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Strange ! Computer reboots if COM 1 or COM 2 is enabled in the BIOS.

Posted on 2004-08-16
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I have this strange problem which has just started...

When the computer is booting, if either of the COM ports are enabled in the BIOS, it will just reset itself !?! It will do this a couple of seconds after Windows starts loading.

The computer is running Windows 95 and can't be upgraded as it is running specialist software. I have tried to upgrade the BIOS which is AMI HIFLEX, but all the sites require you to specify a M/B, make. The trouble is, the M/B is a one-off as it has built in I/O functions to control external items. It looks like the chipset on the M/B is ALi.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Question by:markh51
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by:Callandor
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Can you disable the COM ports and buy an add-on card which will provide COM ports?
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by:markh51
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Yes, the COM ports can be easily disabled which makes Windows load find. Buying a add-on card will be more expense.

There must be a fix for this, as it was working fine one minute !
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by:Callandor
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Considering that you're running a fairly old system, the ports or controller may have failed.  If you can boot into DOS, you can test the ports apart from Windows drivers, using the COM command.
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by:eccs19
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Have you tried re-setting the BIOS? Perhaps something has just gone strange in there.  Sometimes all seems fine, but strange things happen, but a re-set will cure it.
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by:markh51
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The BIOS does not seem to have a "return to original settings" option !

How do I test the ports through DOS ?
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by:Callandor
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Test the ports with the MODE command: http://www.computerhope.com/modehlp.htm#03
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by:rid
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You must take a look at (and tell us!) what additions have been made to the system (like new cards, new software) and you should also set the machine to start up "Logged" (bring up the startup menu). After a failed boot examine the bootlog.txt file.

Any new cards with COM ports may give the same trouble unless you know how to set them to other I/O address and IRQ than the on-board ports.

Is there anything connected to the COM ports of the computer?

Start up in safe mode with ports enabled - does it work?
Run Regedit and examine the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE_\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run key for unwanted/unknown entries.

/RID
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by:markh51
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Nothing has been added to the system, apart from a new HD, as the old one crashed.

I have had a look at the Bootlog.txt file but nothing seems out of the ordinary.

Nothing is connected to the COM ports.

The system DOES start in safe mode with the ports enabled.
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by:eccs19
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If you want to try a re-set of the BIOS, somewhere on the motherboard, you should find a battery (usually about the size of a quarter).  Pull the battery out for approx 20 minutes, put it back in and away you go.  You may first get an checksum error, but usually going into the BIOS and exiting back out will fix this.  (unplug the computer during the re-set)
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by:rid
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Teating COM ports:
If you can get hold of a copy of some of the older Norton program suites for DOS, they incorporate port testing software.'
If you have an external modem, you can test COM ports to a certain extent by DOS commands, by doing copy commands to the COM1 and COM2 ports, e.g.:

copy con COM1 <enter>
atz <enter>
[Ctrl]Z <enter>
The modem should reset (and its LED's blink a little).

Or use any other AT command you know about.

Are the COM ports in use, BTW?
/RID
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by:markh51
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The COM ports need to be used !

I don't have a external modem, to test with.
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by:rid
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To me this sounds like some kind of scientific or expensive production equipment is involved.

To avoid confusion, you should really try to test your COM ports by all possible means, before going elsewhere. This may involve borrowing a modem or  a serial printer, unless you can get hold of proper testing equipment. THEN you try out the COM ports by issuing printer commands or modem commands and see what happens..

You must also verify that win95 hasn't gotten a problem with unwanted software (does the machine have internet access?) or even system corruption.

Most of the applications for w95 can be used under w98SE, which has a much better stability record and it also has the System File Check utility to help you examining the system files for corruption and other problems.

What is using the COM ports?
What resources are used by whatever proprietary software has to be run on the machine?
/RID
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by:markh51
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I'm sorry to say this... but no-one gets the points as the problem was...

Some of the wires weren't pushed in all the way in to the M/B power supply connector, now that they're all back in, it works fine.

Thanks to all the people who posted their suggestions.

Cheers.

P.S. How do I get a point refund ?
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by:rid
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You should post a Q in the comunity Support  area and ask for a refund. Don't forget  to include a link to this Q.
Cheers
/RID
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by:rid
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I suggest a refund.
/RID
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by:eccs19
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I would agree with rid.
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