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New System Won't Boot Up

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October 2, 2007 12:51:08 AM

I just ordered a few new parts and essentially gutted my old computer and replaced everything except the HD's and optical drives.

I finished putting everything together only to find out that upon turning on the computer that the monitor won't display anything. All the fans turn on and from what I can tell, the computer is doing something because I can hear the HD making little noises for 5-10 seconds before going quiet.

My monitor turns on, but it just displays the same idle screen I get when I turn on my monitor without turning on the computer. Also, the keyboard, mouse, and optical drives are unresponsive.

Here's what I ordered and installed in my computer:
Foxconn K8M890M2MB-RS2H AM2 VIA K8M890 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ Brisbane 2.1GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor
A-DATA Value Series 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory
COOLMAX M-500 ATX12V 500W Power Supply 115/230 V UL, CSA, TUV, FCC
EVGA 256-P2-N615-TX GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported Video Card
CZ S.O.E 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory

Any help is vastly appreciated!

EDIT: Whoops, I only have one stick of RAM!

More about : system boot

October 2, 2007 1:45:20 AM

Did you plug in the 4 pin CPU power plug?
October 2, 2007 2:44:40 AM

I don't believe this. The PSU doesn't have a 4 pin CPU plug coming out of it. It has a 6 pin plug and an 8 pin plug, but no 4 pin plug. Also, it didn't come with any adapter =(.

Could this be the issue that my computer is having? If so, how might I remedy it?

EDIT: I noticed that the 8 pin plug looks like may be able to be split in half. Is that possible?
Related resources
October 2, 2007 3:09:24 AM

This picture at Newegg seems to indicate a 4 pin connector on your unit. I thought most PSUs simply had 2 4 pin connectors. I hesitate to tell you to cut it in half but that does sound like that's maybe the idea. Some motherboards have an eight pin connector at the CPU (for quads I guess?), but the PSUs usually have 2 4 pins for this. Is there a manual for it?

I suspect that if it is 'keyed' to fit the connector (has the correct shape) that must be it. Just don't force it.

Anyway you're going to need that cpu plug in there to start the computer.

I have some serious doubts about the quality of that PSU. But it should at least get you started up.
October 2, 2007 3:46:04 AM

Success! The computer actually turns on now!

It turns out they were 2 seperate 4-pin connectors, but they clipped together via a little plastic nub. Thank goodness the manual didn't say anything about that and I had to just fiddle with it until I figured it out =P

Now to install an OS =)
October 2, 2007 3:48:54 AM

Great news! Enjoy.
October 2, 2007 4:03:08 AM

Update!

I tried reinstalling windows XP pro twice and both times I get the error that fastfat.sys is corrupted. I've read that this is usually linked to bad sticks of RAM, but the thing is that if I don't boot to the installation disc, the computer starts up all the way to the login screen on the old OS. (Of course, when I login I'm asked to activate Windows. When I do, it says it's already activated and sends me back to the login screen. Then when I log in again, it does the same thing.)

Any insight?
October 2, 2007 7:15:14 PM

Alright, how would I go about doing that?
a b C Monitor
October 2, 2007 8:03:40 PM

when booting with the windows disc in drive, it will give you a option to format the hdd. Or if it doesnt use the partition section of the instal prog to recreate the partitions u want on the hdd, after this it _has to_ format the drive to continue with the installation. hope this helps

edit you will of course lose all the data on the hdd, if you delete the partitions
October 2, 2007 10:31:05 PM

Thanks for the info, but I'm not quite clear on a few things.

Can I just format one partion on the HD? Because my HD is divided into two partitions, one is the HP recovery partition and the other is everything else on the drive.

Would it even make sense to keep the HP recovery partition? The new OS I'm installing is Windows XP Pro and I'm pretty sure that I have Windows XP Home edition currently on it.

EDIT: When I boot from the Windows XP disc, it doesn't give me any prompt. It just gives me a blue screen that says Windows Setup and starts installing files. It gives me an option at one point to push F6 to install 3rd party RAID discs or something to that effect and the option to push F2 to started an automated system recovery.
October 3, 2007 1:41:57 AM

Well if you dont get far enough to get into the partitions you'll have to use a windows me or 98 floppy and run fdisk to delete and reformat. You cant keep any of your partitions since your OS isnt the same any more. If you have important files grab a new Hard Drive and install windows on it then transfer your files with the old drive as a slave.
October 3, 2007 2:10:38 AM

Quote:
EDIT: When I boot from the Windows XP disc, it doesn't give me any prompt. It just gives me a blue screen that says Windows Setup and starts installing files. It gives me an option at one point to push F6 to install 3rd party RAID discs or something to that effect and the option to push F2 to started an automated system recovery.


What happens after that? If you just let it run it should soon prompt you to install Windows. It will then scan your dives and come back with options for where to install.
October 3, 2007 3:06:09 AM

notherdude said:
Quote:
EDIT: When I boot from the Windows XP disc, it doesn't give me any prompt. It just gives me a blue screen that says Windows Setup and starts installing files. It gives me an option at one point to push F6 to install 3rd party RAID discs or something to that effect and the option to push F2 to started an automated system recovery.


What happens after that? If you just let it run it should soon prompt you to install Windows. It will then scan your dives and come back with options for where to install.


Here's what happens exactly. I press a key to boot to a disc when prompted and I get a blue screen that says Windows Setup. There's nothing on the screen except for that. Once a few seconds pass, there is a prompt at the bottom of the screen to push F6 to install 3rd party RAID discs. Once 5-10 seconds pass, I get prompted to push F2 if I want to start Automated Windows System Recovery. Once 5-10 more seconds pass, the bottom of the screen says "Setup loading files" and indicates which files it is currently loading. After it loads a bunch of files, I get an error that says "The file fastfat.sys is corrupted. Press any key to continue." At the bottom of the screen, it says "Setup failed. Press any key to restart your computer."
October 3, 2007 3:20:20 AM

Ah ha! OK. I don't know.

I see a lot of references to it being a RAM problem, as did you, that sounds right, so to check that run memtest86, here is a dircet link to DL it http://www.memtest86.com/memtest33.zip.
Extract it from the zip archive and put a blank floppy in your floppy drive and follow instructions for creating a floppy. AS I recall you simply run the exe. file that extacts from the zip. It mat require a prompt or two after that. Set your BIOS to boot off floppy and it will run automatically. Watch for errors. If it passes then we cross that bridge.

You can also burn an image to CD and boot off CD if you have no floppy. Instructions at www.memtest86.com.

Try that and see what happens.
October 3, 2007 3:21:30 AM

I am sure by now you have got it all figured out, but just in case:

If your system boots to the Windows OS disc (the blue screen showing drivers being loaded) then all is going well. You will get to a point where you need to press "F8" to agree to the terms & conditions. Press F8.

It goes on to detect previous copies of Windows and warns you that it sees a previous copy. You select "you want to install a fresh copy of Windows anyways". When you see your partitions you will see the old windows XP and it probabaly wil be c:\windows.

You can leave the hidden HP partition alone, it will be real small anyways and gives you the option to revert back to the XP Home you had before (if you had to).

So what you do next is delete the C:\windows partition by pressing "D". You will get a press "enter" to continue and finally a press "L" to really confirm to delete it. Just do it. Now you see a Raw unformatted drive. Press "C" to create and new partition and then format in NTFS (don't bother with the Quick option on a used drive - go the longer format route). It will take a while to format. When it is done it will proceed to install Windows. You may have to answer some questions along the way but it should be straight forward.
October 3, 2007 3:23:57 AM

kshipper said:
I am sure by now you have got it all figured out, but just in case:

If your system boots to the Windows OS disc (the blue screen showing drivers being loaded) then all is going well. You will get to a point where you need to press "F8" to agree to the terms & conditions. Press F8.

It goes on to detect previous copies of Windows and warns you that it sees a previous copy. You select "you want to install a fresh copy of Windows anyways". When you see your partitions you will see the old windows XP and it probabaly wil be c:\windows.

You can leave the hidden HP partition alone, it will be real small anyways and gives you the option to revert back to the XP Home you had before (if you had to).

So what you do next is delete the C:\windows partition by pressing "D". You will get a press "enter" to continue and finally a press "L" to really confirm to delete it. Just do it. Now you see a Raw unformatted drive. Press "C" to create and new partition and then format in NTFS (don't bother with the Quick option on a used drive - go the longer format route). It will take a while to format. When it is done it will proceed to install Windows. You may have to answer some questions along the way but it should be straight forward.


kshipper, read his latest post, he's not getting that far. Have you seen that error before?
October 3, 2007 3:38:53 AM

Doh! By the time I typed that out he had posted an update. Bad RAM is certainly going to do that and so would a failing hard drive. I have also seen this on a dirty DvD/CD and /or dirty optical drive. Unfortunately Vicidius, you have to go with your gut feeling and do them one at a time. The Memtest program will help with a memory diagnosis. To speed things up pull out all the memory and leave only one stick. If don't have access to a hard drive test program like Spinrite, swap the hard drive with a different one and try to install again. You can also bring a different optical drive to the party. Borrow a CD drive from someone and swap that out to see if it reads the disc better. Check the disc itself for crud and scratches. Borrow a friends XP Pro disc ? Is that an option? Don't discount any heat related issues. Observe that all fans are turning. I like to check temps in the BIOS before I start to install an OS. The heat related problem is a long shot tho' since your PC is not shutting of or rebooting.
October 3, 2007 3:40:25 AM

Since you have a new Mobo you cant use your old HP crap anymore. Do delete it.
October 3, 2007 3:43:13 AM

I just thought about this some more. It can't be hard drive since those drivers are loaded into memory in the very beginning. It has to be a memory issue.

When I built my current Quad Core I had some memory compatability trouble. I ended up fixing it by applying a small amount of additional voltage (like 0.10v) to the standard settings to get it stable.
October 3, 2007 3:44:49 AM


I'm still leaning towards RAM (or other basic system problem). If the CD was dirty I'm pretty sure you would get a can't copy or can't read error with an option to retry or skip. It sounds like this is happening before loading of the hard drive, doesn't xp use a RAM drive to start out? Anyway, I'd sure check out that RAM.

EDIT: ah , just saw your post above and I see you concur. Yea, test that RAM
October 3, 2007 4:28:20 AM

Thanks for all the advice! It's really appreciated =)

Right now I'm memtest86 on the computer. It looks like it'll take a while, it was only at 11% after 6 minutes. Hopefully it speeds up further down the line!

Also, I have some questions:

1. How do I know when to add/subtract voltage to certain parts of the computer via the BIOS? (Also, how?)

2. With the processor I have, what speed should the BIOS indicate it's running at? If it's too high/low, how would I change it?
October 3, 2007 4:29:48 AM

Just noticed you got 2 different sticks of ram. Thats not good. You probably will be fine on one or the other. Rule of thumb never mix ram.

After further research your Rams will not play nice together. One runs at 1.8v and the other runs at 2.0.
October 3, 2007 5:07:24 AM

roadrunner197069 said:
Just noticed you got 2 different sticks of ram. Thats not good. You probably will be fine on one or the other. Rule of thumb never mix ram.

After further research your Rams will not play nice together. One runs at 1.8v and the other runs at 2.0.

Ack, there's an error on my part, I only have one stick of RAM!
Quote:
CZ S.O.E 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory


EDIT: Update!

Memtest86 is being a little weird. It says "Pass complete with no errors. Press esc to exit." But at the same time, the progress bar of the Pass is still at 16% and slowly climbing. It's finishing up Test #6 right now. It's been 55 minutes so far, according to the computer. Is the testing really done or what? Was I supposed to configure memtest86 in a certain way before I begain?

Help!

Update 2!

Well I let it run some more and it got through a second pass, still with no errors. What else could be the problem if not the RAM itself? Do I need to tinker with the voltage like I often see posts about, or is the RAM not even an issue at all if it passed the memtest?
October 3, 2007 6:12:58 AM

If you had problems with RAM memtest should be displaying RED results below. The progress 16% is the particular pattern it is running (It runs many different patterns and all together they make up 1 pass) If you see pass 2 then it has already completed 1 complete pass and your RAM is likely OK. A bump to voltage to the RAM is done from the BIOS and that's only if your board supports it. Don't forget to try different optical drives and different XP discs first (since that is easier to try first). Unfortunately you have run into one of the tougher problems for a home build and without a lot of tools/resources and spare parts these types of problems are tough to pin down.

When you try to install XP it always says the same error right? Corrupt driver?
October 3, 2007 6:20:11 AM

kshipper said:
Don't forget to try different optical drives and different XP discs first (since that is easier to try first).

Would that include using different burned copies of the XP disc I'm using or are you suggesting that the disc itself is defective?

kshipper said:
When you try to install XP it always says the same error right? Corrupt driver?


Yep =(
a b C Monitor
October 3, 2007 11:37:42 AM

Seems like you have corrupted XP disc...Whether its the files themselves or scratch on the disc. If its recently bought legal disc then get it replaced where you bought it from. If its not, just get another one any which way you want :p 

About memtest, its better to run it for several hours, overnight or something. I recently run it for 32 passes while doing overclockin stability tests and it found 1 error... Of course thats completely different case since the memory itself was not defective in any way, just the settings neede little tweaking. I'd suspect defective memory should produce errors way more easily, but just to be on the safe side...
October 3, 2007 12:00:33 PM

Yea, better check your XP disc, it could just be dirty, clean it really well. It's worth looking into both the disc and the drive. Try a different CD/DVD drive for sure.

Is this an ata/IDE or SATA drive?
October 3, 2007 1:40:26 PM

If you used the other Ram you mentioned before try doing a cmos restet via jumpers or if your not sure which jumper pull the small battery out for 1 min then put it back in. Definately check your volts on ram. If you used different then the cmos probably saved settings for it and needs reset.

Make sure ram is in the right slot. Its not always the first slot. My last build had to be in the 3rd slot for only one stick.
October 3, 2007 4:27:51 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone!

I don't think it's an SATA drive, since I didn't attach any of the SATA connectors from my PSU to anything in the computer.

Hmm, well I'm gonna try to find another XP disc.

Also, roadrunner: the OCZ S.O.E 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)? If so, I'll try putting it in the other slot (I only have 2 slots). Also, everything's newly bought, so I only put in that one stick of RAM. I never tried a different RAM previous to that one. Would I still need to do a cmos reset?

EDIT: I tried to make a copy of the XP disc that I was using, and it won't copy because there are apparently some errors. Now, the disc seems to autorun just fine and seems functional, it just has errors with copying (Although, I haven't tried to explore any of it's functions in depth). Is this a result of some sort of copy protection or is my disc just dirty/scratched in a way that won't let it be copied?
October 3, 2007 5:45:11 PM

Sounds like the disk is bad if it won't copy. It might not be dmaged in the areas autorun and the early stages of setup are located but is damged/dirty later on. Examine it carefully for smudges or scratches. It only takes a small smudge of dirt to cause problems. Clean it up as best you can.

There is also a chance the new CD drive doesn't like the media the disk is on, this would be a real possibility if the XP disc is a homemade, er, back-up, disk. Drives are sometimes picky when it comes to what brand of CD media they will read. If this is the original disc I doubt seriously this would be an issue.

IIRC the retail XP disc does not have copy protection that would keep it from being duplicated and uses only the key code to protect itself.

From what I can gather your OCZ ram is rated for 2.0 volts. You may wish to check in the bios to be sure it is set to provide 2.0 volts. The default is usually 1.8 or so IIRC. The fact that you passsed memtest leads me to believe this sin't a RAM problem but you just never know. So cover all the bases and set that RAM to 2.0.
October 3, 2007 6:53:17 PM

There is a scratch on the CD, but it looks like it's on the non-data side. Some of the holographic label has been scratched away. Is that a problem?

My VDIMM voltage is 1.91V according to the BIOS and the highest I can set it to is 1.98V.

EDIT: God. Dammit. I set the VDIMM voltage to 1.98V and now when I try to install Windows, I get an "ftdisk.sys is corrupted" error at "Manager Partition Service" or something like that. It's a much earlier error than the "fastfat.sys is corrupted" error. I get that error at "Kernel Protection" (or something to that effect) in the Windows setup process.

I even turned the VDIMM voltage back down to 1.91V and the problem is still there. I'm really hoping that this is still just an issue with the CD, because a little more of the frontside label came off when I was inspecting it.

Also, apparently the ftdisk.sys error is associated with a dying/bad HD, so I'm downloading a program that'll see if it's okay.

---
Update 2!

Well I ran the program for my Seagate HDD and it seems that it is fine. Mind you, I ran the short test as opposed to the long one, but I think the HDD is fine.

Why did the error change from fastfat.sys to ftdisk.sys?

I think you're right, since I peeled off a good quarter of the label and now the computer hangs at "Press any button to boot from CD" when I press any button. I'll go procure a spare XP disc from someone and see if it works.
October 3, 2007 7:29:13 PM

Yes, damage on the label side CAN go through to the good side. The data layer is very close to the exterior on both sides. Since you can't copy it either I'm really starting to suspect that's the problem.

The RAM voltage shouldn't have been stopping you anyway. That was just a hope.

Since these files exist on the CD and eventually on the hard drive it is hard to say if the error is on the CD or the HD, but since this is happening very early in the process there really shouldn't be any accessing of the HD at all, so we should assume it's not a HD problem at this point.

If there were errors later on after the files had been copied from the CD to the HD then we might expevt a hard drive problem.

In short, drop everything and borrow another XP disk from somebody, if it even gets you to the point where they ask for the key that will probably mean it's working and you can go about getting another disc.
October 3, 2007 8:21:38 PM

Yep. I think you found your culprit. A burned disc is easy to scratch too. We just assumed you were using XP pro that you purchased and never though too much about the media itself. As you can see, it does make a difference. =)
October 4, 2007 12:55:46 AM

I'd be happy to give you a vista install disk. Or XP home.
October 4, 2007 11:41:16 PM

Thanks for all the help guys! It turns out it was the XP disc.

I burnt another clean copy and I was good to go =)

Although, I do have something of a small problem now (if you guys wouldn't mind helping again): my front audio panel won't detect anything I put in, i.e. my headphones or microphone. This is more of an issue for the microphone since it's kind of a pain to connect it all the way to the back panel.

I'm pretty sure I've connected everything properly to their appropriate spots, so I'm not sure what the problem is.
October 5, 2007 12:08:41 AM

yep. I think kshipper among others mentioed this earlier. Usually when the disc is bad you get past where you got and then get a 'can't read disc' error when windows is copying one of the zillion files from the CD to your HD. But in your case the disc was really shot and the errors popped up before that.

Not sure about the sound except to say there will be a separate header from that front panel to plug in on the motherboard, be sure it's plugged in and correctly oriented.
October 5, 2007 2:37:12 AM

Check mic plugs are plugged in right and make sure its enabled in bios. Some boards dont support front and rear.
October 5, 2007 8:02:15 AM

Ahh, nevermind I fixed it. The Realtek HD Audio Manager was really REALLY deceptive. I had to go to the Mixer and then adjust some things under Realtek Audio output. How counterintuitive is that?

Apparently, its default setting is to mute the front panel. I also found the Microphone volume here and was able to turn it up to audible levels, also microphone boost =)
!