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Impossible to boot on HD and slow BIOS access

Last response: in Components
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August 4, 2006 8:57:17 AM

I have a weird problem and for holiday reasons (I'm leaving tomorrow)
it's impossible for me to check right now by changing hardware bits
(and that would cost me money too)

The problem is this : I was using Windows XP, everything was going fine.
Then I rebooted and I had plenty of "99" on the screen. Checking some
web boards, I found it was actually a Lilo problem, which I had
installed though I actually didn't have any working Linux partitions
anymore, so I did a FIXMBR to remove it.

Now here comes the weird bit. I'm not actually sure it's a LILO problem.
The reason is, the symptoms are SLOWNESS. I simply can't boot on my HD
(Hard Disk Boot Failure), and trying to put a Windows install DVD results
in more... slowness. Slowness to launch the install program, mostly.
There is a lot of complete inactivity of the computer : it says
it's loading, but no drive is spinning for a long while. And funnily
enough, when it starts to spin, it has normal speed... until it
freezes once again.

Doing a FIXMBR or even attempting a reinstall of Windows didn't help.
However, my Linux KNOPPIX DVD works just fine and had no kind of slowness
whatsoever.

There are a couple of other symptoms, which make me think it's either
the motherboard or the Power Supply Unit.
Those symptoms are

-VERY SLOW to leave BIOS and enter actual booting
-VERY SLOW to access CMOS utility.
-No system bips (even if it boots)
-No USB recognized before actual OS is loaded. That means I need to plug
a PS/2 keyboard to actually access CMOS where as I could do it just
fine with my wireless usually.

I've read stuff about a bad PSU possibly being the problem in such cases :
things about it not powering fast enough components. Does that fit in
with the rest of my symptoms ?

Thanks in advance.

-Mickmils
August 4, 2006 9:41:15 AM

Can be bad psu, but I would set my guess on a broken harddrive.
Possibly a chip in the HD and not neccesarily a broken head etc.

Especially since you say it's not slow with a knoppix boot-cd, wich doesn't access your harddrive.

I've gotten similar slow bios access when I've connected junkyard harddrives.
(always curious about what people have on their drives :p )
August 4, 2006 9:44:37 AM

I don't think it can be a HD problem. The HD is not slow when using
it with Knoppix (I can view movies just fine in it, and acess all my files
without any problem). And a bad HD wouldn't explain the slow to access
BIOS right ?
August 4, 2006 9:57:40 AM

HD problems can make the entire POST part fail.

Anyway, the usual way to debug an error is to disconnect one piece of hardware at a time.

Unplug the mouse, your card reader etc, one by one, and see if the bios and drive lag disappears.
If your PSU is at fault, this might disguise the error with the load diminishing btw, making stuff work suddenly.

Run memtest for at least 30 minutes or so, to let it go through one full check.
!