Error Loading Operating System

Ok, this one has turned into a bear for me.  Here's what happened.

I had a computer about two years old that started acting up.  Wouldn't boot up and such.  Anyways, I bought a brand new motherboard for it as I needed to upgrade it anyway.  The board was a ECS nForce3-A nForce3 Socket 754 ATX Motherboard, Ram it can take is DDR 200/266/333/400MHz Memory.  I moved over the ram from the old motherboard which is PC2700(333 mhz) ram.  It recognizes the memory fine in CMOS and on boot up when it does the memory test it is the right amount.  Both sticks are 512 mb so 1 gig of ram.  No onboard display but I have a agp Radeon 9250 plugged in the agp slot.  Now the tough part.

I took the old motherboard out of the tower and installed the new motherboard.  Plugged in the processor, hooked up the fan, etc.  Kept the same hard drive as master and the secondary as slave.  Hooked it all up to the motherboard, checked my jumpers.  Turned the power on and looks like it's going to boot up.  Tested memory and passed it with the correct amount.  Detected IDE drives fine.  Verifing DMI Pool......... drops down a line and I get Error Loading Operating System.  I do a little troubleshooting, make sure everything is plugged in correctly, etc.  Reboot, same thing.  Format the hard drive and reinstall windows 2k pro.  Reboot, same thing.  Did some research and changed the CMOS settings on the hard drives access mode to "large".  Rebooted, same thing.  Ran recovery console and fixmbr/fixboot.  Rebooted, get disk read error this time.  Changed out the IDE cable with a different one and took off the second hard drive.  Rebooted into Win 2k setup.  Deleted all partitions on the master drive and formated complete drive, rebooted and reinstalled 2k.  When I rebooted this time it hung on the detecting IDE drives on boot up.  Restarted and detected them fine but got the error loading operating system error again.  Took that HD off, set jumpers on secondary HD to master and hooked it up to master slot, leaving old master HD off system completely.  Rebooted to win 2k setup, formated, installed, rebooted.  Same error.

Keep in mind that in CMOS the hard disk displays the correct capacity and all, I tried Large access mode and LBA access mode to no avail.

I'm at my wits end here and I don't know what step to take next.  I would try flashing the bios as the version of the bios that I am on is F and the lastest that ECS has is G.  Only problem is that I don't have a floppy drive on this comp and I don't know how to do it with a CD.
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RikolAsked:
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f-kingIT support technicianCommented:
Hi
Have you tried with only one memory stick?
IF you have no success with one stick then try the other stick it could be bad memory.
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f-kingIT support technicianCommented:
Here is a forum with a couple of ideas
http://www.computing.net/os2/wwwboard/forum/1437.html

Good Luck
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RikolAuthor Commented:
I tried with either stick and same problem.  Would the memory test pass if the ram was bad?  I don't know, never ran into this problem before and it's really got me stumped.  

I did go back to the motherboard manf website and the bios is up to date.  The lastest is version F, which I have.  So that was wrong on my comments.
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f-kingIT support technicianCommented:
Run memtest on each stick to see if they are ok
http://www.memtest86.com/
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f-kingIT support technicianCommented:
Also did you make sure the heatsink had enough thermal paste when you connected it to the cpu?
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RikolAuthor Commented:
Aye, covered the top of the cpu with the thermal paste.
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f-kingIT support technicianCommented:
any chance of using a more powerfull power supply?
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RikolAuthor Commented:
Using a 400 watt power supply now and don't have an extra atm.  Trying to find a low level formatter for Hitachi Desktar HD
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_Commented:
Hmmm... is there a setting in the BIOS to set if the hard drives are using a 40/40 or 40/80 cable?
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groettingCommented:
could it be that windows 2000 doesnt support your hardware? For fun, get a windows xp cd or a ubuntu linux cd and try install it to see what happens. If you get a ubuntu linux cd, there is a memtest included which you can run from the cd without installing anything.
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onedeejCommented:
I must admit, I had an ECS board do it to me, mine was slightly different, it would load windows, and run OK for about a month, then the error you are having, after another format, 3 weeks uptime, and another, no uptime, swapped drives, and everything else, boiled down to a MOBO, I swapped it out, and got a new one, all my problems were solved, apparently a bad Northbridge... Try and exchange your MOBO, if not, then RMA, it may be worth it to simply buy another (more reliable) motherboard.
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RikolAuthor Commented:
Been a rough weekend this weekend so haven't had a chance to test this comp again.  Going to run the mem test tonight when I get home to verify that memory is fine.  MOBO manf said that it is normally a memory or HD problem and try to resolve them.  If mem test passes I'm going to send them the info again and see if I can't exchange if for a different board.
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groettingCommented:
If the hd was bad you should still be able to get some output to the screen when starting the computer.
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RikolAuthor Commented:
Ok, update.  I exchanged the Mobo for a brand new one and got the same error.  I took off the 40 gb hard drive and found an old 2 gb hard drive laying around.  Formated and installed Win 2k and it is up and working.  I'm guessing that the board doesn't like that particular brand of HD.  Deskstar is the name of the hard drive.  Even switching access modes doesn't help.  Thanks for all the input guys.
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