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Old 09-13-2005, 04:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Annoying hardware mystery

Recently I formatted my friend's PC, it had a lot of problems, windows (98SE) booted only through the Safe Mode, and he wanted to repartition its hard disks.
So, I formated the first 20 GB drive (he has two 20G phisycal disks) as FAT32 and installed Win98SE, everything was fine, but after installation completed, I boot into windows, and few minuits later it just freezes. Since the second drive was still connected containing some files, I disconnected it (in the case there was any virus on it ) and reformated all again, installed windows and... same problem.
So, it wasn't a virus, I thought that the hard disk I used could contain damaged sectors or something, so I disconnected it, and got back the one I removed previously and installed windows into the free space it got (about 1.5 GB). But, unfortunately, it kept freezing every time I boot the computer(several minues after Win had been loaded fully).
I was very confused, and assumed that the problem may be the Windows installation disk itself (it is an old one), so, I tried to reinstall it again, but this time using mine Win98SE disk. And again, no improvement, it kept freezing.
And finally, I tried to install Win 2000, but the freezing appeared at the end of the setup process, so it was no opposite results.

Computer specifications:
CPU - AMD Duron 800 MHz
RAM - 196 MB SDRAM
Mobo - AOpen something
Video Card - nVidia GeForce 440 MX 64MB
Two 20GB Hard Drives
Two optical drives (ROM+RW)
BTW, I forgot to say, that the CPU temperatures were fine (40-35 C).

So, scinse it obviosly not a software problem, the trouble is in the hardware, not a piece of basic hardware, cause it was no freezing in the Win98 safe mode, and no durinf its setup (I assume Win 2K do some hardware adjustments during the last steps of setup).

If anyone have any idea how to fix this (or at least localize, so I can replace broken part, currently I have no idea which one)???



Thanks
-AndreiD
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Old 09-13-2005, 06:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would definitely try to reinstall the bios on that Mobo for starters. Secondly, install windows with nothing installed but the mem, video and hd (no cd, sound, floppy etc). if you can do a fresh install and the OS Loads ok, start adding stuff untill it fails. If the os will not properly install with the minimal stuff then I'd be looking closely at the memory or PSU.
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Old 09-13-2005, 08:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Don't forget to install the chipset drivers for the motherboard as well.

When you reformatted the disk, you wiped them out as wel. And that can cause a lot of headaches...
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Old 09-14-2005, 03:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, I got all the drivers for everything on CDs' so its not a problem. By the way, RicoDirenzo, you suggested to remove any "extra" hardware, so scince my second reinstall attempts I remouved any USB stuff and LTP printer, leaving CDs floppy, and sound.
I don't think it is possible to install windows without CD drive, and I also ant remove Sound Blastes' scince it is onboard.

I think I'll also try with another PSU, and maby another video card (if I'll fing the older one it once had). I'll post the results
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Old 09-14-2005, 06:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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it is possible to install windows without a cd drive. copy the contents of the cd to a directory on the formatted hdd and use a dos boot disk to change to that folder and run using the "setup" command. there are also some switches: /iv gets rid of that annoying propoganda that flashes during setup. /is skips the first hdd check. /ie skips the boot disk setup, there are more but i can't remember them

edit: like you've said i would also suggest a new psu to rule that out because thats what the problem sounds like, but it defies what you said in your initial post. meh, once again tell us how it works out
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Old 09-26-2005, 04:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, I stardted to remove hardware step by step, but it was no progress in making windos work, and all this testing takes a lot of time, so he (comp's owner) got it to the technician, and, as it figured out it was a problem with motherboard. So, he'll probably will have to buy new one (which is not so easy now, to find mobo for old Duron 800Mhz). But, anyway, thanks for assisting.
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Old 09-26-2005, 07:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You can get a cheap Socket A mobo off newegg for a good price.
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Old 09-27-2005, 12:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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ONE WORD "MEMORY" also could possibly be the CPU overheating or the PSU.
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