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Why would a new built computer lose BIOS settings?

I recenly built a new workstation for the company I work for and have been having some issues with it. The specs are as follows:

CPU: i7 965 EE (stock clock)
GPU: Nvidia 3700 FX
RAM: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
MB: ASUS P6T6 Workstation Revolution
HD's: (2x) Intel SSDSA2SH032G1 2.5" 32GB SATA II Internal Solid state disk - In a RAID 0 array
PS: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

The computer has passed several burn-in tests, but seems to randomly lose it's BIOS settings (and freeze in windows), these two problems seem to happen at the same time. The last two times it has happened, the computer was bumped (not hard, just with a leg or something - pretty common for under the desk PC's). The BIOS setting are going back to default, losing the RAID setup aswell as a few other settings (C1E disabled, and some asus utility disabled) - after I reconfigure these settings, the comuter boots and runs fine- until it happens again of course.

I have checked all the connections to make sure nothing is lose....updated the BIOS...I am kind of at a loss as to where to go from here. Any idea's?
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Gssc1414
Asked:
Gssc1414
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4 Solutions
 
thomaslbergCommented:
It could be that the CMOS battery is bad. Or in the worst case the CMOS memory is bad. Try first to make sure the battery on the MOBO is seated well and if it is try replacing it.

Soemtimes MOBO's can sit in storage for awhile and the battery will go.
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Gssc1414Author Commented:
thomaslberg,

If this were the case, wouldn't the BIOS settings be lost upon power disconnect? It is my understanding that the battery only provides power to the CMOS to retain it's settings when the power is physically disconnected from the PC. I have checked the battery (with a voltmeter), and reseated it - the problem still occurs.

I have found out that I can replicate the problem pretty consistently if I lift the front of the PC up about .5" and let it drop to the floor. I realize PC's aren't really made to take "impact" or be "dropped" - but a bump with the foot causing a freeze is kinda ridiculous.

My initial thought was that the SSD drives were having problems, but the fact that the BIOS setting are being lost (not every time a freeze happens, I haven't been able to replicate this yet), made me think otherwise. Also, it was my understanding that the SSD drives are better at taking impact than a normal mechanical drive - then again I know they are relatively new technology.

I also just got done tearing the computer apart, checking all the stand-offs and reassembling it - make sure all connections were tight and all set. The problem still exists.
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ThickmanCommented:
Are any of the capacitors on the MB leaking?  Or maybe seem to be bulging?  Alternately, are there any screws loose behind the MB?
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IanThCommented:
i think your motherboard has a grounding problem
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CallandorCommented:
Check for loose or faulty power connectors - the bump is a clue that mechanical shock is causing an electrical surge, possibly resetting the motherboard.  A power supply with bad internal connections could also do it.
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willcompCommented:
When a PC is powered on, power to the RTC and CMOS is provided by power supply 3.3VDC rail. Check motherboard connections and ensure CMOS battery is seated (a loose battery could be the cause). There could be a cracked trace or faulty solder joint on motherboard. You also could try another PSU but the bumping cause leads me to believe that something is loose or cracked.
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Gssc1414Author Commented:
Callandor,
I was suspecting the PS also - I have a spare in the back room, I will throw that in and see if that does the trick.

lanTh,
Any suggestions as to how to test this? I have made sure all the stand-offs are tight...and the motherboard is screwed in snug to the stand-offs.... I guess in the past, this has provided "proper grounding" for me.

Thickman,
I have visually inspected the motherboard - everything seems fine....I just rebuilt the PC, so I know there are no loose screws floating around.


I will try the new PS - and let you guys know if that fixed the issue.

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willcompCommented:
Got interrupted while typing response and a lot happened in between. Callandor and I essentially agree.
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Gssc1414Author Commented:
Well, I believe I have ruled the PS out as a possible problem. I physically took the PS out of the case and sat it on the floor next to the pc. I then did the same thing to the computer, and it froze. This way I know the PS did not feel any of the impact. I also used a new PS, and nothing different. From here I took the entire PC out of the case and have it running on my desk now. I did this so that I could wiggle connections to see if i could isolate the issue. I wiggled/bumped the PS, HD's, all connections...and then hit the table to simulate a small impact. I also tapped the CMOS battery to see if there was any issues there - nothing. I did get the PC to give me a BSOD (from hitting the desk, causing a small impact). Plase note that the BSOD does not happen everytime the computer freezes, but has happened in the past from this impact issue. Attached is a picture of the BSOD - seems to be related to USB????
IMGP3315.JPG
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willcompCommented:
When BSODs occur, do you get the same Stop Code or does it vary? I still suspect a loose motherboard joint or trace. Replacing motherboard may be your only option.
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Gssc1414Author Commented:
willcomp,

Unfortunatley, I wasn't able to see the other BSOD's - the computer restarted automatically. I am sure they are in the bump file - but I am not proficient at reading dump files.
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willcompCommented:
You can attach several of the minidump fies to a comment -- change to a .txt extension before attaching. I or another expert will read them. Here's some good info if you would like to read them yourself. It's useful knowledge and invaluable in troubleshooting BSODs.  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315263
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Gssc1414Author Commented:
willcomp,

thanks for that link. I have attached the only two dump files on this PC.
Mini042009-01.dmp.txt
Mini042009-02.dmp.txt
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willcompCommented:
Same failure info for both -- FAILURE_BUCKET_ID:  X64_0xD1_usbuhci!UhciPollAsyncEndpoint+488

Translated -- usbuhci.sys driver fault

Check USB ports on motherboard for loose connections to motherboard. Are there any USB devices connected to PC while you have it on bench?
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willcompCommented:
Correction: Are there any USB devices connected to motherboard while you have it on bench?
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nobusCommented:
>>  the computer was bumped    <<  this points to a bad contact, as you suspected.  
if you don't find it, i would exchange the board; it can be anywhere : in the battery's contacts, other feeding or stabilizing circuits.
the only other suggestion i have is to take the board completely out, brush it, or blow it out with a compressor
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IanThCommented:
also you can take the motherboard out and put it on a non conductive box or something and build the computer outside of the case that way you could work out if its a 'grounding problem' as it will be using the negative lead from the psu as the ground.

the stop error hints at faulty memory so a trick I know is clean the contacts on the dimm with a pencil eraser this will 'clean electrical noise' of the dimm contacts.
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Gssc1414Author Commented:
Thanks for all your contributions. I have sent the board back to ASUS for a RMA - hopefully they can fix the problem or send me a new board.
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Gssc1414Author Commented:
Well, I guess they found nothing wrong with the board.... great...any ideas on where to go from here?

Just FYI - I didn't forget about this thread, just waiting to hear back from ASUS.
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CallandorCommented:
It's going to be hard - a loose connector or a wire leading into the motherboard may have a break.
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Gssc1414Author Commented:
Well, I received the board back. They claim nothing was wrong - but it works perfectly now. I suppose it could be that I rebuild the computer and perhapse fixed the problem without even knowing it (if it wasn't in the motherboard). I have been using it for a week now....nudging it here and there, and never has it locked up on me like it did in the past.

This makes for difficult point assigning.....
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CallandorCommented:
It could have been something shorting and now that you reassembled it, it's not shorting anymore.  It's up to you to decide whether you want to distribute points or in what manner.
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IanThCommented:
or while it was away your ram cleared its static itself
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Gssc1414Author Commented:
I highly doubt it was the RAM. I tried several configurations and different RAM, but same result.
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