ASUS always booted fine before - haven’t changed anything

Discussion in 'Asus' started by buzzer22, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. buzzer22

    buzzer22 Guest

    Thanks for any help on the following:

    My XP system has worked great for months. Suddenly, after booting one
    evening, XP doesn’t launch and the HDD LED indicator stays lit.

    When the PC is started, both SATA hard drives are correctly identified
    on screen as 250MB Maxtors, and both DVD drives are correctly
    identified on screen as Primary Master IDE and Secondary Master IDE.
    Memory is identified as 2048MB. There are no beeps on boot.

    After boot, it is time for XP to start, but my case’s red HDD LED
    lights up and stays lit. Instead of XP even trying to start, I get a
    blank screen. A few times, I tried tapping ’F8’ on startup and
    selected boot into ’Safe Mode’, but the blank screen appeared and the
    red HDD LED lit immediately after making this choice. So, it seems
    this has GOT to be a hardware problem.

    Need I try a new Power Supply? If so, what kind?

    The PC’s config:
    XP Professional w/ Service Pack 2
    CPU: (939-pin) AMD ATHLON64 4000+ CPU w/ Hyper Trans Tech
    MOBOARD: ASUS A8V-E Deluxe VIA K8T890
    Power Supply: ULTRA X-Connect 500W ATX PS
    RAM: 2x1GB Corsair XMS High Performance Memory Modules
    2 MAXTOR 250GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA 150 8MB CACHE HARD DRIVES
    Video: Geforce 6800 ULTRA 512MB 16X PCI EXPRESS
    1 AOPEN COMBO DRIVE (16X DVD-ROM & 52x32x52 CD-RW)
    1 PIONEER DVR-109 DUAL FORMAT 16X DVD±R/±RW
    1 Creative Labs SB Audigy-2 ZS 7.1
    1.44 MB FLOPPY DRIVE
    INTERNAL 6in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer
    3COM US ROBOTIC PCI V.92 WINMODEM
    3 CASE FANS
     
    buzzer22, Sep 14, 2005
    #1
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  2. buzzer22

    Paul Guest

    For future reference, there is a thread about power supply selection
    here. The support forum for Ultra X-Connect supplies had enough
    horror stories in it, that I would not buy that product. In any
    case, I don't see a reason to condemn your power supply yet.

    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=56231

    If you wish to get some idea of the state of your power supply,
    you can look at the hardware monitor in the BIOS. The +3.3, +5V,
    and +12V should be within 5% of rated value. If, for example, the
    +12V reads out at +11.4V or lower, it would be failing to meet the
    5% requirement. There has to be some room allocated for measurement
    error by the onboard hardware monitor, so if the rail dipped to maybe
    +11.2, I'd be concerned. The reason I selected +12V, is the processor
    draws its power from that rail. (A multimeter can be used to
    verify what is seen in the hardware monitor.)

    This sounds like it could be a disk failure of some sort. In which
    case, I would not trust the opinions of a guy in a motherboard
    group on how to fix a busted disk :) Find a Windows support group
    or a disk storage USENET group.

    From a hardware perspective, I would try simplifying the system.
    Try to boot your Windows install CD, without the disks connected.
    Try with only one storage device connected to the system at a time,
    to see if this is an interface failure.

    I would probably reach for my Knoppix boot CD. Knoppix runs from
    a CD, and uses a RAM disk to hold volatile content. Knoppix can
    be completely loaded into RAM, and the boot CD ejected, if need
    be. Knoppix has the ability to recognize some kinds of foreign
    file systems, and if your hard drives were connected, might
    mount them on the desktop. It should not be writing to the
    drives, unless you actually try to copy or move a file onto there.
    By booting Knoppix, I would be attempting to prove the hardware
    is basically good. I like to observe the boot messages, to see
    if Knoppix is having trouble with any of the hardware.

    In terms of bringing yourself up to speed on disk related issues,
    I started by searching for "fixmbr" in Google. When suspecting
    a disk failure, your primary concern is backups - do you have
    a current backup ? I would not recommend attempting to use any
    tool on a disk, unless I had a sector by sector image of the
    disk. I learned this once, on a file system with duplicate directory
    structures, where a recovery tool erased the good structure,
    leaving both structures damaged. The main thing to remember
    - don't do anything in a hurry - consider your options carefully.
    Only use or apply a recovery tool, if you have a backup in hand.

    If you don't have a spare drive handy, purchase enough spare
    drives to hold the entire contents of any single computer you
    own. That makes it easier to move stuff off the damaged disk
    in the event of problems like this.

    1) Try simplifying the current system. See if you can boot with
    just the boot drive connected. Try moving the boot drive to a
    different interface connector. Try a different cable. Check
    that the cables are secure (especially with SATA connectors).

    2) Try moving the boot disk to another, known working, computer.
    See if the disk can be seen there. Your first objective will
    be to get a backup image of the disk. Once you have a backup
    of some sort, only then consider various recovery procedures.
    That means, if you move the damaged boot drive to another
    computer, you also want your spare disk(s) connected to that
    computer as well, and have your backup software installed
    on the spare computer, before connecting the damaged disk.
    Pretend you are only going to get one shot at recovering the
    data, if this is a disk head related problem (I learned that
    lesson the hard way as well.)

    3) Each disk drive company has diagnostic tools on their website.
    Some of these tools do not work with all chipsets, meaning they
    may not be able to see your disks anyway. The best time to test
    such tools, is when you first get your new disk drive.

    Those are some ideas, but everyone has their own favorite
    recipe for what to do in an emergency. Consult a storage
    group, if this is in fact a disk failure. I've had a couple
    of disk failures, where I only got to power cycle the
    drives a couple of times, before there was a complete
    failure. If you are hearing any sounds that suggest a
    head failure is imminent (clicking of drive trying to find
    track 0 etc), you might only have one or two power cycles
    before the thing quits completely.

    HTH,
    Paul
     
    Paul, Sep 15, 2005
    #2
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  3. buzzer22

    chad Guest

    Well, this is a great time to buy a second drive, do a quick install of
    WinXP on the new drive then plug in the old one and try to copy the
    files over. (It may only have a problem booting and the files may be
    fine). If not, use data recovery software to mine out your lost files.
    Here are some freeware options:

    http://free-backup.info/data-recovery-software.htm

    Even if the problem is minor, every PC should have two drives at least
    for use in critical data backup.

    Good luck!
    Chad
     
    chad, Sep 15, 2005
    #3
  4. buzzer22

    buzzer22 Guest

    After letting the PC try loading WinXP for 20+ minutes, the screen
    eventually displays that Windows could not locate:
    "\windows\system32\l_intl.nls"
    and that it is missing or corrupt.

    Corrupt MBR?
     
    buzzer22, Sep 17, 2005
    #4
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