Need help identifying cause of startup problem

hey all, I've been having startup problems with my computer. The hard drive isn't recognized during a cold boot (after my computer has been turned off for a couple of hours). It'll freeze during the windows loading screen (horizontal bar/before the logon screen). I'd have to hit the reset button and then it'll boot. During the freeze an audible click click sound can be heard from the hard drive. The other problem is the computer would immediately power up when I plug in the power cord, without hitting the power switch on the front of the computer. I've replaced the hard drive, ran memtest a couple of hours, replaced the video card, reinstalled windows, checked the cables, unplugged all unnecessary pci cards, peripherals, drives. Is it more likely the power supply or the motherboard? The voltage monitor is pretty darn close to what's expected. The computer runs really stable otherwise, but it's getting really annoying having to leave it on all the time. Any help would be most appreciated.


Windows XP professional SP1
Asus A7N8X Deluxe
Athlon XP 2800+ Barton
512MB Corsair ram
420 Antec PSU
PNY 6800GT
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  1. Quote:
    it's getting really annoying having to leave it on all the time.

    That's ok. Just run Folding@Home and join the team! :wink:

    But seriously...
    The other problem is the computer would immediately power up when I plug in the power cord

    Why are you unplugging the cord in the first place? Usually there's a setting in BIOS to tell the PC to boot straight up if the power gets interrupted (useful for unattended embedded PCs in vending machines and the like), or sometimes if the front panel buttons aren't wired into the motherboard correctly (an LED is plugged into the power switch jumpers or something).

    If the power supply was dodgy I'd expect it to not be 100% stable in Windows, unless you're not taxing the system much. Play Doom III or something for a few hours to see if you can get a crash.

    I'd try a replacement power supply - borrow one or something. if you still have problems then I guess it must be the mobo. You seem to have replaced or checked out everything else.

    "Sex without love is an empty experience...
    But as empty experiences go, it's one of the best" - Woody Allen
  2. I don't like HDs making clicksounds. If you have important data on the disk, back it up. I had a Maxtor drives clicking and dying the same week. Replaced it, it clicked again, thought something was wrong with the PC. Turns out is was a bad shipment..
  3. :smile: aahhh...the joys of receiving defective parts

    "He who will not risk, cannot win"
    - John Paul Jones
  4. Guess which part of the HD got bad...

    Well, it was the boot sector.. Twice.. The first disk was so badly damaged the pc wouldn't boot when it was connected.
  5. That would seem to be statiscally improbable...You must be <b>REALLY</b> lucky!!

    "He who will not risk, cannot win"
    - John Paul Jones
  6. I never would have looked at it that way, but you are absolutely correct. Optimism is a good thing!

    To save us both time, assume I know EVERYTHING :tongue:
  7. Quote:
    That would seem to be statiscally improbable...

    I have had the same problem, and know of several others who have as well. It seems more statistically improbable that someone could get 2 good drives in a row from maxtor.
  8. "Why are you unplugging the cord in the first place? Usually there's a setting in BIOS..."

    That BIOS setting is disabled. I was unpluggin and replugging the power cord while unhooking some of the components, trying to islolate the troublemaker.

    Somehow i don't think it's the hard drive. The first hard drive in there was a 6 month old 160GB Western Digital 8MB cache. I replaced it with a brand new 80GB Seagate 8MB cache. Same problem. The only difference is the WD would make a click sound while the Seagate makes a whine sound during the startup freezes. Again i don't think it's the hard drives. I've run all sorts of disk checks on them and in fact i've hooked up the 160GB as master on the secondary IDE channel without noticing any data loss.
    The BIOS is uptodate, got all the moto drivers. This problem is buggin' the heck outta me.
  9. also, i've played Doom3 for hours so i know the system is taxed without a sign of a crash.
  10. It could be a bad capacitor. The problem is, that bad cap could be on the mobo, or in the psu.
    I would look closely at the caps near the chip. See if any have tops that are not flat, or if they are leaking from the side or bottom.
    Then if you dont have a spare psu, and cant borrow one, well who wants to need a psu in the middle of the night. A spare is never a bad thing to have, esp on a cold night in the middle of winter.
  11. I had the same problem. My hard drive would freeze during the windows loading phrase. Usually my room was very cold. There were suggestions that the caps were bad. In my case the HD was compleletly fragmented. Once I defraged my disk I booted up into windows over 35 days in a row without any problems.

    Do a fragment diagnostic on your HD. See if it is fragmented.
  12. Have you checked the "SMART" contents of the HDD?

    You can try downloading the manufacturers utility to tell if the drive is good or defective. I don't like to trust their utility along since some vendors like to say its worn out when it's only wearing out.

    I like the "Health" on hdtune. If you're running XP download this nice little freeware utility and see what ur diskdrive is reporting:<A HREF="" target="_new"></A>

    The loving are the daring!
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