Old 07-06-2006   #1
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Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

While I won't go into specifics, my invectives for my brother who can screw up a computer without even trying are not for the faint hearted at the moment.

He managed to screw up a reformat of HD/re-installation of WinXP and brought it over to me to fix. While I eventually did get a working copy of XP re-installed on reformated drive after 8 hours, it was the problem he didn't tell me about that really caused headaches.

He had mentioned that he had to get USB keyboard/mouse as PS2 slots were no longer working for either. What he didn't tell me was that he couldn't reboot computer without at least a 20-30 minute wait. The following are the symptoms. I am thinking it is a corrupted BIOS but need to confirm this or pin it to the MB going bad. Then I need to know what may happen if I try to reflash the BIOS.

He can not restart after say installing software - Computer just freezes and sits there with black screen (DELL 4100 Dimension). If you try to start shortly after shutdown, you get black screen and nothing going on. Restart a bit later and you get the 2nd stage of the device line for the (I think) Rage AGP video loading. Restart after a bit longer wait you get the www.dell.com logo (3rd stage). After a 20-30 minute wait, it will fire up correctly. The other symptom, which really can make life (for me anyway) difficult is that there is no keyboard access until XP loads. I can't even get to set up to see if there is anything screwy there.

This is beyond my experience to diagnose, but he is on limited budget (and for reasons I don't want to go into), I have to find some sort of solution if I can. It evidently has been doing this for 6-7 months and per him, has not gotten any worse - just the repeat of the above.

Thanks to any and all who have any suggestions what I can try or information on how to procede to nail down what is exactly going on
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Old 07-06-2006   #2
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

In fact if the BIOS doesn't support USB Legacy Support, USB keyboards and mice will not work before an OS is started.
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Old 07-06-2006   #3
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by kg_evilboy
In fact if the BIOS doesn't support USB Legacy Support, USB keyboards and mice will not work before an OS is started.
I realize that, which is why I want to flash the BIOS. But if it is as I suspect a corrupted BIOS, then flashing the BIOS with the latest may correct both the lack of USB keyboard support and the PS2 ports not working. This is what I am trying to find out - if this may indeed be a corrupted BIOS. But if it isn't and I do manage to try to flash the BIOS - what will happen? My brother at this moment prefers the problem he knows about to the whole computer going unusable. And I prefer not to listen to his rant if the BIOS upgrade amkes everything worse. (And I have flashed BIOS before so I am not worried about doing it wrong - just worried that, in this case, doing so may cause unintended other problems).
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Old 07-06-2006   #4
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

Some tips...

BIOS

Clear the cmos, check the jumper and make sure there is one etc. Get the motherboard manual and see if there is a setting that can cause the problems. Clearing the cmos might let you use the keyboard you have and could remove corrupt cmos data. Reflash the BIOS (this could be the end if there is real problems with the ROM chip, so do this last).

Power Problem
Note that many power supplies have a second, smaller connection. This power supply connection ends in a white plastic block of four pins and connects to another connection on the motherboard. This connection is usually located between (or at least near) the CPU and the motherboard's rear ports. Make sure this power connection is also plugged in. Then check the PSU, are the voltage levels o/k, are motherboard and CPU temperatures o/k (sometimes you can does this in BIOS look for an option like health check etc). hmonitor can be used in windows to check

System components not stable
A PC's motherboard, RAM and CPU are also likely candidates as the hardware sources for boot failures, and you should give both a careful examination if you're still having trouble pinning down your boot-up problems. Prime95 is a good program for testing the CPU to see if there is any problems and memtest86 is good for checking RAM.

Other devices causing problems
You should remove as many components as possible, such as PCI cards (network cards are sources of problems as well as sound cards), extra hard discs/CD(DVD)-ROM drives and memory etc. Leave only what is need to boot into windows and see if the porblem goes away. If it does then install the hardware one at a time untill the problem occurs again. Try the hard discs first.

Also try pressing ctrl-alt-D when you boot the system (on the dell screen before you start windows). If you get the timing right, the system will run a quick 2 minute diagnostic on your hard drive as this help.

Thats all I can think of or find online at the moment and sorry if you have try this already.
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Old 08-06-2006   #5
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

Highly unlikely that it is a corrupt bios, I've borked the bios on more than a few boards in the past and each and every time it happened the PC would not even get to the POST screen. Basically if the POST screen shows your bios is ok, but as LastStand says, try clearing the CMOS and take it from there. My personal hunch is either bad memory stick(s) or a dieing hard drive.
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Old 08-06-2006   #6
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by HermS
Highly unlikely that it is a corrupt bios, I've borked the bios on more than a few boards in the past and each and every time it happened the PC would not even get to the POST screen. Basically if the POST screen shows your bios is ok, but as LastStand says, try clearing the CMOS and take it from there. My personal hunch is either bad memory stick(s) or a dieing hard drive.
Totally Agree...
Dont Think it is the BIOS...Possibly Memory or the Hard drive is on its Deathbed...Check for any noises coming outa the Hard drive or if it sounds like its spinning harder than it normally would...

PS:Also try Booting with minimum PCI cards...remove all PCI cards except Video and Try Booting... A bad PCI card also could be the culprit...
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Old 08-06-2006   #7
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

How old is the PC? Perhaps the CMOS battery is slowly dying. Or, could be heat or faulty power supply. My older COMPAQ was giving intermittent boot problems, and I cracked it open and blew all the dust out of it. It's been working fine since then.
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Old 19-09-2008   #8
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

Question: a search brought me here. I was told that you can tweek your computer in the BIOS and Network card to "auto Start" on or off. This is so you computer can not be started while your not home!!!
Like we have seen on TV, people can hack into your network card while you are not at home. Turn on your computer.
There is a way that you can turn off the auto start on the network card, so that no one can turn on your computer. For person PC's this is great. But how?
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Old 19-09-2008   #9
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

Another thought

Check your capacitors to see if they are leaking are if they are raised.

Had this happen on a couple of mobo's and it started taking longer to boot up, then started having problems running programs , nothing to put your finger on but had issues.
Ran my thumb over a couple of capacitors and felt that they were raised instead of flat.
Changed mobo and everything working fine since.

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Old 20-09-2008   #10
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by couchpotatoe View Post
Question: a search brought me here. I was told that you can tweek your computer in the BIOS and Network card to "auto Start" on or off. This is so you computer can not be started while your not home!!!

There is a way that you can turn off the auto start on the network card, so that no one can turn on your computer. For person PC's this is great. But how?
This is the WOL (Wake On Lan) feature. Please read your mainboard manual in order to check and change the option. Sometimes this option is called "Wake on PME" (Don't ask why).

More easier option: use a "power strip" with ON/OFF switch like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16812249001

Michael
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Old 20-09-2008   #11
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by mciahel View Post
Hi,This is the WOL (Wake On Lan) feature. Please read your mainboard manual in order to check and change the option. Sometimes this option is called "Wake on PME" (Don't ask why)...
Confusing isn't it.

The PCI 2.2 standard introduced PME (Power Management Events). What this means is that PCI cards can send and receive PME via the PCI socket directly, without the need for a WOL cable.
One example is when you'r able govern your PC/lappy by remote controll (like I'm with my Windoze Media Centre compu).
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Old 20-09-2008   #12
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

What model is the motherboard. That would help us figure more out I'm sure.
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Old 20-09-2008   #13
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

Thanks for the Replies!
@ work, our computer tech told me you can turn off "auto on" on the nework card in the BIOS. This would prevent someone being able to access your computer from out side source. I thought I would help from what I was watching on TV about a star who was being watched as she chatted, and used credit cards, and was being watched via her cam as she was getting ready to go to bed!!!
scarry
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Old 29-09-2008   #14
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Re: Need to identify or narrow down possible MB or BIOS problem

this is what I was looking for.

"WAKE ON LAN" I
IT IS IN THE BIOS. WAKE ON LAN.......<DISABLE> OR <WAKE>

THIS WILL PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER FROM BEING STARTED FROM AN OUTSIDE SOURSE!!!!!!
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