EMERGENCY! Win95 won't boot!

I have windows 95, NT and Linux. ALL of them hang at different places but in the
same way - the system freezes totally. I'm fairly sure that this is a hardware problem,
since none of them work. I have a GigabyteHX MB, IntelP150, 32MB EDO RAM, Grafixstar 600
video card, E-tech Bullet modem, Genius LAN network card and soundcard. NT hangs in
Word97 only (or on boot up after 95 has gone down), 95 hangs when detecting installed
components in any Microsoft product (??!!) and more recently with an IOS error on booting,
and Linux just won't install.

This problem is really bad, especially at this time when I have so many projects to complete!

Any help would be greatly appreciated, preferably by email.

James
jhubbardAsked:
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smeebudConnect With a Mentor Commented:
A lot of times the answer given are not what the questioner wants to hear, that said; Please read:
http://www.microsoft.com/kb/articles/q134/5/03.htm
It will tell you how to check you own ram. Ram checkers DO NOT do the job. All you information points to bad ram. See bellow.

Defective memory chips may not be detected by memory checking tools. Some memory checking programs are not adequate tests because they do not test RAM in the same way that Windows uses RAM. Most memory checkers use read/write cycles when scanning memory. Since Windows is executing code from memory, it uses execute cycles. Execute cycles are different from read/write cycles and are more vulnerable to parity errors. It is possible for memory checking programs to find parity errors if the memory is extremely faulty. Bad memory chips can also cause the following situations:
Fatal Exception errors
Himem.sys load failures in normal or Safe mode
Random lockups
The computer may stop responding (hang) as soon as you turn it on

If this doesn't help let me know
I didn't see a e-mail address
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superfrancoIS ManagerCommented:
Looking at this ( limited information we have if you ask me ) I see a definite hardware problem. I agree with you  jhubbard that option 1 could be bad ram chips or even video card or sound card not properly install. It could be a clash in the system. I would approach the problem by elimination and first making sure that  the system's hardware is ok ! Use a utility program such as chcit or something like that to establish the reliability of the hardware. When done The User can move onwards and isolate the other problems. What CD has this use r got what type of motherboard. These informations are not inclused !!! Since when has he had the problem. When last did the machine work properly ???

Let me know franco@mb.lia.net and I can help the best way i can...
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jhubbardAuthor Commented:
I have a Goldstar IDE cdrom, a non-standard soundcard (which has always worked well, so I don't think it's that), and all my hardware seems to work. I'm having some difficulty checking the RAM, since not many people have 32MB in 2x16 around here, and those who do don't want to risk them by putting them in a motherboard that's possibly faulty. Bizarrely, Linux installed fine last night, and NT _almost_ installed again, but crashed at 92% of copying. It could be overheating, I suppose, since I had the case and window open to the cold air.
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smeebudCommented:
The ram check method I described doesn't require other peoples chips.
http://www.microsoft.com/kb/articles/q134/5/03.htm
It's a pain in the ass, but it's a process of elimination. That is always a pain.
I suggest you try that because I found I 16mg chip to be bad using this method
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jhubbardAuthor Commented:
I managed to reinstall 95 and NT last night, and although NT crashes if I reboot without turning it off for about half an hour, I'm back to where I was before - Word won't work and 95 has boot problems. Smeebud: I don't see how the Microsoft method works - isn't memory accessed in parallel? If so, how does limiting it work?
Thanks for your continuing help though.
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smeebudCommented:
I believe you said you had 2 16mg chips. That method simply isolates (if you follow the directions) the first 4mg of a 16mg chip, if good, then you change the numbers and it isolates the 2nd 4mg segment of a 16mg chip. When you system reads from ram it starts with bank 1. if you find a problem, switch your chips from , and it will read the chip that was in your 2nd bank 1st.
Since we (my puter building partner) discovered this method we've found more bad simms than you would ever expect. Right now the market is flooded with marginal simms. It's because everyone is dumping there old lot of simms so they don't get stuck with them as *dimm* chip are here in a big way. This is not a good time for up grading with all the transistional MB's on the market.
That was more that you wanted.
The method works. Have you tried it?
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jhubbardAuthor Commented:
Hello again. I tried the microsoft method this morning. I limited the system to 8MB, and it didn't change anything. Then I switched the chips around in the bank, and still no change. I do agree that it looks like RAM, but why didn't this work?
I plan to borrow some this evening - when my flatmate wakes up!
One thing - could it be overheating? If so, why does it lock up only in some places?
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smeebudCommented:
Well, of course it may not be ram, but certainly need to eliminate that possibility. I did it by checking 4mg at a time until bank 1 or A was all checked, then switched chips.
IOS ERRORS:
Check out http://www.microsoft.com/kb/ again, but at step 5 type
IOS error. About 8 articles.
PLUS , use Ms trouble shooting.
Microsoft Windows 95 Setup Troubleshooter
http://www.microsoft.com/support/tshoot/w95setup.HTM

Microsoft Windows 95 Startup Troubleshooter
http://www.microsoft.com/support/tshoot/w95startup.HTM

Contents of the Windows 95 Msdos.sys File
http://www.microsoft.com/kb/articles/q118/5/79.htm
You have a lot of stuff that must work in harmony. Multibooting *may* be your only option?
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jhubbardAuthor Commented:
Well, I put my RAM into a friends machine, and it worked fine. So, I tried everything else it could possibly be, and eventually got it down to the CPU internal cache. So it was memory related, sort of.
Thanks for all your help.
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smeebudCommented:
jhubbard,
  Glad to here you have it fixed. If you don't mind, how about telling me what diagnostic you used to find the internal cache problem. Also thanks fot the points.
BTW: I had a AMD MB that had 512k external cache modules. It turn out to be one of 30,000 boards from a scam from Thailand. Cacheless wonder they were called.

bwil@erinet.com
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