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ROM Checksum Failure?

Posted on 2003-03-24
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
Trying to decode this error message.  The original question is asked at http://www.experts-exchange.com/Community_Support/Q_20561601.html but I thought it should be worth some more points, especially since it is a bit urgent...
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Question by:mike5904
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26 Comments
 
LVL 97

Accepted Solution

by:
war1 earned 256 total points
ID: 8198882
Greetings, mike5904!
   The read-only memory (ROM) containing the BIOS program is protected by a checksum value as a double-check that the ROM code is correct. This checksum is compared against the values in the ROM each time the PC is booted and if there is a mismatch, this code is generated.

The BIOS ROM chip on the motherboard is probably faulty. It could also be another component on the motherboard.

Troubleshoot the mother at the following link

http://www.pcguide.com/ts/x/comp/mbsys/gen_Failure.htm

Best wishes, war1
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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

by:SunBow
SunBow earned 248 total points
ID: 8203363
This seems like a hardware question, but I fail to understand why BIOS permits the boot, but that is proabably to permit diagnostics (ex: via FD).

> The system still lets me begin to boot but every time I do now I get a message just after it starts booting from the hard drive:
"Windows 2000 could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.

Windows uses BIOS means of identifying components. The diskette is rather standard and unique, but there are many many formats for hard drives, and that is what is faling for you.

If you can boot floppy it seems that BIOS behaves a little and that the RAM support is sufficient at low end. Let's see if this can be fixed.

You may have flaky battery. For that check out how well time is maintained. Does it keep time, or even remember it? It used to be that batteries needed changing every couple years. They last a little longer now, but are no less critical.

You should also be able to reconfigure bios. At boot up, go configure bios. Check for option to 'reset' it. That option, if present, has cleared error conditions for me without making any apparent changes, such os reverting to default. If that is not available, try reverting to default condition. Also, to validate its retention capability, you can try changing something, and reboot just to see if it remembers, then change it back.

If all that still fails, you can still try to access bios mfr web page for a flash update. Note, that a bad update will also give you the checksum error, so be very careful to do it correctly. You can usually get the S/W on a bootable floppy, so it should be doable.

All else fails, you got bad BIOS chips or MB, so you might as well start shopping for a new MB or even complete unit with other upgrades. But if you can run programs from the diskette, I'd be optimistic on motherboard.

You can probably increase #comments responding by a post in hardware section. I'm not so greedy, IMO 250 is a little high for this unless the boss (spouse?) is really hard on your case for quick fix.
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by:SunBow
ID: 8203479
<rant>I really don't like those hypnotic "you are a winner" flashes on screens, or ads emulating error messages you have to click on, so rather than provide link, I'll clip the text, which comes from links off the link provided by war1.

Main reason is to support the above claim on bios getting to be a problem, that a flash of bios can either fix or create problem, and that this causes boot issues which may be repairable through software. I would not recommend board level repair, such as replacing chips, for the general public. There's another level of talent needed for that, and potential for causing more problems than fixes. I'd vote to either go for warranty replacement of parts, or if out of warranty, consider this an excuse for an upgrade.

----------------------(snippets)------------
Some newer viruses, when activated, overwrite part of the BIOS code in systems that employ a flash BIOS. If the BIOS is corrupted, the system won't boot. See here for ideas on recovering from this.

I flashed my BIOS, and now the system is dead!

Explanation: The system BIOS is the key piece of software responsible for booting your PC. Incorrectly flashing it will often cause the PC to fail to boot.

Diagnosis: The cause is usually flashing the wrong BIOS image file into the BIOS chip. This happens more often than you'd think, since most flash programs are not intelligent and will allow you to program the wrong BIOS code into the chip. The BIOS corruption can also result from an error or interruption during any BIOS flashing procedure. Finally, some new viruses can corrupt the system BIOS.

Recommendation:

Some newer PCs come with a boot block feature that enables them to recover from a corrupted BIOS situation. If the BIOS code is whacked, a tiny built-in program will look on the floppy drive for the appropriate files to reload the BIOS. You should contact the manufacturer for instructions.
You can usually purchase a replacement BIOS chip from the motherboard (not BIOS) manufacturer. Physically replacing the chip with another that has the right code will solve the problem.
See this section of Wim's BIOS FAQ for other ideas on how to recover from this situation. Warning: Some of the procedures described on Wim's page are not for the faint of heart, especially hot-swapping BIOS chips, which has the (low, but non-zero) potential to cause injury or damage.
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Author Comment

by:mike5904
ID: 8204711
Well...as it turns out I may be able to call the distributor and get a new board for free.  That would be quite nice because the whole issue of doing it as cheaply as humanly possible would be gone, and replacing the motherboard is probably the simplest solution.  I'll get back on how that went.
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Author Comment

by:mike5904
ID: 8205848
I'm getting this error every time I start up.  This is a Shuttle AK35GT2 motherboard originally with the AK35S20C BIOS.  After the problem happened I upgraded to version 'G' of the BIOS but that hasn't seemed to answer the problem.

The system still lets me begin to boot but every time I do now I get a message just after it starts booting from the hard drive:
"Windows 2000 could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.
Could not read from the selected boot disk.  Check boot path and disk hardware."
This problem does not come up when booting to DOS on a floppy (which I did to flash the bios).

Nothing was installed and no CMOS changes were made when the problem arose.  That leads my diagnostic instincts to believe that it has something to do with the checksum error.

Ideas anyone?
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Author Comment

by:mike5904
ID: 8205854
(repost of original q)
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Expert Comment

by:SHONNER
ID: 8213354
What checksum error?
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Assisted Solution

by:Prester John
Prester John earned 248 total points
ID: 8219635
this has to get an award for the Most Confusing Thread of The Month.
Can you get a motherboard replacement?
What's with the posting of the problem on the 25th?
Is there now additional info since you mentioned the possible replacement?
As SHONNER asked "What checksum error? "
<this was originally posted in Community Support?!?>

<asprin!!>
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Expert Comment

by:SHONNER
ID: 8221260
If you got a checksum error while flashing a new BIOS, then yes, the motherboard is hosed until you can flash the old BIOS back.  Some let you boot from a flopy still even after checksum errors.

If your getting RAM checksum errors, that's another problem having to do with RAM.  If you are getting checksum errors while trying to save CMOS settings, that is a problem with your CMOS chip.  If you see battery low errors, could be a loose or dying battery.  But batteries down't cause checksum errors.  Dying power supplies can cause checksum errors while saving your CMOS settings.  Vary rare though.
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Author Comment

by:mike5904
ID: 8231377
Original error did NOT occur while flashing BIOS, as stated before.

I got the part replaced, and what happens?  Exact same problem as before.  I haven't a clue why that would be present across motherboards.
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Expert Comment

by:Prester John
ID: 8232015
There used to be problems with BIOS corruption associated with a bad "power good" signal from the power supply.
I haven't heard of it in years.
The power good signal is produced by the power supply to let the motherboard know that the power outputs have stabilized and it's OK to start the boot process.
The power good signal is a 5V signal with very specific attack/decay properties.
If it doesn't have these properties, one of the problems was occasional BIOS corruption & [rarely] CMOS damage, among other strangness.

New motherboards use EEPROMS for the BIOS that no longer rely on the on-board battery, but, I suppose, they could still be vulnerable to the power good signal corruption
You could be looking at a defective power supply.
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Author Comment

by:mike5904
ID: 8232433
I actually have a known good power supply that I am swapping out as we speak.. I'll repost as to the results of this test.
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Author Comment

by:mike5904
ID: 8232744
Well, I swapped out power supplies, that didn't work.  After that I tried flashing the BIOS (again), and that didn't do anything either.  I'm pretty much running out of ideas.  I'll probably try swapping out CPUs because that seems like the only even vaguely reasonable explanation left.
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Author Comment

by:mike5904
ID: 8232786
Well, I swapped out power supplies, that didn't work.  After that I tried flashing the BIOS (again), and that didn't do anything either.  I'm pretty much running out of ideas.  I'll probably try swapping out CPUs because that seems like the only even vaguely reasonable explanation left.
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Expert Comment

by:Prester John
ID: 8232796
Damn.
That was my last shot, too.
Keep us posted.
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Author Comment

by:mike5904
ID: 8235135
Well, found the problem.  Turns out that it was a ROM failure, but not of the motherboard BIOS. Actually it was a RAID controller card that failed, which was promptly replaced.  I have another problem related to the new hardware since the OS was Windows 2000, but that belongs in a different section.
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Expert Comment

by:Prester John
ID: 8235223
didn't know you had a RAID controller card.
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Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 8235256
mike5904,
  Well, I was in the right area, ROM failure, but wrong card. Glad you got the problem fixed.
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 8235265
mike5904,
   If an Expert help you, please accept his/her answer and provide him with an excellent or good grade. If not, you may want to post a 0-point note in Community Support board with a link to this page to close this question and get your points back. Community Support board link is to the left of this page.
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Author Comment

by:mike5904
ID: 8235713
Yeah...I didn't expect it to be something like a drive controller, mainly since the error actually occurred on the same screen as the motherboard BIOS, I only discovered it out of frustration when I started removing nonessential components (network cards, individual drives, etc) to see if I could get past the BIOS check, and when I removed that card, it worked.
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Assisted Solution

by:SHONNER
SHONNER earned 248 total points
ID: 8235849
It's like pulling teeth to get info sometimes.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Prester John
ID: 8236007
yes it is.
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Expert Comment

by:MusicMan
ID: 10263147
This question has been classified as abandoned.  I will make a recommendation to the moderators on its resolution in approximately one week.  I would appreciate any comments by the experts that would help me in making a recommendation.

It is assumed that any participant not responding to this request is no longer interested in its final deposition.

If the asker does not know how to close the question, the options are here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hs5

***PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER***

MusicMan
EE Cleanup Volunteer
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by:MusicMan
ID: 10321743
I will leave the following recommendation for this question in the Cleanup topic area:

Split: war1 {http:#8198882} & SunBow {http:#8203363} & StoneG {http:#8219635} & SHONNER {http:#8235849}

Please leave any comments here within the next four days.
PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER!



MusicMan
EE Cleanup Volunteer
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Expert Comment

by:Prester John
ID: 10321820
k by me
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