PC cant boot up: Blank CMOS!

My current pc config:

AMD Athlon XP 1700+
Asus A7V333 m/b (onboard sound)
256MB DDR Kingston Value RAM
Asus V8200 GeForce 3 Ti200
Maxtor 60GB 7200rpm HDD
DLink internal modem
Running on WinXP.

My problem: Everything was working fine for the first 2 months. Now, each time I power up, the Memory test run will be looping none stop. Then, I just press Esc and it'll continue as usual and stuck at "Initialize Plug and Play devices...". It'll just simpy hang there. When I press Del to enter CMOS, all my settings were blank! Even after I use Load Default Config and Save and Restart, it'll still be the same.

My suspect: From the looks of it, it seems the motherboard is the main cause. But I hope someone could shed some light into this problem. Maybe some ideas on how to confirm what is causing this problem, some test or anything...

Thanks...
pennyroyalAsked:
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jlausterConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The heating and cooling of the motherboard and slots can cause cards and memory chips to become unseated over time. Try placing some support under the memory slots (use rubber or cardboard) and reseat the memory. You may get lucky and solve the problem.
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magarityCommented:
I trust it is it still under warranty?  You'll need to make use of that.

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jlausterCommented:
Check that the BIOS chip is firmly seated in it's socket. Your CMOS battery may be bad, but I doubt that this is the problem. Is the time and date in BIOS holding?
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pennyroyalAuthor Commented:
yes, all hardware is still under warranty. but sending for exchange might take weeks!

yes, the date and time is still holding. but the rest is empty! will check the CMOS socket and battery today.
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sorgieCommented:
After you check the socket and battery try using the CMOS clear jumper. It is usually near the battery and most of the time is labeled. This will clear the chip and the computer will boot to CMOS on startup.

just a thought
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pennyroyalAuthor Commented:
yup, i did all those. funny thing happened, the first time i clear the CMOS, it boot to CMOS as expected and after setting to default values, my pc started up to winXP and everything is just fine.
later, i reboot and everything went dead again! i clear the CMOS again, but this time it didn't boot to CMOS any more. simply went to run the memory test and hang at the same place: Initialize Plug and Play cards...
But prior to reboot, I've added a sound card and a internal modem to my system. But after I remove them again, my pc still fail to boot...
Will give it another few days before i bring it for exchange... :(
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jlausterCommented:
When you added the sound card, did you disable the onboard sound in BIOS setup?
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pennyroyalAuthor Commented:
Yup, sure did... But dont you all think it's got nothing to do with the sound card at all? Because it still cant boot up when I take out the sound card.
Actually, I just wanna confirm that this problem is caused by the motherboard or something else before I send for exchange.
Thanks...
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sorgieCommented:
do yourself a favor and send it back, The more you try to find the problem the more chance of accidential damage giving the manufacturer an excuse not to warranty your machine/

regards
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pennyroyalAuthor Commented:
you might be right...
yesterday, got some new info and suspecting the RAM is causing the problem. so, i simply remove and reinstalled. it cant boot up anymore. the asus mb reported a Memory Fail Test. i swapped among the 3 dimm slots repeatedly but the result is still the same. tried using my friend's RAM, also the same. but when i tried my RAM on his pc, it works!
so, took out everything and going for exchange today. hope i can get a 1 on 1 exchange straight away!
Thanks...
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jlausterCommented:
Make sure to support the motherboard beneath the memory slots when inserting the memory. Any flexing of the motherboard may cause the memory chips to seat improperly at the least, and may cause permanent damage by cracking the conductor tracings on the motherboard.
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pennyroyalAuthor Commented:
wow! that's a really useful tips i've received all day. thanks man... but does that happen often? i didn't support the bottom and i was really pushing down pretty hard. might explain the failure of the system memory.

anyway, how about my initial problem? any comments on that?
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pennyroyalAuthor Commented:
ok, my pc running smoothly now. had the m/b exchange for a new one yesterday and everything is A-ok, thus far. it seems it's the m/b problem afterall. the one i got is a later version one and i hope it settles the RAM problem. but it could be due to other problems that made my pc unable to boot...
anyway, just have to reward to points to someone. will give it to jlauster for his little useful tips on pc.
thank you all for helping around... :)
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