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So is this a dead motherboard or...?

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November 17, 2010 10:11:02 PM

Recently started getting BSOD on my PC. Didn't add any new hardware or install anything,
though windows 7 ultimate did get an update within the past day.

To be specific I got two different errors, one about an MS service or DLL which escapes me, and one about the USB hub)... I googled both errors and came up with nothing. Now, I don't have BSOD... instead the PC boots as far as the windows splash screen, and then reboots immediately. Also happens in safe mode.

I removed every piece of optional hardware including the video card (using the onboard card)
...disconnected all internal hard drives, plus the DVD drive and everything plugged into USB.

With nothing but one stick of ram and one hard drive connected, it still resets at
the windows splash screen (even if I use a totally different known good hard drive,
the one from a different system that I'm using to type this post).

So is this the mobo? Do they really just die one day after just five years, even with good
cooling and regular dusting etc?

Just a thought, can power supply cause this? My friend's system is running here but it's
having issues too, it randomly freezes (three times while I was typing this post). It could be
the fact that he has only 1 GB of ram in an otherwise nice system running win7.
He has a 350w supply vs my 300. I'm just thinking maybe my AC current isn't all there or something. Can't
imagine why two different systems are both giving me such issues unless the computer
room is haunted or something.

Do I just need to bite the bullet and get a new system?

More about : dead motherboard

a c 103 V Motherboard
November 17, 2010 11:43:09 PM

OK, let's start with your PC...

Missing or corrupted .dll can cause OS boot failures. Try doing a repair off of the Windows 7 DVD.

Now for your friend's PC...

Random freezing sounds more like a RAM issue than a PSU issue, but for the sake of certainty, test both. Also, you should know that the minium requirment to run Windows 7 (according to Microsoft) is 1GB for x86; 2GB for x64. Though Win7 can be used with a lower amount of RAM (i'm using Win7 on my laptop that has only 512MB RAM), it isn't recommended.

To test the RAM, download MemTest86+, burn the .iso (disc image) to a cd (a dvd would be wasteful, given the size of the image). Once the disc is finished, put it into your computer (after first reconnecting an optical drive, of course) and let the test run automatically.

To test the PSU, get a digital voltmeter/multimeter. Click the link in my signature, and scroll down to the PSU test section. With the PSU P1 (20/24-pin) connector connected to the mobo, turn on the power to the computer. Stick the the black probe into any black wire socket. Using the red probe, stick it into the yellow, red, orange, etc. Check your readings against the values in the troubleshooting guide.
November 18, 2010 2:41:04 PM

Howdy, thanks for the suggestions. I'm now in a real bind and won't be able to test them :/ 
Basically, my buddy's computer now seems to be doing the same thing.

- Something I should have mentioned - on my PC I did already try a repair, after a few blue screens windows suggested a repair or boot normally option, and I chose repair. I got as far as a windows-like repair screen (winPE?) and halfway through, got another blue screen. On the next boot I got "bootmgr is missing".

I figure "oh, great, that musta been caused by the half-finished repair".

But now...

- My buddy's PC was working ok, weirdly it played fallout for hours without a hitch. I left it running windows (and nothing else) overnight. Woke up and I got:

"bootmgr is missing".

On top of that... I got this halfbaked idea about both of our power supplies not drawing quite enough from the wall AC outlet (I get outages and surges all the time). So I brought it to the neighbor's. Now that it's plugged back in, the ram is borked. At least I think it's the ram. Continuous beeping on boot. I reseated it and tried putting it in another slot and no go. I want to clean it but I'm worried a bit about static.

The ram I'm not worried about, I'll buy a new stick if I have to. But wtf... what are the odds, two disks that worked fine for years, now both say bootmgr is missing? Maybe it's two different problems with the same symptom?
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a c 103 V Motherboard
November 18, 2010 3:32:38 PM
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A continuous surge in power can cause failure in your components. The PSU draws the AC power from the wall, and then converts that to DC power for the computer and its hardware to use. Continuous surges or spikes could overload your components and cause permanent damage. Typically, the PSU is the first (and most often the only) to go. I would get a digital multimeter (doesn't have to be the most expensive; Radio Shack will do) and start testing both computers and the wall outlet.

Click the link in my signature. Scroll down to the area that discusses PSU testing. Use the voltage readings for reference. To perform the testing, turn on the multimeter to anything above 20 V (if you have to make that choice). Use the black probe and stick it next to any black wire on the P1 (20/24 pin) connector. Use the red probe and stick it next to any of the other wires, except for black. Compare your readings with the readings listed in the troubleshooting guide.

Testing the wall outlet is a little different. Because of Alternating Current (AC), the ground will always be constant, so be careful not to cross up the probes. Set your multimeter to VAC (if not already done). Insert the red lead into the right vertical slot of the wall outlet. Place the black lead into the left vertical slot of the wall outlet. The meter should be displaying either "110 VAC" or "120 VAC" depending on the utility companies supplied electrical power. If there is no reading or "0.0" on the meter display try jiggling the leads inside the slots. If there is still no voltage being read, the wall outlet may have an electrical problem.

Withdraw the black lead from the vertical slot. Insert the black lead into the lower oval slot which is the electrical ground. The meter should be displaying a voltage reading. If it is not, the circuit breaker may be tripped or the fuse is blown.

Regarding the two HDD with missing boot manager, try doing a repair from the Windows 7 DVD, instead of the HDD. If the HDD is already corrupt, repairing from the corrupted file will not help.

Method 1: Startup Repair from the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE)

============================================

1. Insert the Windows 7 installation disc into the disc drive, and then start the computer.

2. Press a key when the message indicating "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD …". appears.

3. Select a language, a time and currency, and a keyboard or input method, and then click Next.

4. Click Repair your computer.

5. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, choose the drive of your Windows installation and click Next.

6. At the System Recovery Options Dialog Box, click on Repair your computer.

7. Click the operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next.

8. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Startup Repair.


Method 2: Rebuild BCD using the Bootrec.exe tool

============================================

To run the Bootrec.exe tool, you must start Windows RE. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Put the Windows Vista or Windows 7 installation disc in the disc drive, and then start the computer.

2. Press a key when you are prompted. Select a language, a time, a currency, a keyboard or an input method, and then click Next.

3. Click Repair your computer.

4. Click the operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next.

5. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Command Prompt.

6. Type Bootrec.exe, and then press ENTER.



Method 3: Use the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) to run System Restore

============================================

1. Insert the Windows 7 installation disc into the disc drive, and then start the computer.

2. Press a key when the message indicating "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD …". appears.

3. Select a language, a time and currency, and a keyboard or input method, and then click Next.

4. Click Repair your computer.

5. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, choose the drive of your Windows installation and click Next

6. At the System Recovery Options Dialog Box, click on System Restore.

7. Follow the System Restore Wizard instruction as usual and choose the appropriate restore point.

8. Click Finish to restore the system.

November 19, 2010 7:39:02 AM

First, let me me say thanks so much for your detailed reply. I hope you had at least some of it available via copy/paste :p 

I think we can mark this one as solved, but I'm still at a loss about wtf happened.
I'm hoping someone can hazard a guess.

- At some point over the last 3 days, both my PC and my buddy's PC got two repeated errors...
the bootmgr missing and rebooting during the "starting windows" screen. Mine also got the blue screens at the beginning. Which got which error and in which order is a blur, I've been hammering at this for hours and it's 4 am. The ram issue was just the usual... I was too timid with reseating it.

So here's where it gets weird:

- Your thoughts about the PSU were right, maybe. My buddy's PSU died today. Rather than get the multimeter like I should have, I decided to buy a new PSU to test everything.

- Buddy's drive, in his PC, but in a different building... got the reboot issue.
But the first time I booted it up with the brand new PSU, it was fine (in that building).

- But later that day in my house, it was not fine (reboot issue)

- Same hard drive, same new PSU, but plugged into my PC/mobo, was not fine (reboot issue)

- My hard drive in either PC, got bootmgr error, invalid partition table error, or disk boot failure.

So it's my house that's the problem right? But no, because buddy's PC with buddy's hard drive works fine in my house. Also my own is finally fine and currently running at my house (using it now).

So anyway, here's what I did to fix it, hopefully it helps someone else:
Since my DVD drive is broken, I tried to make a bootable copy of windows 7 on a USB stick. On both our PC's, it didn't work. So I happened to have a third PC to test with, one that's brand new. The BIOS on it is so nice. It recognized the make and model of my USB drive and booted win7 from it no problem. If people are having a problem with bootable USB installations despite doing the diskpart and bootsect stuff, they probably need an updated bios.

- Got into repair and it didn't see my windows installation. But via command prompt it saw my C:\ drive (sata) and I could navigate to it and to my windows folder no problem.

- Bootrec's various options didn't make it recognize the install. What seemed to fix this was not bootrec but the bootsect command. Went to C:\ from the command prompt, then ran bootsect /nt60 C:
and it was successful.

- Then, just to be sure, ran diskpart (using the shotgun approach to problemsolving) and set it to active by doing the usual steps:
diskpart
list disk
select disk 0 (in my case that's the C: drive)
list partition
clean
create partition primary
select partition 1 (in my case)
active
format fs=NTFS (or fat32. They say that ntfs is bad to put on a flash drive)
assign
exit

- I think now I could tell it was going to see my installation, and at this point I used bootrec (once again resorting to noob shotgun method). I did bootrec /fixmbr , then bootrec /fixboot , then bootrec /rebuildbcd

- On the next reboot it listed my windows installation on the C:\ drive and I chose to repair (no system restore). It completed, rebooted, and now windows is happy.

Sort of. It removed my validation even though I have a legit copy of windows7?! I need to fix that but first I need to sleep.
November 19, 2010 7:41:58 AM

Best answer selected by CreeDoRofl.
a c 135 V Motherboard
November 19, 2010 8:17:49 AM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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