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first-time builder, need a little help (booting)

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May 18, 2006 6:00:37 PM

I've built a system a step or two down from "top of the line." (See below for specs.) I do plan to do some overclocking, but obiously I'm taking first things first.

I've assembled it and everything seems to work fine. After letting it idle in BIOS for 10-15 minutes, the processor still remains around 36ºC. It detects the drives (one IDE DVD drive and one SATA hard drive) just fine, and my jumpers should be correct. (It does detect the DVD drive as IDE0 Master, which is my intention.) But here's the problem:

It doesn't boot from a CD. I set CDROM before hard drive in boot order. I was running into a strange "PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable" error, then I read that it could be remedied by disabling LAN boot in the BIOS. I did that, and it worked. However, I am still getting a "Boot from CD:" then "DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER" message. It won't boot from a CD, whether a Windows install CD, Linux LiveCD, regular Linux install CD, or anything else I can think of. Obviously, my hard drive is still empty, so it can't boot from there.

I don't have a floppy drive, since I figured I didn't really needed one. I took out everything about a floppy in BIOS, hoping it wouldn't think one was there.

So, what do I not know? Is there something I'm overlooking? I'm so close; I just need it to boot from the CD and I'm golden.

One thing I noticed is that after I get the DISK BOOT error, I inserted a CD and press Enter, and that message then comes back up... but the CD is never accessed. It seems to be accessed when you first turn it on, though, but even so it still doesn't boot from the disc.

Thanks for your help and expertise.

More about : time builder booting

May 18, 2006 6:15:25 PM

What kind of motherboard?
Did you try rearranging the RAM?
specs?
May 18, 2006 6:29:55 PM

I would try to install the dvd/cd drive in another system and see if it boots - or maybe trying primary/slave or secondary/master (or cable select even) with all other disks disconnected and bios set for cdrom and ide boot selections first and see what gives, if nothing maybe you got a bunk optical drive or maybe shipping damage?
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May 18, 2006 6:40:21 PM

I agree! I would definitely want to validate you have a functioning optical drive. If you don't have access to a spare computer or optical drive, why not hook up a floppy drive and make a Win98 boot floppy that should be able to access both your optical drive and your hard drive... that would help steer you in the right direction.
May 18, 2006 6:53:44 PM

Oh sorry! I said I'd list the specs then forgot. They are:

Mobo: ECS C19-A SLI (1.0A) Socket T (LGA 775) NVIDIA nForce4 SLI XE ATX Intel Motherboard
Proc: Intel Pentium D 805 Smithfield 533MHz FSB LGA 775 Dual Core,EM64T Processor
RAM: Patriot Signature 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Unbuffered Dual Channel
Power supply: Rosewill RP600V2-S-SL 600W Power Supply
Graphics: 3D Fuzion Geforce 7600GS 256MB GDDR2 PCI Express x16
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 SATA NCQ 3Gb/s ST3160812AS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
Optical Drive: SAMSUNG 16X DVD±R DVD Burner With 5X DVD-RAM Write and LightScribe Black ATA/ATAPI

I think that covers it.

The RAM banks are in the order 1,3,2,4, and I have the chips in banks 1 and 2.

Thanks for the idea of trying out the optical drive elsewhere. All I have is an old Compaq Presario (667 Mhz Celeron), and I don't think that boots as it is. I'll see what I can do, though. Any other ideas in the meantime, now that you finally have my system specs? (Sorry about that.) Thanks guys.
May 18, 2006 6:58:47 PM

cool, since you have a compaq to test with hopefully it has a working Cd-rom drive you can take out and try it in the new rig - maybe you will be able to complete an install :wink:
May 18, 2006 7:07:59 PM

I'm not saying this is your issue but try it with just one ram module in the correct slot, probably slot 2. Take out everything you don't need like the HD that won't be used as OS.

I have also had issues with the light scribe DVD burners, couldn't get it to work but worked fine with my standard DVD burner. Are you actually planning on using lightscribe? The disks are pretty expensive and most of the ppl i know that have it don't use it.
May 18, 2006 7:10:57 PM

Been through this frustration way too many times.
Sometimes disabling "floopy seek" in the BIOS helps.
Usually won by playing with the "boot sequence" with
settings that didn't make sense - like floopy 1st - when the
system didn't even have a drive installed.

With a SATA HD you can try also try moving the CD to the SEC IDE
as master, then you can also try disabling all the other IDE ports.

I have been lucky (?) enought to always get it working - eventually
but I don't think with ever the same settings :idea:
May 18, 2006 7:18:36 PM

Try to simplify your situation. Focus only on the optical drive - do not connect the hdd or any other superfluous element at this time. Your problem should then revolve around - does my optical drive work? and Does the boot CD boot?

First, test the boot CD on another system which has an operational optical drive. Make sure you modify the boot order if neccesary.

If it boots - great. If it doesn't well that may be your problem.

Verify that your slave/master/cable select setting is correct, and that your drive is connected to the correct end of the cable, and the orientation of the cable is correct (yes i have seen the connection inverted before.)

Boot into CMOS, verify that it detects your optical. If so - great - if not, recheck settings and orientation of cable.

Once the drive is recognized correctly in CMOS, then put the verified boot CD into the drive and give it a whirl. It should work, since you verified the drive and the disk.

Assuming that this resolved your issues, then you will want to re-connect the HDD and verify your CMOS settings and boot order again.

If this fails - take the working optical drive from the initial test system (for the boot CD) and put it into the new build as a temporary replacement. Install your OS and anything else, then put the drive back and RMA the failed optical drive.

Good luck.
May 18, 2006 7:28:00 PM

Well... I'm willing to try these things just mentioned, but I just pulled an old 4x CD-RW drive out of the old machine and stuck in this new rig in place of the DVD drive I mentioned. (I didn't change or disconnect anything else.) I can boot to the install CD. (It works.) Pardon my lack of excitement; I'm glad it worked, but I want it to work with my new drive. This boot problem must be solved with the new optical drive. So, now what? Are we now convinced the drive is bad and I should return it, or what?

Thanks for your help so far, everyone.
May 18, 2006 7:39:22 PM

Great! Well it is great the DVD drive was bad and not the mobo. If all the various jumper settings on the new drive are no-go with primary or secondary or on the old PC as well, then I would be convinced it is bad or damaged and needs replacement. Maybe try a few different bootable CDs just to be sure.

At least you have an old 4x to use in the interim!
May 18, 2006 7:44:44 PM

Quote:
Well... I'm willing to try these things just mentioned, but I just pulled an old 4x CD-RW drive out of the old machine and stuck in this new rig in place of the DVD drive I mentioned. (I didn't change or disconnect anything else.) I can boot to the install CD. (It works.) Pardon my lack of excitement; I'm glad it worked, but I want it to work with my new drive. This boot problem must be solved with the new optical drive. So, now what? Are we now convinced the drive is bad and I should return it, or what?

Thanks for your help so far, everyone.


You are in good shape - not great but good. You can install your OS and all of your apps...that is good. I would suggest forgetting about your new optical drive for now and get your HDD in shape.

Once you have your HDD built and happy - install all the new drivers, BIOS updates, ect. and THEN focus back on your new optical drive.

Verify that your slave/master/CS setting is identical to that of the older optical. Verify that you are inserting the cable properly, and that it gets recognized in CMOS. If you are never able to get it recognized in CMOS, it is toast and should be RMA'd back to where you got it.

If it does get recognized, do not worry about boot order, just get into windows and verify that you can access the drive and it functions normally. Once you can do that, then play with the boot order again and verify that with the boot CD rom.

Good Luck.
May 18, 2006 7:49:55 PM

Are you sure the power connector was plugged in all the way on the new drive?
If you took it out and put another drive in and it worked, did you then switch them back again and check if the first drive worked? Sounds to me like the power cable wasnt pushed in all the way the first time OR the drive is just bad like you say.
May 18, 2006 8:14:41 PM

Quote:
Verify that your slave/master/CS setting is identical to that of the older optical.

Check.
Quote:
Verify that you are inserting the cable properly, and that it gets recognized in CMOS.

Check.

Quote:

If it does get recognized, do not worry about boot order, just get into windows and verify that you can access the drive and it functions normally. Once you can do that, then play with the boot order again and verify that with the boot CD rom.


Alright, I hope then I can get this figured out. If it will later boot from optical disc, I'll be happy.

Quote:
Good Luck.

Thank you much.

<hr>

Quote:
Are you sure the power connector was plugged in all the way on the new drive?
If you took it out and put another drive in and it worked, did you then switch them back again and check if the first drive worked? Sounds to me like the power cable wasnt pushed in all the way the first time OR the drive is just bad like you say.


Yeah, I'm quite sure it was connected solidly. I verified that every time I reconnected it. It was getting power just fine, would open, and would seem to read the disc (or at least look for one), but then it didn't boot. Just nothing.
May 18, 2006 8:15:14 PM

Hopefully the failure was confirmed on both primary / secondary channels with all possible jumper settings on both machines, and with at least one genuine manufacturer bootable cd. The second machine should rule out the power connector issue.

It is great to have a beater box specifically for this purpose. Or linux :idea: really that compaq would be a decent firewall / gateway (great for secure port forwarding / proxy in public internet places), everyone needs one. Bring it back to life captain!! :wink:
May 18, 2006 8:26:39 PM

Quote:
Hopefully the failure was confirmed on both primary / secondary channels with all possible jumper settings on both machines, and with at least one genuine manufacturer bootable cd. The second machine should rule out the power connector issue.

I'm about to do all other combinations. I first wanted to see if the other drive would work, and it did. I'm going back and testing these other things now.

Quote:
It is great to have a beater box specifically for this purpose. Or linux :idea: really that compaq would be a decent firewall / gateway (great for secure port forwarding / proxy in public internet places), everyone needs one. Bring it back to life captain!! :wink:

Funny you should mention that... I was planning on trying to resurrect that thing in the next week or so. And obviously, Linux would be my weapon of choice. I may also get my girlfriend's mom's old 1.8Ghz P4 when she gets a new computer this summer. The idea of a little render farm or openmosix cluster in my dorm room make me feel warm and fuzzy.

I guess it's now I should state that I'm... weird, I guess. This sounds like a pretty good gaming system, but I'm not a gamer (save for an occasional game of Yahoo! Pool or something). I'm doing more 3D modeling/rendering now, and that's what most of my power is for. However, I splurged on these computer parts, so to justify buying it, I decided I'll sell it and use the profit to buy one that I'll keep for myself. :p  That's why this system ended up being more gamer-esque and having more bells and whistles than I need.

Oh, and I haven't used Windows in years. I mainly use OSX (the PowerBook I'm on now) and *nix for school and for personal use.
May 18, 2006 8:41:32 PM

I would say the drive is bad and just replace it instead of wasting your time trying to make it work. RMA time.
May 18, 2006 8:47:23 PM

Ahh! What the heck? So... I had booted into a Suse 9 Live CD (since I could) and was just poking around in there (I played Pingus). I didn't change any settings or anything. Then I decided to start trying things with the new drive, so I shut down and swapped back to the new drive. Now nothing happens. Everything turns on (fans spin, drives get power), but it doesn't go anywhere. My monitor remains without a signal. Then I switch back to the old drive, and same thing. So I clear CMOS. Same thing. What could be the problem? I couldn't have fried something, could I? I don't think I even touched the motherboard.
May 18, 2006 9:00:38 PM

Quote:

Oh, and I haven't used Windows in years. I mainly use OSX (the PowerBook I'm on now) and *nix for school and for personal use.


Good for you, and lucky you. Linux is great, with the caveat that Gaming is

it's achilles heel. They are improving the gaming options, but still have a long

way to go. I think we'd all love to tell M$ where to stick Windows, especially

with the upcoming Vista...It's going to cause havoc with system builders, and

unknowledgable customers. YUK!!! :x
May 18, 2006 9:43:05 PM

Ouch, well at this point I would remove all the hdd / cd i/o cables and power connections and get it back to life.

Sometime it is easier to just pull everything off the motherboard except the basics (CPU & fan / 1st memory dimm/ psu / gpu / keyboard / power-on header *only*) if you get video then start adding one at a time testing a POST every step of the way.

If nothing maybe give the memory dimm & gpu a reseat or swap the memory stick if you have a dual kit, or if you have a sheet of plywood I have had to remove the psu / mobo from the case to rule out chassis / mobo shorting out in extreme cases.
May 19, 2006 2:20:49 AM

I don't know what it was, but I basically took it apart and put it back together and cleared the CMOS. That thankfully did the trick ('cause what else would I try?). Oh, and interestingly enough, I was able to reproduce the problem: boot to SuSE 9 LiveCD and shut down. (That's what did it the first time.) Now I boot into Knoppix instead, and that doesn't happen.

Alright, so now that I'm back up and happy, I'm going to install an OS and then see if I can't figure anything out with the DVD drive later. If not, perhaps that's shot, but everything else is fine, so I'm happy overall.
May 20, 2006 6:26:41 AM

So I got everything up and running (quite smoothly, I might add). My only problem is that the DVD drive needs to be returned. I'm quite sure of it now. I set it as a second optical drive and booted into Windows. Both drives were recognized fine, but when I tried to read a disc in that drive, it spun for a while, but ultimately nothing came of it and it asked me to insert a disc (there was one in there...). Other than that, we're sittin' pretty.

Thanks for all your help, guys!
!