Start-up Issues

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Alexstarfire, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Alexstarfire

    Alexstarfire Ancient Guru

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    I'm having a rather interesting start-up issue with one of my older computers. It's got me a bit stumped and my preliminary tests aren't coming up with any useful information. Basically, I've been trying to install Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit on my old computer and it seemingly installs everything correctly; however, when it gets to the "preparing the desktop" stage it almost always freezes and will freeze on just about every subsequent start-up. On the ones that it doesn't freeze it'll almost inevitably randomly crash, eventually corrupting files until I have to reinstall the OS.

    The obvious problem would appear to be the hard drive, but every test I've run comes up with no errors. I've tested the RAM with the build in memtest86+ on the motherboard for several hours and it never failed. I tested the PSU with my multimeter and nothing seems to be wrong with it. Temps don't seem to be an issue either since they are more or less in line with what they were when I had this setup previously working, which was at least a year ago.

    It's worth noting that I had the exact same problem with a different hard drive, one that I'm currently using in another computer that's working just fine. I'm pretty much out of ideas on what would cause the computer to crash right at loading Windows.

    I suppose the first thing I'd like to know is if there is a program to test out my CPU that doesn't require an OS? A live CD might work as well but I don't know of or have any. I haven't had issues with the CPU before and it would be odd for it to be a CPU issue since it messes up at a specific time, but it's a possibility.

    Here are the specs of the computer in question:
    Antec 430w
    Athlon 64 X2 3800+ @ stock
    2x 512MB DDR400 G-Skill @ stock
    DFI LanParty nForce 4 SLI-D
    160GB IDE - Western Digital
    nVidia Gigabyte GeForce 8800GT
     
  2. Pill Monster

    Pill Monster Banned

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    Have you tried safe mode?
     
  3. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    Give up on memtest86+. Download Memtest86 from BradyTech (the guy that actually created memtest) http://www.memtest86.com/


    You can download a Linux LiveCD if you don't mind trying a different OS.
    http://fedoraproject.org/ Fedora LiveCD
    http://software.opensuse.org/121/en OpenSuSE...choose Live Gnome or Live KDE
    http://www.slax.org/get_slax.php Slax Linux LiveCD
    There are others, but those were the easiest to find quickly. This will allow you to essentially "test drive" the system. LiveCD's read directly from the disc into RAM....so, if there's a problem with the memory subsystem, the OS should crash or experience consistant errors. Don't mistake this for faulty memory if it happens.

    It's possible that there are "issues" with your harddrive. Not all faults can be detected by software easily. I've seen numerous occassions where a drive has failed but reported as functioning properly by software based tests.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  4. clawhamer

    clawhamer Ancient Guru

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    If I understand your OP correctly, this is the first time you’ve installed Win7 64 bit on this hardware.

    You’ve tested basic hardware and no issues are showing up.

    If so, it is likely an issue with the older hardware and Win7. If I recall correctly, the nForce4 chipset isn’t officially supported for Win7 and it is hit and miss if it works on certain boards.



    ^ Have you tried this?
     

  5. lucidus

    lucidus Ancient Guru

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    When I had a nforce 4 chipset mobo I had to update the bios so that Vista would install on it. Could you check if yours is up to date?
     
  6. badbuck

    badbuck Member Guru

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    make sure you have the latest bios for your mb if that dont work try one stick of ram or change the ram into diferent slots so its not in duel chanel mode
     
  7. Alexstarfire

    Alexstarfire Ancient Guru

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    Ahh, plenty of fresh ideas. Just what I was hoping for.

    First off, turns out this Ultimate Boot CD I found years back has a couple CPU testing programs on it. It had some version of Prime 95, but sadly that one didn't run. It wasn't because of a hardware issue though. I had previously found several programs that don't work on that CD and that just happened to be one of them. There was another one that was called like Stress CPU or some such. That one worked and I don't believe it had issues. At a set point, around the 140th set of 1000 iterations, it would go to a blank screen. Since it was the exact same point every time I assume it's something weird with the program. Takes over 5 minutes to reach this point so I doubt this issue is CPU related.

    Secondly, yes I tried safe mode and it seemed to work. However, I should also say that I did this on one of those rare times it actually set up the desktop, since you have to put stuff like your name and login account on that same start-up. Might work if it doesn't do that but I never looked into it very much since I don't really care if it can start up in safe mode. Don't even know if it's stable since it was only up for a few minutes. I can check this out a bit more in a little bit and see what happens.

    Thirdly, I downloaded the Fedora Live CD not to long after my original post and other than it running slow as dirt it works just fine. I didn't check to see if it had any way to stress test hardware components as not only was that not the purpose of running the Live CD, it was also THAT slow. Took 5-10 minutes just to get everything started. Guess that's to be expected from a CD though. If you're aware of any programs on the Fedora 17 Live CD to stress test components just let me know, might even be able to download programs to run on it but I'd still run into the same issue of not knowing any programs.

    Fourthly, no this is not the first time I've had Windows 7 on this hardware. I don't quite recall exactly why I stopped using this computer as my HTPC other than because it kept crashing as well. For the record, I was using Windows 7 for quite a while on it before it had started giving me trouble. Might have come down to a hard drive issue at that point but IDK I'm using the same hard drive on it.

    Lastly, I can check but I'm 99.99% certain that I have the latest BIOS for this motherboard, at least anything from DFI anyway. This board has been discontinued for quite a while. Wouldn't hurt to look and it's an avenue I hadn't thought of. I might have run into that issue before when I was getting Windows 7 to work, or perhaps I was just lucky enough to not need to at the time.

    @sykozis, I know exactly what you mean about hard drives. I can't count how many have failed on me while the SMART status says it's perfectly fine. Actually, I've never had one say it wasn't working fine, except for one that was obviously glitched. I had thought about that being a possible issue after my original post. I'm going to put that hard drive in my working computer and see if I can get Windows 7 running on it. Pretty sure it'll work just fine and at that point it'll be definitive whether it is or is not the hard drive.

    I'll post back whenever I finish exploring these options.
     
  8. Nono06

    Nono06 Master Guru

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    Could it be a lack of memory?
    For 64bit systems Microsoft recommends 2Go.
    Do you have a 32 bit version to verify if it is working?

    "If you want to run Windows 7 on your PC, here's what it takes:

    •1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor

    •1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)

    •16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

    •DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver "
     
  9. Alexstarfire

    Alexstarfire Ancient Guru

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    Sadly, I doubt it's the amount of memory. I had been running this exact version of Windows 7 on damn near the same, if not the exact same, hardware before. With 1GB it was certainly slow but since I was only using it to load videos that wasn't really even a drawback.

    I don't have a 32-bit version of Windows 7 but I do have a 32-bit copy of Vista that I haven't ever used. It came with my laptop but I put a modified copy of XP on it since it was a low end laptop when I got it a few years back. That should be close enough and if anything my point to it being a Windows 7 hardware compatibility issue. I had installed XP on it when Windows 7 wasn't working and it seemed to be running fine; however, it was a pain getting stuff updated on there because XP doesn't come with a lot of default drivers for things like the built-in ethernet port. Installed the chipset drivers and got internet connectivity but Windows Update wasn't working, I assume it was because XP isn't supported anymore. Wouldn't be an issue except that IE kept crashing for seemingly no reason and I couldn't install Firefox since it said I needed at least SP2 and that obviously wasn't possible given the circumstances. At that point I just gave up on that avenue.

    I put the hard drive into one of my working computers and got Windows 7 to run just fine so it's obviously not a hard drive issue. Haven't checked for a new BIOS or run any stress tests via the Live CD yet.
     
  10. Nono06

    Nono06 Master Guru

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    Are you using a win7 image with SP1 or an original version?

    You can maybe download the win7 image with SP1 included directly from Microsoft. (Of course you will need a valid key after 30 days)

    http://www.heidoc.net/joomla/technology-science/microsoft/14-windows-7-direct-download-links

    There is also a hot-fix that could fix your problem. (not sure it is included in SP1)
    http://www.ghacks.net/2011/08/11/fix-random-windows-7-service-pack-1-freezes/

    Explanations seem to be in line with your problem...
     

  11. Alexstarfire

    Alexstarfire Ancient Guru

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    Actually, that potentially could fix the issue. I think I may have found a fix though. I'm updating Windows 7 as I type this so I can check to see if the hotfix corrected the original problem.

    I came back to post what I found out. I seem to have found a likely fix. I say a likely fix because everything seems to be working now but it has only been a couple hours. I tried what badbuck said and move the RAM so it wasn't in dual-channel mode. Working perfectly now, from what I can tell. I originally decided it wasn't the RAM since everything I used to test the RAM showed it working just fine. So I really have no idea why this would fix the problem, but it seems to have done so.
     
  12. automaticman

    automaticman Master Guru

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    I used a Win 7 with SP1 built in iso for the last 2 rigs i build and it saved a huge amount of time once it got to the windows update process. I highly recommend it. Don't forget to get the MS tool to turn the ISO into a bootable USB stick.
     
  13. badbuck

    badbuck Member Guru

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    That mother board has problems with duel channel mode leave it in single channel mode until you install os and udate all drivers then once every thing is installed and updated you mite be able to put it back in duel mode but dont use memory slot one I know I once had that board hope it helps
     

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