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Gigabyte 8VM800M-775 won't make it through POST

I have a homebuilt computer based on a Gigabyte 8VM800M-775 with a Pentium D 805 cpu.  It's been running fine since spring 2008, when I upgraded an ancient computer to new mobo, memory, CPU, HD, and power supply.

Yesterday, the system hung (unresponsive mouse), so I rebooted.

Reboot didn't pass POST (see image).  Repeated reboots give the same result.  One strange thing is that I gave up rebooting after a while and powered the system down.  A few minutes later, it booted itself (and got stuck in the same place).

I tried <DEL> and <F9>... no joy.

What's the likely culprit?  I've got another one of these mobos, but not more memory.  I think it has two 1G sticks in it... I could try with just 1G.

What say ye?

Thanks.

Al.
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korz
Asked:
korz
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4 Solutions
 
dbruntonCommented:
Try it with one stick and try it with no sticks.  Disconnect all devices, hard and floppy and CDROM disks, mice, printers, add on cards such as network cards as well for the testing.
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korzAuthor Commented:
New data: Remember when I said I tried <DEL> and <F9> and they did nothing?  Well, I had left it in that hung state and when I came back a few hours later, it was in the BIOS Setup!

I checked everything and it all looked fine (although I thought that I had two hard drives attached and it seems to think I only have one, but maybe I never reconnected the little 30G drive after the upgrade).

I exited without saving and it got stuck in the same place.

I tried <F9>, which I believe will allow me to revert to a previous set of BIOS settings, although I haven't changed anything.  Can a virus change BIOS settings?  My son has been surfing all over the Internet and he frequently picks up something that causes the system to hang.  I have Roxio BackUp installed and I simply rewind the hard disk two days and everything is fine again.  I have to do this every two weeks or so.  We've installed NetNanny last week, so at least that might reduce the frequency of this problem.
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dbruntonCommented:
Can a virus change BIOS settings?

Extremely unlikely.  Not impossible but extremely unlikely.

Try the testing as suggested.  It may well be a bad memory stick.  And when the case is open remove the memory sticks and wipe clean with a dry cloth.  Blow out the memory slots and then reseat the memory.  This may fix the memory problems if that is the problem.
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PCBONEZCommented:
Taking for ever to get into the BIOS is most likely a power problem. [Albeit an odd one.]

.
What is the power supply?
Many have issues with garbage capacitors.
- A bad PSU can show up as bad RAM, bad drives, bad CPU, bad "anything that handles a signal" because noise in the power results in corrupted signals.
- Software tests [like memtest] test these parts by seeing if the signals get through okay. If the signals are unreadable [corrupted] the test fails.

.
Try disconnecting the hard and optical drives power and see if it can finish POST without a hang.
- A bad drive circuit board or motor can prevent it from booting by loading down the power Rails.
Your 'missing drive' may well be the problem but since you'll be in there anyway disconnect all for this test.
That way if the problem doesn't go away you'll know it's not likely to be any of the drives.

.
Yes, there are BIOS viruses but they are VERY rare and the fact you got into the BIOS setup at all suggests that you don't have one.

.
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_Commented:
If the "missing" hard drive is connected, that would give you a slow post also.
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korzAuthor Commented:
The plot thickens.  If you wait long enough (I can't tell you exactly, because it's always booted while I was away, but it was more than 10 minutes), the OS comes up and the system seems to run as normal.  The first time this happened, was after that <F9> that I tried.  I came back half an hour later and found the system waiting for me to insert a BIOS CD.  I canceled out of that prompt and within a few seconds, I saw the Windows XP Pro splash screen.  After that, the first thing I saw (as usual) was the Roxio GoBack (not, BackUp as I had previously reported) screen, which I entered.  I turned the HD back three days.  After that, the system came up, got stuck on that POST screen, but 45 minutes later, when I checked, the OS was up and running just fine.

So, what could cause the POST to take more than 10 minutes?  Virus?  Bad memory?  Something else?
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dbruntonCommented:
Check that CPU cache is enabled in the BIOS.
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korzAuthor Commented:
I posted my comment before seeing the other comments.

I'll go ahead and open it up and see whether the suggestions eliminate the problem.  I wanted to get ideas from experts before I started physically messing with the system, because the computer is in a cabinet (well ventilated) with a very narrow front opening.  In fact, I have to remove the door to get the computer case out of the cabinet.  The back of the cabinet is wide open and the whole left side is perforated.  I've also added two additional fans to the case, for a total of five.

Incidentally, the power supply is 18 months old and should be plenty powerful.  It's only 300 watts, but the only card is a SCSI host adapter card (I'm using mobo video, audio, and Ethernet).  If everything else checks out fine, I have other power supplies I can try.
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_Commented:
Definitly sounds like the bios is hanging on IDing a "bad" piece of hardware. Then finally says "the heck with it" and moves on.
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PCBONEZCommented:
I agree. Sounds like it's repeatedly trying to find something and can't.

A bad hard drive will to that but the hang should be after the memory check completes.

Yes but what -is- the power supply.
Can't check for know issues if I dunno what it is.

Possible the BIOS simply was corrupted.
A voltage fluctuation or a bit of random static or EMI might do that.
Re-flashing [even with the same version] will usually fix it.

.
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nobusCommented:
Here my troubleshooting procedure :
Precautions :
-During connecting or disconnecting devices, be sure to have the AC removed
-Temporarily ground yourself, or use a wrist strap for ESD prevention

-Clean the system from dust, then  test with the minimum setup - disconnect also all peripherals and network cables :
-What to connect :  only  motherboard + CPU + 1 ram stick, video card, power supply
-Verify that the 4-, 6- or 8-pin CPU Aux power plug is connected
-Verify that the VIDEO card has a power connecter - if yes, connect the power to it !
Now power on  your PC : on boot, do you have a display?
-if NO it is one of the connected: RAM, Power supply , video card or monitor, so if possible swap ram, Power supply, video card or monitor - leaving only motherboard and cpu
-if YES, connect devices till the problem shows
*** note : if the fans are running, this shows there is 12 V present from the Power Supply; this does not mean the PS is ok, you still need 3.3 V and +5 V as well; and other signals.
Additional tests and things to try :
-boot without ram, it should beep; (also, without video card)
-try bios default settings, (if possible) or clear the bios by removing AC and bios battery
-renew the CPU heatpaste, and verify that the heatsink is mounted flat on the CPU, allowing for a good thermal contact
-you can also check the motherboard for bad capacitors as shown here :   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

The term POST refers to the Power On Self Test  procedure - here a link  with a short explanation  http://www.pchell.com/hardware/beepcodes.shtml
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korzAuthor Commented:
The mystery is solved!  MP3 player.

One of my daughters attached their MP3 player for charging and there was no driver installed, so the system tried to ID the device for 9 minutes and then gave up, completing POST.  One of the proposed solutions above got me to thinking and then when I stepped up to the computer with the intention of removing memory sticks and SCSI cards, I noticed the MP3 player and a bell went off in my head.

I unplugged the MP3 player, rebooted and it came up in the usual minute and a half.

I'll accept solutions now.  I have to give more points for the key answer, but I appreciate the other answers too, so I'll give out some symbolic points to others as well.

Thanks.

Al.
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korzAuthor Commented:
The key to my finding the problem was this Expert Comment: "Definitely sounds like the bios is hanging on ID-ing a "bad" piece of hardware. Then finally says "the heck with it" and moves on."
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_Commented:
Thank you much.   : )

>>  MP3 player

D'oh!   Nice catch.   : )
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