Boot failure:system halted but drives are in bios

My computer doesn't recognize the hard drive, the cd rom, or the a drive.
I took out the hard drive cable to test another computer, and when I put the cable back, I get the boot failure message.
I have went into bios and changed the boot order but it doesn't matter.  The lights on the drives light up briefly but then it goes back to the boot failure message.
I'm desperate.
Thanks!
hayley3Asked:
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NopiusCommented:
What is a failure message?
Who is your BIOS manufactor?
How exactly it doesn't recognise A: and cdrom? Have you tried to boot from bootable CD or A:?
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hayley3Author Commented:
I start the computer and it runs for a minute or two and on the screen it says"

BOOT FAILURE:SYSTEM HALTED

It's an Intel chipset.  And an Intel motherboard.  It's an Award Bios.
The bios recognizes the drives.  Yes I tried to boot from the CD and A and the Hard drive.
I just don't know what else to do.  
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NopiusCommented:
Try to setup 'FailSafe defaults', and boot from CD and from HDD. It's better to use 100% bootable CD/HDD (from ahother computer).
If not helps, change IDE cable. If not helps, try another motherboard. Problem may be in i/o controller.
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hayley3Author Commented:
Would the i/o controller affect the hard drive, the cd rom and the a drive, all at the same time?  Is there something on the motherboard that would affect all three?  I don't know.
I tried changing the cable.
Where are Failsafe Defaults?  I seem to remember the name but it's a vague memory.
I tried booting with a Windows CD and also tried a Maxtor Hard Drive bootable CD and bootable floppy.

Thanks
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NopiusCommented:
Yes, there may be one controller on your motherboard which, when damaged, affects all three devices (for example pci brigde).
FaleSafe defaults are located in BIOS setup.
When booting from CD have you changed your BIOS setting (boot order)?
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nobusCommented:
first, check in the bios if the disk and cd drive are correctly identified.
then try to boot from a bootable cd like windows XP cd, or knoppix cd : www.knoppix.org
in order to do this, it may be necessary to change the boot order in the bios, and set it to cd first.
i suppose the disk is on IDE0 and the cd on IDE1 connector?
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speak2abCommented:
Use a working PC to troubleshoot and stream line the problem. First try your IDE cables, Drives(HDD,CD,3.5) & PSU on a working PC and verify if they are working fine one after the other.

Next use another set of IDE cables,Drives & PSU from the working system on your PC and see the result.

If your devices works fine in another system and the working PC's devices does not work fine in your  PC then you have limited the problem to other devices most likely a MOBO issue. Try resetting your BIOS to default setting using your Jumper

If the troubleshooting points to a particular device as the culprit. You may have to change the device.

Let us know the outcome of this troubleshooting and your recent discoveries.

All the best.

AB
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rindiCommented:
You say you used the cables in another PC. It is possible you now connected them the wrong way round. IDE cables are color coded, the end with the other color than the rest of the cable marks pin 1 and you should make sure your HD's and CD drives (and also the mainboard) are properly alligned so pin 1 on each of these devices are connected near this other colored part. On CD and HD drives this is usually next to the power connector. Also try booting with just the HD connected at one time, and then if that works, add the next device and try again.
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hayley3Author Commented:
I did change the bios to default settings.
I did change the boot order to CD rom.

Trying it in a good computer is a great idea, but this is my only one left. I was assembling a new computer which is why I am in this mess to start with.  But I guess this is my only option.
I was having a power switch issue before the boot failure, and  I had ordered a new switch for the front panel header but the company failed to send the right cable, so I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would continue to start, and it has been starting okay.   Can I switch PSU's even though the wattages are different as long as it's just temporary?  Could a PSU cause a boot failure?

I did know to align pin one on the HD and CR rom with the power supply connector.

This computer has only a hard drive, a cd rom and floppy drive  because I took out the dvd rom and the other hard drive I had connected and put in the new computer.  I had removed the floppy as well, but I had to reinsert it trying to get the computer to boot from the Maxtor hard drive utilities disk.  

Thanks!  
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nobusCommented:
then i must conclude you got a bad motherboard, DOA.
but since you did not post any specs, do so . You did connect the 4 pin auxiliary power connector?
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rindiCommented:
Normally there is no problem swapping the PSU except if it is powered too low for what you are connecting it with or if it is some legacy Mainboard and powersupply.

The power switch is usually just a button which while pressed shorts two pins on the mainboard to turn on the system. If it is actually a switch which stays in the "ON" position even after not being pressed anymore you are probably still using an old AT type system where the switch is connected directly to the PSU. If that is the case it might be difficult to get spare parts as a lot of these products aren't produced anymore. But you should still be able to exchange one AT PSU with another.
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hayley3Author Commented:
It's an ATX motherboard.  The power switch cable is connected to the motherboard.
Yes, I've connected the 4 pin auxiliary power connector.

I was so hoping that this was a configuration problem or anything, besides a hardware problem.  Oh well.
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speak2abCommented:
Troubleshooting this would have been far easier if you could get a working PC to use but since that is not within reach, Try swapping the PSU.

Also check the IDE  port on the MOBO be sure you dont have missing pins and that it is not dislodged and try another IDE cable also try swapping the power connector on the drives.

Hope u get  a favorable response from the PC!
AB
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hayley3Author Commented:
I'm working on getting a second computer up right now. I had to zero fill the drive and it's taking forever.
 
I'm starting to lean toward the motherboard though.  It won't let me into the bios now.


I'll let you know.  I'm setting up a dual OS with XP 64/XP 32 so I'm hoping it goes smoothly, and without problems.
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rindiCommented:
Have you also changed the small battery for the CMOS on the MB? Could be things work after.
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hayley3Author Commented:
Yep, I changed the battery.

Problem solved.  I checked the a drive, then the cd rom and lastly the hard drive.  It was the hard drive.  I can't believe that the other drives didn't work because of the hard drive.  At least I still have a good motherboard!  Go Intel!!!  It's 4 years old and still kicking!  

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!
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