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Old Gateway PC will not install an OS


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#1 jmendegan

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 07:12 PM

I do not know the best way to get all this out, but I'll try my best... I was asked by a friend to get an old computer out of their house because they got a new one and were just going to throw the old one out. Sounded good to me... This computer has made me crawl into a dark corner and cry my eyes out! It's possessed! To make a long story short: When I got the computer it wouldn't even boot up Windows XP (not even safe mode). So I wiped the harddrive and proceeded to install a fresh Windows XP on it. It seemed to work but when restarting, the boot process froze at the XP logo screen. So I read about this common error and proceeded to check everything necessary: drivers, memory, harddrive, all IDE cables, etc. I could not get it to boot windows at all (not even safe mode). And while searching the Gateway website, I found no drivers for this type of Gateway... So I went to good ol' Ubuntu. It boots from the disk, however after choosing "Try Ubuntu Without Installing" or "Install Ubuntu" it will load and then the screen goes completely blank except for a blinking cursor at the top left. So I read about this error... In the end, as a last resort, I contacted Gateway tech support and what they ended up saying was "your computer is too old to have drivers available on our site. sorry." Is there NO POSSIBLE WAY to get this prehistoric beast running again? I've NEVER had this much trouble...

By the way I do not have any of the discs that came with the PC and have tried to find drivers on the internet as most of the other forums suggest that all my issues are driver related... So if anyone can point me to a place to download these drivers it would be nice.

Also, I have tested memory and hdd. I even went through the trouble of putting the hdd into another computer just to make sure I wasn't going crazy(It booted just fine). So I know it has to be a hardware issue or driver issue. It is not the end of the world if it doesn't run again I just hate giving up on something this simple.

Here is all the info on the PC:
-Gateway
-Intel Celeron
-Serial: 0025515836
-Model: MFATXSTL KTH 300S
-Manufacture date: 12/03/01
-128MB RAM
-40GB Western Digital HDD

If anything else is needed just let me know.
Thanks!!!

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#2 kisk

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 11:02 PM

Honestly it sounds like the HD is failing, but you said you checked it and the other hardware. How did you check?

Might try the antiX distro... it was specifically made to run well on old hardware. If this doesn't work, you probably have a hardware issue :)
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#3 jmendegan

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 12:08 AM

Honestly it sounds like the HD is failing, but you said you checked it and the other hardware. How did you check?

Might try the antiX distro... it was specifically made to run well on old hardware. If this doesn't work, you probably have a hardware issue :)


I checked the memory with memtest86 and when the harddrive booted Windows XP when connected to another PC, I pretty much concluded that it was OK to work with. I really think it is just a simple driver issue but sadly I cannot find any for this PC. It does not have a specific series number on it and when I talked to the Gateway tech guy, he said the serial number "didn't match any of their PCs".... Anyway I will definitely give antiX a try and get back to you with the results.

Also, recently it has started to freeze in the same location when booting XP in safe mode. It freezes once Mup.sys is loaded. I've looked this up and seems to be related to drivers or registry errors????? Guess I really need those drivers...

Edited by jmendegan, 29 April 2012 - 12:15 AM.


#4 hamluis

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 10:56 AM

These appear to be the most likely drivers available, although...lack of drivers will not prevent a system from booting (Windows just goes to default settings).

http://support.gateway.com/us/en/product/default.aspx?tab=1

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#5 James Litten

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 11:30 AM

Hi

-128MB RAM


Needs more RAM

Is your XP install a first version of XP with no service packs?
XP used to have a minimum requirement of 64MB when it first came out
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314865
but I believe that has changed after SP2 (about ten years ago) because of the security additions such as firewall and file security.

Ubuntu wants 1GB
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/SystemRequirements

Unless you only run the Ubuntu CommandLine-only (CLI) which has a 128MB minimum. Don't remember how to install that one. I think it is part of the server package.

Your XP install will probably boot eventually if you leave it for an hour or two.

When I have an old machine with 128MB I use Puppy Linux with a disk swap file.
http://puppylinux.org/main/Overview%20and%20Getting%20Started.htm

or Windows 98.

James

#6 jmendegan

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 05:28 PM

Hi

-128MB RAM


Needs more RAM

Is your XP install a first version of XP with no service packs?
XP used to have a minimum requirement of 64MB when it first came out
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314865
but I believe that has changed after SP2 (about ten years ago) because of the security additions such as firewall and file security.

Ubuntu wants 1GB
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/SystemRequirements

Unless you only run the Ubuntu CommandLine-only (CLI) which has a 128MB minimum. Don't remember how to install that one. I think it is part of the server package.

Your XP install will probably boot eventually if you leave it for an hour or two.

When I have an old machine with 128MB I use Puppy Linux with a disk swap file.
http://puppylinux.org/main/Overview%20and%20Getting%20Started.htm

or Windows 98.

James


Hey James I think you are probably right. I didn't think about it being the Windows XP version I was trying to install. I believe it's service pack 3... Now that you mention it, I do remember seeing an error while booting XP... Something like: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. Would this have anything to do with it not being enough RAM? Anyway thanks for this information. I will try other distributions of linux and see how it goes.

#7 jmendegan

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 09:06 PM

Ok this is what happens when I try to boot Puppy... Choose boot from CD. Puppy is loaded and says hit F2 for help and F3 for more help, otherwise will boot in 5 seconds. So I wait and after 5 seconds, a screen with a blinking cursor in the top left appears. I figured I would wait and see if anything would ever happen, but it's been over 20 minutes now... Just about ready to quit wasting my time on this old beast. But if anyone has any suggestions other than a flamethrower let me know.

#8 James Litten

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:52 AM

Now that you mention it, I do remember seeing an error while booting XP... Something like: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL.


LOL! Yeah, that's kind of important to mention. :)

On a machine that old, with the problems you are having, my experience is that this is a problem with a piece of hardware not cooperating with the BIOS or a setting in the BIOS itself. Pull extraneous components like modems and such and check all the BIOS settings particularly looking for things set to hard coded values that should be set to 'auto' like IRQs or memory cache settings.

James

#9 lti

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 07:43 PM

And while searching the Gateway website, I found no drivers for this type of Gateway... So I went to good ol' Ubuntu. It boots from the disk, however after choosing "Try Ubuntu Without Installing" or "Install Ubuntu" it will load and then the screen goes completely blank except for a blinking cursor at the top left. So I read about this error... In the end, as a last resort, I contacted Gateway tech support and what they ended up saying was "your computer is too old to have drivers available on our site. sorry." Is there NO POSSIBLE WAY to get this prehistoric beast running again? I've NEVER had this much trouble...

Gateway doesn't show drivers for old computers on their Web site, but you should still be able to find drivers by entering the computer's serial number. You can also search for the computer's model number in Google. The product pages still exist on their Web site, but you can only access them through a search engine. That is how I found drivers and software for my old Gateway Solo 2500, which is even older than your computer.

I don't know why that computer won't boot any operating system.

Edited by lti, 30 April 2012 - 07:43 PM.


#10 jmendegan

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:12 PM

I'm still not getting a clean boot guys... I've tried Windows XP, Linux 10.10, and Linux Puppy and still get a blank screen with a blinking cursor. However sometimes when booting Windows I get blue screens saying IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL and, today, a blue screen that said: STOP c0000218 {Registry File Failure} The registry cannot load the hive (file): \SystemRoot\System32\Config\SECURITY or its log or alternate. It is corrupt, absent, or not writable. I've never seen this error message before... I'll do some digging.

#11 kisk

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:16 PM

So when are you going to finally officially check the hard drive? Use Seatools for dos at least.
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#12 jmendegan

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:42 PM

So when are you going to finally officially check the hard drive? Use Seatools for dos at least.

Ok I finally officially checked. CHKDSK found no errors. SeaTools for DOS found no errors.

#13 James Litten

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:25 PM

Hi Jmendegan

You're tenacious. I like that. Just look at what I choose for a username :)

Let's look at what is connected to the computer and what kind of options are there in the BIOS settings.

Let us know what is connected to the computer like cards and any drives you haven't mentioned (CD, secondary, etc.)

It's a Gateway MFATXSTL KTH 300S
and
You've already mentioned these
128MB RAM
40GB Western Digital HDD
Intel Celeron

For the BIOS settings, if you can get us the name and version of the BIOS that would be a great start.

Also, I found 256MB memory sticks for about $20 when I searched online. If we fix it, that will help a lot.

James

EDIT: Here is a very tiny OS that you can try from the CD. I just tried it on a virtual machine with 128MB and it came up fast.
http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/downloads.html
Get the TinyCore 12MB one.

Edited by NeverSayDie, 30 April 2012 - 11:49 PM.


#14 jmendegan

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:33 PM

Thank you James :) I actually asked my friend if they knew of any discs that came with the pc and they brought me everything that came with it originally! Anyway, I will list everything on the motherboard and see what you think needs to be pulled. I pulled the modem once already just to see what it would do and still got the same result. By the way, what is the deal on the drive switches? For example, I always thought if they were left open then, if the computer was newer, it would detect which should be the master and which should be the slave. Right now both the harddrive and the disk drive are set to CS, which from my understanding means basically the same as what I said previously. If this is not correct can you please clarify? Do you think one should be master and one should be slave? (Even though obviously the computer worked the way the drives are set up now because I'm sure they never messed with the internal stuff)...

#15 James Litten

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 02:57 PM

Here is some info on Cable Select...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_ATA#Cable_select

The master drive should be plugged into the end of the cable if it is an 80 conductor cable. It's the other way around for 40 conductor cables. Argh! the nightmares are coming back. I forgot about that mess :)

If you can get that tiny OS to work, I can tell you how to use it to connect to the internet and get software for it. I played with it some more and it is pretty impressive.

James




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