W2000 Hangs on bootup, apparantly at random.

Hi all,

I have a problem with my Windows 2000 Pro pc at the moment (main specs 1400 Athlon, Abit KT7A-RAID, Seagate 120Gb HDD, 512Mb PC133 RAM, ATI Radeon 9600 XT - 128Mb). It could be hardware, but I am not sure, so I post it here in the meantime.

I am at a University Hall of Residence which doesn't help! I left my pc "locked" whilst being out for half an hour or so, as I would usually do, but when I got back I discovered that the mouse and keyboard weren't responding and therefore I couldn't log back in. No bother, I thought, a reboot will cure it. Except that the system now hangs in the middle of the Windows 2000 boot process, roughtly where the progress bar (on the Windows Logo screen) is at about 60%. In exactly the same place - every time. Cursing, I tried Safe mode, which hung at the end of the "starting windows 2000" black and white progress bar.... In fact I tried every booting option available, but to no avail. I then had a flash of inspiration; try resetting the BIOS to default values. Nope. I tried a lot of different things, however eventually it just booted. What was odd was that it appeared to be the same settings I had before, on a normal bootup. Exept that my network connection was unplugged... A little odd...

Anyway, for no apparant reason it did it again later that evening; whilst rebooting, it hung in roughly the same place. So I tried the last settings that worked - except that they no longer work. Somewhat irritating. I decided to carry on hitting "reset" and trying everything I could. This time, safe mode got me to the log on screen where once again my keyboard had stopped working, as had my (USB) mouse. Then as if by magic, on the next reboot, it works.

I have since left the PC on all night, but it being fairly noisy and my having a roommate this is not ideal. Does anyone have any ideas as to why it is doing this? The fact that I have previously left it "locked" for long periods of time, and it has never done this implies that either whatever someone did on the locked screen did something (I don't know what they did, but apparantly someone touched something - grrr) or that there is a hardware fault. It is kind of similar to what happened when my RAM failed early this year, but that was a problem which progressively got worse, and it happened whilst using my PC too. This problem *only* occurs when booting, once I have Windows running it seems very stable... which suggested to me a Windows, not hardware fault?

Thanks in advance - in the meantime, my CD writer shall be busy...

Sunil Rodger
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Rob StoneCommented:
What is the CPU temperature running at?  Is the PSU a decent one?

For software, edit the boot.ini file and put a /sos switch after /fastdetect and that will show what drivers/services are loading.  If it is constantly falling over one a specific one, rename the driver or disable the service from recovery console to see if that helps.

You could also try removing hardware that isn't essential, but thats up to you.


Although its only happening on boot it could still be the ram, i had a similar problem last year and it was the ram.  It might be worth removing some of the modules (if you have more than one) and see if it still happens with each one seperatly.
SunilDVRAuthor Commented:
Stoner79 - CPU running at 42 degrees C; power supply is a 300W generic. I have never  had a problem with it before (have been running this PSU/MB/Processor combo for over two years, albiet with several fresh Windows installs for various reasons - new HDD etc).

I have just put the /sos switch in boot.ini, I will see if that tells me a specific problem (assuming of course I can get back in afterwards; if I have not posted a result of one form or another within about 2 hours it probably means I cannot get it working again =/).

I have very little excess hardware running, only one disk drive (regretting it because of the data now!); no printers or scanners or the like.

The only recent addition to the system was the Radeon 9600XT (last thursday) but I do not believe it is this - 1) I ran it in very thoroughly using 3Dmark03 several times (partly showing off "Mother Nature" test to friends!), I would have thought that were it to fail it would do so during/after this test as it pushes the card hard. 2) I have rebooted at least 8 or 10 times, probably more, since then and it hasn't done it yet. I don't think it is the PSU being overloaded (at least by graphics card) as again this would surely happen when it is being driven hard. Radeon 9600 XT has no "extra" power cables, either...

Mr_Skinny - I have just one 512 module, and no cash to buy another unfortunately. I can't swap it with anyone as everyone around here has laptops! I will bear it in mind, but try other things first.

Here goes nothing...

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Rob StoneCommented:
Agree, the PSU should be OK, unless it has aquired an intermittent fault.  Dodgy PSU's can cause plenty of weird problems so if you can borrow someone else's (although you say everyone has laptops) it may be worth exploring that too.

Good luck

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SunilDVRAuthor Commented:
Hi again,

Typically, the reboot was flawless. I shall reboot again a few times later today (after backing up more stuff on my old CDRW) and see what if anything happens.

The point at which it had hung before did not have anything specific to say (with the /sos switch) but it is the bit where the Logo usually appears, this time a nice DOS box with "checking disk" or words to that effect instead. Then progress indicator continues until it reaches the end, whence it says "disk ok" or something (sorry, I should have written it down!). The error had previously been occuring between these two points - possibly HDD error? Yet it is now saying "disk ok"? I think more reboots are in order, I shall try it and let you know how I get on by tonight.


Rob StoneCommented:
If it is running chkdsk then it may be that the hdd is on its way out.

You could also try SFC /SCANNOW from windows, although I don't think this will really help because it protects windows file system files (which generally are used when in windows)
SunilDVRAuthor Commented:

The disk was new in April, so I certainly hope it is not on its way out! I have revised my earlier comment on where it was when it would have hung:

The DOS box is as follows (note only appears with the /sos switch, it is not the usual "your disk needs to be checked for errors")


{some blurb about MS Windows 2000 which I missed}
1 system processor [512Mb]

Checking File System on C:\

Type is NTFS
Volume is clean
Windows has finished checking drive C:\


The point at which the system was halting previously (judging from the where progress indicator is at as each of the above messages come up) is *between* the info on the processor and RAM, and the "Checking file system on C". Note that the boot process is normal length - it is certainly not running a standard chkdsk, which does the "1%, 2% -> etc" talk and takes longer. I thus assume it does this on every boot process and is normal. There is a pause between the processor/RAM info, and the "checking file system on c:\", this being the point at which it hung. So possibly *not* a HDD error as I thought - does anyone know what happens between the message about the processor/ram and the standard disk checking in a normal 2000Pro bootup?

I have rebooted about 4 times today, so far no problem (touch wood). I'll keep you informed! I am surprised at its randomness though...

Rob StoneCommented:
It does appear then that the HDD is good (which is good for you :-))

Lets see how it goes.
SunilDVRAuthor Commented:
Hi there,

The problem seemed to solve itself of its own accord; would it be possible to award some points - say, 100 - to Stoner79 for the time he took to try and help me?

Thanks in advance,

Rob StoneCommented:

Glad its ok now.
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