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ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe, continuous reboot at fresh install XP

Config: ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe mobo, AMD Athlon XP 3000+ CPU, 256 MB PC3200 Twinmos RAM, ASUS V9400 MX4000 AGP card, 1 Maxtor 120 GB IDE HDD, Liteon CD-RW, Floppy, 350 watt power supply.
I have put the SATA-switch to disabled and started installation of Windows XP Home (incl. SP2). The installation is started and files are copied, but then screen goes black, HDD-LED blinks one or two times and then the PC restarts and installation starts all over again. In another scenario the screen stays black, cursor blinking and nothing happens.
I tried other RAM (512 MB Kingston PC3200), other HD (Maxtor SATA 120 GB, with SATA switch enabled and installation of SATA drivers with F6 during XP setup), but nothing changed. I downloaded newest BIOS 1012e (allthough I think it is the one I already had) and flashed it, also no result.
So I suspected the motherboard to be the problem. But now the strange thing (in my opinion): I tried to install Windows 98 SE, and it installs without any problem, PC works just fine !!!
Then, to be sure, I installed Windows XP with only SP1, but same problem occurs again.
I am out of ideas, struggling for days now. Searching on internet I saw a lot of people having trouble with A7N8X-E but found no solution for my problem.
I would be very greatful if anyone can help.
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nl99962
Asked:
nl99962
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1 Solution
 
paul_oddsodzCommented:
Do you have a copy of win 2000 handy?

i think you know where im going with this
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BjornEricssonCommented:
This seems like a rather strange problem,
Start things from scratch, clear masterboot record (fdisk /mbr), reformat drive w/o q command,
Try this with the SATA switch off,
Download a bootdisk from http://www.bootdisk.com
and launch the installation with smartdrv and via DOS.

Make sure your HDD is detected in your BIOS, also make sure that you have it as Master on a single channel,
Hopefully some progress at least,
/B
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nl99962Author Commented:
No, I don't have a copy of win 2000.

I started from scratch twice, once with the SATA disk and SATA-switch enabled, once with the IDE disk and SATA-switch disabled. The IDE is primary master, single channel, and recognised in the BIOS. The SATA is recognised when I press CTRL S to start the SATA raid utility. I also tried to format the disks with MAXBLAST, before installing XP, but all give the same result. I tried the different HD's one at a time (so only one disk in the PC), to keep it as simple as possible.
My first suspicion was also that the HD (-setting) was the problem, but I think that can be excluded now. I installed several PC's before, both with IDE and SATA disks, but never had this kind of problem. Obviously there is some defect, or wong setting, that causes trouble in XP, but not in Win98.
My best guess is still that the Mobo has a defect that is not influencing Win98,  but I don't have another mobo at hand to try.
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BjornEricssonCommented:
Ok, probably a stupid question but anyway, better to be safe than sorry...
You have formatted the drive and set it as active using fdisk?
Sometimes XP is not as understanding as Windows 98 in this case.
/B
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paul_oddsodzCommented:
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nl99962Author Commented:
In my first trials I did not format it at all. Normally XP takes care of partitioning and formatting during install. Later on, I partitioned and formatted it with MAXBLAST, which is recommended by Maxtor. I just checked, MAXBLAST also sets the partititon as active.
A thing I don't understand in the BIOS is an option in 'Advanced Bios Features': "RAID OR SCSI CARD BOOT". This option is not mentioned in the manual of the mb. Options to choose are RAID or SCSI. I tried both, with no result. This option is always there, also when I disable SATA. Looks to me that this is not relevant when using IDE disk ?
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nobusCommented:
Durin,g setup, did you install the sil raid ciontroller ? if not, it won't boot :

NVIDIA nForce2 MCP-T
-2 x UltraDMA 133/100/66/33
Silicon Image Sil 3112A RAID Controller:

You should hit f6 during setup
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nl99962Author Commented:
Yes, I did that when I tried the SATA disk. But when I did not get it to work, I tried an IDE HD. As far as I know the Sil Raid controller needs not installed in that case. But same problem of rebooting during install kept coming.
And it worked fine when I gave it a try with Win98.
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nobusCommented:
What are your drive jumpers set to? if it is master, try CS or vice versa.
Also, when it reboots, take out the CD, and check if it is set to boot from HDD
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JohnnyCanuckCommented:
Can you try swapping out the RAM?  256mb is a lot for 98 and it won't utilize all of it during install, but its on the low end for XP.  If the RAM is bad, it may not necessarily show up during a 98 install, but may during XP install.  You can't rely on software memory testers (like docmem) to verify the integrity of RAM.
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nl99962Author Commented:
It was master, but tried CS now. Boot options: CDROM, HDD-0, floppy. But no result. Also took out CD, but as expected it tells there is no OS to boot from. I think the problem is not in the HDD, I have installed lots of them in all kind of config's, and in fact this is the simplest config you can think of.
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nl99962Author Commented:
As stated in my initial story: Already swapped RAM with Kingston 512 Mb, same result.
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nobusCommented:
Can you boot to the repair console and see the disk?
you could try :

if NTLDR is missing :
FIXMBR C:
FIXBOOT C:

bootcfg /disable
COPY x:\I386\NTLDR C:\
COPY x:\I386\NTDETECT.COM C:\
BOOTCFG /rebuild
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Gaud-woCommented:
Well, imho:

You've got a working system with windows 98 SE, but it doesn't work with Win XP.

Now, quite some hardware adressing is different in XP from 98SE, but the memory adressing still causes the most problems.
Try forcing BIOS to use the memory settings you want, eg. if the timings for your ram are 2.5, set it to 3. If this doesn't work, disable processor caching and try it again.

You can also try swapping some components like PSU or vid card, but I doubt if your problem lies here.

Still doesn't work? Download and install memtest86+ (note the +), burn it to a cd & boot from it. Best is to let it test for as long as possible, and I'd try the TwinMos 256MB block (512 is going to take longer). JohnnyCanuck's comment comes in place here - you can never really rely on these kind of programs.

A good way to test the RAM is to use it in another PC to try and install XP on a spare disk, for testing purposes. But, this may also work when RAM is bad, because the error may lie in a sector that the other motherboard doesn't use...

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nobusCommented:
it can be a bad motherboard of course
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Gaud-woCommented:
Yes, was thinking that too - but before hee has to send in his mainboard, it's best to be sure, right :) I know I hate waiting for a RMA to come back...
But then again, I'm always happy to get it back, nicely wrapped in antistatic conductive bag, smelling brand new ^_^
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nl99962Author Commented:
Nobus: I think I can not boot to the repair console, because there is no XP on the harddisk yet. I have to put in the XP CD and it will start copying files. No repair console can be reached from here as far as I believe. It never gets started with the real installation.

I did already try some different memory settings, and lowered the CPU external frequency from 166 to 100.
Also let memtest86 (not sure about the +) run all night on the Twinmos 256, no erros found. As you said, this is no 100% guarantee, but given the fact that also the Kingston 512 does not solve anything, a RAM error looks not so plausible.
I guess I will have to try another mobo.
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nobusCommented:
it is the first time i hear this : win98 ok, but win xp not
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techsupport101Commented:
The problem is simple. You have very good components in your system. The power supply however,
is not feeding all the components the necessary amount of power. When I had purchased the Asus
A7N8X-DX, which is very similar to your model, I was running a non-branded 350 watt PSU. The system
would continously crash. I replaced the PSU with a quality Antec 480watt Power Supply. The system has'nt
crashed since. Get a quality powersupply, ie. Antec, PC and Power Cooling Turbo Cool, Enermax, etc.
Hope this helps!
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nobusCommented:
Techsupport, why does win98 NOT crash? same parts, power supply?
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nl99962Author Commented:
Well, problem solved ! Tried another power supply, but same result. Then I suspected the motherboard most, so I got me another one, switched the CPU, RAM etc to this new mobo and tried again: Bad luck, same problem again !
That convinced me that there was only one possibility left: The CPU.
I switched my CPU for another one and started with my original mobo all over again: Problem solved !

The explanation why W98 does not crash and XP does, is probably caused by the fact that XP makes other use of the CPU than W98 does ? Perhaps W98 would also have turned out be instable in time.
Anyhow, thanks everyone who tried to help.
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moduloCommented:
PAQed with points refunded (500)

modulo
Community Support Moderator
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