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Cannot Reinstall from XP CD or run Recovery Console... other boot CDs


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#1
whitesaille

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I have an Emachines that is several years old with several updated parts. Everything was running fine except the graphics card, so we decided to reformat and start with a clean drive in the hopes that it might fix the problem. We have an authentic Windows XP install disc with code (OEM) that has been successfully used on this computer before. So, we changed the boot order in the BIOS to boot from CD, and the computer says it is booting from the CD, then after a brief setup message (Setup is inspecting your computer...etc.), it goes to a black screen and nothing else happens. I tried a proven XP Recovery Console boot CD with identical results.

Killdisk boot CD ran fine, so we decided to wipe the drive (single pass, all zeros). After clearing the drive, the same thing happens. The BIOS is clearly detecting the CD-ROM drive and the hard drive, though we even tried swapping out the CD-ROM drive for a different model with the same end result... a black screen. Removed all unnecessary items (secondary drive, usb connected devices, etc.) Seatools for DOS runs fine from the boot CD as well (the HDD is a Seagate) and found no problems with the drive.

Since Killdisk and Seatools worked just fine, it seems like the only problems occur with the Windows XP install disk and the Recovery Console disk.

Any ideas on how to fix this?
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#2
phillpower2

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Hi whitesaille :D
Because you have made a number of changes to the system over the years, and with the XP disk being an OEM type, you may have to purchase a new disk and license number as the machine is no longer recognized as being the original to which the disk and activation key were tied to, some manufacturers have the key locked into the BIOS so if one of the changes you have made was the MB it may explain your present issue, for a better explanation than I can provide please see the attached link and if you scroll down to near the bottom of the page OEM disks are explained.
http://www.aumha.org/win5/a/wpa.php
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#3
whitesaille

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This wasn't the original disk tied to the machine, it was a newly purchased OEM CD. It was used successfully on this computer less than a year ago. Also, XP Recovery Console's boot disk is giving the exact same response (setup is checking your computer message, then black screen).
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#4
phillpower2

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Does your MB have an onboard video port and if so have you tried connecting the screen to it?
The reason I ask is because as the HDD has been formatted there will not be any drivers on it
for the add on gfx card to use.
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#5
whitesaille

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Yes, the monitor is hooked up to the motherboard, not the graphics card. As you said, there's no image if connected to the graphics card since the wiped drive no longer contains the drivers (though the card wasn't working even before that). As a precaution, we disconnected the graphics card and secondary drive completely to make sure they weren't somehow interfering with the computer's ability to boot from the CD.
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#6
phillpower2

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Have you tried clearing the CMOS by removing the silver CR2032 battery on the MB?
This will restore the MB back to the factory default settings and so use the onboard
video, just in case the BIOS is still set to work with the add on video card, it
shouldn`t when the add on card is removed but when you are having problems you need
to explore every possible cause, even dead MB batteries can cause problems so if you
have a spare it would be an idea to try it.
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#7
whitesaille

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I will try it, but I don't think this would be the problem since before wiping the drive the PC booted up fully without any trouble. If the BIOS was still set to work with the video card, it should have been giving problems as soon as the card was removed, right?
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#8
rshaffer61

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Is this the same system in this topic as in HERE?
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#9
whitesaille

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No, the other post is for my own computer... technically this eMachines is my boyfriend's computer.

Also, as far as removing the battery to clear the CMOS... I opened the case and no obvious battery on the MB, so I looked up the eMachines manual for this model (W3107) which contains a photo and instructions on the battery location. Unlike the photo in the manual, the battery is definitely not visible on the MB, though from cross-checking several other posts on the net this is the original motherboard (stamped K8MC51G). The manual does say "your computer's battery location may vary." :D Maybe this is one of the boards where the CMOS battery is integrated into the BIOS chip? If that's the case, I'm kind of worried about actually removing the BIOS chip to reset the CMOS. I don't want to damage the MB.
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#10
rshaffer61

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CMOS battery.
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#11
whitesaille

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Finally found the battery... it's all the way in the bottom corner, a few small cables were obscuring it. I was looking for a flat battery like the photo, not one standing up off the board. The manufacturer's website (First International Computer) wasn't loading up, so if anyone else needs info on this motherboard it's on Gateway's support site at http://support.gatew.../105554nv.shtml

One more question before I do this... how long do I leave the battery out to clear the CMOS? I've read different things on the web from 4 seconds all the way up to overnight.
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#12
whitesaille

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Ok, so I left the battery out for about 2 hours, put it back just now -- must have cleared the CMOS because I got a message on startup that it was loading default CMOS settings. However, exact same problem as always... booting from Win XP install CD or Recovery Console CD results in same "Setup is now checking your computer" message followed by black screen.

Any more suggestions?
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#13
whitesaille

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Just had a breakthrough (I think). The PC had an SD card reader slot I wasn't even aware of. When we disconnected that, the Windows XP disc started up just fine. Fingers crossed that nothing else goes wrong...
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#14
phillpower2

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Well done for finding that out, I hope it all works out ok for you.
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