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Computer will not turn on

Posted on 2003-12-07
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I have a very barebones computer (no hard drive, no cd rom drive).

I am trying to flash the bios.  I put in a DOS 6.0 boot disk and reboot.  It reads the disk.  It says starting MS-DOS.  And then it just stops.  Do I need a hard drive installed just to boot to dos off a boot disk?  I have tried 2 different disks already and same problem with each.
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Question by:Igiwwa
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by:public
ID: 9892731
You may not have a bootable disc. Reformat the floppy as a bootable disc, test it, and if it works add the flash and data file.
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by:Igiwwa
ID: 9892749
I made it using the .exe on www.bootdisk.com.  Doesn't that automatically make it bootable?
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Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 9892797
Try making a windows 98 boot disk....should be fine that way...
It could also be a problem with the floppy drive.  
refer to my comments here on bad floppy drives:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_20818091.html#9887229
If you can't see this question ....let me know and I'll explain the floppy drive problems that most people have....all over again...

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by:chicagoan
ID: 9892847
Could also be a bad floppy disk
Try holding down the left shift-key when you see STARTING...
this will stop any drivers from loading or autoexec commands from running
you might be hanging on a cd driver ir something of that nature


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by:Wakeup
ID: 9892861
if you read....he tried two floppies....and he's using Dos 6.0 not win98 or any other windows bootdisk...so holding the shift or ctrl keys down will not effect the startup commands for dos.  They were not implimented back then.
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by:Wakeup
ID: 9892864
oh and BTW it doesnt matter which shift key you press for a windows boot disk....they both do the same thing....

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by:Igiwwa
ID: 9892974
I tried a different floppy drive with windows 98 boot disks and still the same problem.    

>>Or, it could just be that you have the wrong ICH5R drivers?
What are these?  Does this apply to me?

Maybe I should try to create the boot disks from a different machine?  I'll give it a try, but I've never had a problem with that machine/drive before.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.


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by:chicagoan
ID: 9892976
Page 104 of the "MS-DOS 6 User's Guide" incorrectly states that holding down the SHIFT key (to perform a Clean Start) causes the following message to be displayed:

MS-DOS is bypassing your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files.
Although MS-DOS does bypass your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files, it does not display the above message when you hold down the SHIFT key. This message is displayed only when you press the F5 key.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;99280&Product=msdos
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Microsoft's instructions for 95 were to use the left shift key
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;243039&Product=w95

Since that technique works on dos/95/98 is just eliminates confusion
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by:public
ID: 9893000
on a dos machine type format a: /s to make a botable floppy.
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by:Wakeup
ID: 9893111
Oops...stand corrected...sorry....been a while for the dos days....
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by:chicagoan
ID: 9893188
hey, if bill can't get the docs right, who'd know? :)
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9893832
This question is going to have to go on hold for a while.  I was tinkering around with this machine and the wire from the power button to the motherboard broke.  I guess I'll have to get a new case.
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Assisted Solution

by:asmodeusnz
asmodeusnz earned 100 total points
ID: 9894046
Sounds like you've got the wrong BIOS Flash.
Easy enough to do, but this problem can occur (your system will halt) if you are trying to flash your BIOS and the flash you have on your disk is not the correct version.

Cheers
Rodger
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by:chicagoan
ID: 9894088
generally you can replace the switch...
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Accepted Solution

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Wakeup earned 200 total points
ID: 9894590
Igiwwa,

Actually an easy solution for your power button.....Just replace it with the Reset switch button....easy cheap fix...
Otherwise yes replace the power switch or wire....or both...or replace the case....but the reset button will work just as good as the power switch.
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9896540
Rodger -- I've tried booting off a regular boot disk (with no bios.bin or flash.exe) and I have the same problem.  I believe its hanging before it ever looks at the bios stuff.

I'll try the suggestions about using the reset button tonight and get back to you.

Thanks!
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9900689
I tried to connect the reset button to the motherboard and it didn't do anything.  Is it possible that I damaged my hardware in all my attempts to boot off a disk?  Should I try to do a clear CMOS or something?  
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by:asmodeusnz
ID: 9900777
> I tried to connect the reset button to the motherboard and it didn't do anything.  Is it possible that I damaged my hardware in all my attempts to boot off a disk?  Should I try to do a clear CMOS or something?  

Its possible, but highly unlikely.
Could also be that the actual floppy drive has failed.
Replace the floppy drive with another one and see how that goes.
Did you try the floppy disks in another PC?
Could also be a combination of the 2, bad disks, and bad floppy drive
Let us know how it goes when you've tested these.

Cheers
Rodger
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by:chicagoan
ID: 9901291
have you , ummm, checked the floppy cable to make sure it's on tight ?
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9901452
I've tried to turn it on using the reset button (connected to the power switch on the mobo) with and without a floppy drive, and the machine appears to be dead.  Does this mean Wakeup's suggestion was wrong?  What should I do?
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9901833
Man, this machine is screwed up.  I jiggled a bunch of wires and unplugged and replugged and now it boots (using the reset button as the main power button).  It boots off the floppy disk and starts to load the cd-rom driver and it hangs mid way through that now.  Tomorrow I'll look into getting a non-CD Rom requiring boot disk, because I think that needless complicates the issue.
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Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 9902141
on the reset switch....the power switch / reset switch may be polarized...meaning there is a positive and negative.....end...so maybe after you swapped it around it fixed it...And as you stated...the system is screwed up...hehe
let us know what you come up with.
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9909007
OK.  I finally booted off a boot disk by downloading a special bootdisk for bios flashing off www.bootdisk.com.  I know this is going out of the scope of the original question, but I've bumped up the points to 500, so any help here would be appreciated:

This is what happened:

1.  Booted off the disk.
2.  Got an a:\
3.  Typed aflash
4.  Saved old bios to file.
5.  Typed in name of new bios file.
6.  Computer read off the disk for a second or two.

Now the computer is just sitting there.   I did not receive any output after I typed in the new bios file.  I haven't pressed anything yet because I am a little nervous.  I know if you don't do this right, it can really mess up your machine.  Should I go ahead and reboot?  Should I press Esc or something?  Rapid replies would be appreciated, since my machine is just sitting there waiting for me to do something I think.
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9909015
Oh, in case anyone is ever looking for the boot disk that worked for me, it is here:

http://www.abitfaq.it/Files/drdflash.exe
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Expert Comment

by:asmodeusnz
ID: 9909030
Are you sure you got the right flash?
This has happened to me before, its very easy to do, the machine just hangs there because you don't have the right flash.
Did you compare your flash to the version on your motherboard? (When the PC loads up it prompts Motherboard details and BIOS version etc.
If not, you've got the wrong flash. Also, you need to type more than just aflash, generally its
aflash 45thgy.bin or something, the second part being the flash for the BIOS.
ie aflash (program to flash) 45thgy (the actual BIOS flash)

Clear as mud?
Also, why are you flashing the PC? Bigger HDD?? Why??
Flashing the BIOS just for the sake of it is not recommended.

Cheers
Rodger
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9909047
Well, I ran aflash and then there were two options.

1 was to save old bios (which I did successfully)
2 was to "update bios without boot block and escd".  Then it prompted me for a filename (which I responded to with 1011.bin).  Now it is sitting there.  I was pretty sure this was the right flash.  I have an a7a266 asus motherboard which I am flashing to be able to use a 1.4 ghz processor without setting off heat warnings.  I got the .bin file right off the asus website.  

What should I do now?  My machine is still sitting there right after I entered the file name.
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Assisted Solution

by:chicagoan
chicagoan earned 200 total points
ID: 9909083
> I was pretty sure this was the right flash.
that's odd because
http://www.asus.com/support/download/download2.aspx?item=a7a266&type=like&file_type=BIOS
shows 1012 as the latest bios (may 2003)
you got the new aflash as well?
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9909101
Thanks for the link.  I must have erroneously downloaded the older 1011 version.  I will try the 1012 version, but I'm not sure what I should do -- is it safe for me to reboot the machine now?
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Expert Comment

by:asmodeusnz
ID: 9909134
I downloaded the latest BIOS for that motherboard.
The Filename is C18X1007.BIN dated October 8, 2003....
So you should use aflash c18x1007.bin

Its was under 1013.001 for some reason....

Check this out http://www.asus.com.tw/support/english/techref/bios/aflash.aspx#section2
and let us know what stage you are up to. You should have been prompted with a message saying "BIOS Updated successfully", if not let then us know where you are up to.

Cheers
Rodger
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by:chicagoan
ID: 9909276
yeah - did you hit "Y"?
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9909467
I have run aflash several times now.   Each time I specify the name of the new bios, press enter, [computer looks at the floppy drive] and then nothing.

In the instructions that asmodeusnz posted, I get as far as this step:

"If you wish to update the BIOS file, please hold down [2] in the Main Menu and also <Enter> key, then "Update BIOS Including Boot Block and ESCD" screen will appear, key in the name of the BIOS needed and the path (eg. A:\XXX-XX.XXX), then hit <Enter> again."

After I press enter it stops.  I have tried using a separate disk for aflash and something.awd and also including those files on the boot disk.  No matter what it just sits there after I type in the file name of the new file.  I have tried it with and without an "A:\" before the filename.  One time it said "bad table" before stopping.
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9909485
Should I try the "2.  Use built-in EZ Flash BIOS Procedure to begin BIOS Update process" instead?
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Expert Comment

by:asmodeusnz
ID: 9909504
Yes, this is a newer motherboard so should update much easier this way.
Make sure you follow the instructions I posted carefully, although updating the BIOS via the EZ Flash option is much easier.

Cheers
Rodger
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Expert Comment

by:chicagoan
ID: 9909507
you've tried the 1012 bios and the new aflash?
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9909700
The EZ-Flash didn't live up to its name.  As it was booting up I pressed ALT-F2 repeatedly and it didnt do anything.

And yes, I have tried the 1012 bios with the new aflash.  1013 appeared to be in beta, so I didn't want to risk it.

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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9909834
Whats up with the aflash vs. awdflash?  I'll try the other one tomorrow.
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9912391
"If you have an Award or Phoenix BIOS, the file you will need to download is AWDFLASH.  If our copy of AWDFLASH isn't the correct revision, a copy of it is available from your motherboard manufacturer’s website.  Put AWDFLASH on your floppy disk."

http://www.thetechboard.com/tutorials/flashBIOS.php

Sounds promising.
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Author Comment

by:Igiwwa
ID: 9917638
I'm going to close out this question since it has drifted off the original topic.  I have posted a new question at
http://oldlook.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Desktops/Q_20822505.html for those experts who would like to join me there.

Thank you all for your help.
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