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Rehab PC Project Won't Boot


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#1 Uncle Jaque

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 11:32 PM


Salvage computer -

A neighbor gave me his son's old PC that he had failed to sell at a yard sale.

I don't know what kind it is; it doesn't say.

It was missing a hard drive and power supply, but he had a working power supply in the pile and I have a spare (albeit rather obsolete) HD. A note taped to the box from the son said that otherwise, it still worked.

Seemed like a reasonable proposition to me...

I installed these missing components, hitched up the monitor and such, plugged it in and hit the button.

One of the fans started screeching like a banshee, obviously the bearing was toasted. Replaced it with one I'd salvaged out of a cooked power supply that almost fit - but works.

All I got on the monitor (black screen with white letters) was:


**************************************

Phoenix Tech

Main Processor: AMD Athlon XP 1250 MHz
Memory testing 524288K OK
Mem Freq 200 MHz, single channel mode
Detecting IDE drives...



Press DEL to enter SETUP : Press ALT+F2 to enter AWDFLASH utility 10/07/2003 - nVidia - nForce - A7N8X-X

***************************************

...And there it Hangs; no drives detected; will not boot. Cannot access setup despite pushing all the buttons and keys I can think of.

Managed to get into AWDFLASH once, but no HD, primary or slave, detected, and I couldn't do anything in there either.

Same with other HD plugged in.

Is Bios or processor / CPU / motherboard cooked?
I can't install OS without any drive recognized - so where do we go from here?

What are my options? Is there any hope for this unit?

I like to have a back up 'puter for when the Mrs. is using our "new" one (which is getting pretty cantankerous in it's own right) or as a back up for when this Compaq Presario XP conks out, goes nuts, or otherwise becomes useless as it occasionally does.

Since I'm on disability and Domestic Management recently got "downsized" (lotta that going around lately) we don't want to spend a lot on new hardware if I can tinker something together that works.

What's a good source of bargain salvage / refurbed hardware? Newegg or ___??

Could use a new HD but only need 40 gig or so. Toasted the last one I had trying to work out the danged jumper settings.

Edited by Uncle Jaque, 07 January 2009 - 11:36 PM.


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#2 dc3

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 11:48 AM

Do you have the CD for the operating system?

Did the hdd that you installed already have a Windows operating system on it before you installed it in the new to you machine? If this is the case, one of you problems could be that you now have a corrupted operating system. With Windows operating systems the registry recognizes the chips set of the motherboard when it is installed, the chip set has plug and play IDs that the registry recognizes and uses. When you change the motherboard, or install the hdd with a different motherboard, you introduce it to a new chip set, and when the registry sees the new chip set it can become confused resulting it at least needing to make a repair installation, or at worst need to reinstall the OS. This may not be all of your problem, but it could be one of them. If you have the installation CD see if the computer will boot to it, you may need to go into the BIOS and change the boot order so that the CD-ROM is the first device seen in the boot order. If you can boot from the CD this usually is an indication that your problem is software related.

Edited by dc3, 08 January 2009 - 11:51 AM.

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#3 dpunisher

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 12:55 PM

Why are you going into "AWDFLASH"? AWDFLASH is only used when flashing a BIOS.

When you pressed "DEL" did you get into BIOS setup at all? It seems as if the drive isn't being detected, it is pointless to worry about an OS at this point. Make sure the HD is jumpered correctly, power is hooked up properly, and the IDE cable is hooked up correctly. Swap cables (IDE/power) if need be, plug HD cables into the other IDE connector on the mobo in case you have a faulty IDE channel.. This is a simple "swap and plug" diagnosis at this point, you keep swapping components till you get somewhere. Worst case-toasted motherboard, best case loose/bad cable. If you cannot get into the BIOS setup, you might even have something like a bad keyboard/cable/connector. At least it posts, thats a big part of the battle.

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#4 garmanma

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 02:51 PM

Dealing with something old , used, or unknown the first thing I would do is replace the motherboard battery
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#5 Uncle Jaque

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 08:45 PM

Ah yes; that's the battery that looks like a half dollar coin, isn't it? Thanks; I'll check that out.

Whenever I get into "jumpers" I seem to get into trouble; it seems that every HD has its own peculiar set of jumper settings, and I've toasted at least one HD trying to puzzle it out. I was getting so mad at it I was about to take a hatchet to it anyway.

Don't know if computers have a way of bringing out the worst in other people, but they sure can do it for me! :thumbsup:

Read somewhere that modern systems don't need separate "master / slave" (non PC terms I know, but I'm old school) jumper settings and can figure all that out themselves... true?

I don't see how I can boot from a disk, since it won't recognize any of my drives.

Do have an old W-98 CD somebody gave me, and a couple of "key" numbers, although whether they will work I have no idea. I'm not even sure if this disk is for SE or not.

Are there any places to down load 98 updates (assuming we ever get that far) since MS no longer supports it?

Have been thinking of trying LINUX if W-98 is a no go. What's your opinion of that compared to W-98SE?

I'll try friggajigging those cables around and see if we get anywhere with that.

Re "Setup"; no response when I hit the "Delete" button as cued.

The only time it has responded to the keyboard is that one time I got into "AWDFLASH" (and I didn't have a clue what to do once in there) and one time a Cntrl>Alt>Del did restart.

Thanks for your insight!

#6 dc3

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 09:38 PM

Read somewhere that modern systems don't need separate "master / slave" (non PC terms I know, but I'm old school) jumper settings and can figure all that out themselves... true?



Do have an old W-98 CD somebody gave me, and a couple of "key" numbers, although whether they will work I have no idea. I'm not even sure if this disk is for SE or not.

Are there any places to down load 98 updates (assuming we ever get that far) since MS no longer supports it?

Have been thinking of trying LINUX if W-98 is a no go. What's your opinion of that compared to W-98SE?


The newer hard drives are SATA which connect to a separate header on the motherboard, each header is separate which negates the need of using jumpers to install two on the same cable.

Windows 98 hasn't been supported for years, I'm afraid you're out of luck there. There are those that have used linux and will not go back to Windows, but it's not for everyone.

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#7 Uncle Jaque

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 10:46 PM

I know I'm pretty slow here, but don't get to the big city (where they have a Radio Shack) very often to replace that battery. I did get it out and will take it to make sure I get the right one.

In examining the cable hook ups, I don't see how I can switch things around too much, as all 4 busses are filled.

The top one has the power in on one and the cable to the 3.5" drive in the other, and the bottom set has a braided metal cable running to the top 2 CD drives on one and the HD on the other.

Like so: Posted Image

In these pictures I have the HD cable plugged into a test HD from another PC leaning up against the works.

And a closer look at the connections: Posted Image

Should I switch the cables around? The power input has to stay in the bus it's in, doesn't it?

Can LINUX OS be downloaded on line or would I have to get it on a CD?


#8 hamluis

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 09:30 AM

Linux...is a number of different programs/distros/versions. Some require more knowledge than others, some are more comfortable for those used to dealing with Windows than others.

This will probably confuse more than help, but it's the best I can do (others here have much more knowledge of linux than I have): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_distros

So before going to a linux attempt, I would try to become aware of which distro is more likely to be easy on a lazy person like me :thumbsup:, I want to learn...but I don't want to have to go back to school in order to learn :huh:.

Most standard computers have a CR2032 battery, available at most stores selling watch/camera/photo batteries. Yours may be different.

That looks like a pretty standard setup to me...not sure what you mean by switching the cables around. As long as the connection is attained/maintained, it will work.

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#9 Uncle Jaque

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 11:12 AM

I picked up a fresh battery at Radio Shack Thursday and popped it in -

Alas; the same thing happens (and nothing more) when I turn it on.

Someone in here suggested swapping the cables around, as I recall. I don't think I'll go messing with them at this point, not really knowing what I'm about.

Any more suggestions? I'd like to know if this rig is salvageable or if I'm just wasting my time on it. It might have some salvageable components on it if it's going to be scrapped and I can "move along".





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