Automatic Reboots - What Else Can I Try?
Posted on 2006-11-02
I am working with an Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard, AMD Athlon 64 3500+ CPU, Hiper HPU-48580-MS 580-watt power supply, 1 stick of 1 GB Kingston KVR400X64C3A/1G RAM in slot B0, a pair of Western Digital WD-1600-JS SATA hard drives set up on SATA-1 and SATA-2 in RAID 0, and an EVGA Nvidia GeForce 7900 GT CO running on Windows XP Pro SP2.
The computer is protected with AVG Free, and is scanned regularly with Spybot and Adaware SE Personal. The user doesn't engage in any high-risk activities with the PC. It's behind a hardware firewall.
The computer worked flawlessly from 6/2006 until just a couple of weeks ago. The problem started when the PC was turned on and during the Windows splash screen, it flashed a blue screen of death (BSOD) and immediately rebooted, which it would do endlessly.
It will not boot into 'Last known good configuration' or any of the Safe Mode options. Unfortunately, I think this PC is still set to the default 'reboot on errors' and I have never been able to catch a glimpse of the BSOD.
I tried booting from the Windows CD, but it hangs when loading the 'ACPI Embedded controller driver'.
I ran Western Digital's hard drive diagnostics from DOS, and the drives tested good. The RAID driver reports the array is 'healthy'.
I ran Memtest86+ and got about 600 errors. I RMA'd the RAM stick since I had no others to swap, and the new RAM also tested bad. (The machine still did the same automatic reboot at the splash screen, too.)
A third RAM stick was without errors, but the reboot problem persisted. I tried the RAM in B1 slot with no change.
I got an identical, brand new motherboard and swapped them out, thinking the memory controller on the board might be bad. The new motherboard intermittently produced one long and three short beeps and wouldn't post, which with the installed AMI Bios apparently means there is a memory failure above 64k. I was worried about the new post beeps, but went ahead and swapped out the CPU with a new one. The original rebooting problem persisted unchanged and I had the added joy of the occasional failure to post with the same beep pattern.
The only other thing I could think of was that the video card could be bad. I contacted EVGA and was told there were some memory issues with the version of the 7900 GT in this machine, so I got another video card, a brand new EVGA 7300 GT, and tried it. No change.
Still concerned about the post beeps, I swapped back in the original motherboard with the (third) new RAM stick, the new CPU, and the new video card. Now I don't have the memory failure post beeps, but I still get the automatic reboot/BSOD problem I started with.
I am at a loss here. I am still thinking hardware problem, but I must be missing something.
Since I can't get the machine to boot from the Windows CD, I haven't figured out a way to change the registry setting for automatic reboot on errors to get a glimpse of the BSOD in case it would help.
I will welcome any ideas.