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After WinXP splash screen, nuthin' but black.

Posted on 2004-08-17
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
Hi.
Trying to help fix my brother's computer.  I can come back later with better HW details, but it's an Athlon 1800+, the mobo is an all-USB/Firewire type (no standard kb/mouse conectors).  In addition to the two main IDE channels (black), there are an additional 4 (yellow) on the MB.  I can get the make & model later.  There are 2 drives on the machine, a WD 30 gig drive (primary master) and a WD 120 gig (primary slave), in addition to 2 CD roms on the secondary channel.

The system has been running WinXPHome (I know, I know... But that's what he has).  He has been running this setup for several months without a problem.  Broadband, multimedia, apps, the works.

The problem is this:  after what appeared to be a normal shutdown the previous night, startup now fails just after the initial WinXP splash screen (the black background, big WinXP logo, blue scrolling "led's" below).  That screen shows for about 5 seconds, then the screen goes black, and stays that way for good.  Sometimes, instead of black, an error message would come up: "windows failed to load, file missing, c:\windows\system32\hal.dll.

What I have tried, in order:

1)  Iserted my copy of XP pro, booted off the cd, and ran the Recovery option.  Chkdsk initially reports no need to check the disk, but then chkdsk /p reports to the effect of "there appears to be one or more unrecoverable problems with the drive" (no additional info).

2)  ran extract g:\i386\hal.dl_ c:\windows\system32
    but it complains that the drive is not accessible (access denied).

3)  Rebooted into a cd of ERD Commander, which shows the c drive as an unpartitioned area with no accessible data.

4) Threw up my hands, and reinstalled WinXP on the drive.  The install appears to go smoothly -- all the way to the reboot and initial startup of the actual gui, at which point the exact same problem occurs -- splash screen for a few seconds, then black.

5)  Decided the drive must be bad (forgive me, I'm not an expert, but this was the most obvious next step to me).  Instructed my brother to buy another drive.  He came back with a WD 160 gb 7200rpm 8mb cache ATA drive.

6) installed the new drive as master, ran WinXP setup, partitioned and formatted the new volume, and ran the install of WinXP.  Again, all smooth until the final setp - loading the actual GUI.  Splash screen for a few seconds, then black screen.

Now I'm stumped.  Other than trying a different IDE cable (which to me is rediculous -- Windows setup seemed to run fine), I have no clue what could be the problem at this point.

Please advise.

Thanks,

WW
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Question by:wwroller
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 11822291
This could be a bad IDE channel or controller.  Try the other IDE connector on the motherboard - if that doesn't work, you may need a PCI IDE card: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=16-102-002&depa=1
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Author Comment

by:wwroller
ID: 11822369
Thanks, Callandor.

I forgot to mention:

I don't know why, but his hard drives were hooked up to one of the 4 yellow IDE connectors, while his CD rom drives were hooked up to one of the 2 black IDE connectors.

The FIRST thing I did was to move the hard drives' IDE cable to the vacant black IDE connector, but that did not solve the problem.  From there, I moved on to the recovery tool.

Do you suppose I have already in essence tried two IDE controllers?

-WW
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Expert Comment

by:eccs19
ID: 11822382
You could try booting XP (once installed of course) with just the 1 CD drive, and for now leave the second drive sitting on the bench.  I'm more inclined to agree with Callandor (as I usually do), but it can't hurt to try my suggestion.
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by:eccs19
ID: 11822406
Without knowing the exact details of that board, my thinking is that the yellow ones may be IDE raid (promise Tech.)  Perhaps you need to update the raid drivers. (I have IDE raid, and had trouble till I got drivers that work properly)
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by:Callandor
ID: 11822574
Always good to have backup, eccs19 :-)

Since you have several connectors on that motherboard, it might be a good idea to identify it.  If you don't know, you can use Everest to identify it: http://www.lavalys.com/index.php?page=product&view=1&subpage=5
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Author Comment

by:wwroller
ID: 11823189
Callandor:  Perhaps I could run Everest, but wouldn't that require me to fix the problem first?  :-)

Eccs19:  do you mean to remove one of the cd drives, and then try to boot windows from the HD as normal?  What would be the purpose of that test?

Just so we're all on the same page, it's when I try to boot normally (from the primary HD) that the problem occurs.  The HD's are both on the same IDE channel, and the CD's are both on the other channel.  That's why I don't understand the intent of your suggestion.

Thanks so far!

-WW
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by:eccs19
ID: 11823279
My thinking is to remove the one harddrive that doesn't have the OS installed on it.  (I assume 120 Gig WD)  My thinking is that perhaps there is some strange conflict that may have occured on one of the drives.  With them being on the same chain, there could potentially be an issue. (I have seen it with a new computer setup, but not an existing one that was working, then not as you are describing, but doesn't hurt to try)
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by:Callandor
ID: 11823519
> Perhaps I could run Everest, but wouldn't that require me to fix the
> problem first?  :-)

Don't let practical things like that get in the way of troubleshooting!  ;-)
Take a look at the side of the motherboard for white lettering; it should have the manufacturer and model.
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Author Comment

by:wwroller
ID: 11823881
I will try all this tonight, and see what's what.
Will update tomorrow.

Thanks!

WW
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Expert Comment

by:tfjeff
ID: 11824382
sounds like boot.ini might have been corrupted...can you boot to recovery console using the winxp home disk?  If so, run this command from recovery console
bootcfg /rebuild
enter "Windows xp home edition" for the load identifier
enter "/fastdetect" for load options
and make sure to add the windows installation to the boot list
here's an MSKB:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;330184
good luck
jeff
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Author Comment

by:wwroller
ID: 12364670
SHOOT!  I let this thread slip.  The situation was resolved, but I need to go back and look at exactly how.  Then I will follow up here and give points wherever due.  Sorry for flaking on the thread!

-WW
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Author Comment

by:wwroller
ID: 12467990
OK.  

The answer was a bad video card coupled with a failed drive.  Raplaced both, reinstalled fresh, and now it's fine.
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by:ericpete
ID: 12551576
wwroller,

Since you've solved this problem, please see http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hs5 for instructions on closing this question.

ericpete
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