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does anyone actually know enough to help me?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by buns, Sep 26, 2003.

  1. buns

    buns
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    Anyone who knows me will know i hate pcs..... i dont dislike, i hate them, with a burning passion. since i went to hcpc 2 years back cinema i have had repeated troubles. i start and 6 months on i get corruptions forcing reinstalls then again then again and no one had any good idea what it was. I thought i had it sorted for a while then got the xcard, and again it stopped working as it should and no one knew why. Now..... clean install sone 6 weeks ago and it tells me something has corrupted and to chkdsk it.... all well and good but it froze and needed reboot..... now it repeatedly cycles through the safe mode/last good confit/etc screen and reboots as soon as i choose or let it choose any of the choices..... so another re install. I have installed xp on here upwards of a dozen times and MS dont much believe me that the thing can be this much trouble..... so tell me..... does this sound indicative of something or am i cursed?

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  2. nathan_silly

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    Is there any way of using Linux for the OS instead? Are drivers & software available for all your devices? Red Hat Linux is free- just download it from the various sites.

    I don't know why you're having problems with Windows- if you don't mess around with the settings it'll run fine for years (requiring the basic cleanup every 6 months or so)
     
  3. buns

    buns
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    no cant do linux because h3d hasnt got drivers.

    It isnt because of fiddling either..... i have tried running the system down to next to nothing and i have also literally left the install as windows does it...... both have failed miserably.

    To add detail, the system is as follows

    Asus tuscl2 mobo
    256Mb Crucial Ram
    1.3 Celeron
    radeon 7500
    seagate barracuda IV HD
    H3D original
    antec true power psu

    so spec wise it is basically bulit as best of the bunch 2 years ago, there should be no power issues because the psu is big enough and i used to have an even bigger one and same thing happened. Software wise,

    XP home
    catalyst radeon driver (renewed as available)
    h3d app and drivers (renewed as available)
    powerstrip latest
    streamzap remote

    now that is it..... nothing else. The machine is not web connected, all the updates are installed having come onto my lappy, been scanned and burned to cd.

    The HD was replaced nearly a year ago..... both drives exhibit the deterioration with time despite having both been fully written to zeros prior to use with a disk utility from seagate.

    So as you can tell...... leaving it sitting alone for 6 months isnt going to be working for me...... more often than not if i leave it sitting for 6 hours it will have a problem that requires me digging out mouse and keyboard to shut something down or restart something.

    Im in desperation here..... we tried to solve this before and it obviously didnt get the root of the problem. Unfortunately if this doesnt get fixed it looks more than possible that the projector system will have to go in favour of a tv that doesnt need all this pc hassle.

    thanks

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  4. nathan_silly

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    I've got the same mobo- Asus TUSL2-C with a Intel Pentium 933mhz 256K. I did have problems with early firmware (think around 1009, now got 1014 Beta and rock stable.

    I've used Windows 2000 & Windows XP Pro, no problems at all.

    Method of install..

    Windows
    Core AGP, USB, IDE INF chipset drivers
    Windows Service Pack
    Critical updates
    Sound, Video drivers
    Divx, Xvid, AC3 codecs etc
    Software


    DO NOT INSTALL INTEL ACCELERATION APPLICATION on XP. It'll cause problems. You don't need it.

    Even though I tweak XP (remove files from Windows dir etc) I don't manage to fook it!

    Can you not use it a little while on a fresh install, see if it's stable- install one item- use it for a while again, and so on until you can track down what's messing it up?
     
  5. VintageMark

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    Hi...

    Well my first question would be... what file system are you using? You mention chkdsk... which you just shouldnt see if you are using NTFS rather than FAT32...

    And if you are using Windows XP... you should definately be using NTFS as the file system...

    If you are/or have used NTFS in the past...

    It's difficult to be sure... but my leaning would be towards a hard disk problem... have you tried different IDE cables?

    Also do you have power supply issues? i.e. is the device surge protected? Is your mains at all iffy?

    It's an odd set of symptoms... I'll if I can think of anything else once I know the above...

    {Edit} Just reread you second post and wanted to add....

    I've been using XP since it was in beta... on 100's of workstations both in corporate and home environments... and without question it is the most rock solid OS MS have ever released... if you cant run the PC for 6 hours without having trouble... then I am 100% sure you have either a hardware fault or a driver problem... period... it is not XP itself...

    Mark.
     
  6. iansimpson888

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    Why not just ghost your fresh install to an old 10gb disk?
    If it goes tits up after a couple of months simply re-image, it'll take about 20 mins, esp if there is no user data to be backed up on a regular basis.

    [edit]
    duh!
    If you're having problems after only a few hours then why on earth would you wanna ghost it.
    [edit]
     
  7. buns

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    Ive tried all sorts of combos..... im not sure on my firmware..... i'll check it. Im on a fresh install so i will make a conscious effort to do things in order, though i think i already do (ive had enough practice!)

    problem with trying to add things and work out where it goes wrong is that it generally takes a couple of weeks of running full time to show real problems...... it could take years to find the problem!

    Im installed on NTFS though its possible i tried the last one on FAT32.... def NTFS this time....shame the install has frozen.

    Power isnt a prob.....

    oh god im leaving before i swear...... install has frozen and now wont restart because ntldr or something to that effect is missing.... im steaming......
     
  8. JohnS

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    You should be able to choose the repair- reinstall xp to replace the ntldr.
     
  9. buns

    buns
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    i cant because it wont even reach that screen..... it wont read the cd drive..... only thing it will do is the floppy

    besides ive never actually managed to get repair to work..... i dont have the slightest idea how

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  10. buns

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    sorry to continue from where i was before that...... i have tried different ide cables and different drives.

    I wont die 6 hours after fresh install...... i might manage a couple or 3 weeks until it starts to go wrong..... from there it will just degrade until it needs reinstalled.

    so ghosting is possible but that involves getting both drives to work at one time and that thought fills me with fear :eek:

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  11. theritz

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    Ad,

    You've indicated that you update drivers regularly; do you completely get rid of the old drivers before you install new ones, not just "Uninstall" through Windows, but use a cleanup utility to get rid of unwanted registry entries etc ?

    I've found it better to run with a set of drivers that work stably, rather than to continually update; I know that mmbs with more hcpc experience than me keep their systems updated with everything from bios updates to soundcard drivers, but having endured two torrid periods when the little fecker wouldn't behave itself (the last one lasted a fortnight and nearly drove me scatty) I'm a believer in keeping it clean and simple.

    That said, I'd have a google for issues with the bios version you're using in case there's something in that, and stick to a known set of stable Radeon drivers, and known stable H3d etc drivers.


    Hope you get sorted,

    Sean.
     
  12. buns

    buns
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    well ignoring all previous..... i have cleaned both drives properly..... i have attempted fresh XP install on both and both fail...... they either reach a point there they get up an error screen telling ala 'if this is the first time you see this screen, if not follow these steps' or i get to the point where im told that the copying of some file or other has failed and i have to start again. So....... i now cant even install XP!!!!!! Interestingly...... I can install ME for whatever reason. I even tried to upgrade upon that install and again i got to the aforementioned problem. I have tried it with 2 different versions of XP so it isnt just the disc im using..... does that illucidate the cause of my problem? Im assuming to have problems this early, before H3d or video can even start thinking, that they cannot be a source? Id be tempted to say hard drive, but i have 2 drives both have been causing problems consistently for no reason so it would just seem too coincidental that both suffer the same problem. So that leaves me with a mobo and RAM....... do my symptoms point to either of these? (or processor i guess)

    thanks

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  13. Paul D

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    It sounds very much like a power supply problem to me.
    Either the PSU or in the Motherboard etc.

    I have built many many systems over the years, and your problems sound very familiar!

    Even branded PSUs can be faulty!

    Although your PSU has a beefy enough spec, you still need to check your PSUs output voltages.
    Either use a multimeter or Maplins do a "plug in" PSU tester.
    It may show nothing wrong with your PSU, but at least you will know it's ok to transfer to a new PC if need be etc.

    Bad PSUs can ruin HDDs and VGA cards, yet other system parts are more robust. Memory seems return to normal operation once the offending PSU is replaced.


    Assuming your PSU checks out OK, then my focus would be on the Motherboard.
    First thing i would do is upgrade the firmware.
    Poor firmware here causes untold havoc!
    It free to update and well worth the effort.
    In bios, de-select "quick boot". This will allow a better "system check" on boot up. It only needs to be de-selected once just to check everything. (memory etc)
    It could be just a duff Motherboard, and i'm afraid you would need to buy your way out of trouble :(

    Ps
    I had a system return time and time again that kept crashing.
    Yet when i bench ran it, it was fine.
    Anyway, after about the fifth time i had it back i decided to visit the persons house.

    Sure enough, the problem became clear.(and never re appeared!)

    When installed, the rear of the PC was sat on a hot radiator!

    I must have spent over fourty hours on that system.... i could have punched him! :suicide:

    (Good case cooling is essential for long term system stability, is yours ok?)
     
  14. iansimpson888

    iansimpson888
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    Another quickie is to either load the fail safe BIOS settings or reset the BIOS altogether.
    Assuming you've not already tried that.
     
  15. buns

    buns
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    ok..... id like to think it isnt the psu, but i'll borrow a multimeter from the lab next week and check it out. However, having tried two antec truepower psus of different sizes from different manufacture times..... id like to think that isnt it (especially since Kramer now owns one of them and hasnt made a noise about it).

    I will check firmware..... is this just a case of going to asus site and copying to floppy and letting the machine boot to it?

    replacing mobo is messy of course, its now old and hard to find so consequently expensive..... probably a false economy to replace..... so it would unfortunately entail a new setup altogether which im guessing will set me back a couple of hundred for mobo/ram/processor?

    It shouldnt be heat.... it has run in a number of configurations, it has been run without the psu fan at one point, but it probably was at its most stable while doing so. Currently it is running in an antec sonata case, it has the stock intel fan and the great big exhaust fan of the antec. It is in a cupboard (of volume a cubic meter so dont think bad!) which is has a large amount of ventilation so heat def shouldnt be a problem.

    any ideas why i cant load XP of any variety but i can get ME?

    thanks

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  16. nathan_silly

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    Make sure you get the correct firmware.

    Find a Windows 95, 98 or Windows ME disc, and make a copy onto another 3.5" Delete the autoexec.bat and config.sys from the floppy.

    Copy the BIOS firmware & flash install executable onto the disc.

    Test read the floppy. Boot from the floppy disc, and follow the text instructions on how to flash the bios..

    ie

    AWDFLASH 1012.BIN

    probably similar to that. Check existing and the new shows identical make/model- should notice the difference of the revision. Confirm or quit to cancel. Don't reboot until it's finished. When it's done go into BIOS and reset to defaults- and then change to your own preferences again.

    [edit] if your PC is unstable in just DOS (ie crashes, reboots) I wouldn't flash your BIOS... if it crashes/reboots during flash your mobo is junk. If you live in a area with dodgy electrics (lots of power cuts) I would use a UPS whilst flashing.
     
  17. buns

    buns
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    i would do that...... but those files dont appear on my ME boot disc
     
  18. buns

    buns
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    well i managed a fresh install on both discs with no problems using another pc..... so would everyone concur the HD's are ok?

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    ps these discs will boot on my dodgy system
     
  19. VintageMark

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    Hi...

    Well if you are having 'could not copy/read file' problems during the XP install... it's definately a hardware problem...

    I specifically have had this problem in the last few days myself... and in my case it was a memory problem... (incompatiable memory rather than faulty)...

    But presumably you havnt changed that recently?


    My colleague has also had the file copy XP install problem... but in his case it was a faulty AMD CPU.... so it could be that too... but I doubt it...

    I'd go with memory or Motherboard... and given the random problems overtime I'd lean towards the motherboard slightly...

    Mark.
     
  20. buns

    buns
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    it didnt used to happen..... i used to get deterioration over time of my installs which was bad enough, but i could always just start from blank again. Now that doesnt seem to work...... in fact having said i got XP onto the HD from a different machine, once i booted and started trying to load drivers on my dodgy machine..... well errors are coming up, reboots frequently, failure in hardware installs...... so im in little doubt now that the hardware is simply shafted.

    so tell me..... i think i should be sticking with intel if i can because of H3D..... so where can i get a cheap package? I dont really care how good the things are, i just want a mobo/processor/ram combo that works. I remember buying a package cheap from some online place about 18 months ago for a friend but i cant remember who it was.

    so recommend me cheap and cheerful hardware please...... because it looks like it is either that or iscan/briteview...... neither of which should be close to as good as the pc

    thanks

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  21. cyberheater

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    I strongly suspect memory problems here. See if you can swap out memory from another computer.

    Also. My top tip of the day. Get Nortons Ghost. Create another partition on your drive or get a cheapy second unit. Once you have a good working install with all your drivers/DVD players etc.. Create a Ghost backup.
    If you system ever goes tits up again, you can get back to a good working configuration in 10 mins flat. It's the best bit of software you'll ever buy.

    Also, if you have a CDROM burner. Ghost will also do multi-disc backup straight to CDROM from Dos. It's the dogs dangly bits :)
     
  22. taimur

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    I also think it sounds like a hardware problem. The processor/MB/etc isn't overheating, is it?
     
  23. JohnAd

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    Another vote for HW, to much reliance is placed on out of date clean reinstall voodoo when in fact a hardware problem is the most likely especially if the problems occur under in the middle of normal operations with standardish software/hardware.

    Run with case open, no fan mods, no hd silencers, for a while and see if your problems go away.

    John
     
  24. Pulsar

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    Buns,

    Sorry to repeat, but I am 99% sure this is a memory problem. I had a similar issue where my install was corrupting and I kept rolling back etc, then finally tried re-installing, and it kept freezing at different stages.

    You say you can't even get near the XP install screen now, but can with a different OS, maybe XP does some kind of RAM check before continuing? I would say to try that first, before replacing your entire system, if you are happy with current performance.

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  25. Gary Lightfoot

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    A friend had similar problems exactly as Pulsar is describing, and it was memory related, so I would try some new memory if possible.

    Gary.
     
  26. CENSORED

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    Buns,

    Does your clock keep good time? Many years ago I almost went bald pulling my hair out with similar problems. Someone mentioned the mobo battery, I thought they were taking the p*ss. I know better now but similar problems are usually accompanied by bad timekeeping. As a cheap check, try putting a new battery in.
     
  27. buns

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    well ME now doesnt work...... it wont boot anymore, it just feezes half way.

    some of the errors were someting along the lines of VMM(**) so is that a memory file of sorts?

    the note on battery i have considered..... at various times the install would have brought up that the battery wasnt microsoft registered or something...... maybe that means it is dead? But i would like to hope not because it was like that very early in its life.

    Def no overheating..... im running with everything open and still having the issues..... ie. inability to install.

    Excuse my being negative, but if cinema is my big way of relaxing..... to sit down after a long stressful day and this happen, is not easy.

    I appreciate all the suggestions here, and i will check them out. However, do we think im just unlucky here? In other words if i splashed a couple of hundred for new mobo/ram/processor...... would i almost certainly get rid of my problems?

    If i were to do that i could then fiddle away at this dodgy system without the hassle of it ruining my relaxation.

    Ad

    ps. time does get lost on occasion yes.
     
  28. Paul D

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    VMM = Virtual Memory Manager

    Did you uncheck "quick boot" in bios?

    It will then do a longer memory check.

    I agree with the above posts, a bad battery can cause unusual problems.(cheap to replace just to check etc)
     
  29. buns

    buns
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    hi...... i did get rid of quick boot.

    What type of battery do i need?

    unfortunately from having got everything loaded..... the next reboot has moved onto a problem...... a file is corrupted or missing so need to use the XP repair thing..... which of course doesnt seem to work. This again is an old problem.

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  30. MikeTV

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    Yes. Very unlucky, indeed.

    In my experience, if you take care with the power and heat (as you seem to), and you are not over-clocking, or dicking around, hardware failures are mercifully rare. As a general rule, if a PC stops working for no apparent reason (no software changes, no new devices), it's usually a hardware failure of some kind. And memory is very often the cause.

    I hope your luck improves.
     

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