A7N8X-E Deluxe XP boot problem

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

Cold boot from start usually stops at Safe/Last known good config./Normal
screen or else it will boot eventually (4 + minutes) into XP Pro. During the
process the boot process is restarted three or four times. Sometimes I see
the Asus screen, then the SATA drive being recognized, then a pause and the
whole process starts over. Occasionally, it will go as far as the first XP
screen and still start the boot over.

After a restart, it goes back to XP within 37 seconds; not so if I do a turn
off and then start up. A local service tech could not find the problem.

A7N8X-E Deluxe
AMD Athlon (Barton) 3200
512 MB Crucial
WD 36 MB SATA Raptor (just replaced by Western Digital)
ATI 9600XT 128 MB
CD/RW & floppy drives

I have blown everything off and reformatted. Have XP Pro with SP2 and all
updates. Problem started before SP2.
Have gone through MSCONFIG dropping System Services, then Startup Items,
then System INI, BOOT INI, etc. with no effect.
BIOS updated from 1006 to 1012.
Latest Silicon Image SATA driver.
Latest Nvidia chipset driver.
Latest ATI Radeon driver.
Memory seems OK.
BIOS settings checked. No apparent problem. Set to boot SATA/RAID, then CD.

What else? Could the mainboard have a component failure?
Maybe there is a diagnostic available.
Any help appreciated.

Larry


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10 answers Last reply
More about a7n8x deluxe boot problem
  1. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

    In article <42924876$3_1@spool9-west.superfeed.net>, "Larry"
    <nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote:

    > Cold boot from start usually stops at Safe/Last known good config./Normal
    > screen or else it will boot eventually (4 + minutes) into XP Pro. During the
    > process the boot process is restarted three or four times. Sometimes I see
    > the Asus screen, then the SATA drive being recognized, then a pause and the
    > whole process starts over. Occasionally, it will go as far as the first XP
    > screen and still start the boot over.
    >
    > After a restart, it goes back to XP within 37 seconds; not so if I do a turn
    > off and then start up. A local service tech could not find the problem.
    >
    > A7N8X-E Deluxe
    > AMD Athlon (Barton) 3200
    > 512 MB Crucial
    > WD 36 MB SATA Raptor (just replaced by Western Digital)
    > ATI 9600XT 128 MB
    > CD/RW & floppy drives
    >
    > I have blown everything off and reformatted. Have XP Pro with SP2 and all
    > updates. Problem started before SP2.
    > Have gone through MSCONFIG dropping System Services, then Startup Items,
    > then System INI, BOOT INI, etc. with no effect.
    > BIOS updated from 1006 to 1012.
    > Latest Silicon Image SATA driver.
    > Latest Nvidia chipset driver.
    > Latest ATI Radeon driver.
    > Memory seems OK.
    > BIOS settings checked. No apparent problem. Set to boot SATA/RAID, then CD.
    >
    > What else? Could the mainboard have a component failure?
    > Maybe there is a diagnostic available.
    > Any help appreciated.
    >
    > Larry
    >

    Have you done even the most basic testing ?

    Nforce2 is known to be picky about RAM, expecially at FSB400/DDR400.
    Depending on your RAM configuration, you could be throwing memory
    errors. I recommend two test programs - memtest86+ from memtest.org
    (program will test a special boot floppy for you) and Prime95
    from mersenne.org (a Windows level test - select "torture test"
    option, to do a test). No errors are acceptable when using
    these test programs - if you see errors, you need to fix
    or upgrade some hardware.

    I expect you will find memory errors at the very least.
    It took me a week of testing to verify what works and
    what doesn't work. I ended up buying two sticks of
    PC3200 CAS2 memory, as the fastest solution to getting
    a working system.

    The other item that needs attention, is your power supply.
    The output printed on the label of the supply, should be
    about +5V at 25 amps. That board draws virtually all of
    its power from +5V, so a healthy +5V rating is important.

    Before you buy any new hardware, to verify it is a hardware
    issue, just drop the FSB of the processor down from FSB400
    to a lot less. I'm willing to bet it'll boot like a charm.
    And, that will indicate you need to do more testing, for
    the above mentioned potential culprits. Both power demands
    and memory error rate, will drop if you drop the FSB speed.

    Paul
  2. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

    Thanks for the replies.
    I do have one 512 stick of Crucial PC-3200 in there, and the power supply is
    the Antec True Blue 430 watt.

    The PC tech did knock down the speed but it made no difference.

    I did run the boot logger but don't know where the results are.

    I will get the mem checker and try that.

    Larry


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  3. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

    Tried boot logging?

    "Larry" <nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote in message
    news:42924876$3_1@spool9-west.superfeed.net...
    > Cold boot from start usually stops at Safe/Last known good config./Normal
    > screen or else it will boot eventually (4 + minutes) into XP Pro. During
    the
    > process the boot process is restarted three or four times. Sometimes I see
    > the Asus screen, then the SATA drive being recognized, then a pause and
    the
    > whole process starts over. Occasionally, it will go as far as the first XP
    > screen and still start the boot over.
    >
    > After a restart, it goes back to XP within 37 seconds; not so if I do a
    turn
    > off and then start up. A local service tech could not find the problem.
    >
    > A7N8X-E Deluxe
    > AMD Athlon (Barton) 3200
    > 512 MB Crucial
    > WD 36 MB SATA Raptor (just replaced by Western Digital)
    > ATI 9600XT 128 MB
    > CD/RW & floppy drives
    >
    > I have blown everything off and reformatted. Have XP Pro with SP2 and all
    > updates. Problem started before SP2.
    > Have gone through MSCONFIG dropping System Services, then Startup Items,
    > then System INI, BOOT INI, etc. with no effect.
    > BIOS updated from 1006 to 1012.
    > Latest Silicon Image SATA driver.
    > Latest Nvidia chipset driver.
    > Latest ATI Radeon driver.
    > Memory seems OK.
    > BIOS settings checked. No apparent problem. Set to boot SATA/RAID, then
    CD.
    >
    > What else? Could the mainboard have a component failure?
    > Maybe there is a diagnostic available.
    > Any help appreciated.
    >
    > Larry
    >
    >
    >
    > ----== Posted via Newsfeeds.Com - Unlimited-Uncensored-Secure Usenet
    News==----
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    Newsgroups
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  4. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

    In article <42928b1d$1_1@spool9-west.superfeed.net>, "Larry"
    <nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote:

    > Thanks for the replies.
    > I do have one 512 stick of Crucial PC-3200 in there, and the power supply is
    > the Antec True Blue 430 watt.
    >
    > The PC tech did knock down the speed but it made no difference.
    >
    > I did run the boot logger but don't know where the results are.
    >
    > I will get the mem checker and try that.
    >
    > Larry
    >

    I believe the purpose of boot logging, is to see if you are
    getting stuck when a particular driver loads. Ntbtlog.txt is
    mentioned here.

    http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/Windows/XP/all/reskit/en-us/prmb_tol_rpsc.asp?frame=true

    Another tool I like, although it is a pretty big download, is
    to make a Knoppix CDROM boot disk. (http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/)
    The reason I like this tool, is this distro is a read-only
    boot disk. You don't need a hard drive to use it, so no chance
    of the hard drive being corrupted. And, if you have enough system
    memory (1.5GB is good), you can even load the contents of the
    entire CD into system memory, so the system runs completely without
    rotating media. As a bonus, memtest86+ is offered as a boot time
    option, so the CD also functions as your copy of memtest86+. It was
    a 700MB download, for the release I used, so is not a candidate
    for dial up modems. (There may be smaller distros that can do this,
    but I haven't been shopping for one lately.)

    As Linux boots, you can watch as the various drivers load for
    the subsystems on the motherboard. Finally the desktop will appear,
    and a short message will come through the speakers (proving the
    sound driver works).

    Now, the cool part, is when you try to overclock. With a little
    too much overclock, the drivers will load OK, but the desktop
    applications will start disappearing one by one, as they crash.
    With more extreme overclocking, the driver loading sequence will
    become unreliable.

    Since the booting process offers more feedback, you get a bit
    more info than you might get from Windows.

    In any case, many may consider this to be pretty pointless, but
    if you want a different test environment, this is one way to get
    it. I've even run a Linux version of Prime95 while using Knoppix.
    You can even run multiple copies of Prime95 (I've run four
    at the same time - works as long as each has its own lauhcn
    directory).

    As the CD cannot be corrupted, you don't have to worry about
    registries being bad and the like.

    Paul
  5. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

    "Paul" <nospam@needed.com> wrote in message
    news:nospam-2305051943370001@192.168.1.178...
    > In article <42924876$3_1@spool9-west.superfeed.net>, "Larry"
    > <nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote:
    >

    I recommend two test programs - memtest86+ from memtest.org
    > (program will test a special boot floppy for you) and Prime95
    > from mersenne.org (a Windows level test - select "torture test"
    > option, to do a test). No errors are acceptable when using
    > these test programs - if you see errors, you need to fix
    > or upgrade some hardware.
    >
    > I expect you will find memory errors at the very least.
    > It took me a week of testing to verify what works and
    > what doesn't work. I ended up buying two sticks of
    > PC3200 CAS2 memory, as the fastest solution to getting
    > a working system.
    >
    > Paul

    Paul, I made a boot floppy with MemTest86+ and ran 10 passes last night with
    zero errors.

    Larry


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  6. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

    "Larry" <nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote in message
    news:42924876$3_1@spool9-west.superfeed.net...
    > Cold boot from start usually stops at Safe/Last known good config./Normal
    > screen or else it will boot eventually (4 + minutes) into XP Pro. During
    > the process the boot process is restarted three or four times. Sometimes I
    > see the Asus screen, then the SATA drive being recognized, then a pause
    > and the whole process starts over. Occasionally, it will go as far as the
    > first XP screen and still start the boot over.
    >
    > After a restart, it goes back to XP within 37 seconds; not so if I do a
    > turn off and then start up. A local service tech could not find the
    > problem.
    >
    > A7N8X-E Deluxe
    > AMD Athlon (Barton) 3200
    > 512 MB Crucial
    > WD 36 MB SATA Raptor (just replaced by Western Digital)
    > ATI 9600XT 128 MB
    > CD/RW & floppy drives
    >
    > I have blown everything off and reformatted. Have XP Pro with SP2 and all
    > updates. Problem started before SP2.
    > Have gone through MSCONFIG dropping System Services, then Startup Items,
    > then System INI, BOOT INI, etc. with no effect.
    > BIOS updated from 1006 to 1012.
    > Latest Silicon Image SATA driver.
    > Latest Nvidia chipset driver.
    > Latest ATI Radeon driver.
    > Memory seems OK.
    > BIOS settings checked. No apparent problem. Set to boot SATA/RAID, then
    > CD.
    >
    > What else? Could the mainboard have a component failure?
    > Maybe there is a diagnostic available.
    > Any help appreciated.
    >

    Was the sata drive replaced under warranty with a new drive or a factory
    reconditioned drive ? Have you got the bios set for optimal preformance and
    not agressive ?

    --
    Judder
  7. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

    "Jinxed" <jinxed@noluck.com> wrote in message
    news:gGHke.38680$G8.21563@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk...
    >> first XP screen and still start the boot over.
    >>
    > Was the sata drive replaced under warranty with a new drive or a factory
    > reconditioned drive ? Have you got the bios set for optimal preformance
    > and not agressive ?
    >
    > --
    > Judder
    Yes, WD replaced with a new drive, manufactured in Malaysia less than a
    month before I received it.

    If I set for voice response on boot, sometimes the voice will say "failure
    due to overclocking," but I am not overclocked. Nothing agressive in BIOS.


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  8. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

    In article <42937e24$1_2@spool9-west.superfeed.net>, "Larry"
    <nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote:

    > "Paul" <nospam@needed.com> wrote in message
    > news:nospam-2305051943370001@192.168.1.178...
    > > In article <42924876$3_1@spool9-west.superfeed.net>, "Larry"
    > > <nospams.dxman@zoominternet.net> wrote:
    > >
    >
    > I recommend two test programs - memtest86+ from memtest.org
    > > (program will test a special boot floppy for you) and Prime95
    > > from mersenne.org (a Windows level test - select "torture test"
    > > option, to do a test). No errors are acceptable when using
    > > these test programs - if you see errors, you need to fix
    > > or upgrade some hardware.
    > >
    > > I expect you will find memory errors at the very least.
    > > It took me a week of testing to verify what works and
    > > what doesn't work. I ended up buying two sticks of
    > > PC3200 CAS2 memory, as the fastest solution to getting
    > > a working system.
    > >
    > > Paul
    >
    > Paul, I made a boot floppy with MemTest86+ and ran 10 passes last night with
    > zero errors.
    >
    > Larry
    >

    If you can boot into Windows, run a copy of Prime95. Use
    the Torture Test option - this is where I really started
    to see problems with my A7N8X-E. It may take a minimum
    of 30 minutes before you see your first error. While this
    doesn't have anything to do with your disk problem, it is
    part of proving the machine is ready to use.

    I assumed your problem was memory, because so many people
    experience problems with that. I really don't have a good
    handle on what to expect from booting WinXP, when the disk
    is acting up, so any symptoms you might name, wouldn't
    really suggest a solution to me.

    There were problems initially with the first A7N8X boards
    and the SIL3112. The situation a while back is posted here:

    http://groups.google.ca/group/alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus/msg/28ecacc04b1759df?dmode=source&hl=en

    Looking on the "new" support.asus.com page, it looks like the
    1013e bios (with 4.2.47 SIL BIOS) is still the latest. There
    is a hacked BIOS with 4.2.50 SIL BIOS here (I haven't tried
    this, because I don't own any SATA drives). I doubt that any
    of this has anything to do with getting a single drive to
    work. Perhaps save this BIOS upgrade for when you are really
    sick of the board and don't give a damn any more.

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.mcclay/
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.mcclay/A7N8X-Deluxe/E/1013E-Uber-SATA.rar

    Do you have some way to test the Raptor ? A spare drive would
    really come in handy at a time like this, so you can do some
    read/write testing of the disk. And, even if Windows is silent
    about how much trouble it is having reading your disk, if you
    use a disk benchmarking program, that tests STR versus head
    position on the disk, if you see a lot of variation in measured
    read bandwidth, that is an indication that the drive is suffering
    errors that are causing it to go back and retry read operations.

    This looks pretty bad, whatever the root cause:
    http://www.waptang.com/images/hdtach.jpg

    Something smells here - this could be a bad cable:
    http://www.gisrs.net/personal_computing/hdtach-WD800JB_NF2driver366.jpg

    This drive looks pretty good:
    http://www.gisrs.net/personal_computing/hdtach-WD8000JB_KT400.jpg

    There are various Data Lifeguard tools here. Problem is, the WD
    FAQs talk a lot about "EIDE" and not SATA, making me wonder if
    these tools really work with chips like the SIL3112.
    http://support.wdc.com/download/index.asp?cxml=n&pid=999

    Data Lifeguard error codes are here, for whatever that is worth.
    http://support.wdc.com/techinfo/general/errorcodes.asp

    Favorite errors on SATA are:

    Bad cables. Try another cable (usually a mechanical problem,
    like cable won't stay in place). Perhaps if a cable is bent
    or pinched, this will cause a reflection in the cable, as
    bending or pinching the cables changes the impedance. The
    signals are really high speed, and don't appreciate stuff like
    that. If you've accidently "folded" the cable, replace it.

    Bad port on SATA chip. Try the other port.

    Cable soft error rate. I think there is an integrity check
    across the cable, but I don't know of any way to find out whether
    Windows is having problems because of something like that.

    Maybe now you understand why I don't have any SATA drives. I'm
    still uncertain as to whether there are really enough tools
    around to deal with them. With IDE drives, my experience is
    they either work, or they are completely dead, with maybe a couple
    of days transition time between those two states (if I'm lucky,
    I get to do a final backup). With SATA, the interface just adds
    another variable to the mix ("damn, my cable fell off").

    Paul
  9. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

    Thanks for the info, Paul.

    I used this dang setup for a year with BIOS 1006 without problems. Then I
    started getting "INSERT SYSTEM DISK" errors, but only when the drive started
    from cold (turned off for at least an hour). WD had me download their test
    program which boots from a floppy so it could test the drive before it
    reached operating temp. The quick test tested bad, and the long test timed
    out. Repeating the tests (drive warm by now) showed drive good. The replaced
    the drive and so far haven't contacted me that the one I sent back was
    actually good. Well, that stopped the INSERT SYSTEM DISK errors.

    This latest problem also acts heat related in that a turn off for a period
    of time will not boot without repeated attempts. I need to check more by
    booting from turn off without waiting for components to cool. I may just be
    that things that happen during cold boot do not all run if just restarting.
    At least that's what the service tech said.

    I need to build a new machine for my daughter, so may try that board with
    this system first. I'm not sure it will be a late revision of the same board
    or something different. Still planning to use AMD Athlon 3200.

    Will run the WD test on this drive and try your suggestions. I have switched
    SATA ports as well as cables.

    Looking at Maximum PC and the boards coming out now, you can see that SATA
    is taking over. The local tech won't use SATA. Also says the 10,000 RPM
    drives are prone to failure.

    BTW, this machine works perfectly once booted. I can always boot in less
    than five minutes. But it should be more like 38 seconds. Haven't loaded
    Zone Alarm Pro yet so as not to confuse the issue.

    Thanks again. I'll work with it some more.

    Larry

    > If you can boot into Windows, run a copy of Prime95. Use
    > the Torture Test option - this is where I really started
    > to see problems with my A7N8X-E. It may take a minimum
    > of 30 minutes before you see your first error. While this
    > doesn't have anything to do with your disk problem, it is
    > part of proving the machine is ready to use.
    >
    > I assumed your problem was memory, because so many people
    > experience problems with that. I really don't have a good
    > handle on what to expect from booting WinXP, when the disk
    > is acting up, so any symptoms you might name, wouldn't
    > really suggest a solution to me.
    >
    > There were problems initially with the first A7N8X boards
    > and the SIL3112. The situation a while back is posted here:
    >
    > http://groups.google.ca/group/alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus/msg/28ecacc04b1759df?dmode=source&hl=en
    >
    > Looking on the "new" support.asus.com page, it looks like the
    > 1013e bios (with 4.2.47 SIL BIOS) is still the latest. There
    > is a hacked BIOS with 4.2.50 SIL BIOS here (I haven't tried
    > this, because I don't own any SATA drives). I doubt that any
    > of this has anything to do with getting a single drive to
    > work. Perhaps save this BIOS upgrade for when you are really
    > sick of the board and don't give a damn any more.
    >
    > http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.mcclay/
    > http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.mcclay/A7N8X-Deluxe/E/1013E-Uber-SATA.rar
    >
    > Do you have some way to test the Raptor ? A spare drive would
    > really come in handy at a time like this, so you can do some
    > read/write testing of the disk. And, even if Windows is silent
    > about how much trouble it is having reading your disk, if you
    > use a disk benchmarking program, that tests STR versus head
    > position on the disk, if you see a lot of variation in measured
    > read bandwidth, that is an indication that the drive is suffering
    > errors that are causing it to go back and retry read operations.
    >
    > This looks pretty bad, whatever the root cause:
    > http://www.waptang.com/images/hdtach.jpg
    >
    > Something smells here - this could be a bad cable:
    > http://www.gisrs.net/personal_computing/hdtach-WD800JB_NF2driver366.jpg
    >
    > This drive looks pretty good:
    > http://www.gisrs.net/personal_computing/hdtach-WD8000JB_KT400.jpg
    >
    > There are various Data Lifeguard tools here. Problem is, the WD
    > FAQs talk a lot about "EIDE" and not SATA, making me wonder if
    > these tools really work with chips like the SIL3112.
    > http://support.wdc.com/download/index.asp?cxml=n&pid=999
    >
    > Data Lifeguard error codes are here, for whatever that is worth.
    > http://support.wdc.com/techinfo/general/errorcodes.asp
    >
    > Favorite errors on SATA are:
    >
    > Bad cables. Try another cable (usually a mechanical problem,
    > like cable won't stay in place). Perhaps if a cable is bent
    > or pinched, this will cause a reflection in the cable, as
    > bending or pinching the cables changes the impedance. The
    > signals are really high speed, and don't appreciate stuff like
    > that. If you've accidently "folded" the cable, replace it.
    >
    > Bad port on SATA chip. Try the other port.
    >
    > Cable soft error rate. I think there is an integrity check
    > across the cable, but I don't know of any way to find out whether
    > Windows is having problems because of something like that.
    >
    > Maybe now you understand why I don't have any SATA drives. I'm
    > still uncertain as to whether there are really enough tools
    > around to deal with them. With IDE drives, my experience is
    > they either work, or they are completely dead, with maybe a couple
    > of days transition time between those two states (if I'm lucky,
    > I get to do a final backup). With SATA, the interface just adds
    > another variable to the mix ("damn, my cable fell off").
    >
    > Paul


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  10. Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.asus (More info?)

    A call to Asus technical service has identified my boot problem to the
    motherboard. I discovered that dropping my FSB from 200 to 100 in BIOS
    corrects the problem. MemTest86+ reports zero errors after 10 passes.

    I have more Crucial RAM and another A7NX8-E Deluxe on order to upgrade my
    memory and build a system for my daughter. I will swap the memory stick
    first and then the board before returning the board to Asus.

    Many thanks to all who responded with suggestions.

    Larry


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