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First Custom Build Need LOTS of Help

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January 11, 2009 9:30:03 PM

I just build my very first custom machine and am experiencing some serious issues. Initially I used my old xp install disk from my DELL XPS 400. It installed fine on my 300GB WD Velociraptor, but XP seemed a bit unstable. I would get a BSoD often and trying to move any files from my two old hard drives was instant death. I used a 3rd party program that I have sucessfully used on other comps to validate the install and things were okay. Since then I tried to OC my CPU and everything has gone downhill from there. The OC was unstable, so i reset everything to stock. After that Windows boot up slowly, then said it could not be run until activated (even thou it was just installed yesterday). I figured I had a bad install of XP and tried to use a different XP install disc, one I had bought at Frys awhile back. When trying to install, with just the barebones components I can get to 'Windows is Starting Setup Utility' Then I get BSoD. stop 0x0000006F Failure to Initialize Session 3. Now im stuck in an activation loop and cant reinstall windows. I know my memory is good, I had it in my old comp. So I hear it may be the hard drive.
I'm looking for any help I can get! Do I need to get a new HD?

Here are my specs:

M/B: ASRock P43 1600 Twins
CPU: Intel e8400 @ 3.0 GHz (Stock) (Cooled with Zalman CT9500 Cooler and Artic Silver Thermal Paste)
HD(s): 300Gb WD Velociraptor, 500 Gb Seagate, 160 Gb, Seagate
RAM: 2 GB DDR2 800
GPU: XFX 8600 GT
PSU: XION 600 W Modular Cabling

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January 12, 2009 2:14:20 AM

Have you tried flashing your bios?
January 12, 2009 2:28:23 AM

I'm not sure about the XPS 400, but I know all the Dells I've worked with never had a standard Windows installation disk. I've never used one to install windows, always used my retail XP disk, not a Dell disk. Not sure if that could be an issue.

Secondly, I'd memtest your memory regardless, I've seen issues up and down with memory, and it can be sensitive stuff; it wouldn't be the first time I'd seen perfectly good memory pulled from a working system and have it no longer work after it was moved.

Make sure your CPU heatsink/fan are mounted properly. A couple thin strips of thermal paste, put the heatsink on, then turn it left and right 45 degrees each way.

Clean off your disks, make sure they're not dusty or scratched.

Try to install on a different HD, and try your HD on a different motherboard spot (what the cable connects to).

Those are all the things I can imagine. Hope one helps.
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January 12, 2009 3:07:05 AM

try doing a clean install using a RETAIL windows xp installation. reset the BIOS so its defaults and do the install. do not use a dell xp installation, because some times dell pust in drivers that are for that particular computer. hopes this helos
January 12, 2009 3:09:52 AM

+1 for dekasav. the windows disk that came with the dell pc might not work on a different system alot of times have additional drivers already on the disk, that might give you issues. out o experiance it will just install fine but make a system very unstable.
January 12, 2009 5:43:42 AM

Dell has been known for making everything proprietary. I would agree with the above suggestions. Get your hands on a retail copy of windows, doesn't really even matter what it is. If it installs correctly, then you know what the problem is. I see you have 2 hard drives. Try installing on both and see if you still get the BSOD.
January 12, 2009 5:04:33 PM

The biggest problem is that I cant format my 300gb WD, I get a BSoD on trying to install using my retail copy.

The heat sink went on okay. I just put a drop on the cpu and spread it with my finger. I still need to memtest it, but I really don't think that's an issue. My, and tell me if this makes sense, is to install xp on the 500 gb drive, then format the 300gb WD drive from the desktop, then try and install xp on the formatted 300gb drive.

I don't have a burner so there is no way for me to make a cd to boot from to scan the mem or the hdd. Thanks for the help everyone, keep it coming!
January 13, 2009 3:30:36 AM

Were you running in RAID before? Will that xp disc work when formatting the 500g drive? Chances are, if you couldn't format it on install, you probably won't be able to through windows, although it's worth a try.
!