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winxp startup

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Hello everyone;
Here's the sequence of events (winxp pro, Intel board, 1.5 MHz P4, 256Meg PC800 RDRAM):
Starting several weeks ago, my sister's system would not start on first boot - screen would remain dark and monitor status light would turn green briefly then turn amber as if in standby mode.
They say that after waiting a long time that the system would reset and start up on its own. At that time a message would come up "Error loading E6F1873B.DLL" but otherwise run normally. When it did not restart on its own, forced reboot by holding the power button for 5 seconds would bring up the DOS screen "Error loading windows. Choose normal or safe startup" (I'm condensing the message).
I brought the system home and have seen these same behaviours except for the spontaneous self re-boot.
I ran AdAware (256 hits) and Spysweeper (1250+ hits) on it and then went to restart and can't get it running again i.e. screen is blank and monitor light remains amber.
On power-up there is also this weird clicking noise that at first seemed to be coming from the NIC. I removed the NIC and it continued. I've removed all of the cards including the AGP and the clicking sound is still three on power up - it seems to be coming from the MB itself.
I've tried another Hard Drive in there and have tried booting from floppy and now I can't even get into the BIOS to change the boot order to CD.
This is day 3 on this and I don't know what else to do.
Thanks in advance for your help.
John Nabereznyj

WOW - Literally as I hit "Enter" on this post the system in question finally kicked over into "seek floppy on boot" mode and has now loaded the win98 rescue disk interface. FYI it was about an hour since I turned on the system before it did this.

Edited by ringnab, 06 May 2005 - 10:06 PM.

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