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PC won't make it past POST

Posted on 2007-04-04
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have an older PC that acts as a very basic file sharing box on a LAN.  The problem is that just after powering it on, it rolls through disk detection - no problems there - but stops right after that. No errors, no beeps... just
sits there. Any ideas?
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Question by:just1coder
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by:Mark
ID: 18850315
I would check the hard drive. If post has occurred and the hard drive is detected, then the next step is accessing the OS on the hard drive. The MBR may be corrupted or the drive has corrupted sectors and just can't load the OS. Something physical may be wrong with it.
Try the UBCD http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ it has hard drive diagnostics that can be run acccording to hard drive manufacturer.
If you have files that need to be backed up, you may want to run knoppix(might not run if the box is too old)
it is a live cd which runs a linux OS from a CD and can access the hard drive and even move files to an external  or networked drive, if the hard drive is accessable.
http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html
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by:just1coder
ID: 18850401
Thanks, I will give that a run... the kicker is that there is 3 drives in there however virtually they are 1 large drive...
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by:Mark
ID: 18850456
Oh thats a bit different, I assume its a raid array of some sort?
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by:Mark
ID: 18850469
Or is it a JOBD(just one big drive) setup
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by:just1coder
ID: 18850526
No RAID, just OBD...

I've unplugged all but 1 disk... still downloading the .iso :)
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by:Mark
ID: 18850541
What software are you using to create the OBD
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by:just1coder
ID: 18850610
WinXP PRO
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by:just1coder
ID: 18850616
Wow. Sorry, hit send on that WAY too fast... It's WIn2K Server.
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by:Mark
ID: 18850670
Ok, so you have setup  dynamic disk spanning on Win2k server, correct?
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by:just1coder
ID: 18850683
Correct.
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by:Mark
ID: 18850772
Honestly, this is not my field of expertise, you may want to put a pointer question in the storage zone, as I dont know how the mbr is setup in such situations. It may not be the boot drive with the problem but one of the other drives. I will atempt to research it, but the other zone may have alot more people with experience in this.
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Expert Comment

by:Mark
ID: 18850828
Actully the old site ihad the pointer question ability, the new site doesn't as the question wizard allows you to post in simultanious zones. If you didn't choose the Storage zone when asking this question, you can ask a modeerator to change it so it shows up there.
You can post in the community support to ask this. Put a link to this question when asking.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Community_Support/General/#browseZones
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by:just1coder
ID: 18850868
I'm going to pull the 3 drives out and pop in another empty drive... see what happens :) Since it's not getting to windows I do not think that is the problem...
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Expert Comment

by:Mark
ID: 18850995
That would be prudent , it will tell you if there is a deeper problem with the motherboard.
The knoppix would generally do the same as it removes the hard drive from the equation by running of the CD. It tests the remaining hardware on startup as its finding and configuring the hardware.
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by:just1coder
ID: 18857509
All set to try out one of the CDs... can not get into BIOS to change the boot order!!! ARRRGGH!
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by:just1coder
ID: 18858031
Upgraded BIOS to latest from ASUS ... still just sits after the drive detection... won't load the boot CD...
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Expert Comment

by:Mark
ID: 18859881
New BIOS , do you have a floppy drive on the computer, it may have defaulted to looking for a floppy. If there is none or the floppy drive is fauly it may halt at that point.
Try resetting the CMOS and pull the hard drive out of the equation. see if you can access the BIOS.
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by:just1coder
ID: 18859994
I was able to upgrade the BIOS by smacking F2 just before POST. That did nothing unfortunately.

I reset the IDE cables - nothing...

I pulled the single DIMM - nothing...

BUT -> Pulling out the PCI cards (3) one at a time found that the USB 2.0 expansion riser might have been the issue as I can now get past POST **BUT** stuck on the 'Starting Windows' screen!! AAAARGH!
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Mark earned 65 total points
ID: 18860702
Motherboard is the only common issue left I'm afraid. Pull everything except the CPU, make sure there is a speaker on board or one plugged into the motherboard header for beep codes. Add each item back in order of ram, then video card. you should recieve beeps to indicate missing ram and then missing video
If you aren't then I think the motheboard is bad.
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by:just1coder
ID: 18917240
Well, I do not know what the heck the issue ended up being but to solve the problem I did the following:

1. pulled out *all* unnecessary cards (NICs, sound, etc.)
2. removed all unnecessary drives (DVD, HDD)
3. reseated single DIMM

Then booted off the OS drive only - that worked!

Then added back the rest of the spanned drives... that worked.

QUICKLY moved all data over to another RAID01 server.

Scrapping that box... :)
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Expert Comment

by:Mark
ID: 18917373
Good idea, It was probably a bad slot on the motherboard, or that USB card that was fetching up. Glad to hear you got the data.
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