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need help - Windows won't load!

Last response: in Windows 95/98/ME
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March 15, 2002 3:29:28 AM

hi,
i need help. Windows98SE won't load up all of a sudden. i would get to the Windows98 splash screen and then the computer would freeze. the blue and white bar at the bottom of the screen would freeze and my keyboard stops responding. the only thing to do is a hard reboot. then i get into scandisk and it freezes at 19% everytime. can't run in Safe Mode because it will still go to scandisk and freeze. exiting scandisk will cause the computer to freeze at a black screen with a blinking underscore at the top-left. please help. i will worship you if you can fix my computer. :) 

edit: silly me, forgot the specs:

Athlon Thunderbird 1.33 GHz
Asus A7V133 motherboard
384MB PC100 RAM
GeForce2 GTS/Pro 64MB
Sound Blaster Live!

can it be the RAM? my board is running at 133 MHz DRAM Frequency but the manual says it supports PC100's. can't seem to change the DRAM Frequency in the BIOS. only 133 MHz is selectable.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by knight0 on 03/15/02 00:32 AM.</EM></FONT></P>

More about : windows load

March 15, 2002 3:49:56 AM

<font color=green>"Windows98SE won't load up all of a sudden."</font color=green>

In other words, until today, everything ran fine, and you haven't changed any settings?

I have to ask, ya know. What's the last thing you did with the system before the problem started?

If I were you, I'd download a disk utility from your hard drive manufacturer's website, load this onto a floppy, boot with it, and check the disk.

Your hard drive isn't making any funny noises, is it?

In the meantime, I'd also start removing memory modules from the system, and test them one at a time, just in case this happens to be the source of the problem.

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
March 15, 2002 4:04:50 AM

hehe, was hoping you wouldn't ask that. i restarted the computer so many times i went and forgot why i restarted it in the first place. i think i had changed the Virtual Memory settings to let Windows handle it. does my computer's symptoms sound like RAM issues?
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March 15, 2002 8:47:12 AM

Eww god knows what happened then if something went wrong with virtual memory.

<font color=red>:</font color=red> <font color=white>:</font color=white> <font color=blue>:</font color=blue>
March 15, 2002 3:59:48 PM

eee, that is not uplifting. i have a WD1000 and the diagnostic program never worked to begin with. boots me out as soon as i run it. do you guys think it could be caused by the RAM?
March 15, 2002 5:08:12 PM

You won't be able to find out until you open the can, get grounded, and attempt to boot the system with one module at a time.

The rest is just idle speculation.

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
March 15, 2002 5:14:34 PM

i've tried just booting up with the vid card and hard drive, plus one stick of RAM. but still freezes at the same spot. my RAM isn't bad because i can use it in this computer, but i think it's either the DRAM Frequency, Windows98 is messed up, or my motherboard is screwed up (God forbid!). it could be any of those huh?
March 15, 2002 6:39:15 PM

How long were you able to run the system before the errors began?

I take it that you have two computers, and all the memory modules run correctly in the other system?

Have you checked the mainboard jumper settings, such as for the memory voltage?

Were you able to download and run a diagnostic on the hard drive?

Perhaps you could try running FDISK with a startup disk, and check to see if your hard drive partitions are valid.

You may need to format and reinstall the OS. But I'd check out the hard drive thoroughly, first.

If all else fails, you could try to flash the BIOS. That might give you more options for the speed of the memory.

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
March 17, 2002 2:38:53 AM

thanks for replying Toejam31.
turns out that it's my hard drive that's messed up. i was able to run scandisk after connecting it to my other computer and there was a butt-load of bad clusters. when i connected it back to my main computer scandisk ran but still detected errors. another thorough scan, this time in DOS, and it revealed even more bad clusters. i finally got the Western Digital diagnostic running. seems it only works if i connect it to the primary IDE, not the Promise IDE. anyway, doesn't look good. the diagnostic deemed the drive irreparable, and should seek tech support. hopefully my OEM WD1000 has a warranty. any idea why my hard drive suddenly went dead? i didn't have any power outages. i did reboot that first time scandisk froze at 19%. oi, what a headache.

edit: oh yea, FDISK checks out okay, but i can't format the drive. it says Insufficient Memory. any idea why i'm getting this error?

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by knight0 on 03/16/02 11:44 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
March 17, 2002 4:22:45 AM

knight, I think your hard drive has developed some bad sectors. run scandisk in DOS mode for a number of times and see if it consistently freezes at 19%, if it isnt then it maybe a temperature problem or memory problem. you should be able to boot in safe mode.

format the drive and make it bootable. its a bug that says insufficient memory if you use <font color=green>/s</font color=green> option with it. so format it with just the <font color=green>/u</font color=green> option and them either format it <font color=green>/q/s</font color=green> or do a <font color=green>sys c:</font color=green> run scandisk with surface scan immediately after formatting. if it shows a large number of bad sectors, replace the disk. else you can now run the windows setup, dont forget to put the <font color=green>/ie /is</font color=green> switches so that the setup wont waste time in scanning the disks again.

girish

<font color=red>Nothing is fool-proof. Fools are Ingenious!</font color=red>
March 17, 2002 5:06:42 AM

I think girish did an excellent job of covering the insufficient memory error.

Why did the drive go bad? Sometimes it just happens. It could have been due to excessive heat, rough handling during the installation or shipping, electrostatic discharge, or any number of other factors.

Occasionally, you just get a lemon, like when buying a car.

I hope your warranty is valid, and that you can get the drive replaced with a minimum of difficulty.

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
March 18, 2002 2:05:00 AM

okay, this is very weird. after having a heap of problems bring the drive back to my main computer, i again tried connecting it to my backup computer. still couldn't format, so i tried deleting the partition. i was able to delete it, but could not create one. it would freeze at 9% when checking the drive integrity. so, i ran the Western Digital diagnostic. errors were again detected, but this time the test went all the way to the end (before it would stop upon detecting the error). at the end it said it repaired all the errors. tried again, no errors detected. seems the drive is in 'good' status, as opposed to 'irreparable - seek help' status. very odd. the Western Digital diagnostic program also comes with a format/write zero's utility. thought what the heck. couldn't work around those 'Insufficient Memory' errors. woke up this morning, and the drive was formatted. ran the test again, no errors. tried FDISK, and was able to get past 9%!

tonight, i took a chance, connected it back to my main computer, ran WD diagnostic and no errors! what the heck... took another chance and tried installing Windows98SE. and here i am posting this reply! very, very weird. ever heard of this? only one thing has gone wrong so far. when downloading before, my computer slowed down really bad. it was still downloading and i could still move the mouse, but there was a huge delay with moving the mouse and any other action, like clicking. shutting down and playing with the wires, making sure they were all connected alright (everything seemed alright), and no problems so far. haven't bumped into the slow-motion problem again (knock on wood). anyway, have you guys ever heard of this problem of everything slowing down? man, this is really freaking me out, to constantly think that my computer can just stop working any minute now.

edit: oh yea, i got the 'Insufficient Memory' error when using 'format C:\' with no parameters. didn't try with the /u parameter. i'll keep that in mind if i ever bump into that error again. :) 

edit2: man, didn't realize this post got so long. i'd like to thank you if you're still reading. :) 

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by knight0 on 03/17/02 11:20 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
March 18, 2002 3:43:36 AM

Zeroing out a drive with a manufacture's "low-level-format" (which really isn't ... they just call it that) can often repair many <i>soft problems</i>, which are characterized by a drive that sounds normal but produces various read and write errors.

But the "huge" delay that you described is very familiar, and indicates to me that the drive still has some serious problems that are indicative of a possible mechanical failure in the near future, and what you have done is, at best, a temporary fix.

You are absolutely right; the drive could stop working at any minute. It could take a week, or even a month. But it WILL go down again. And sooner rather than later.

Use it if you wish, but please keep all important personal files somewhere else! In that same vein, I'd also take into consideration the amount of time remaining on the warranty. Otherwise, it's cash-out-of-pocket. Your pocket.

If you start to hear something that sounds like loose marbles inside the drive, that's the end.

'Luck!

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
!