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Computer won't post

Last response: in Windows XP
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August 25, 2011 10:21:05 PM

HI,
I am having a problem with an older Dell that belongs to a friend. It has 512Mb Ram, 80G Western Digital HDD, Intel chipset, sorry not sure on the exact details yet. The problem is it will boot show the press F2 to enter setup screen then goes black and freezes when it is supposed to go into post. I tried going into safemode and it will freeze on isapnp.sys on the post screen. I removed the HDD and put it in my pc as a slave and I can open it and view all files. I checked the PSU cmos battery seems good still, graphics card is good. All the fans run when it starts to boot and you can here the harddrive spinning. Anyone have any idea on how to fix this issue without losing the important files on the HDD and the important programs the user has that he didn't keep the discs for?
Thank you for your time.

More about : computer post

August 26, 2011 12:48:25 AM

If you have a copy of XP, try doing a repair install.

If not, try booting to the safe mode command prompt. At the command line, type:
%systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe
and press enter. That will open the restore points. From there, roll back to before the problem started.
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August 26, 2011 1:47:19 AM

I tried both of those options won't let me do a repair with the xp disc, and when i try to go to any safemode it freezes in post at the spot I stated. I am running the AVG repair disc on it right now, it is running so far and found 4 infectionsso far.
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August 26, 2011 1:53:24 AM

What was the result of trying the repair install of XP?

The AVG rescue disc is a nice start to removing malware. :) 
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August 26, 2011 5:49:52 AM

Well the repair freezes like everything else has and fails. The AVG rescue disc has removed 6 infections so far. I am going to run it again and see if it will let me get into anything by removing some more if it is infected more.
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August 26, 2011 6:40:39 PM

AVG Rescue Disc removed 2 more viruses. I still can't get it to post or boot into windows, repair, debugging, safemode, etc. still won't work. I am going to remove the cmos battery and try to see if that will reset enough to boot. If that doesn't work what do you think i should do next?
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August 26, 2011 7:23:22 PM

I would start removing non-essential hardware. Then if it can boot, start adding them back in 1 at a time until it doesn't.

You could also remove the hard drive, and slave it into another computer, and scan it there.
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August 26, 2011 9:33:20 PM

OK I am going to that put it in mine, run my Av and malware scans on it, disconnect and test. If it still won't boot im gonna leave that drive, out hook mine up and see if it will boot then.
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August 26, 2011 10:00:35 PM

It's not likely going to boot with your hard drive. You have different drivers installed. Your HAL.dll will be different, which will likely lock it up on startup.

I would start by trying 1 RAM chip at a time, in each slot. Then remove any PCI cards, unhook any USB devices...etc.

If that still doesn't help, use the XP disc to boot into the repair console. At the command prompt, run each of the following commands:
chkdsk /r
fixboot
fixmbr
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August 26, 2011 11:04:09 PM

Your right it does post, but went into an endless restart cycle. I am trying removing all the components like you recommended, will post the results.
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August 27, 2011 9:15:38 PM

Connections are all seated right, I disconected and reseated, checked for corrosion/damage, did the same with the ram then ran memtest86 which did boot from cd and run, tested HDD with the built in hardrive tester came back good psu is working fine it seems,the graphics card is the only card added everything else is integrated and it came seems to be working fine. the AVG rescue disk found 7 trojans, put the hdd in my pc as a slave ran other scans SAS found over 250 cookies, some were pretty nasty ones. AVG rescue couldn't scan everythng there were alot of locked files it said. I can boot from cd's but it won't let me use any debugging, recovery or repair options from the start up or the xp pro dvd. AVG rescue disk did boot from cd and run fine other than all the locked files as I stated. Still can't boot into any safe mode stops in post on the same file as before. ANd regular startup blackscreens before post after the dell splash screen like before.
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August 27, 2011 10:34:37 PM

Unhooked everything but the fans ram and vid result : 2 short beeps
unhooked everything and ram result: 2 long beeps 2 short beeps pause 2 short beeps
hooked everything up moved the ram into all 4 of the different slots still black screened no post no beeps
processor never hits high rpms can here the hd hd works fine as a slave in my system
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August 28, 2011 12:34:39 AM

You should still be able to boot off the XP disc, and get into the repair console. From there you can run the commands I listed above. It sounds like the hardware is good, but those scans will check the hard drive for errors, and fix the boot files.

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August 28, 2011 7:01:34 PM

aford10 said:
You should still be able to boot off the XP disc, and get into the repair console. From there you can run the commands I listed above. It sounds like the hardware is good, but those scans will check the hard drive for errors, and fix the boot files.

Booted the Xp disc, all the files loaded. I hit R to repair and it told me no hard drive found. I check all connections then went back into the bios settings via F2 to make sure the bios detected the HD, It does but still won't let me do a repair. It still throws a keyboard error i checked the keyboard on another computer it works on both pc's even tried another keyboard and it still throws the error.
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Best solution

August 28, 2011 7:09:26 PM

You don't want to press R at the screen, that I think you're on. That will just repair the install by replacing all the system files from the XP disc.

Instead, try getting into the repair console by using this guide. Then try the commands listed above.
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ss/rconsole...
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August 28, 2011 8:25:17 PM

aford10 said:
You don't want to press R at the screen, that I think you're on. That will just repair the install by replacing all the system files from the XP disc.

Instead, try getting into the repair console by using this guide. Then try the commands listed above.
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ss/rconsole...

Thos are the exact steps I followed. It stops and says drive not found check connections or enter setup to make sure your hardware is connected, before the screen that asks you to pick the instalation you want to log onto.
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August 28, 2011 9:12:18 PM

You can try slaving it into another computer, and running the error check on it.
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August 28, 2011 10:27:58 PM

In the process of doing that right now.I'll post whether it helped.
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August 28, 2011 11:56:27 PM

Slaved the hardrive to my pc again, ran check disk twice repairing anything wrong. Put it back into origional machine, still doing the same thing. Black screen after the dell splash screen, when trying to go into safemode it freezes at isapnp.sys, and won't let me run the recovery console.
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August 29, 2011 12:00:58 AM

Wonder if the bios is so corrupted I'll have to replace the mobo, or if the mobo is just shotand needs replaced
.
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August 29, 2011 12:48:31 AM

It doesn't sound like a motherboard issue. It sounds like an issue with the hard drive, or maybe even the cable.
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August 29, 2011 5:19:10 AM

Well thats not good the user runs his company inventory off of acrobat and the person that set it up left him without the disc to reinstall if anything happened. If its the SATA cable no big deal ill try mine. But what about post hanging on that .sys file that should keep windows from booting yes?
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August 29, 2011 9:26:08 PM

Changing the SATA cable, or the SATA port that it's connected to, is worth a shot.

Since it's hanging on that one startup file, it could be that the file was damaged, or infected by one of those viruses.

It's good that you can still access the data on the HD as a slave. That way you can at least save the files on there.
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August 29, 2011 9:42:08 PM

Well out that there are 7 bios updates on this dell, I thought it was update to date until just now. You think I should go ahead and install them via floppy while I am at it ?
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August 29, 2011 9:45:01 PM

I wouldn't unless the other attempts fail. A botched BIOS update can turn it into a paper weight.
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August 30, 2011 5:23:48 PM

Well changed out the sata cable with mine still didn't work. Also user contacted me today and gave me some info he didn't give me before. He had the pc worked on 3 time for pop ups and nasty ransom ware. The 3 previous repairs from alocal shop didn't resolve the issue so he has been fighting it ever since. He has also already been through one Mobo and one Harddrvie replacement. He decided to have me just go get him a new pc and told me to keep this one. So I am going to replace his and try to fix this old following all your advice.
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August 30, 2011 10:28:29 PM

Well, that was nice of him. But if he's not concerned about his data, why didn't he just have you put a fresh XP install on it? Or even a new hard drive, with his as a slave?
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August 31, 2011 12:46:14 AM

aford10 said:
Well, that was nice of him. But if he's not concerned about his data, why didn't he just have you put a fresh XP install on it? Or even a new hard drive, with his as a slave?

I was able to pull his data off of his old one, the docs were clean. I found him one model newer that is a refurb. for $100. Thank you for all your time and help I truly appreciate it, and I am going to attempt to do a fresh install like you suggest see if it is salvagable. You have been a big help, taight me some new things and it is truly appreciated.
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August 31, 2011 12:47:42 AM

Best answer selected by thegame8019.
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August 31, 2011 1:00:55 AM

Thanks, and best of luck. Let me know how it goes.
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August 31, 2011 4:58:40 PM

Thanks and no problem I will keep you posted.
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November 9, 2011 7:41:52 PM

This topic has been closed by Area51reopened
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