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Boot sector virus/BIOS problem?

Last response: in Windows 7
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September 26, 2011 4:59:19 PM

Community, I'm fairly experienced with computers over the last 20 years but I've not experienced this before...

In the process of rebuilding my main system (i5 2500K/P67 Sabertooth) over the past week I've installed applications, etc. starting with Win7x64, Office, etc. All was well. I set Norton Ghost 15 to image my entire drive (5x60 OCZ Vertex 2 in RAID 0 format) every four hours until things are good and then I usually change it to every night.

Coming back over a weekend of travel, I rebooted my system (it was on the entire weekend) and it hung. Which is not normal. Particularly, it wouldn't even let me get to the BIOS. I initially thought it was my wireless keyboard so I used a wired one and still, could not enter the BIOS. It wasn't showing a bootmgr missing or no os warning, or anything. It just hung and the P67 bios light showed an error with the boot device. No matter what I did I couldn't get into the BIOS so I cleared it.

I could get in now with both keyboards so that removed that problem. I reset it to RAID - my array was still good but it would hang after reading the array. Hmmm...again, no error just a BIOS hang and then no ability to get into the BIOS without clearing it.

I pulled one drive out - breaking the array and I suddenly had access to the BIOS again. So, I at least identified that it had something to do with my array. I had a good image, so I deleted the array, recreated it and loaded the image.

Then same exact problem! So, it seems there's a problem with the image. I repeated my steps and loaded an image from a day earlier. Still same problem. I'm attempting to load an image from a few days prior to that.

My question to anyone who has even the faintest idea - what could cause my array to hang my BIOS and prevent me from accessing it? It can't be hardware because I can access the BIOS if the array is broken. I can then recreate the array and load an image to it as well. Thus, it seems to be software - but I'm not aware of a software conflict that stop my BIOS from loading and/or stop me from accessing my BIOS.

As for virus, I'm up to date with Norton 2012 IS and have scanned everything with the most aggressive settings.

Thanks.
September 26, 2011 5:41:58 PM

sounds more likely to be a faulty mobo or other component than a virus.
However, you are using norton so a virus is always possible (not making a joke about it, it just happens to be a regular 'feature' with norton)

Could try a bios flash to the lateset version and then a good burn in test.
If that does not work my money is on a faulty mobo, but check every other part too.
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a b $ Windows 7
September 26, 2011 6:21:08 PM

It's possible there is an issue with your one of your SSDs. I've had a OCZ Vertex 2 90GB drive the will become unreadable, and at times become invisible to both BIOS & Windows. When it was my boot drive, it would start to boot then just hang. See if you can verify that all your SSDs are working properly.
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September 26, 2011 6:29:03 PM

Thanks, just flashed to a different earlier BIOS and then reimaged. I don't believe it's a hardware problem because I don't see that problem when loading earlier images - just the most recent images.

As for Norton, I'm always at a loss on how to respond to Norton haters - nearly every mainstream reviewer ranks Norton Internet Security 2010 and higher as the tops of security programs but there's always someone out there that giggles and says, "noob" when I mention running it.

Update: I successfully loaded an image from two days ago - no problem. Now, I'm trying to load an image from yesterday and we'll see what happens. If so, I've isolated it to an image (i.e. software) probem that is somehow limiting my acess to bios.
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September 26, 2011 6:30:35 PM

clarkjd said:
It's possible there is an issue with your one of your SSDs. I've had a OCZ Vertex 2 90GB drive the will become unreadable, and at times become invisible to both BIOS & Windows. When it was my boot drive, it would start to boot then just hang. See if you can verify that all your SSDs are working properly.



clark, I thought the same thing. But if one of my SSDs were causing the hang wouldn't it repeat depite different images? Additionally, wouldn't it cause my RAID to show "failed" instead of the green "normal?"
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a b $ Windows 7
September 26, 2011 7:51:18 PM

My Vertex drive is flaky. Sometimes it's there and a-ok then others it just 'disappears'. I don't know how it would respond to being in a RAID setup.
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September 26, 2011 11:01:21 PM

Clark, I got it up and running now with an earlier image. As it's all the same hardware, same clock speeds, same BIOS, I can only assume it's tied to that image. I'm not a huge fan of the Asus UEFI BIOS - if it hangs, I can't tell what it's hanging on. Here, I can only assume some got ugly with an install and it just locked things up.

I'd just never been denied to my BIOS by software before.
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a b $ Windows 7
September 27, 2011 12:29:58 PM

Glad you got it working again.
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September 27, 2011 1:22:56 PM

What a headache, good job getting it resolved.
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