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New build hangs after post


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#1
rickcv84

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Hello - looking desperately for some insight into my problem. I built two nearly identical systems, both celeron D socket 775 3ghz/MSI 661FM3-L mobos (Award bios). 512mb DDR400, one system with a maxtor 160g SATA hd (brand new/empty), the other with an older WD 40g ATA66 drive (already has XP loaded - I know, likely won't work). Both have new 450W power supplies and cases. Also the usual IDE cd/dvd drives and a floppy. Here's my problem. Both systems boot to post with one beep (normal). All drives are identified. Both systems hang after displaying PCI device listing IRQ's. Prompt simply flashes at the bottom of the screen. If I enable 'clear ESCD' in bios, system still hangs on same post page with "updating ESCD" at bottom and prompt flashing after it. Niether system even attempts to look for an OS to boot from. Using a boot disc in floppy or XP disc in cdrom has no efect and it doesn't matter how I configure boot sequence in Bios. Drives run briefly and then stop. I think I'm missing something critical in Bios config but I don't know what. Starting with default settings or safe mode makes no differance. Anyone? Did I build two boat anchors?
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#2
Neil Jones

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This is usually a symptom of a faulty expansion card.

Take out all your peripherial cards - modems, etc. Now see if it'll boot.

Failing that, pop into BIOS and turn off most if not all of the onboard stuff - LAN, sound, firewire, etc - so you're just left with the IDE controllers to allow the thing to boot.

Try disconnecting various drives - the SATA drive first, the ATA66 drvie and the CD Units.

Edited by Neil Jones, 21 November 2005 - 04:24 AM.

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#3
rickcv84

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Thanx for your response. There are no external cards plugged in - everything is onboard. IDE drives attached, no SATA. Disabled everything onboard so now on the PCI device listing page, it shows IDE controller, Display controller and ACPI controller. Still hangs with prompt flashing after "updating ESCD..." Very odd - you'd think I would get a fault/failure message or something.
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#4
dsenette

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try doing a hard reset on the bios either by removing the CMOS battery, or by changing the jumper setting on the CMOS jumper (follow the instructions in your motherboard manual)

also....try booting without the ram installed..do you get one long post beep?
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#5
rickcv84

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I guess I should Have mentioned that - I have cleared the CMOS many times using supplied jumper and yes, I accidentally left the ram out once when swapping parts and I got a very rapid, endless beeping and nothing else. Put ram back in and it hung at end of post like before. Where it hangs, it should say "verifying DMI pool.." and then tell me to insert a system disk. The only thing I haven't done is change the jumper to "boot block" and install a new bios, which I am hesitant to do because if that doesn't fix it, the mobo will be returned and I don't want to give them a reason to deny the return. It's just odd that the second identical board behaves the same way. This simple little task for a friend destroyed my weekend and he is out a few hundred bucks with nothing to show for it.
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#6
dsenette

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it seems like a major fault with the board....it is fishy that two boards cause the same issue...but..it is possible that they are from the same batch....i would sugges RMA-ing the boards..
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#7
rickcv84

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Your guys respond quickly - much appreciated - as we speak, the computer is at a tech shop - he's never seen this problem either and agreed, usually you assemble and it just boots - if it doesn't, it'll complain. At least he can try the components in another board and verify everything else. Thanks - I'll keep you posted.
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#8
rickcv84

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Problem Resolved - This is interesting and infuriating. My local tech shop removed processor, ram etc and installed in an asus board - all worked no problem. We agreed likely mobo was culprit, just wierd that two boards behaved the same (MSI 661fm3-L). I suggested maybe bios faulty but I was unwilling to flash since board was under warranty. Also since floppy would not read, I would have to jumper board to go thru boot block, etc,etc... I phoned Tiger Direct to ask about return policy but opted for Tech support on a whim. When I started to explain my problem and didn't get very far when the guy on the other end started laughing and he finished my story for me. It seems TD got a truckload of bios corrupted boards and he started telling me that all I had to do was flash the BIOS with the latest 1.2 version yada yada... I wanted to tell him what he could do with the [bleep] boards but instead told him HE could flash them and if it didn't take, HE could replace them. He agreed, and, 2 hours round trip driving and 1 hour in the store later, problem resolved. I still have heard nothing back from MSI tech support (there's a surprise). Thanx again to the team for all your help.
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#9
dsenette

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and you probably WONT hear anything back from MSI...they're n ot so good with the tech support....i had 3 MSI boards here at work that weren't reading the ram correctly...which screwed with my office programs.....flashed the bios to an OLDER version...and everything was fine
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#10
rickcv84

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Update - Everything working fine now - actually got a response from MSI, short and sweet, saying "Did you update the BIOS? Please check with this link. Thanks." Is it just me, or am I wrong in believing that you shouldn't have to update the bios on a new board just to make it function. I realize Bios' are updated quite often as bugs are ironed out, but in this case, it sounds like a fundamental flaw with the bios or its installation. I'm starting to believe that both Tiger Direct and MSI had full knowledge of this problem and chose to clear the end of stock boards out rather than pull them from the shelves and flash prior to selling. That costs time and money and, lets face it, for quite a few people this low end board may be the first (and last) system they ever build. I'll bet a significant number will never pursue the problem when the build doesn't boot and just figure they messed up somehow, telling themselves they should have left it to the "pros". I should have spent the extra on my low-end system and bought an asus board, as I have in the past. Never again MSI. Thanks again to the forum.
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#11
Doby

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Hi,

No its not you, they can't sell you a board that don't work and you should not have to flash the bios to make it work, I like what you did and I think it sent a message to both companies that its not the end user thats resposible for faulty or non upgraded bios. I for one am sick of purchasing boards and have to risk flashing just to make all the features work, these mobo companies and there all doing the same need to stop being so price competitive and test the boards more completely before release, this would raise the cost of the boards but make more of a quality board with less problems and I for one would pay some extra to have quality. They could actually save some money on returns and tech support witch then maybe would not increase prices.

Well thats my rant for today, glad you got it sorted out Rick
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#12
AmyCB

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Quick question - I have the same exact problem - same board, same retailer.Grrrr.
My question is, how do I flash a BIOS when the system won't boot?
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#13
Neil Jones

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Quick question - I have the same exact problem - same board, same retailer.Grrrr.
My question is, how do I flash a BIOS when the system won't boot?


You shouldn't have to flash the BIOS to get the board working out of the box. You should only need to flash the BIOS when you add, say, a processor it doesn't already recognise.

Don't bother messing around with attempted flash methods and what not, just phone up the supplier, send it back and receive another board.

Remember if it was you that broke it by flashing the BIOS, then the supplier isn't responsible but if you should receive a board that's dead out of the box, then you hsould have the right to exchange it for a working one.
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#14
rickcv84

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I agree 100%, but, in answer to your question; in a normal Bios upgrade situation, the computer is still functional and able to read the floppy drive. In instances where the Bios is totally corrupt and the computer won't boot at all (black screen and some annoying beeping), the "boot block" is used. What this is basically is an emergency feature. A tiny amount of code is stored on a chip (boot block) on the motherboard. When activated, usually by physically moving a jumper on the motherboard, its limited coding does two things. First, it accesses your floppy drive and then it restores the bios by 'flashing' it with the new code on the floppy. On the next boot, the computer should be fine. Your situation is a little unusal because you can still boot thru most of the post, but, since none of your drives can be read, the boot block method will have to be used. Keep in mind, this method is used for essentially inoperative computers, and this is the only instance I have used this method. Perhaps someone else can confirm this, but most likely when the jumper is moved to activate the boot block, your computer will also revert to its most basic form, ie, a black screen and a few beeps which will be prompts for you to act on. This is why the Tiger direct guys said they moved the jumper just to access the floppy, and once accessed, they removed the jumper and could then use the on-screen bios utility. I'm not recommending this, just telling you because you asked.
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#15
Neil Jones

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Quite a lot of recent boards seem to have passed on the idea of the boot block and because the boards are getting cheaper and cheaper to produce, corners are cut and legacy options such as boot block are first to go, and it oftens works out far easily just to RMA the faulty board.

Ironically enough, some BIOSes have an option inside them to write protect the BIOS which means that with a dead system to be able to reflash the BIOS which is corrupt, you need to get into the BIOS and de-protect it, a true catch 22 situation.

Some higher end boards such as Asus and MSI feature now what they call "Crashproof BIOS", which basically means its unheard of in theory to have to use a boot block, and they tell you, when they find an unusable BIOS, to insert your motherboard CD to reflash from it. This is not a feature of cheaper boards which includes FoxConn.
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