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Old 05-11-2007, 07:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2007
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Default Bizarre boot issues

Hey everyone:

I've been having some strange issues booting my computer lately. A few weeks back, I tried turning it on and the screen stayed blank. Hard drive spins up, CD drives work, fans all working, but no display and no boot. My first guess was that the RAM might be going bad, so I pulled out one of the two sticks and tried again. Presto, the computer starts up.

About a week later, the computer again refuses to boot. After about an hours worth of trial and error, I got the computer to boot with one stick of RAM, the two hard drives, but with both CD drives disconnected. On a hunch, I swapped the remaining RAM stick with the supposedly 'bad' one, and it still worked. So I know the RAM is good.

It almost seems to me like the power supply (a cheapo 400W) isn't providing enough power, because when I disconnect enough things, the computer behaves. And if I start reconnecting them one at a time, I can usually get it to boot with a few more devices before it stops. However, once it finally gets into Windows it runs rock solid - no random restarts or shutdowns, though admittedly I haven't been running anything strenuous on it.

One other strange thing: when I tell Windows to hibernate, the computer will start all by itself a few minutes later. So far this hasn't happened when I use "shutdown" instead.

Ideas? These are the (original) specs, items with * are currently connected and running.

*Athlon XP 2800+ (underclocked to 1250 MHz)
*2GB DDR-333 RAM (currently running only 1GB at 200MHz)
*PC Chips M848LU Motherboard
*256MB GeForce FX 5600XT (generic)
*80 GB 7200RPM Hard drive (IDE 0)
*20 GB 5400RPM Hard drive (IDE 1)
*Powerlink 400W PSU
8x8x16 CD-RW drive
8x CD-ROM drive (LOL, right?)
1.44" Floppy

Temps are fine, ~45-50°C for CPU
Currently running Vista Ultimate Beta, RC2

EDIT: To originally get it running this morning, I also disconnected both hard drives. I managed to get them both running after it booted the first time.

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Old 05-11-2007, 08:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Posts: 8,473
Default Re: Bizarre boot issues

i think you hit the nail on the head when guessing it's a power supply issue. some of these symptoms are classic, in particular difficulty in booting (drive spinup draws extra current) yet stable once booted. not sure what is causing the computer to awake from hibernation but it's probably some device. hibernation is more like standby than shutdown, as such certain devices will bring it back up from hibernation.
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