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Hardware crash problem, suspect hard drive


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#1
mr. bill

mr. bill

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Hi All,

I seem to have an intermittent but fairly frequent hardware problem.
I crash a lot, get many different BSOD's, sometimes a reboot with no BSOD, though
once (in Safe mode) the screen suddenly turned to a total garbage snow pattern...
no response to keyboard.

I pulled most components (optical drives, floppy, modem & sound cards) and crash still
occurs.

Next, I disconnecting the hard drive, and ran Microsoft memory diagnostics off
the floppy. It has not yet crashed this way (and it HAS run twice as
long with no crash this way, as it ever ran when the hard drive is attached).

Thus, I suspect the hard drive, or perhaps the SATA cable or drive circuitry on the system
board.

However, perhaps it's related to the video card (the only component i don't know how
to disconnect). The video card isn't tested very much in Memory diagnostic mode (only characters on the screen, no graphics, icons, etc.)

I have TWO questions...
1. Does my diagnosis so far seem reasonable? Are there other tests I can try?
I am now trying memory diagnostics (booted & run from floppy) with the hard drive
ATTACHED, to see if it is something like an intermittent electrical short from the
hard drive.

2. If I want to copy the whole C: drive (all of Windows XP SP2) to a new hard
drive (in case the old drive is faulty), what tricks must I do to get a fully bootable XP?
Do I need the old DOS "sys c:" or other tricks to get EVERYTHING (like the registry)?
Will I be in trouble if the new hard drive isn't the same size or geometry?
Do I need to use particular copy tools (not just drag-n-drop in the Windows explorer program)?

THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME & ANY HELP!!!

PS. HISTORY - it's the 3rd time this machine started frequent crashes in 6 months...
First time replaced a bad optical drive, then it ran fine a few months. Then frequent crashes
started again (suddenly), eventually replaced power supply, ran fine for
3 weeks, now frequent crashes returned. I dont suspect the power supply since it's
new (and has higher watt specs than the old one).
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#2
dsenette

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well...it would be extremely helpful to have the full BSOD messages that you are getting,

your testing seems to be valid

i assume you can't disconect the video card because it's built into the motherboard?

without a program like Norton ghost or something like that you will not be able to copy the full drive over and have it work...and even then...it's not assured....you can however....install a new hd, install windows on it...attatch the suspected faulty drive as a slave and copy over all of your important data files...and just reinstall all of your software
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#3
dsenette

dsenette

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also..sorry.... you can try running chkdsk /r from the recovery console, or from a command prompt if you can get into windows
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#4
mr. bill

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First, thanks for the advice! Really appreciate the service You all offer.

Here are the diverse crash symptoms...
- STOP xD1
- STOP xD3 (during the boot process)
- freeze with screen getting a pattern of crap... during the boot
- STOP xA IRQL NOT LESS OR EQUAL
- BAD POOL HDA (during the boot process)
- STOP x19
(sometimes just reboots with NO BSOD, exactly as if I power-cycled the PC)

Maybe more, I stopped writing them down. It runs OK for a day or 2,
then usually crashes several times within an hour.

With my previous problem, the BSOD's also varied a lot,
a new power supply seemed to fix it... at least for almost a month.

The videocard has something extra holding it to the motherboard... not sure what.
May not have working video without the add-in card. There is
another video connector on the back of the PC, but it doesn't output a working signal,
and the PC shipped with a plastic cover over it. Perhaps the PC can be reconfigured
to output video to this port (rather than the video-card port).

I will run the chkdsk /r. :tazz: Forgot about that!

-Mr. Bill

well...it would be extremely helpful to have the full BSOD messages that you are getting,

your testing seems to be valid

i assume you can't disconect the video card because it's built into the motherboard?

without a program like Norton ghost or something like that you will not be able to copy the full drive over and have it work...and even then...it's not assured....you can however....install a new hd, install windows on it...attatch the suspected faulty drive as a slave and copy over all of your important data files...and just reinstall all of your software


Sigh... if only reinstalling all my software were as easy as it sounds! :)
Thanks for clarifying that option. I want to see if I get more convinced it is the hard disk (or disk cable).
I hope it isn't any disk-support-circuitry on the system board.
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#5
dsenette

dsenette

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The videocard has something extra holding it to the motherboard... not sure what.
May not have working video without the add-in card. There is
another video connector on the back of the PC, but it doesn't output a working signal,
and the PC shipped with a plastic cover over it. Perhaps the PC can be reconfigured
to output video to this port (rather than the video-card port).



that's the onboard video...you can re-enable that in bios...but..that's only advisable to do once you get the other card out...which sounds kind of hard
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#6
mr. bill

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Looks like the hard drive...

I re-connected the hard drive and ran memory diagnostics (booted off diagnostic floppy, not running windows). Took an exception and froze.
So far, the machine has NEVER crashed with the Hard drive DISCONNECTED, only when it IS connected, even when it isnt accessed. (the mem diag crash happened after running chkdsk /r)

The NVIDIA GEForce card is in an AGP slot, not a PCI. I tried to pull it but feel extra resistance. Do AGP slots have a latch or something, so you can't just slide them out like PCI cards? It's compact and hard to see what's "holding on".

Finally... :tazz: I don't understand your note (BELOW). If I remove the video card FIRST, then I have no working connection to a Monitor, so how can I change the BIOS setting??? Don't I have to change the BIOS first, to enable onboard video, even if I immediately poweroff after, and pull the card? Does the Bios auto-detect the missing video card and enable onboard video?

Thanks again for the help!!!!

that's the onboard video...you can re-enable that in bios...but..that's only advisable to do once you get the other card out...which sounds kind of hard


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#7
dsenette

dsenette

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some agp cards do have a little lock on the back end of the card...sort of like the thing that holds ram in...but...well..different...it's actually on the controller (agp slot) that may be what's holding her in.


and as for the other deal..yeah..you could do it that way..the whole...turn it on in bios then shutdowan take the card out and whatnot...i usually just turn the machine off...unplug the card...and take the cmos battery out.....but...i always do things the hard way
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