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BIOS Hang, unable to enter BIOS Setup after running FIXMBR


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#1 MilesTeg

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 08:19 PM

I had a strange set of circumstances today. I was trying to update my memory from 2 to 4g. My system would not boot with the new memory and the bios gave 3 beeps. After removing the new memory, the system would boot to XP but I had no video. I powered down and powered back up. I now had video but the system would hang. In Safe Mode, it would hang after the following entry system32/config/system. Note I never observed any windows error messages, just the hang.

I used the Recovery Console from an XP CD and did a chkdsk /r and chdsk /f
I also ran fixboot

None of these solved the problem.

I then ran fixmbr
Recovery Console displayed some kind of caution message that I had a "invalid" or something MBR and that it might prevent me from access partitions or something.

Well, I ran fixmbr anyway since i was out if ideas.

Now when I try to boot, it is freezing during the post process. When I hit F2 to enter the BIOS setup, it says "entering setup" but it never does. It seems to be hanging right after the drive detect process.
Note I have one standard IDE drive © and 2 SATA drives. Windows XP is installed on one of the SATA drives.

Any ideas? Let me know if you need any more info.

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#2 ThunderZ

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 08:27 PM

This sounds more like a BIOS = hardware issue. Since you have been inside the case it is possible something got nudged loose. Re-seat your memory and video card if it is an add-on.

#3 MilesTeg

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 01:33 AM

OK, I checked all the connections and seatings and everything seems ok. I disconnected the C: IDE drive and now this system will get past post but still freezes at the same original issue point. So right now I just have 2 sata drives connected with XP on what used to be the E: drive.

#4 joseibarra

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 08:03 AM

What is the hardware manufacturer and model?

What about the beeps? They are codes indicating the situation before XP loads - usually hardware.

Is it three short, one long two short (beep-beep-beep or beep-beeeeep-beeeeep... good illustrations, huh?)

For example, here are some notes from a certain AMI BIOS that is presenting three beeps:

1 Short beep - System is operating normally.

1 Long 2 Short beeps - The video adapter has failed, or the video memory is having a read/write failure. Try reseating the video card. If the video card is a PCI video card, try moving it to another slot.

2 or 3 beeps - There is a problem with the systemís memory. Reseat the memory DIMM or SIMM modules.

1 Long 3 Short beeps - The system does not detect a monitor. Verify that the monitor cable is properly attached to the video card or the onboard video and to the monitor (if the monitor has a detachable cable). If possible, try another monitor on the system to verify that the video adapter is operating properly.


So, beeps are important.

One short is generally good, anything else is usually bad and indicates a hardware problem.

If you put all your HW back like it was before the RAM upgrade does it work? What are those beeps?

If you CMOS memory hardware configuration information is somehow botched from the HW changes, you could clear it to load the BIOS defaults, but the downside is you would have to go back into the BIOS and manually setup anything it does not detect/figure out by itself. If can be a pain.

You need to somehow get yourself back to being able to enter the BIOS, one short beep with video and then troubleshoot remaining issues.

Edited by joseibarra, 22 November 2009 - 08:07 AM.

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#5 hamluis

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 09:27 AM

I would try replacing or at least removing (temporarily) the CMOS battery to try to attain CMOS defaults and access to CMOS settings.

Louis

#6 MilesTeg

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 10:27 AM

OK, I tried pulling the CMOS battery and to reset. This did not do anything. Very strange. No beeps when I have my IDE hard drive plugged in. It detects it, then hangs the number 0078 is on the bottom of screen with various other bios info. (F2 to run setup, a listing of the drives detected, etc) It just stops there.

Again, when I remove power to the IDE drive, it gets past the BIOS boot with one beep. It then shows the original issue when trying to boot in safe made. The last line observed is:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\windows\system32\config\system

It hangs at this point

The other entries it got past are:
ntoskrnl.exe
hal.dll
KDCOM.dll
bootvid.dll

The MOBO is an ASRock 939 DualSATA.
The BIOS is American Megatrends v02.58

As far as earlier operations. I did here the 3 beeps when I originally tried to upgrade the memory. Right now all the issues I'm seeing are with the original configuration before the memory upgrade attempt. Note this BIOS hang thing only started happening after I ran FIXMBR in the recovery console

#7 joseibarra

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 12:01 PM

You need to find the manual for your MOBO and how to clear the CMOS, not just take out the battery - although I would think that would work, it is not what ASRock says to do. ( :thumbsup: at hamluis)

Did you unplug it from the wall and then clear the CMOS with the jumper? That is their method.

Here is one of many ASRock manuals that has instructions - you will have to see if you can find yours exactly, but clearing the CMOS thing is fairly standard.

http://www.asrock.com/support/download.asp...pe=&Socket=

Or their home page: http://www.asrock.com/index.asp

or look at the ASRock WWW support FAQ page for their ideas to 0078 - seems they must know something about it to write a FAQ:

http://www.asrock.com/support/qa/TSDQA-47.pdf

Some Googling of:

AMI 0078

will yield many ideas that (surprise!) include ASRock MOBOs but they all don't make sense to me

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#8 hamluis

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 12:04 PM

What's on the first partition of your boot drive?

Your boot.ini indicates that it's trying to boot from the second partition on Disk0. The Disk0 portion is correct, but, IMO, the parttiion data reflected may be in error.

A typical boot.ini file should look similar to one at How to edit the Boot.ini file in Windows XP - http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...kb;en-us;289022

Louis

#9 MilesTeg

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 01:06 PM

OK, I retried the clear CMOS. It did not help. Still hanging at 0078 and it is definitely related to my C: drive. When I take it out, it starts fine.

After taking out the drive, I've made a little progress. I ran retored a back up of windows/system32/config/system
4) md tmp
5) Copy C:\windows\system32\config\system C:\windows\tmp\system.bak
6) Delete C:\windows\system32\config\system
7) Copy C:\windows\repair\system\ C:\windows\system32\config\system

and it got me past my freeze point! Now many other things load when trying to boot into Safe Mode but I stall on MUP.sys.

When I try to loan normally, I get the Windows Genuine Advatage telling me I need to reactivate windows. I decline and then the system just sits there with no icons or task bar at the bottom. I can control/alt/del to get taks manager but is just stuck in the no icons, no task bar state. I'm getting closer!

#10 MilesTeg

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 03:54 PM

FIXED!

OK, I think I'm good to go now. Who would of thought just trying to add 2g more memory would cause such a mess.

Here is some info just in case anyone else ever runs into this.

I eventually substituted the following files from the the windows Repair subfolder using the following as a framework: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545


Sam
Software
System
Security
Default

using the Recovery Console

This allowed me to finally boot. However things were still messed up. I was forced to login as Admin with a password but before I could, I had to reactivate XP. The online activation would not work and no phone number was given..great!. I finally found the windows activation phone number online and was able to call and activate over the phone.

So this allowed me in. Cool...well not so much. This user had no access to anything. Nothing really worked. I was in, but dead in the water.

I remembered I had ran combofix not too long ago and that it makes backups. I found backups of the above files in the hiv-backup folder. I went back to Recovery Console and moved the files to windows system32/config folder and crossed my fingers. Success! When I logged in I had all my desktop icons and file access. Everything seems to be OK! Thank you combofix backups!

#11 joseibarra

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 05:54 PM

Good detective work!

How much RAM do you have now?

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#12 MilesTeg

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 09:51 PM

I'm still sitting at 2g.

I found out a bit more info.

My mobo uses PC3200 400 memory. Fairly standard (so I thought). Turns out this not the case. There is PC3200 400 that is High Density - Registered which I guess can not be used by many mother boards. (obviously including mine). I blame this on my own ignorance and bargain shopping. Let it be a case in point though for others. When buying memory online, make SURE you know exactly what you are getting and that it is supported by your Mobo. It's obviously not just as easy as looking at the PCXXXX and clock value.

All that being said, it still bothers me that just the act of installing a couple memory DIMMS not supported by the mobo would cause such extensive damage. I'm wondering if i had some other issues at work as well.

I still have some questions as to what killed my original hard drive and why the BIOS would stall when it was plugged in. Not sure if FIXMBR killed it or it was just jacked up and on it's last leg anyway.

Oh well, maybe it's time to put this Frankenstein of a system out to pasture and just start fresh with a new bare bones machine :thumbsup:

#13 hamluis

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 06:37 AM

If the power supply is the life force of a system...RAM may be considered the nervous system/brain, IMO.

When a user installs RAM which is designed for a given function...which the system is not designed to do...I would expect the system to malperform in unexpected ways.

Different modules are spec'd for specific system functions/components...using a tool spec'd for one thing...for a different purpose...works sometimes in life, but I would not expect that to happen in the complex world of computing.

There are known incompatibilities between high-density and low-density RAM, with low-density being the more commonly successful option for many systems.

Louis




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