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System won't boot first time around

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November 23, 2010 12:12:07 PM

Hello all,
my system seems to have developed a problem and i just can't get to the bottom of it.
What happens is, the first time i boot the computer every day, it hangs before it even gets to the MB splash/bios screen. The fans are audibly running full tilt, as they would before the bios kicks in, but the screen stays black and nothing happens.
If, after a short while, i switch switch off and then try again, it boot up fine.

This isn't a sporadic problem, it's very consistent - first boot hangs, second attempt boots up fine.
Sometimes, if i leave it hanging long enough (a minute or so) i can hear the secondary hard drives spin up (boot drive is an SSD) but the system remains hanged. Incidentally, same thing happens if i put a test OS on one of the other drives.

HD tune doesn't show any problems with any of the drives so i'm (fairly) certain the HDDs / SSD aren't the problem.

It occurred to me that the PSU might not be supplying enough power (two HDDs, one SSD and a DVD burner), but removing a couple of drives from the equation doesn't seem to help.

The only other thing i've noticed that may be relevant is that sometimes (but not always) as the drives are spinning up (or not) the PSu makes a quiet crackling noise (although this could also be described as a fast switching noise).

Other than this quirk the system runs fine once booted.

Any ideas?

full spec below...

ASUS M3N78 PRO running on-board GPU.
ATHLON 64X2 5400+
ZALMAN ZM600-HP PSU
F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ 2x 2GB RAM
OCZ VERTEX 2 90GB SSD (boot)
SAMSUNG SPINPOINT HDD X 2 (data)
GENERIC DVD BURNER

cheers folks,
m.

More about : system boot time

November 23, 2010 4:37:14 PM

Might be a problem with the power supply. I'd suggest swapping it out if you have an extra or can borrow one, but I'm not sure enough to recommend buying a new one just in case. If it does turn out to be the power supply, it might work fine in a different system. If a different power supply doesn't help, I'd suspect the motherboard.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 23, 2010 6:20:58 PM

+1 on the MB. Or possibly the memory flaking out...
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November 28, 2010 8:56:12 AM

Thanks for the responses thus far.
it's taking me a while to troubleshoot this as the computer needs to be switched off overnight in order to replicate the problem.
I noticed this morning that if i disconnect the SSD before cold booting the other hard drives and everything else spins up fine and the system posts successfully. Then the SSD can be reconnected and booted into windows without a hitch. So the SSD is currently my main culprit. I'll try that again tomorrow to see if it's consistent. Maybe a BIOS update will fix the issue. Before i go down that route i'm going to try a few other things (run some tests on the ram, for example).

Don't have a system speaker but there's one in the mail, so once i have that, should be able to do some move involved troubleshooting.

i'll report back in a few days.

cheers folks.
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December 6, 2010 8:27:02 AM

Okay, a few more things i've tried...

update MB bios
cleared CMOS
disabled SMART
turned off legacy USB support
removed power cable from PSU overnight
reseated all PSu and SATA connections

nothing seems to make any difference, if anything the problem is become more pronounced (now takes 3 or 4 attempts to get the hard drives to spin up).

going to seek out a spare PSU from somewhere and swap that in.
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