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Is the boot failure a virus?

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July 4, 2012 8:08:42 PM

Upgraded the RAM for a client running XP. The BIOS acknowledged the RAM. However when booting it would make it as far as windows beginning to load then restart. Could not access it with the OS CD to rebuild the boot. Gradually it wouldn't make it as far as loading and then got to where it couldn't see the drive.
I attached an XP drive from one of my service computers and it would not boot. Same scenario.
Back in the service computer it booted a couple times then started to hang up. Each boot attempt would be shorter until it wasn't finishing post. And never could use the OS disk to run repairs or recovery.
I don't understand how that could be transferred to another computer and affect even posting unless it is some kind of virus that moved into the BIOS.

Anybody have any clue on this behavior?

20 years of servicing, upgrading and building computers and I have seen nothing like this.

More about : boot failure virus

July 4, 2012 8:19:19 PM

Failing PSU possibly frying HDDs? I've seen one take out 1 motherboard completely, and another lost onboard USB and Audio.

As for the possibility of a virus, if it were that, wouldn't flashing the bios overwrite/remove it?
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a b G Storage
July 4, 2012 8:25:51 PM

Hi,

If the Ram is not the same this will most likely happen:

It has to be same voltage, timing and speed or their is great chance this is going to happen.

What Ram brand, timing, voltage and speed ?

If you pull out the new ram does it boot ?

when you tested with other xp OS drive, was it from a same build: if the mobo is different: windows won't boot most likely.

Could also be a HD corruption du to shut down during boot.

What computer spec.
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July 4, 2012 9:23:57 PM

The old and new ram match specs. Very careful on that.
Doesn't boot with either the new or old ram.
That doesn't explain why the boot problem is cascading nor why it was transferred to the other drive which now has affected the other computer in the same way.
Even the OS disc won't load all the way on either computer.

Salvaging files using a linux disk. After that I will try installing to a blank disk.

But with it going from loading to almost loading to not even completing post on either computer and one computer acquiring it from the other has all the signs of some kind of infection.

Would put the drives on another computer to check them out but have lost one doing that already.

Could flash the BIOS on my old service computer but finding BIOS for an old EMachines T5010 with a proprietary motherboard is another story.
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July 5, 2012 2:36:59 PM

Yeah no doubt, there was a bios available at one time(http://downloads.emachines.com/drivers/bios/Ag915g_0816...) but the file no longer exists that I can find. I even tried one of those sites that specializes in modded bios' for OEM Windows installs with no joy.

though I found that it uses an Intel (Augsburg) 915G motherboard, but without access to the board, I cannot tell which version it is(e.g. GV, GAGV etc.)

I might have a workable version.....You need to check for this info for me.

From Gateway(it and Emachines are owned by Acer)
Quote:
In the BIOS Setup Utility, on the Main tab, look for the BIOS version line. The version needs to list AG91510J.xxx.xxxx.Pxx (where x is variable characters). The BIOS prefix AG91510J is constant and specifically identifies the correct motherboard.


If the bios lists AG91510J as part of the version.....then this bios should work. ftp://esupport:vImvF88@ftp.gateway.com/pub/hardware_support/bios/pentium/ag91510j/AG915G.exe

Unfortunately, it's ran in Windows....but it has the .bio file and iflash(it's a self-extracting zip file), so if one were knowledgeable in those things one could possibly do it manually....I however have gotten lazy and complacent thanks to EZFlash and similar features.
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July 5, 2012 4:50:46 PM

I think it is a 915GV. Intel won't bring it up on the AA number search. The features match the GV models.

However I have isolated the problem to be the memory upgrade corrupting the boot sectors of the hard drives.
I missed that initially since BIOS recognized the memory and Linux ran ok on it.

Out of hundreds of upgrades I have never had a compatibility issue like this one.
I think that the ram inside the heat spreaders may not be what it was sold as. But not going to pry the spreaders off to check. Too expensive just for curiosity. I will keep them returnable.

Thanks everyone for your help

Thread closed :sleep: 
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a c 375 G Storage
July 5, 2012 6:38:39 PM

royspc said:
However I have isolated the problem to be the memory upgrade corrupting the boot sectors of the hard drives.
I missed that initially since BIOS recognized the memory and Linux ran ok on it.

Out of hundreds of upgrades I have never had a compatibility issue like this one.
I think that the ram inside the heat spreaders may not be what it was sold as. But not going to pry the spreaders off to check. Too expensive just for curiosity. I will keep them returnable.

Thanks everyone for your help

Thread closed :sleep: 


I got here too late but just wanted to mention that I've run ito this problem several times in the past. This forced me to start booting from a memtest86+ disk after any memory upgrade and testing the ram, otherwise not only are there chances of corrupting the the boot sector, but also any other file on disk. Remember files initially start in ram and get written to disk. If the memory is corrupt, so is the resulting save file - old school "garbage in, garbage out". if you decide not to go for a memory test, I recommend backing up before altering the ram configuration.
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July 5, 2012 9:37:10 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
I got here too late but just wanted to mention that I've run ito this problem several times in the past. This forced me to start booting from a memtest86+ disk after any memory upgrade and testing the ram, otherwise not only are there chances of corrupting the the boot sector, but also any other file on disk. Remember files initially start in ram and get written to disk. If the memory is corrupt, so is the resulting save file - old school "garbage in, garbage out". if you decide not to go for a memory test, I recommend backing up before altering the ram configuration.



Appreciate your help.
After hundreds of upgrades without a problem I got too complacent.
Hadn't used Memtest in at least 10 years.
Downloaded and will now use the new one regularly.

I did save all the customers data. Nothing lost except the time to wipe and re-install everything.

Again thanks.
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