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Can't Install XP on Gigabyte GA M55Plus-S3G NF430

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July 5, 2006 10:10:35 PM

New build:

Gigabyte GA M55Plus-S3G NF430
Seasonic S12 420 PSU
Corsair value select 2x512mb 667 DDR2
Athlon 64 3000
Samsung Spinpoint SATA 80gb

I think I won first prize in the Microsoft "How Many Blue Screens Can You Find in Our OS?!" contest. I get a few during the install and once installed I'm lucky if I can boot normally once in a dozen tries. I can usually get into safe mode but not always. There's no regular pattern and a whole range of errors.

After a week it's settled down a little bit. The latest (of many) tries is still quite unstable and unusable for work but the blue screens have largely stopped. Still getting plenty other errors. The most common "registry has been restored" at each boot. It's also taken to complaining about an invalid boot.ini (there isn't one and AFAIK there shouldn't been since I don't have a dual boot). Sometimes it will boot up in 4 bit colour sometimes it will remember the proper settings. Apparently at random, the odd device in system/device manager will turn up with a yellow question mark then next boot be working again.

- Mobo has latest (F3) BIOS and I've used latest drivers from the Gigabyte web site
- highest CPU temp I've seen so far is 29 centigrade, at low usage. I haven't checked extensively but there's a Scythe Mine sitting on top so I don't think it's going to overheat
- RAM got through an overnight 6hr+ memtest run with no errors.
- The HDD has had a low level format and then the Samsung self diagnostic tool was run. No problems. Using latest SATA drivers from Gigabyte website.
- the Seasonic is a good unit which ought to be supplying accurate voltages & steady current
- The XP CD installed perfectly first time on my old PC so the disk is OK.
- Ubuntu installs perfectly first time

So I think I can rule out hardware faults. There appears to be something about the combination of XP Home and this mobo / drivers which just doesn't mix well. I've tried the ACPI and standard PC HALs. Neither seemed much better than the other.

Has anyone got XP up and working on this mobo? If so how did you manage it... I've spent over a week working on this and it's driving me nuts.
July 5, 2006 10:30:37 PM

disconnect everything you don't need before the install. only 1 optical drive one hd one stick of ram nothing connected externally but your monitor mouse and keyboard. in the bios disable if possible lan sound and video if your using an internal card . also please post your full system specs makes everything a little easier
July 5, 2006 10:35:21 PM

Quote:
- RAM got through an overnight 6hr+ memtest run with no errors.

What software did you use? I always use Memtest86 bootable CD and have found it to do a great job of finding memory errors other software did not. This REALLY sounds like a memory problem.

I would also run a LLOONNGG diagnostic on the HD to make sure you do not have an intermitant problem with your HD controller or SATA cable.
Related resources
July 5, 2006 11:22:29 PM

Quote:
please post your full system specs makes everything a little easier

Gigabyte GA M55Plus-S3G NF430
Seasonic S12 420 PSU
Corsair value select 2x512mb 667 DDR2
Athlon 64 3000
Samsung Spinpoint SATA 80gb
DVD rom
M-Audio Audiophile 2496
Compro DVB-T200

Quote:
disconnect everything you don't need before the install. only 1 optical drive one hd one stick of ram nothing connected externally but your monitor mouse and keyboard. in the bios disable if possible lan sound and video if your using an internal card.


I'm fairly sure the PCI cards are not influencing things since I've also tried installing with no cards and get exactly the same behaviour. I've been through literally dozens of installs including attempts with firewire off, onboard sound off, RAID, SATA channel 2, serial/parallel ports and everything else off that could be turned off. Oddly the latest install - with PCI cards and pretty much everything turned on - has been the best yet: I've booted at least six times in a row without a BSOD (although not without other errors). Previously I've been hitting the desktop only one in 12 tries or worse.

I've also tried with a IDE HDD and the SATA drive removed (another Samsung Spinpoint with a low-level format & self-diagnostic test) but the blue screens were worse. I couldn't boot at all.

This is computer hell: it works just enough to make you keep trying but never actually *works*...
July 5, 2006 11:30:59 PM

Quote:
What software did you use? I always use Memtest86 bootable CD and have found it to do a great job of finding memory errors other software did not. This REALLY sounds like a memory problem.

Memtest+ from the ultimatebootcd.com. Thanks for the tip - something else to try. I suspect it is OK since Ubuntu was working fine. Would there be memory issues that only show up in XP? I don't know. No harm checking again just in case.

Quote:
I would also run a LLOONNGG diagnostic on the HD to make sure you do not have an intermitant problem with your HD controller or SATA cable.

I'll look into that. I'm learning... I think there might have been an option to run the test repeatedly now you mention it.

If I can at least rule out hardware that will be a big step forward so many thanks for your tips.
July 5, 2006 11:54:44 PM

I assume you are currently dual-booting Linux and Windows?

If so there may be your issue! Which did you install first?

Which boot loader are you using Windows or Linux?

In the future you would need to let folks know that little tidbit too since it is crucial to your problem.
July 6, 2006 12:04:39 AM

Quote:
I assume you are currently dual-booting Linux and Windows?

Not at the moment. I did have Ubuntu on at one stage but not now. The nix partitions are still there but I've been through several XP re-installs since then and windows shoots grub on sight. Each new install replaces the MBR I think?
July 6, 2006 12:25:45 AM

I would go in and fdisk ALL the partitions and install windows to your newer partition. This will force a write and grub will be no more.

The clean partition table may actually help.
July 6, 2006 12:26:54 AM

wich version and servicepack of xp are you running. i know the seasonic should be fine but can you swap your powersupply and try a reinstall
July 6, 2006 1:34:06 AM

I'd try swapping out the PSU with a known one that works eg from another PC you have in the house or a 'friends'. I have had a similarly wierd problem caused by an intermittent dud cable in a RAID array. Try swapping out all of your storage device cables.

Good Luck and let us know how you go.

Scar
July 6, 2006 1:36:47 AM

have you loaded the third-party hdd driver?, when win xp boot disk starts it will ask you if you want to load a third party driver.....

completely erase the hard drive!. (that means low-level zero.... or wipe the first mega of the harddrive with zeros.)


win xp does not like SATA installs... (on a my lanparty ut2 dfi motherboard, the only way to install xp to a SATA was to completely remove all drives including the ide drives. otherwise xp installs the boot sector to the IDE and boots to the SATA.

try using a ide drive to install xp first, then clone ide to SATA, and then swap.

if all else fails, forget What I said-- install win xp ---,then suse 9.2 or 9.3 linux in a dual boot.
August 7, 2006 11:45:48 AM

Hi
I have finally managed to get this motherboard running relatively stable.
Purchased July 2006 the drivers for the Audio driver supplied make Windows XP pro totally unstable and unpredictable. Download driver from website. Also my board was supplied with BIOS version F3 and I think that has CPU fan speed issues. Download and update to F4.
If you use all the Nvidia chipset drivers from the Gigabyte website you should get windows to run but may have to install them in safe mode once Windows is installed.
Windows will not have a problem installing to SATA drive the drivers are part of windows (sp2).
Good luck :roll:
August 7, 2006 12:25:51 PM

Thanks for the reply. I've been making some progress since my last post. It turned out one of my memory sticks was faulty but this wasn't showing up in the memtest runs. That's what foxed me: I was looking elsewhere for the problem. When I removed the bad memory, I managed to install windows OK. I don't use the onboard audio so no problems there.

However, now I'm having USB problems. I've got a wacom graphire tablet and a USB modem. They'll work for a while and then I'll notice the (tablet-controlled) mouse cursor freezing for half a second every few seconds or so. At that point the USB modem stops working altogether. Sometimes reinstalling the USB modem driver cures it, sometimes the driver won't install at all and the modem appears as an unknown device in the device manager. Sometimes the tablet also appears as an unknown device and the (USB) power light goes off.

It's been working OK for a couple of days now but it's very frustrating. With PowerStrip, I can see that one of the USB devices (there's a v1 and v2) shares an IRQ with the gigabyte power management controller. Could that be the culprit?

I'd like this to be a good board - 4 PCI slots seem to be rare these days - but the jury is still out at least as far as I am concerned.
!