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Weird boot-up hang, hardware related?

Last response: in Windows XP
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April 14, 2011 6:53:44 AM

After a fresh installation of windows XP, I've encountered probably the most peculiar problem to date. Here's the run-down:

It started off with a hard drive that had windows 2000 on it, and one day it just wouldn't boot (it would hang at the windows splash screen). After performing chkdsk to no avail, I decided to just reinstall, except with windows XP. Since the system in question has no optcal drive, I hooked up the hard drive to one of my other systems, and installed windows XP that way. Lo and Behold, when I transfer the hard drive back to the original system, it doesn't boot! The werid thing is it clearly recognizes the disk, and winXP, because it shows me the screen with the startup options like safe mode and "start windows normally", etc. However, as soon as I choose an option, doesn't matter which one, the moment when the WinXP splash screen is SUPPOSED to appear, the system restarts itself.

Here's some things I've done so far (in roughly chronological order):

1. I hooked the hard drive back to my other system, to make sure it didn't somehow corrupt itself. Voila, no problem there, functions perfectly. I ALSO hooked up the hard drive that was originally in the other system to the malfunctioning one, and Lo and Behold, the hard drive also hangs in the exact same fashion. Conclusion: both hard drives work in the other system (the one WITH the optical drive), but not in the original system (the one WITHOUT the optical drive)
2. I also tried playing around with cables, jumpers, master/slave, BIOS settings. Nothing works. All indictions are that there is NO problem. And indeed, at this point, it doesn't seem to be a hardware issue at all! It would seem it's a bad installation of XP somehow, since the hard drive is clearly recognized, the system just hangs once it reaches the XP splash screen. And YET, if I just hook up the hard drive to the other system, it boots up perfectly!
3. Don't know why I didn't try this earlier, but in a last attempt, I flashed the mobo's BIOS. I had such high hopes for this one, since at this point I really had no clue what was going on. Yet again, no luck.

At this point, I've pretty much ruled out any possible hardware issue, and yet it's obviously not a software issue because the disk boots fine in the other system.

Sorry the this terribly long (and possibly confusing) post, I'm just trying to detail the situation the best I can.

Any insights?

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April 15, 2011 4:05:28 AM

gleipnir said:

Any insights?



Just one. What you did won't work unless both machines are absolutely identical.

When you installed XP using the other machine, it looked around, adjusted itself for the hardware it would be running on and made a home. You uprooted it and plugged it into a strange place and it of course showed you proper resentment for doing that.

You can try to do a "Repair" on it, using the permanent home XP will be used in. Hard to do without a CD ROM or DVD drive.

Repair instructions
HERE

You could re-install XP from scratch. Format the HDD using the other computer, FAT 32.
Copy all the install files from the XP CD to the new HDD. Put it back in the right computer and boot from floppy or make the HDD bootable when it is formatted. Go to the i386 folder and run winnt.exe, installing XP. Put the driver for the network card on a flash drive using the other computer and get the thing able to network and maybe go on the Internet. Now you can install drivers via the other computer.. etc.

When everything works... run "convert" on the drive and change the drive to NTFS.

The best thing to do is get an external CD ROM/DVD and boot from the XP CD and do it easily.

When it works don't forget to install the chipset drivers, DirectX, and .NET Framework as well as vid and audio drivers etc.




Edit: There is one huge advantage to running setup from the drive as I said above. In the future if you need to run SFC it will not ask for the XP CD, it will go back to those same install files and do it's thing, IF you don't delete the install files after XP is loaded and running.
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April 25, 2011 12:13:29 AM

Best answer selected by gleipnir.
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October 7, 2011 1:18:15 AM

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