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I have an emachines W3052 and I need to flash the BIOS

I am trying to setup Win XP Home and towards the end of the setup I get a blue screen stop error 0x0000007b (parameter 1, parameter 2, parameter 3, parameter 4)

I found on support.microsoft.com that maybe there could be a boot sector virus so what I want to attempt is to flash the BIOS and do a low level format of the hard drive, I read somewhere else that this is good practice to get rid of the boot sector virus.

Only thing is that I have never flashed the BIOS before on any computer. Can anyone give me some tips?

Thanks.
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kucelkj
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kucelkj
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1 Solution
 
slinkygnPresidentCommented:
Boot sector viruses are pretty old-school.  It's not too likely that this is your problem.  More likely that you have a bad sector on your hard drive or some defective RAM; running a disk test and a memory test off the Ultimate Boot CD (www.ultimatebootcd.com) will check these.

And if it is a boot sector virus, flashing the BIOS will not do anything about that either.  To clear a boot sector virus, you have to clear the boot sector (on the hard disk), not the BIOS (on your CMOS chip).  Booting to a command prompt (Safe Mode with Command Prompt or a boot floppy with DOS or the like) and running FDISK /MBR will rewrite the boot sector.  I'm assuming since you're installing your OS, there's not any important data to protect; otherwise, you should be running a virus scanner to clear a boot sector virus.  http://antivirus.about.com/od/securitytips/a/bootsectorvirus.htm for more on this.

The only tip for flashing the BIOS, if you want to do this for some other reason, is to boot to a clean command line.  Use a boot floppy with as little startup cruft as possible.  As a general rule, the less you see scrolling by you on startup, the better.

And don't do it during a lightning storm. :-)
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kucelkjAuthor Commented:
Thanks Slinky, I already tried running chkdsk /f and memtest86 on it and nothing came up. I'll try the Ultimate Boot CD, I forgot about that. I'll see if anything comes up on the scans.

Thanks.
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slinkygnPresidentCommented:
chkdsk /f will only check the file system.  You need a full-fledged disk test.

memtest86 is good for a memory tester, though.  I usually let it run for 3 or 4 passes; I've had times where it wouldn't catch bad RAM in the first pass, but if it doesn't catch anything by the 3rd or 4th, the RAM is probably fine.

Is there anything atypical about the install?  Using F6 to install drivers, upgrade install, burned CDs instead of original media...

As a last resort, a marginally defective CD-ROM drive can also cause the problem.
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kucelkjAuthor Commented:
OK, so I have an update, I installed Ubuntu and a stripped down version of XP Pro that I have and also a regular version of XP Pro and this error only appears when installingg XP Home. I've used 2 different discs from Dell and I used a disc that prompts for the Product Key and when I enter the Key it says its invalid so that's also a pain in the rear.

Could it be possible that it's a driver issue within XP Home that doesn't exist in XP Pro?
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slinkygnPresidentCommented:
No, that's honestly not very likely.

Again -- is there anything unusual about the installation, as I asked above?  If the XP Home CD is a burned CD instead of an original, for example.  If the burn was bad, that could do it.
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kucelkjAuthor Commented:
the cd worked on other systems but the combination of the cd and this delicate cd-rom it just didn't work. thanks.
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