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Boot problem XP on ASUS MB

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  • Asus
  • Windows XP
  • Product
Last response: in Windows XP
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December 29, 2008 2:43:30 AM

I need help on a problem with my PC (described below) that was built about 1 year ago. Recently I loaded some video-editing software (Adobe Premiere Elements v4) to do some video work. I also loaded Pinnacle Studio 9 along with a patch, because it offers some nice features when capturing raw video. Shortly after, I began having a boot problem. The ASUS screen would come up as usual, but it would hang for maybe 30 to 50 seconds, and then a blank black screen would come up with the cursor blinking at the upper-left corner. Normally the ASUS screen is on for only 10 seconds or so, followed by the black screen for a few seconds, and finally the XP start-up screen.

After messing with this for a while, I tried hitting F8 as soon as the ASUS screen came up. This took me to a simple window that allowed me to select the boot source, either the internal or the external hard drive, or the optical drive. I selected the internal hard drive, hit Enter, and from here on the start-up was normal. But if I restarted again, I still needed to go through the F8 procedure.

I assumed there was something wrong with the software, perhaps some conflict between the two pieces of video software – note I had run both programs on another PC without any problem – and I tried a restore. That didn’t work, because the abnormal start-up (with the F8 procedure) somehow voided the restore. I was able to successfully restore by going into Safe Mode first, but the restore did not solve the problem.

I called ASUS, but they told me the problem was in the operating system, not their products.

To make the remainder of this long story very short, I have done three total reinstalls of my OS and all other software, but I have not yet succeeded in achieving a sustained operational status where I could execute a normal restart without having to do the F8 procedure. After the second reinstall, I could operate for a few hours with normal restart, but then the failure started again. In the first and third reinstalls, the problem arose even before I completed reinstalling all of my software. Of particular interest is that the problem arose during the third reinstall before any video software was installed; all I had at that point was XP SP3, Norton Internet Security 2009, Microsoft Office, and the Maxtor software. Hence, I don’t believe the problem arises from the software, but it must be some other mechanism that is corrupting the boot process. Note that in all three reinstalls, after installing XP I was careful to reset the boot priority in Setup/BIOS such that the hard drive was first on the list (I had set it to boot from the CD drive when I did the reinstall with the XP system disk).

One more thing. I read on the Microsoft web site that pressing F8 during start-up normally opens a page with a number of options, such as entering Safe Mode, Last Known Good Configuration, etc. Those options never appear in my present system. Instead I just get the one page that has me select the source of the boot software.

Other than this start-up mess the system is operating fine. But I would like to fix this so less technical members of my family can operate the computer.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

laserguy

ASUS motherboard, A8V-XE Via K8T890
Windows XP, SP3
AMD Athlon CPU, 64 X2 4200+, 2.2 GHz
1 GB RAM
Seagate Barracuda 250 GB hard drive, 7200 rpm, SATA, 20 GB free space
Samsung SH-S203B SATA DVD/CD read/write drive
Sapphire 100165L Radeon X1650 Pro 512 MB GDDR2 PCI Express video card
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE 7.1 channels PCI sound card
Sunbeam PSU-HUSH580-US 580W

More about : boot problem asus

December 29, 2008 3:18:39 AM

Either your hard drive is failing or you don't have it selected in the boot sequence in the BIOS. Check the boot sequence in the BIOS to ensure the hard drive is in there somewhere.

Also, in order to get to safe mode, you'll have to quickly select your hard drive and then press F8 immediately again to bring up the OS options menu. You might consider disabling boot device selection via F8 in the BIOS or seeing if you can select a key other than F8.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
December 29, 2008 4:26:28 AM

The sytem the way you have it set up appears to need to be prompted to boot up from the internal HD with the OS installed. So, apparently the system is failing to boot to that hard drive and is booting to something else and failing. Perhaps an external HD or even to a PCI card like Pinnacle Studio Nine supplys. I agree with Zoron, try going in to BIOS and selecting the internal HD OS drive as first boot device. Also, when selecting the second and third boot device, be sure no external drive or pci card is selected. You might disable any floppy disk scan too.
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December 29, 2008 7:49:08 AM

You are correct that the BIOS boot sequence was not set up properly. I had verified earlier that the BIOS boot sequence specified “hard drive” as having priority over the CD drive. I implicitly assumed this hard drive was the internal Seagate drive, not the external Maxtor drive. However, based on your suggestion, I checked the next level deeper into the BIOS information, and I found that among the hard drives, the external Maxtor was listed as the HDD with the highest priority. I changed this prioritization to make the internal Seagate dominant, and now I have been able to restart several times without having to resort to using F8. Would it be better if I totally removed the Maxtor external drive from the boot list? Also, I know for a fact that at one time the Seagate was designated as the highest priority in the boot sequence -- I actually made photos of the various BIOS screens. Is it possible the priorities could have been changed as I installed the Maxtor?

I wonder how it happened that the Seagate drive was not given the highest priority, and this leads to another question about the BIOS. On the Main BIOS page, it lists a number of possible drive functions as follows:

Primary IDE Master..........None
Primary IDE Slave..........None
Secondary IDE Master..........None
Secondary IDE Slave..........None
IDE Channel 2 Master..........Seagate HDD
IDE Channel 2 Slave..........Samsung CD Drive
IDE Channel 3 Master..........None
IDE Channel 3 Slave..........None

Does this look correct? I don’t know much about these things, but it seems to me the Seagate main HDD should be the Primary IDE Master, dominant over everything else. Is it the adequate to have it listed as the Secondary IDE Master, with no other drive having a higher designation? If I need to change this, how would I do it? In this context, note that the Maxtor is connected through a USB port. Would this type of connection necessarily give it a higher or lower priority than a HDD directly connected to the MB?

Finally, thanks for the suggestion on hitting F8 again, after loading the boot menu. That opened up the page with the options I expected. Wonderful.

Thanks very much!
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December 29, 2008 5:36:09 PM

Update:

I left the PC turned on, but sitting idle, for about 9 hours (gotta get some sleep), and then I tried a restart to see if anything had changed. It had! It wouldn’t boot – the same original problem had returned. When I pressed F8 to load the Boot Menu, I found that the Seagate internal hard drive was not even on the list. Only the Maxtor external hard drive was there.

I shut down, then rebooted, and pressed DEL to enter Setup. I navigated to the Boot section, selected Hard Drives, and noticed that both hard drives were there, but the Maxtor was listed as # 1. I had just changed this last night to make the Seagate # 1. How did it change back? Any ideas?

Thanks again for your suggestions.
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December 29, 2008 5:41:11 PM

Disable booting from USB altogether. You may want to update the BIOS just in case this is a known bug on your particular board.
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December 29, 2008 5:58:52 PM

I don't know how to disable booting from USB. Do you mean that I should remove the Maxtor drive (the one connected by a USB port) from the list of hard drives under the Boot menu? I'm not sure I know how to do that.

Another update:

I revisited the BIOS for another status check after I received your most recent response. In the Boot heading, in the list of hard drives, the Seagate internal drive was missing! Only the Maxtor was there. And yet, just before restarting so I could open the BIOS, I opened My Documents to verify that the C drive (the Seagate) was functional. It was. Like you suggest, perhaps there is a bug in the BIOS. Any other thoughts?

Thanks much, once again.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
December 29, 2008 6:13:44 PM

Links to your MB. For one thing, you have your IDE cable plugged in to the secondary IDE header on the MB. The 'other' IDE header (the one you are not using) is the 'primary' IDE connector. Your IDE cable is configured correctly however slave/masterwise. Personally, I would use the Primary IDE header for my HD and secondary IDE header for my Optical drives. You are using one IDE header in a master/slave configuration with the HD as master and an optical drive as slave. I rarely use that config.

Also, it appears the system BIOS is picking up the USB drive you have plugged in and listing it in the boot menu. I would simply unplug the USB drive when I booted the computer or was not using it. I wouldn't leave it spinning up all the time. I have two usb external drives sitting here on my desk. Both are unplugged at all times unless I decide to use one of them. If I boot the computer whie using them, I would unplug them first. Especially if the BIOS was finding them and trying to configure them amongst the boot sequence.

http://usa.asus.com/products.aspx?modelmenu=2&model=104...

http://support.asus.com/download/download.aspx?SLanguag...

http://vip.asus.com/forum/topic.aspx?SLanguage=en-us&mo...
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December 29, 2008 6:49:31 PM

Thanks for that advice. I will reconfigure the connections to use the primary IDE header as soon as I get a chance (which should be soon -- see below).

But here is another update. I tried restarting again without luck. I powered down, then started, and hit DEL to enter the Setup menu. The hard drive list under the Boot heading showed only the external Maxtor. Then I looked at the Main heading, which is supposed to show the connected drives. No drives were showing, not even the CD drive, which was on the same header as the internal HDD.

At this point, I concluded the problem was with the MB, not the drives, so I called ASUS. I explained the recent history, and the guy concluded the MB hard drive controller had failed. Now I have to remove the MB from the PC and send it to ASUS for repair.

It's a lot of work, but at least we know what caused the problem. Do you have any advice about removing the MB and removing the CPU, etc? Any special handling I should do? I have never disassembled one of these before.

Thanks again for all your help.

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a b Ĉ ASUS
December 29, 2008 7:12:54 PM

I would start by unplugging every thing from the MB. You might make a note or write down a diagram of what cables go where if you have never assembled/disassembled a system before. Then do the same with the PSU, disconnect all the leads and remember what you did (write it down if you have to). Once the PSU is completely disconnected from the MB, I would take the four screws holding the PSU in the case out and remove the PSU from the case. So, now all the leads are disconnected from the MB. No leads from the PSU as wel as the drves, fans etc. are conected to the board. Removed any PCI cards as well as the video card. Also, if the HD and optical drives are taking space you need to physically pull the board from the case, remove those drives too. You may want to remove the heatsink whle the board is still screwed down into the case. Well, once you have the MB 'disconnected' from the rest of the system, remove the 9 screws holding it to the case and gently lift it from the case. Be sure to take the CPU out before you send it to ASUS. I imagine ASUS will have the board for a while, so be prepared to carefully pack away the components you removed. You're board is discontinued (socket 939) so it will be interesting to see what ASUS support does with it.

I hope my general instruction to tearing down your system is helpful. 8)
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December 30, 2008 12:27:16 AM

Those are great suggestions, particularly about the possibility of using a PCI card to fix the problem rather than fixing the MB.

I did some more troubleshooting prior to shutting down. In my day job I find that temperature often leads to failures. For this reason, while I still had the BIOS on, and while it was showing no drives available in the Main heading, I selected the Power heading, and selected Hardware Monitor. I found that the CPU temperature was 59 C and the MB temperature was 46 C. I searched online, and found that the CPU is allowed to run as hot as 65 to 70 C. Hence, it appears that I have some margin there, assuming the temperature sensors are accurate.

At that point I shut down the computer. After three hours I turned it on again and entered Setup. Under the Main heading, both the internal Seagate drive and the CD drive were shown just where they were before (recall they were missing when I shut down three hours earlier). I closed the BIOS and let the computer launch XP, which it did without any problem. Whatever was causing the problem obviously goes away when the PC has time to cool down.

I let the computer run about an hour, and then I verified that the internal drive was functional by copying some files from the Seagate drive to the external Maxtor drive. The copy process was fine. Then I restarted, stopping in Setup on the boot-up. The Main heading still showed all relevant drives, and the Boot list showed the drives in the proper order. Finally, the temperatures were 59 and 46 C, as I had recorded before shutdown 4 hours earlier. I exited BIOS and let the boot process happen. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Instead I got the black screen that is typical of this failure mechanism.

I powered down, started, and entered BIOS again. At this point everything was unchanged, except the Boot list order had changed. The Maxtor was # 1 and the Seagate was # 2. Somehow they had changed places from when I exited BIOS and the XP boot process started -- a matter of a few seconds. In any case, I corrected the order, exited BIOS, and let the boot process continue. This time XP launched normally.

My present concern is that if I go ahead and pull the MB and send it to ASUS, they may test it in a cool state. If they do, it may not fail, and they won’t fix it. I will have wasted a lot of time for nothing.

What do you think? Are the temperatures excessively high? Does it make sense to go ahead and try to fix the MB, or would it be better just to use one of the SATA or IDE controller cards you suggested earlier?

Thanks again for your help!!
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December 30, 2008 1:10:41 AM

Try flashing the BIOS to the latest non-beta revision and see if that alleviates the issue at all.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
December 30, 2008 1:16:59 AM

Also, I would install the HD on one IDE controller as a single, get another IDE cable and install the optical drive as a single on the second IDE channel. Then unplug the Exernal HD when booting the system. Updating to latest BIOS is also a good idea if you are having this kind of problem. Really, it's not rare that the BIOS would pick up another device like a USB external drive and see it as a boot device. This is apparently the problem or part of the the problem. Can you disable 'boot from other or USB devices' in BIOS?
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February 8, 2009 3:56:35 PM

I removed the MB and returned it to ASUS. They gave me a brand new MB. I installed the new MB last night, but I now have a new problem: no video at all. The monitor is totally black immediately upon turning the PC on. I never saw even a hint of any image.

I have never installed a MB before, so my first question is whether there is some type of initialization procedure I need to follow when I install a new MB.

My second question pertains to the VIA K8T890 chip set mounted near the center of the MB, and which apparently controls the PCI Express slot that where the graphics card is installed. It turns out that I was using the heat sink attached to the K8T890 as a “handle” when I was maneuvering the MB into position inside the case. At one point, I felt the heat sink move very slightly relative to the MB, accompanied by a “squish” sound that I interpreted as the release of the thermal compound from making contact between the K8T8980 and the heat sink. I stopped what I was doing and pressed the heat sink back down on the K8T890, such that it felt pretty solidly attached to the K8T890. As I continued reinstalling the MB, I was careful not to use the heat sink as a handle any more. But now that I have a problem with the video, I wonder if I need to do more about the thermal interface between the heat sink to the K8T890. Note, however, that the absence of a video signal occurred immediately when the PC was first turned on, when it was unlikely that any significant overheating of the K8T890 could have occurred to kill the video signal. Is it possible that the K8T890 chip set had pulled away from the circuit board and is no longer making contact?

In terms of trouble-shooting, I removed the graphics card from the MB and reinstalled it, being particularly careful to be sure the card was thoroughly seated into the socket so that good electrical contact was being made. When I tried starting the PC once again, I verified that the fan on the graphics board was spinning, which certainly shows that the card is getting raw power. I also verified that the HDD was connected just as it was before.

I don’t know what else to try. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

laserguy


ASUS motherboard, A8V-XE VIA K8T890
Windows XP Home, SP3
AMD Athlon CPU, 64 X2 4200+, 2.2 GHz
1 GB RAM
Seagate Barracuda 250 GB hard drive, 7200 rpm, SATA, 20 GB free space
Sapphire 100165L Radeon X1650 Pro 512 MB GDDR2 PCI Express video card
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE 7.1 channels PCI sound card
Sunbeam PSU-HUSH580-US 580W
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February 9, 2009 5:27:32 AM

Remove the video card... you should get a series of beeps indicating no video. If that doesn't work, try removing the RAM and listen for beeps again. If you don't get any beeps, then your board isn't POSTing and you've likely damaged the chip. Did you at least try to flash the BIOS of the old board before you replaced it? You'd be really surprised at the issues a BIOS flash can fix at times.
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February 10, 2009 4:58:37 AM

Hello again, Zoron,

I followed your suggestion. First I removed the video card and then turned on the PC. I didn't hear anything that sounded like a beep (all I heard was a single, very faint beep-like sound immediately after I turned on the PC). I waited 30 to 40 seconds, with no beeps. Then I turned off the PC, removed the RAM, and turned on the PC again. Still no beeps.

Regarding the BIOS, I didn't do anything to that because ASUS gave me an entirely new MB. I had explicitly asked them when they gave me the RMA whether they would update the BIOS, and they said they always update to the latest BIOS version when they repair or replace a board. Hence, I didn't think it made any sense for me to do that again.

I doubt that I could have damaged the K8T890 chip. I looked very carefully at that part of the MB tonight. The chip is firmly attached to the board. The heat sink makes thermal contact with the chip through thermal compound, but there is no direct mechanical contact between the chip and heat sink. Hence, it appears that grabbing the heat sink could certainly have pulled the heat sink away from the spreader surface of the chip, but I don't think it could have affected the chip performance. Moreover, before operating the PC I pressed the heat sink firmly back in contact with the chip. Given the short run times I attempted, it's hard to believe the chip could have failed, particularly since the video was out from the moment I turned the PC on.

Do you have any further thoughts about next steps? I guess I will just contact ASUS and see what they think is the best follow-up.

I really appreciate your help. I have learned a lot from our dialog. It's unfortunate that I still don't have this PC in an operational state.

Thanks again,
laserguy



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