System will not boot - No BIOS screen

Hello, first time post...  Here's my system basics:

Pentium 4 1.9 GHz on Intel D850EMV2 mobo.
350W Antec ATX12V v2.0 PSU
GeForce 4 4x AGP

When I turn on computer I get black screen, curser at top left.  After a few seconds:  "Boot Failure: System Halted"
I guessed MOBO was screwed up and replaced with same model.  Still the same thing.

I admit I realize I'm probably more stupid at computers than I'd like to admit.  All this started when fan on my old psu in old case stopped working.  I found a cheap new case with psu and transferred everything over.  That's the first time I got the black screen/boot failure screen.   Turns out PSU was ATX, not ATV12V like mobo lit required.  I then got ATX12V psu listed above and new mobo, assuming I fried old mobo.  Same problem with the new psu and mobo.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Arjun1Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Hi ,

Start with the basics. Disconnect everything else but Hard Disk drive, VGA Adapter Card and use possibly a single RAM Stick. Try booting it. This way you can decrease the number of the involved variables and get to basics.

Check if the jumpers on the Hard Disk Drive are set correctly. See if the HDD Ribbon Cables are connected in the correct way. If there are more then one Drives ( CD ROM Drives ) included, connect only the Main Hard Drive( the one with the OS)to the HDD Ribbon Cable. Check the Power connection to the Hard Disk Drive to make sure thast it is seated securely.

 " Boot Failure: System Halted " simply means that the computer could not boot the Hard Drive/ System. You did not mention whether or not you are actually seeing POST Memory Counter. It maybe possible that while in the throes of hooking and setting back the computer back to normal , somehow the Memory sticks ( you seem  to have more than one) may have gotten loose or jiggled. Try reseating them securely.

Is this a new Build or is there an OS on the drive? Are you able to boot into the Windows (If thats what you are using) install CD. IF you can, try and do a repair.

This may be an issue with the boot sector on the hard disk, may have been damaged when moving your mobo into new case etc . .
Pesco77Author Commented:
There is Win XP Home on the drive. I will try the CD.
Free Tool: Port Scanner

Check which ports are open to the outside world. Helps make sure that your firewall rules are working as intended.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

Might want to check BIOS to determine if the HD is seen and no problems.  Running Diagnostics could help identify an issue.

To enter BIOS Press 'F2' during boot up.

As a possible source the following link has HD Diagnostic Software at the bottom of the page:

Hope this Helps!!!
Pesco77Author Commented:
I know that WinXP disk is around here somewhere...

My system doesn't even get to the BIOS system... Starts with the black screen with cursor and then gives message noted above.  Can't get into BIOS.
When you boot from thye XP CD, does setup access the HDD? Does it report an installation of XP?
If it does not, your best bet is to boot from a Win98 floppy and run fdisk. Select option 4 to give details of the drive partitions.
If you still can't see anything, maybe it's time for a new HDD...
SunBowConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Pesco77 > I know that WinXP disk is around here somewhere...

Forget that, your system isn't getting to the HD to get at any windoze code.

There's other things you probably did not swap out, even though it sounds like it. For example, did you swap out the bad memory chips and bad bios and bad battery and bad cables and bad cpu and ....

How about the cpu, does it have a heatsink? a fan? Any blades on the fan?

Once doing the swap and fry, I think it helps to have something called "known good" that can get swapped in, if only for testing. Do not rush to have everything all plugged in at the same time. Get something bare to at least boot. At least to diskette.
David523Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Defining the source of your problem is the goal and not booting from the HD is an important aspect.  Part of my thoughts are a recap of ideas from others above.  (Arjun1, SunBow)

Try unplugging the mouse and booting the system.  This should give an error and the opportunity to enter BIOS.  Check BIOS for proper configuration and if the HD is recognized.

I think a good starting point may be to obtain a Bootdisk and try to boot from it. (Source:  

As the HD seems to be a problem, try unplugging the HD and attempting to boot your system from a boot disk.  If that doesn't work then I'd proceed with the following.  

If that doesn't work then remove everything you can - including memory, HD, CD, Floppy, add-in cards, etc... - then try to boot.  It will not BUT should give a BEEP Code.  

Next install each part (memory, floppy, etc...) and attempt to boot from a bootdisk.  Hopefully it will begin to boot and once booting the part you put in that stops the process should be the culprit.

Hope this Helps!!!

Pesco77Author Commented:
I'm at work right now, but I will try to carry out some of the good ideas you've all listed tonight.

At this point I would hope "known good" would include the new mobo.  That should mean I have a "known good" BIOS, too, right?  If I fried the original mobo, how susceptible is the processor and memory to damage, or do protective mechanisms exist on the mobos to prevent this?  I am not seeing any post test, and I can't enter BIOS.

Memory arrangement is 2x 256MB and 2x 128MB.  I will take out two sticks and put in the mobo-provided blanks, making sure the required first bank is filled.  Can you boot with NO memory?

The CPU and PSU fans are functioning.

Only other desktop I have available is a 633 MHz Celeron (eMachines).  Don't know how much I can swap out to that for testing.  Lol actually there's my dad about 15 min away but he's never forgiven me for killing his HD when I was in middle school, 16 years ago.  He's got a decent Dell.  I'm thinking of bringing the HDD's over there to test. (If he'll let me)

The floppy boot disk is a good idea; in this age of CDs and flash memory I forgot about those little guys.
>At this point I would hope "known good" would include the new mobo.  That should mean I have a "known good" BIOS, too, right?
If the motherboard is good/booting then the BIOS is working although a BIOS Update may be considered if issues point to that as a source of the problem.

>If I fried the original mobo, how susceptible is the processor and memory to damage, or do protective mechanisms exist on the mobos to >prevent this?
If the motherboard is fried then everything else is suspect.

>Can you boot with NO memory?
Nope, you will need memory to boot the system however, leaving the memory out and attempting to boot should give a BIOS Beep Error Code and help define the problem.

>The floppy boot disk is a good idea; in this age of CDs and flash memory I forgot about those little guys.
Thanks BUT they are going away and many NEW systems don't have them.  Kind of like a cassette tape drive or 5 1/4 inch disk!!   LOL

Hope this Helps!!!

Pesco77Author Commented:
Okay, thanks for your patience.  I fooled around for a while.

I started it up with as little as possible.  I got proper beep codes when memory was unplugged, etc.  When I added video card (empty IDE still) I got same boot failure message.  I added the floppy drive controller (with boot disk) and got the same result.  I had expected it to read the A: drive at that point.

Of course, when I added the HDD nothing changed.

I'm still not seeing the POST screen and I cannot enter the BIOS screen.

Any thoughts?
If it is not "hitting" the floppy drive, then it is quite likely that BIOS options have are set to prevent that, it could be int a state where is would look to a HD a CD_Rom drive or even a network card first.

It seems odd that you can not access the BIOS, but,

You had two hard disks, In your old computer were they on the same IDE chain?

If they were, one of them will be set as slave and one as master, the one set as slave will NOT be able to boot.

If not and they were both set as master and on different IDE chains in your old box and you have them on the same chain in the new box there will be a conflict that would prevent boot.

Whatever the configuration, it would be unlikely that both your HDs were bootable anyway, you would need to make sure that that the original bootable HD was installed as physical HD0.

Well now, heres a thought ...

Is your new Mobo board the same model as the okd one?

XP is not good at handling hardware changes for "large" things like motherboards.

A repair install would be needed, but, obviously you need to get into the BIOS first.

In any event, all progs would need reinstalling as the registry will be trashed..

Swapping mobo's on XP :     move XP to other mobo

Looking at this, I think you are stuffed!
It looks like you will NOT be able to get going with current drives.

Looks like a full fresh INSTALL is going to be required, sorry.
Have you tried the following:

Try unplugging the mouse and booting the system.  This should give an error and the opportunity to enter BIOS.  Check BIOS for proper configuration and if the HD is recognized.

After all the troubleshooting from everyone, it would seem to bring the motherboard to the forefront as a strong candidate for the problem or part of the problem.  When you replaced the motherboard could it be that it is touching the case and shorting?  (on the bottom?)

Do you have another bootable HD you could try in the system?  (Nice if you had a DOS Bootable.)

Biggest concern right now is the inability to access BIOS.  If you can get past that then other issues can be addressed.  BIOS could be the source of most of your problems!  Sounds like other issues may exist.

Hope this Helps!!!
Pesco77Author Commented:
Hmmm... It's looking bleak, isn't it?  Tonight I will bring the hard drives to my father's for backup.

-Original and replacement mobo's are Intel D850EMV2

-HDD's were both on the same IDE controller.

But why aren't I getting a POST, and why can't I enter BIOS?  Would I still be able to get the right mobo beep codes when the memory is out if the mobo was fried?

If the processor or memory was bad, would my symptoms be typical?
Have you tried resetting the CMOS? Clear out any previous BIOS programming by taking it back to system or factory defaults. Their are two ways to do this:

1. There's usually a jumper block very close to the CMOS battery. I dont know which pins need to be connected in your board but its usually 3 pins and maybe 1&2 are currently connected, move the jumper block to connect 2&3 or vice versa.
2. An easier option is to remove the CMOS battery and leave it out for a while. 30 minutes should be enough.

This will reset the BIOS back to factory defaults and hopefully allow you to get into the BIOS.

If that doesnt work I would buy a new motherboard!
Pesco77Author Commented:
Just an update:  The hard drives are fine.  I took them to my dad's computer and hooked them up, both fine.

Ok... I swear I saw a screen from the BIOS the first time I tried booting after installing the new mobo.  After I got the boot failure message and I tried to reboot I never saw that screen again, just the cursor at the top left corner.

Maybe my install was bad.  My wife said she's going to start making tatoos of motherboards on my arm like the way pilots keep track of kills on their aircraft.

I'll try the CMOS reset.  Any other pitfalls of a mobo install that I can check out, or make sure I do correctly (assuming I haven't killed it yet)?

At least my data is still good.

Somewhere, within all these words of wisdom from all great people here , I think you mentioned that you were still using the same old VGA Adapter card. Care to try a known good one ?

You said you had a new Motherboard ? If this is the case, even if it is almost a replica of the old Motherboard it does not necessarily mean that it will boot since there will be some change in the Hardware Abstraction Layer between the two motherboards.

Is there an option to try a very basic sized Hard Disk Drive and simply see if you can install the OS onto the old motherboard wih everything else old  but a different Hard Disk drive. This will eliminate any suspicions that the old motherboard got cooked and at the same time we will be sure that the new Motherboard is fine.

Pesco77Author Commented:
Hello all...

Didn't mean to abandon the post.  I've been busy since I'm getting ready to move.  I'm bringing in the computer to a tech; we'll see what the culprit is.
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