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Unable to boot computer WinXp SP2


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#1
FlyersFan

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Hi,

My WinXp SP2 computer is suddenly giving me trouble. It was working fine for years until yesterday morning. When booting, the computer will either a) not boot and indefinitely hang until it is rebooted again, or b) if the login screen does appear, it will reboot on its own when logging in.

I suspected bad memory (Kingston DDR 512 MB), and ran memtest. It failed on running the Extented Tests. Memtest essentially crashed and locked the PC requiring a reboot. I have replaced the memory with new Kingston Memory (DDR I 1GB). Unfortunately, I have the same issues. So the cause is not the memory after all.
:-(

I attempted to boot from the WinXP CD, and run Repair, but it asks for an Administrator password which is null. Yet, it will not accept pressing Enter.

The computer does have 2 hard drives - IDE and SATA drive.

Can anyone please offer any good suggestions? Thanks.
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#2
The Skeptic

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Did you run memtest again, after repalcing the module? What did you get.

Have you tried restoring the computer to an early date, before the problem started?
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#3
FlyersFan

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Thanks for the quick response.

When I replaced the memory, I ran memtest before even trying to reboot properly, and experienced the same problem with memtest.

I have tried to boot in safe mode and to boot from a last known good configuration, and experienced the same symptom of not being able to boot and the computer rebooting when logging in.

Other suggestions?
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#4
The Skeptic

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The computer must pass memtest. If it doesn't then there is no point in carrying on because there is a strong indication that there is a hardware problems involved. The problem is probably in the motherboard (Damaged Bios, corrupted cmos parameters, chipset, bus, memory slot etc) or power supply unit.

However, just a week ago I had a computer which I could not boot. It would go into an endless cycle of reboots. Memetes failed like crazy and the hard disk showed over a hundred errors. The computer was chocked with caked dust. I guessed immediately that the computer got overheated, the memory module got damaged and the reboots were the result of overheating and damaged components. The disk was damaged because of the many reboots. To cut a long story short: as a favor to the lady who could not pay for full repair, I took a chance, reformated the disk, reinstalled XP and the computer runs (for the time being, at least) like a new machine, ignoring memtest and disk errors.

After reading the story please reset the cmos by doing the following: Disconnect the power cable from the back of the computer. Open the side cover and carefully take out the cmos battery (looks like a silvery button). Keep it out for about 15 minutes. Reinstall and reboot. You will probably get a checksome error or some other message. If you do, enter BIOS and set time and date, save the new values and let the computer boot. There are computers in which other keys have to be used to enter BIOS. You can find the correct key when looking at the screen right after pressing the start button. Look for what key you have to press to enter setup.

Also, double check that the memory module sits firmly in place and that the gold contacts and slots are clean of dust.
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#5
FlyersFan

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Last night, I removed the CMOS and reinserted it this morning. There is very little dust and I did give it a vaccuum.

I attempted to boot normally, and it rebooted once again after I logged in. :)

I was able to start in safe mode (which I was not able to do yesterday). I ran chkdsk on the drives and it ran cleanly. There do not appear to be any bad sectors on the drives. But it did report the following:

Correction errors in the Volume Bitmap.
Windows found problems with the file system.
Run CHKDSK with the /F (fix) option to correct these.

For some reason, it reported that the disk was being used and it would run chkdsk the next time it boots up.
Unfortunately, I must have only been lucky to boot in safe mode before because I am no longer able to do so without the computer rebooting again.

Continuing to troubleshoot. I will update when I have more to provide.
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#6
FlyersFan

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MEMTEST fails consistently with the following:

TRAP 000000006 EXCEPTION
Test Name: LRAND
tr=0028 cr0=00000011 cr2=00000000 cr3=00039000 memory
gdt limit=03FF base=0046B280 idt limit=07FF base=0046B680

etc
....

Does that provide any clues?
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#7
The Skeptic

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1:Please try to move the new module to another slot and see if the situation improves.

2: Disconnect everything from the computer except HD, memory, keyboard, monitor, mouse and CD drive. If you have two video connections at the back of the computer please take the video card out and connect to the on-board one. Reboot and see what happens.

3: Do you have, or can you borrow, XP installation CD of the same version that is installed? If yes, boot to Recovery Console following these instructions:

To get to Recovery Console insert the disk into the cd drive and reboot the computer. Setup Windows screen will show up. If it doesn't, enter BIOS and set the cd drive to be first priority boot device.

Let Setup run until three setup options are shown. Choose Recovery Console by pressing R. When asked for XP installation type 1 (assuming you have only one operating system installed). When asked for password type your password or press Enter if you don't have a passwoed. A black DOS-like screen will show up.

At the prompt type chkdsk /r (please note the space in the command) and let the process run to the end.
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#8
FlyersFan

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I am in the process of running memtest again. I'll update the post soon.
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#9
FlyersFan

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Unfortunately, when trying to Recover, the system is asking for an Administrator password which is not set. It allows 3 attempts at the correct password, and then reboots.

Suggestions?
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#10
The Skeptic

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Have you tried memtest after changing memory slot? What happened.

I would try to run the computer on another operating system and see if it works. If it does, then the problem is with Windows. If it doesn't, then it's the hardware. Please download Puppy Linux, version 2.16 "luv", or whatever it's called. Burn the ISO file to create a bootable CD. Boot the computer with the cd in place. Choose the icon that look like a flash memory. This will take you to the your disks and files. Try to copy some files to a free space and see if the computer accomplish the job. Let it run for half an hour or so.
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#11
FlyersFan

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I did try multiple memory slots, and see the same behaviour when running memtest. The good news is that the data appears to be fine on both hard drives when I manage to get in before the computer reboots.

I may try your suggestion above, but want to see if the following helps identify the issue.

I am getting multiple BSOD on various .sys files including ntfs.sys when attempting to Run recovery on an existing windows installation.

As the system attempts to copy files to the C:\Windows or D:\Windows directory, the computer reboots consistently, but always at a different time in the process. And since the installation is not complete, I am unable to boot.

I did notice that the
CPU temperature reached 62 C / 138 F
MB temperature reached 32 C / 82 F
Is that considered normal?


I suspect a serious hardware problem; perhaps it is the motherboard.
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#12
The Skeptic

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62 degrees is high but not critical, and wouldn't cause the BESODs. Everything indicates to a motherboard, cpu or power supply unit fsilure.

Disconnect all non-essential hardware and try again. If not successful:

Download Puppy Linux from my list of links below. Download "puppy 2.16.1 seamonkey fulldrivers.ISO". Burn the ISO file to create a bootable CD. For this purpose you can download BurnCDCC from the links below. It's a very simple tool, used exclusively to burn ISO files.

Insert the disk into the CD/DVD drive and boot the computer. If it doesn't boot, please set boot order in the BIOS so that the CD drive is first priority boot device.

If the computer fails to load or run linux then there is surely a serious hardware problem.
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#13
FlyersFan

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Last night, after a couple of tries, I was successfully able to run Knoppix without the computer rebooting. Knoppix is another Linux software that boots from CD.
When I ran memtest from Knoppix (included in the software), it did report errors. Yet, the memory module is brand new.
Knoppix must be doing error handling differently than Windows XP.

I'm not sure what to conclude at this point. Next, I am going to try to remove my main harddrive and use my SATA drive as the primary and see whether the problem persists.

Any other suggestions?
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#14
The Skeptic

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Why would you run memtest from Linux? You should create a bootable CD and run it from there. We want to test the memory without the inteference of any non-essential programs.

Use this link to download the "Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (zip)" file and burn to a CD with any program that can burn ISO files. Boot the computer and let the test run.

Errors will indicate a failure in RAM modules, video card memory, cache memory in the CPU, power supply unit, memory controller and memory bus. If the problem occurs again try what I suggested before, moving the monitor cable to another video connection (if available) and removal of the add-on video card. Repeat the test.

If the computer still fails then you can try to reformat it and see if it works. If it doesn't then a replacement of the motherboard and/or CPU and power supply unit seem to be the solution.

Edited by The Skeptic, 13 May 2008 - 10:32 AM.

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#15
FlyersFan

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Knoppix has the memtest tool built into the application when booting from CD and the CD is bootable.

I will attempt your solution tonight and update soon.

Thanks.
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