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Bad BIOS Checksum. Starting BIOS recovery

Posted on 2010-08-14
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
Hi experts,

Windows XP Pro. 3 years old. Was working when I left on Friday. Came in today and the phrases "Looking for floppy disk...." and "Looking for CD-ROM..." were scrolling down. I tried putting in the Windows XP disk, but it wouldn't boot to it.

Is this just a complete hard drive failure?
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Question by:Bert2005
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riteheer earned 500 total points
ID: 33438653
this doesn't look like your typical hard drive failure.  First shut the system down, then kill power to it for at least 10 to 15 seconds, this lets the board reset, I mean to kill it at it's source.  
   Then reboot and see if the system boots up.  If it does not, then put a bootable cd in the optical drive and see if it will boot to that, if it does, then explore rather your hard drive is failed, you can test this easily by downloading manufacturer's hard drive diagnostics from their site, when you do, get the one that is not windows based, so you can create a bootable cd and use that too boot and test your hard drive.  
   If you suffered a power outage and your system didn't fully reset that may just be solved by step one above... if your bios battery has failed that could cause the bios to lost it's settings and you may have to go into the bios and restore the defaults to get it to boot.  
  Let me know what you find out from above and I'll do my best to help you further.
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33438687
Wow!
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33438696
Thanks! I can't believe what I thought would take hours to fix was fixed by unplugging the computer and plugging it back in.

FYI: It has a 900 AMP UPS - AVR from Cyberpower, so it should have handled any power outage. And, all other electrical things were on.

Also, it wouldn't boot from the XP disk. I do have many bootable CDs and floppy disks (and it even said it  was looking for them), but it wasn't like booting to a CD that I have done many times in the past.

Thanks so much.
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by:riteheer
ID: 33445071
Very possible that your optical drive could be going out. If you are able to read disks, but it won't boot to cd, first thing to check is make sure the bios boot info is correct. This can change sometimes during a power break.
   If that is correct and still won't boot to cd, plug another optical in and see if you can boot to it, you don't have to mount it until after you test it.  
   Thanks for the points and let me know if I can help you out any other way.
Rite
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33447227
Thanks riteheer,

Actually, unplugging it fixed it. I don't know if I could have even gotten into the BIOS to change the boot order. It wouldn't even get that far. Just that immediate error message. But, it is all fixed now.
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33447699
Help!
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33447704
Checked it this morning, and it is doing it again. Turned off. Unplugged for 30 seconds. Turned back on. Same thing. Should I take the mobo battery out?
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by:riteheer
ID: 33449895
YOu can take the mainboard battery out, but it's doubtful that it will solve your problem.

When faced with a system that won't boot, I start with basics, unplug all non-essentials. That includes all pci cards that are not needed to boot, as well as optical drive which is suspect at this point, and if you have more than one stick of ram, remove the extras. Only thing that you need is hard drive, video, and one stick of ram.  
  If she boots, you start adding parts back in until you find the one that caused the problem.  
   If she still won't boot, try swapping ram and see what happens, if still no go, then unplug the hard drive and then the ram.  You should get a continuous beep if there is no ram in the board when you try to boot without it.  If you don't, you can bet it's the board.  If you do, then it's possible it could be the board or the ram.  
  You can post without a hard drive plugged in as you will get a message that says no boot drive found, if this is the case, it's possible you have a hard drive that is failing, and should check it in another machine, using the manufacturer's diagnostics, which can be downloaded from their site.  
  Let me know what this turns up and I'll do my best to help you out.
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33450831
Hi riteheer,

Please accept my apologies for not going step by step. I am always in a unique situation in that I have a certain number of PCs for a certain number of exam rooms and other medical positions, and I had to go with only one room all day. This costs money.

I went back to said machine. It was in the same state. I turned it off, then unplugged it and removed the cover. For whatever reason, I removed the SATA cable to the drive, and it booted right up. In fact, it started to load from the Windows XP CD, so we know that works. So, I thought maybe hard drive, but of course, I had unplugged it now for about three minutes so who knows. I plugged the drive back in, and it automatically did a CHKDSK on C. I was happy about this, but when I returned it has rebooted, and there was a serious error so I didn't see any results.

I just now ran a memtestx86, and I am not too sure what to make of the results. It hasn't finished running but here is what it says so far.

I have attached a PDF of the results.
RAM-memtestx86.pdf
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33451302
I have removed one memory stick and am running it again on a single one.
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by:riteheer
ID: 33453740
Memtest results indicate a failing ram stick, you are on the right track testing one piece at a time to see which one is failing.  

As for hard drive, if you will go to manufacturer's website of the hard drive, they will have free downloadable diagnostics software you can download and burn to bootable disk, this will allow you to test the hard drive, it's pretty reliable.

As for unplugging, if 10 seconds doesn't cause it to boot back up, it sounds like a thermal crack, this happens when a machine gets hot and it expands, leaving it off and having it work for a while is usually giving it time to cool and the crack contracts allowing it to work again.  

As for the serious error, you can keep the machine from rebooting, thereby giving you bsd with the error info, this might help in troubleshooting.
Next time you boot into windows, go to system properties,  >control panel >system >advanced tab >startup and recovery 'settings' button.  Uncheck the box that says automatically restart.
   This will cause the system to halt and display the error or stop error code.  This will help to narrow down the possibilities.
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by:Bert2005
ID: 33454750
That's great information. I am going to leave this question open in case I have further to report at least for a few days anyway.

Thanks.
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