so my first boot up is my cd? Am I right?

I was thinking that I could replace my RAM with a new one & try again?
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#12
happyrock

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memtest will boot all by itself...both the cd or the floppy version...
yes you can buy new ram and see if it will boot...
but if it doesn't your right back where you started..except a little poorer...before you do..
go here and see what memory your computer supports...you will have to enter the make and model #
you do not have to buy from them but they will tell you the kind of ram you need..IE PC3200...
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#13
Tyger

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Boy I sure blew that one, I don't know why I thought you had put in a SATA drive.
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#14
happyrock

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Boy I sure blew that one, I don't know why I thought you had put in a SATA drive.

don't worry...we all do things like that... :)
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#15
unhappy bunny

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Thanks for the help so far :) well I have ordered some new ram, as the only person I know that can burn a mem86 disc for me is on holiday atm. So is there any thing else I could try in the meantime? Could the netsis.inf file that I deleted when trying to solve the '34 minutes remaining' problem have caused windows not to start? These are the instructions I followed to try & solve the problem.

* Let the XP hang up at 34 minutes remaining for the first time
* remove the CD from the CDROM and reboot
* Dont enter the CD when the installation asks for it, instead open the DOS prompt (Shift + F10)
* goto C:/Windows and type setupapi.log, hit enter
* The setupapi.log file opens in a notepad
* Scroll to the very last few lines in the file and search for the word “inf”
* You will notice that in the last few moments the installation created a file with the extension “.inf” before dying out (in my case it was the faulty modem for which XP created the file mdmcxpt.inf).
* It means that the device mentioned in the last few lines is faulty and you have to make the installation skip through it.
* Close the notepad and go to the folder C:/windows/inf in command prompt
* Browse through the files to find the “.inf” which was related to the faulty device.
* Straightaway delete the inf file (eg: del mdmcxpt.inf)
* now put in the XP installation CD and Continue the installation

It will not put in the drivers related to the faulty device and so it wont freeze this time !!
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