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Erratic Windows XP Boot-up - new build i7 920

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May 21, 2009 10:08:43 AM

Hello,
I am really out of ideas now and I hope you guys can help me out. It took me a while to get to this part because of hardware issues and I'm just really surprised that I'm having software issues as well. Ofcourse I'm assuming that its not hardware related.

Anyway, here are my specs:
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R
CPU: Intel Core i7 920 with stock fan and heatsink
Memory: Patriot DDR3 4GB (2 piece) PC3-12800
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 260
Hard Drive # 1 Samsung 250 GB
Hard Drive # 2 Samsung 250 GB
Hard Drive # 3 Seagate 1.5 TB
--- DRIVES ARE NOT IN A RAID
Power Supply: Antec 750W
Case: Antec Twelve Hundred
Sound Card: onboard
Monitor: 2 19inch Samsung 940 BX
Operating System: Windows XP (32 bit) Service Pack 2

After two two motherboards and two power-supplies, I was able to install windows xp 32 bit service pack 2. Please note that I only installed 1 of the 3 HDs that I have prior to the installation. I installed the motherboard and GEForce drivers. Everything was running fine, until I hooked-up 1 Samsung SATA 250GB hard-drive.

First thing I noticed that it took a little longer to go to POST, and then in the middle of xp loading (Windows XP logo) I saw a blue-screen (its impossible to read anything because it happens so fast) and the computer will restart. After the restart, it will go to part where I can choose "safe mode", "last known configuration", etc. This cycle will happen everytime I choose "start windows normally".

However, if I choose safe mode, windows xp safe mode will boot-up like there's nothing wrong.

I figured there's something wrong with the hard-drive that I just connected so I removed the connections (sata cable and power) and started it up again. The problem is still there. Now whatever I do, I get the same cycle and I have no clue what happened.

When the computer was running couple days ago, I ran it for about an hour. I installed all the drivers without hiccups.. And also, before I hooked-up the hard-drive, I turned the computer on to make sure it will boot-up. Its very obvious that something happened when I installed the drive, but it was an empty drive and now it won't even boot-up.

The computer was off for about an hour, and I decided to turn-it-on again. What do you know, it booted to windows xp WITH all the hard-drives installed. From here, I was able to partition and format the 2 other drives.

I did a one restart, it restarted fine. Then I shut-it-off, waited couple of minutes before turning it back-on and poof, the problem came-back.

Someone mentioned from the other thread to uncheck the "automatically restart" in windows xp (sysdm.cpl). So I started the computer again (after 1.5 hours) assuming that I get to the point where I can choose "load windows in safe mode". But lo and behold, windows xp loaded up all the way to the desktop. I changed the setting and turned-it-off.

I turned on the system again (assuming that it won't boot again) and SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT... It will go to the windows xp logo, do its thing and about half-way the screen just turns blank. The monitor light stayed lit the whole time, it did not restart, its just black. I can't do anything so I have to reset and that takes me to the option of safe mode, load windows normally, etc.

This is driving me crazy, please help me out. Any ideas? I'm going crazy here. lol.

UPDATE: I turned the computer on and windows completely booted-up. I'm letting it run while I'm sleeping and hopefully it won't shut-down due to heat or something.

Okay this is really wierd. RAM issue.
When I first installed XP, I checked my RAM in system properties and it registered at 2GB. Every time the OS boots properly, I always check the RAM because I'm wondering why it doesn't register at 4GB.

BUT now, I just checked the RAM and it registers at 3.25GB.

Argh..

niM
May 21, 2009 1:25:42 PM

it will not read the full 4GB because your using a 32-bit OS
May 21, 2009 1:44:31 PM

Try it with just one stick of memory.
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May 22, 2009 11:44:59 PM

Just finished a build for my brother and I'm having the exact same issue. Anyone have any other suggestions?
May 22, 2009 11:59:16 PM

Your windows install may be corrupt. You may want to try a reinstall. If you're using xp sp1, install with 2G of RAM or less. Once you download sp2, you can add the rest.

Then simply make sure the primary HD is the first boot device in the BIOS.
May 23, 2009 2:05:56 AM

Is there a way to format/re-install from the BIOS? It seems to be stuck in an endless loop of restart/select safe mode or normal mode etc. then a black screen after the windows loading screen.
May 23, 2009 4:30:48 AM

well after much booting/rebooting random errors we finally got to another windows installation screen where we had to click ok about 1,000 times to error messages explaining corrupt files...as suspected by aford it looks like a corrupt install. We were able to boot to windows and everything seems to work fine...installing motherboard drivers etc. and we'll see where we can go.


Another note, the UD3R had the RAM running at 7-7-7-16 at 1.5v Which is way too tight and way too undervolted...I changed the settings but it was after we were stuck in the endless restart loop. That might have had something to do with the corrupted install...hopefully we won't have to format and re-install but we'll see where it goes.
May 23, 2009 5:55:36 AM

The RAM timings can easily cause boot loops like that as well.
May 23, 2009 7:09:26 AM

what ram is it? unless its triple channel, as in 3 pieces, not 2 as u have, and its rated at 1.65V OR UNDER, then i think thats probably ur problem... correct me if im wrong
May 23, 2009 1:44:50 PM

no, it's the ocz platinum 6gb 1600 set...same as I have in my build. If things aren't working well this morning then we'll probably try a complete re-install of vista.
May 23, 2009 5:36:36 PM

things seem to be going smoothly...all games (crysis, left 4 dead so far) are running very smooth. Had one crash of L4D when I tried to exit.

The remaining issue is when the pc boots to vista, an error message pops up saying that the HDD is damaged or corrupted (something along those lines) and says to backup all of your files immediately.

Would this point to a possible bad HDD? Or simply a bad install of vista? Troubleshooting/testing some more...
May 23, 2009 11:07:43 PM

Is that a BIOS or windows message?

If it's the SMART message in the BIOS, it's the drive. If it's inside windows it could be either.

Try booting to the repair console and running chkdsk /p. That will run a chkdsk and repair any errors it can.
May 24, 2009 1:43:05 AM

the check disk was actually run automatically a few times for some reason...maybe because we still had it set to boot from the cd/dvd drive and the windows disk prompted it.

In any case, it was a windows message about the HDD. As long as we don't see it again and there aren't any other problems I don't see a reason to do a format/re-install.


Having issues overclocking now, but that's another section :p 
!