Boot up, then OS Blue Screen of Death

Hi Everyone,  This has become a real big problem and I've just about given up.  

Asus Motherboard, Synchmaster 957 Monitor, Amd Athlon XP 2000 CPU. Ati Radeon 9250 AGP 128MB video card, USR modem, WD 120 HD, Antec Truepower 550 power supply, 1Gig Crucial Ram, ( 2 sticks 256 and 1 stick 512) OS is XP.
3 fans, 1- 80mm  2- 120mm

After booting up,(I do see the boot) there is no OS, monitor is black no hard drive light activity at all.  Did extensive testing, everything passed except for 2 USB2 ports on a pci card which I removed.  I used SmithMicro's Check It Diagnostics. Did a reinstall of XP, put everything back in, same thing happened.  Changed hard drives, put in a WD 20Gig,  another install of the OS.  Booted up, great it worked, then it did the exact same thing as when the 120 hd was in. Changed the IDE cable, left the 20 gig hd in.  Another OS install., everything was fine, thought I found the problem.  Nope, last nite I was importing my IE favorites, the desktop froze, mouse still moved. Hit the reset button,  and got the infamous Blue Screen, no OS just a ati graphics error message that the Ati graphics adapter got stuck in a infinte loop.   Reset, no OS just the lost hive message.  I totally give up, but not really because I plan on trying a different video card.  I know new video cards can go, and this one I bought a couple months ago.  I am at my wits end though since everytime I replace one thing, think its fine, I get another error message for something else.  The error messages say that if this is the first you see this etc, I thought a reset would boot me back into the OS so I could remove and replace the drivers, but it doesn't happen, all is lost.  Any ideas what is going on?  Thanks.......By the way there is no need for data recovery since it was a new install to begin with.
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Test memory by removing one stick at a time. Start with last one installed.  You problem is most likely either a memory or memory controller error.

Missing hive means registry is corrupt and a re-install of XP would be simplest fix at this point.
I suggest you test your RAM with to see if one is bad, or using working ones from another machine.  Most failures on new OS installs are due to faulty RAM.
Wolverine100Author Commented:
Will download the program memtest, although I did do a 18 test on the memory with Check It and it passed.  I am willing to try anything to see if it can be solved, whatever it takes.  
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A memtest failure definitely means memory is defective.  However, experience has shown a pass does not necessarily mean memory is good.  I usually recommend Memtest86+ as a good first step but your CheckIt diagnostics tested memory.

Won't hurt to try Memtest though.
Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
Blue screen's are usually caused by either faulty RAM or incompatable drivers install on the machine. What you might want to do is, boot into safemode but pressing F8 during bootup. When you are in safemode, if you have recently installed any sort of software before the problem arised uninstall the software and see if that fixes the issue. You can also look in the System Information too see if any of the software/hardware is conflicting. Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>System Information.

Keep us updated
Wolverine100Author Commented:
I am presently running Memtest.  I tried to re-enter XP to change the drivers for the video error message I got, but to no avail.  F8 would not even give me Safe Mode, Last Known Good Config, nothing.  The whole registry became corrupted.  It just kept doing the exact same thing, error messages but no way to get into XP to fix anything.  Very frustrating to say the least.  I will probably have to call Microsoft for XP activation I reinstalled it so many times.  I tried the XP repair route by typing everything in line by line to get into the basement of XP for system restore, but it couldn't find this file, that file, so I gave that route up.  Will definitely keep you updated.  Once Memtest is done I will post the results.
Once a registry hive is missing or corrupted, you cannot boot into Windows period, not even Safe Mode.  I should have stated that earlier.  Repairing a corrupt registry takes more time and is more difficult than a clean install.  A repair install of XP will not fix the problem.
Wolverine100Author Commented:
Ran Memtest86 and the results were the same as Check It, no problems with the Ram. This whole scenario just makes me shake my head in disbelief.  I think I have tried just about everything there is to fix it.  What is left to check I honestly don't know.  I even switched monitors to make sure it wasn't the cause of the problem.  Really appreciate the suggestions.  Why would these errors wipe out or corrupt the hive?  When I ran 98SE you could always boot back in or go to Safe Mode to fix the problem, but not XP.  Wasn't XP suppose to be better than 98?  Would a programmer be able to fix it without reinstalling XP?  Please keep the idea's and suggestions coming if there are any.  Thanks
You can repair the registry.  If interested, here's how:

For a new install, it's more trouble than a re-install IMHO.

I still believe you likely have a memory error of some sort.  As first suggested, try booting and installing XP with different sticks of RAM installed.  I would remove last installed first.

Which registry hive was the error in?  System hive?
Wolverine100Author Commented:
Yes it was system hive, \windows\system32\config\system.  That was one of the error messages I have been getting, it was the very last one.    I will change the sticks of memory, I have the same exact type in another system that does run XP.  Will let you know what happens.  Thanks for the registry link, I really am interested in learning how to do that.  I've also thought about a course in programming.  Hope you have a nice weekend willcomp.
If it turns out not to be memory, try installing XP and using its native drivers.  Longer shot than memory, but could be a driver.  See if there are newer chipset drivers.  Leave video driver for last and run for several days prior to installing it.

You're welcome and I will.

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Restoring registry ==> There is a quicker, easier way if you connect drive to another PC running XP Pro.  Delete hive files and then access System Restore folder to copy and rename hive files from a good restore point.  It's much simpler that way.
Wolverine100Author Commented:
Just saw you posted again, I never thought of that, to connect from one drive to the other.
Great idea.  I have a data link cable would that work or could I take the HD out and make it a slave to do the restore?  I have the drivers for the data link cable installed in the one but I don't think they are in the other system.  Let me know if that would work okay.  I haven't changed the RAM yet, have to do some other things first.  I will leave the video card drivers for last.  
I have a Promise add-in controller that I use to connect drives for troubleshooting.  May want to invest in one yourself.

Otherwise, disconnect CD/DVD drive(s) and connect hard disk on secondary IDE controller.  Much cleaner that way.

I do not connect drives externally for troubleshooting or repair and recommend that others do not as well.
Wolverine100Author Commented:
I changed the memory sticks from one system to the other, no luck.  I did what you suggested and installed the 120HD as a slave.  I accessed it and the System Volume Information and restored the registry.  Amazing, now I know how to do that.  I also have a Promise add-in controller so it was clean.  The orginal drivers for the graphics card were there, so I removed them and installed XP's native drivers for it.  Happened again, so I went to the ASUS site and downloaded new chipset drivers as you also suggested.  It worked!!!  The computer has been running with out any error messages or hangups.  I can't thank you enough for the time you put into helping me solve this problem.  I myself would of never thought to update the chipset drivers.  My hat is off to you willcomp you deserve more than 500 points I think.
All's well that ends well.

For some reason, chipset drivers are often overlooked and they are THE most critical drivers.  You gained knowledge and insight which is valuable to both of us.

This was not a particularly long thread compared to some I've been involved in.
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