I've been researching this for the past hour; I've come across many different sites that want me to download a type of 3rd (what I would call "4th") party installs...files that I am not 100% positive are safe for my computer. I do realize you're trying to help, but I'd like to not download something while feeling like I'm walking down a back alley buying a CD out of somebody's trench coat pocket while he tries to sell me a watch (not saying that's you, but some of the sites seem that way). I've just finished de-spyware-ing two machines, and I'd like to not keep them as clean as possible. I got some windows startup options back, and I started with enabled bootlogging. Will that only give me the basic boot sequence of events, or does that include startup folders after windows is loaded? I booted up and it worked this time, but I'd like to try booting a few times and seeing if I can get a log if it freezes. It will be useless, though, if it stops logging after windows is entirely loaded.
Fifteen months prior to this date I would never suggest a download that I wasn't comfortable about suggesting. I have been married for fifteen months now and have had way to many instances of my wife downloading software indiscriminately leaving me with the clean up job afterward. Because of this I'm twice as intent in not suggesting downloads which have third party software imbedded in them.
The only questionable aspect of this download is if you are running Vista Ultimate. If you are not, then this download isn't for your.
Microsoft no longer sells Vista, because of this there are no Microsoft endorsed downloads available. But since most all of the OEM computers come with a recovery partition there are an increasing number of sites which provide "legal" copies of Vista and Windows 7, what do you do if the hdd fails and you can't access the recovery partition? You will need a valid product code to be able to use these ISO files.
I'm also not entirely positive that it's windows related...since it crashed in the BIOS menu, that concerns me.
This is the first that you have provided us with information pointing a hardware problem.
1) Please download the Memtest86
Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO file.
2) Unzip the downloaded memtest86
file. You will need a program like 7-Zip
to unzip this file.
3) Inside, you will find the memtest86 file.
5) Insert blank CD into your CD drive.
6) Open ImgBurn, and click on Write image file to disc.
7) Click on the Browse for a file... icon:
8) Locate the memtest86 file, and click on the Open button.
9) Click on the blue arrow to start burning bootable memtest86 CD.
10) Once the CD is created, boot from it, and memtest will automatically start to run.
Please note: It may be neccessary to change the boot order in the BIOS so the CD/DVD-ROM is the first device in the boot order and the hdd second.
Each pass consists of 8 tests, it is suggested that you run at least 7 passes, this will take several hours, you may find it simpler to let it run overnight. The longer you run the passes the more comprehensive the results will be.
If you are running multiple modules and have a failure, remove all but one module and test it separately, continue this with each module till you find the one that failed.
When you discern that a module is good, use it to test each slot to be sure there isn't a problem with one of them.
When the test is complete a display similar to the one below will appear. Note the locations of the Pass and Errors, any Error is indicative of a failed module.
I would also suggest finding out who the manufacturer of you hdd is. Post this information and I will provide you with a link to their diagnostic tool download site.