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Boot Problems

Points will be awarded for possible sources of the problem, since the computer is in the shop (and will hopefully be fixed w/o wiping my drives).

Comp configuration is a dual boot.  2 physical hard drives: WD200JD SATA drives (Identical).  I installed XP 2 on the first hard drive after partitioning C: as the windows/programs drive and D: as data.  I then installed kubuntu hoary on the 2nd hard drive w/ the linux partitions and a G: to be shared between OS's.  Grub boot loader.  System was working dreamy for 3 weeks until yesterday. . .

I left the computer on over night to complete a download in XP and awoke to a black screen stating kernel panic.  Apparently the system had magically restarted overnight and failed when booting to the default OS: linux.  I restarted the system and the usual grub menu came up, so I chose XP.  The screen went blank - completely black and didn't move.  On the next restart, I tried linux again to find the kernel panic error.  Ran memtest86 w/ no errors.  Tried booting again, w/ no success.  I tried to run the WD drive diagnosis utility and started w/ a quick test (supposed to take 5 mins).  10 mins later I came back to find the test had progressed very little and was frozen.  I tried to abort the test, but since it was frozen, had to hard reset it.  Any attempts to run the diagnosis tool following would end up freezing prior to the menu.  I had an extra 2 dimms lying around so I switched the memory and reran memtest86 w/ no errors.  I updated to the latest bios and no change.

Now I'm thinking it is a motherboard problem or cpu vs. a hard drive problem.  Why?  Because the OS's are installed on different physical drives and neither of them can boot.  I would appreciate any thoughts and suggestions. . . Since the comp is already in the shop, what would you have done if in my shoes?

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d_tan
Asked:
d_tan
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1 Solution
 
ridCommented:
The one HD that has the boot loader may be damaged/corrupted. That could explain why no O/S can boot. The failed WD test suggests this possibility.

If I had valuable data on either drive I'd have sought to rescua data and then I'd have gone on with repair/reinstall attempts, running test software aon all HD's.
/RID
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d_tanAuthor Commented:
I got the computer back. . .all nice and patched up.  It wasn't either HD. . . still looking for more scenarios of what you would do/how to test it.
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ridCommented:
Difficult to know what has happened here. One guess is that there may have been a short (-ish) power outage or brownout that caused a CMOS corruption. The remedy may then have been to reset CMOS and possibly exchange the battery for a new one, then re-detect the hard drives and save the settings.
/RID
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d_tanAuthor Commented:
I gave ya the points, since it seems you were the only one reading this post. . .

It already detected the hard drives and succesfully loaded grub, so it couldn't have been CMOS.  

Turns out the CPU was the source of the problem.  Strange since I managed to flash the BIOS successfully after the problem started occurring.  They replaced it with a new one and system back to normal. . .

dtan
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ridCommented:
OK; thanks!
You can ask for a refund, if you feel that's more appropriate.

I think many experts here work a system built from their own experiences. I'd say HD's, CMOS/BIOS, RAM are more prone to give odd problems than many other components and the CPU is quite a bit down the list, but you'll be learning new things all the time, apparently.

Cheers
/RID
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d_tanAuthor Commented:
Refund?  not at all. . . The solutions I was looking for were simply possible sources of the boot failure.  You offered 2 different opinions which was perfect.  There was no right or wrong answer really. . .

Thanks so much. . .
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