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Computer Freezes during POST


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#1
cheathawk1

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Hello,

I've been battling this problem for a very long time and any help will be greatly appreciated.

I have a spare PC that I've been slowly bringing back so I can give it to my father whose computer died a couple weeks ago. My problem is this: When I boot up, I see the POST messages, it gets to the RAM check, finds all the RAM and Says its 'OK' and then it freezes before displaying the IDE check (where it lists all the IDE drives I have installed). I see the message on the bottom telling mt I can press 'DEL' to enter Setup, however the keyboard is unresponsive. I have seen a few posts with similar issues and unfortunately none of them had a solution. Here are my system Specs:

MB: SY-KT333 SOYO Dragon Lite
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2400 (listed either as a 1800+ --or-- 'Unknown CPU 1500' during POST)
RAM: (1) 1GB PC2700 333Mhz
HDD: (1) Maxtor 80GB
Optical: (1) DVD drive
(1) DVD-RW drive
PSU: 350W 80+ "green"
Video Card: ATI Radeon XT6400 (not certain about the 6400 part... but it is a Radeon)
OS: Windows XP Home SP3

Now, the weird thing is that when this happens, all I have to do is hit the soft reset button on the case and then it starts up fine, however, when I start using a CPU intensive application (in this instance I started a Norton Virus scan which jumps the CPU usage up to mid 90's) the computer restarts itself and then back to freezing up during POST, I soft reset, all is well, then it restarts...etc, tis a vicious cycle. And FYI I did uncheck the 'Automatically Restart' option in the System menu, which should let me see a BSoD if one is being generated, however I never see a BSoD, it just restarts.

I have disconnected everything from the MB except for the video card, RAM, HDD and PSU. All the optical drives, and other PCI cards (Ethernet, extra USB card) are disconnected.

I have replaced the RAM stick, put it in all three DIMM slots, replaced the PSU, replaced the HDD and cleared the CMOS via the MB jumper (multiple times in fact). The only things I have not replaced are the MB and CPU (because if I have to spend the money to replace these than I might as well rebuild an entire new one).

ANY help will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you for your time

Edited by cheathawk1, 24 April 2010 - 01:28 PM.

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#2
phillpower2

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Hi there, sorry to hear you are having issues with your computer.
Got to ask the obvious, have you checked the boot up sequence in Bios?
I would suggest a psu swap to start with,(process of elimination) can
you loan a known working one? Im sure you will know psu`s can appear to
be working correctly when they are not. ie unstable voltage & ampage
this could be why the problem can occur during post & after useage, fan
speeds can also be affected.
Is your keyboard PS2 or the usb type? The reason I ask is as you have
cleared the CMOS some or all of the usb ports may be disabled.
Below is a link to some other possible causes & soloutions, I hope they help.
http://www.jrwhipple...uter_hangs.html
Good luck & let us know how things are going
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#3
cheathawk1

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Yes Phill, I have the first boot device set my HDD (although this wouldn't matter since it locks up immidiatly after the memory check and doesn't even get to the IDE device check in the POST sequence) and as I stated above, I have REPLACED my PSU, my RAM, my CPU fan, HDD and IDE cables with brand new items and all appear to be functioning properly. My keyboard is PS2 but as with the boot order, this wouldn't matter because it hangs before the keyboard check in the POST sequence.
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#4
phillpower2

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Apologies for the oversight regarding you changing the psu :)
The boot sequence I was suggesting was to set it in Bios to boot from
the cd/dvd drive 1st & load windows from there, (after a soft reset)
just in case there are files corrupted or missing.
When you do get the computer running is it displaying the correct time
& date & when you changed the cpu fan did you reseat the cpu itself &
re-apply fresh thermal paste, Ive seen this suggestion on the forum
before & as you posted,
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2400 (listed either as a 1800+ --or-- 'Unknown CPU 1500' during POST)
this could be the culprit.
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#5
cheathawk1

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Yes when I do get the computer running it shows the correct time (unless I have reset the CMOS via the pin, then it reverts the Date and time in BIOS to Jan 1st). The computer freezes before the option to boot from CD so I'm pretty sure Windows is not the culprit (and not to mention I have re-installed a fresh copy of Windows when I swapped the HDD). I did re-set and re-paste the CPU when I replaced the fan. I'm starting to think my CPU is going out, since when I do get it running, and try to run a simple virus scan, the CPU load jumps to 95+ percent! lol
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#6
phillpower2

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It does point to a suspect cpu with the spikes you are getting
& Norton software is known to be very demanding, so it wouldn`t
exactly help matters, just a thought have you done a check for
spyware/malware, another clue could be the fact that during POST
display & ram are ok then it freezes, isnt the next test the cpu!
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#7
cheathawk1

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Ya I've done a spyware/virus test, I'm only using Norton because I get an unlimited subscription from work as long as I have Comcast Internet. The next test in POST is the IDE/ATA device check, (ie. hardrives, optical drives, etc) which would actually pointo a faulty IDE/ATA device or cable, however since I swapped all those out alreday, I'm really thinking its the CPU and/or motherboard, and I don't want to drop the money for a replacement yet, I think I"m just going to look into building a completly new machine and use whatevr spare parts from the devil machine that I can salvage :)
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#8
phillpower2

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Ok, still a couple of things that can be tried before admitting defeat (never).
When you do a soft reset can you check & see what programs are linked to start up, the
reason I ask is the demand on your cpu (which must be quite old & is not very powerful)
may not be able to handle the demands being made on it & the other suggestion is have
you tried doing a system diagnostic using Sandra lite, see link below for the free download,
http://download.chip...Lite_60775.html
Good luck & let us know how things work out
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#9
cheathawk1

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Yes I've already done that, I have the bare minimum starting up (I've even tried in safe mode with nothing but windows loading) but that still wouldn't explain why my computer locks up during POST. At that point in the startup the computer has absolutly nothing to do with Windows or its software. it HAS to be a hardware or ROM issue...
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#10
123Runner

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I believe you are looking at either the CPU or the main board.
I would more suspect the board because of where POST resides.
POST (as you know) resides in flash on the board.
POST has to complete and see the hard drive before windows starts.
So you are correct that windows would not be the problem.
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#11
phillpower2

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The board not getting a power good signal or a faulty timer chip perhaps.
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#12
123Runner

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The board not getting a power good signal

This would not be the problem because the board needs that signal to be good at the time you push the start button. The next thing that happens is the PSU turns on and puts the proper power to the board and externals so they can start the POST sequence.

or a faulty timer chip

This is a possibility which becomes the board as a issue.

I would recheck (you probably have) all the power connections and data cables.
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