It's dead, Jim.

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It's dead, Jim.

Postby Feud » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:15 am

Crap, computer finally died.

It's stuck in some sort of weird loop: when it starts it doesn't recognize an OS as being on the drive, so it insists on booting from disk (and will freeze if you don't press a key within four seconds).

When booting from an XP disk it insists on formatting the drive first, once done it hangs going into the windows installation and then says the drive is not formatted and and insists that such must be done first. Reformatting starts the cycle over again, exiting results in the "boot from cd" issue coming up again and either freezing, or once again demanding to reformat.

All the bios are set to boot from drive first, but the computer isn't recognizing an OS so it immediately defaults to booting from cd.

It's about five years old so I wasn't expecting it to go much longer without seeing some issues, but it seems kinda weird to me that the problem is continuing after a reformat.

Any ideas?
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Postby Ace Rimmer » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:17 am

Reset the CMOS and try to take a look at the BIOS afterward?
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Postby Feud » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:33 am

Ace Rimmer wrote:Reset the CMOS and try to take a look at the BIOS afterward?


I've dug all through the BIOS and couldn't find anything, how do you reset the CMOS?
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Postby MrBunsy » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:15 am

CMOS? That's the type of transistors...?

Have you got any other hard discs you could test?
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Postby jelco » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:23 am

MrBunsy wrote:CMOS? That's the type of transistors...?

Very good. ;) It's a piece of nonvolatile memory for the BIOS, originally made with CMOS transistor-based SRAM and hence often called CMOS memory or simply CMOS.

Feud: have you tried letting something fix the partition table? Alternatively try installing Windows on a different hard disk (as a replacement) and see if that is the problem. It's a good idea to isolate the location of the problem.

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Postby bert_the_turtle » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:23 am

Indeed, a broken HD could explain all the observed errors. If you don't have a replacement HD to test, booting a Live CD (such as many Linux distributions provide, plug for my favorite choice) can also serve as a test; if it works, it's very likely purely the HD's fault. You can even try to repair the HD's structure from the Live system; if some virus destroyed it, reinstalling the MBR and a partition table and fromatting it good would repair the damage. You'll have access to IRC from the live system, where friendly people will help you.
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Postby Wasgood » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:54 pm

Yes, do that Bert said. You can reset the CMOS by opening the case and taking the little battery out for awhile. It's solved a couple of problems
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Postby Feud » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:57 pm

Tried swapping out hard drives on it, it will boot to the Windows setup screen but once it gets there the system blue screens and says that an error has been detected. :(
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Postby Ace Rimmer » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:22 pm

Could this be a memory (RAM) problem as opposed to a HDD issue?
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Postby Feud » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:43 pm

Ace Rimmer wrote:Could this be a memory (RAM) problem as opposed to a HDD issue?


If it is then I'm just as screwed, none of the RAM I have around fits the motherboard.
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Postby WaffleMaster » Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:44 am

I had a similar problem recently when my HD was fried by a faulty power supply. Luckily, it was still under warranty and the manufacturer sent me a new one. First, I would try to get the files off. Then, send it back for warranty replacement, if it is still under warranty. Even if the time for the warranty has elapsed, they will often take it anyway as long as it isn't obviously long past the warranty.
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Postby Mackilla » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:38 pm

I had a neighbor, a trekky, who died a while ago.

My other neighbor (who's house is a rock) asked what happened. I responded simply, "He's dead, Jim."
Of course his name wasn't Jim. So I managed to get him hooked on Star Trek.

Rather funny story if you think about it...
What is normal?
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Postby Ace Rimmer » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:44 pm

Speaking of bumps, any progress on the dead PC?
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Postby Feud » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:48 pm

Took a few weeks but I finally managed to get it limping along again. It required trying several different HDs and some heavy handed "encouragement" but I finally got it to work again.
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Postby Ace Rimmer » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:18 pm

So what was the issue?
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