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Old 08-08-2010, 05:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default I'm not sure what is causing the problem


My name is Todd and I'm new; I am an amateur computer builder at best. I have built mid-performance desktops for myself and for close friends. I built a PC for my friend around 4 years ago and it is giving him problems. I am trying to diagnose it and cannot figure out what is wrong with the **** thing.

The computer powers on and will start up fine. When the Windows Vista loading bar is just about to finish and load to the user name screen, I get the blue screen of death and the computer reboots. It will do this over and over and over again.

I tried to repair - the PC worked for around 30 minutes and had the blue screen of death. I am now trying to reformat (fresh install) and after I fill in the authentication code for Vista, I receive either an error message or it simply says on the installation window "Windows Vista setup encountered an error. Please restart the program and try again."

I'm pretty sure I've narrowed the problem down to either faulty ram or a faulty hard drive. Which is it?


500w Antec power supply
Asus M2N - E SLI motherboard
EVGA 8600 GTS graphics card
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2 x 1G Corsair Value Select RAM
320 GB Western Digital hard drive @ 7200 RPM SATA 2
Sony CD/DVD burner SATA 2

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Old 08-08-2010, 07:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm not sure what is causing the problem

My best guess would be a broken hard drive. To make sure, you can try using chkdsk from the installation disk (see method 2, step 2 on http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/67...sk-chkdsk.html). To test the RAM, you can use memtest, which should also be on the installation disk.

If you don't have those options, you can create an Ubuntu Linux live-cd (see http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download) and then run the Disk Utility and memtest provided on the disk.

Please tell me if you need more help.

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Old 08-08-2010, 07:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm not sure what is causing the problem

Welcome to TF, Todd!

To verify it is not the RAM, run Memtest86+ Let it do a few passes, any errors, and you know what is bad.

Being that it BSODs after Vista's splash screen, I would blame the hard drive.
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm not sure what is causing the problem

Yeah, i would say it's the RAM, perhaps a memory leak. Either run Memtest86+ as said above. You can also remove 1 stick and start up then remove the other stick and start up until it works. If that does not work then you can swap the ram sticks around. This should eleminate some issues.
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm not sure what is causing the problem

Thanks so much for the replies! I just got up and have yet to run the two diagnostics on the original items. However, I did do this.

I have an HP desktop with a similar hard drive and RAM. I took both the hard drive and RAM out of the HP and put it in the custom computer. Same problem. BSoD after splash screen. However this motherboard supports IDE so I found an old IDE hard drive with Windows XP loaded on it. The same problem. After being prompted to run either normal or safe mode, I elected to run safe mode. Computer booted up, loaded only the necessary files, and ran fine. What the heck?

Two items of interest:

The first is that the motherboard's power light comes on green and the motherboard beeps after start up.

The second is that the power supply's fan burnt out and I'm waiting on a replacement fan in the mail. There is NOT a fan currently, but I am blasting a big space fan inside the whole computer. Do both Vista and XP have systems to figure out if the fan is running correctly?

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Old 08-09-2010, 12:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm not sure what is causing the problem

Try putting the RAM and HD from the new computer in the similar computer and see if that one boots up fine.
I've never had a motherboard, fan, or processor fail on me yet, but you could try disabling fan-monitoring features in the BIOS so that your Windows install is unaware of the problem with the fan. "Do both Vista and XP have systems to figure out if the fan is running correctly?" - I would guess so, but they can only figure it out if the motherboard tells them. Maybe Safe Mode disables the fan monitoring features as superfluous. Is your broken fan still plugged in to the motherboard? If so, I would unplug it.

If your broken fan was never plugged into the motherboard and was instead connected to the PSU, you can eliminate the fan as a culprit.
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: I'm not sure what is causing the problem

Well actually the fan is plugged into the PSU's circuit board. I don't think the program can read that, but nothing else makes sense to me if the computer boots up and runs fine in Safe Mode. I'm waiting to see if that caused the problem and then I'll go from there.

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