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Is My Computer Going South?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Doublehelix, Nov 2, 2002.

  1. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Grrrr...this is the 2nd time I am typing this message...the first time I forgot to put in a subject, got an error from the bulletin board, then when I went back, the message was gone! :)

    I am getting worring here, and making sure that I back up everything any time I do anything!

    Advice appreciated!
     
  2. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Flash the BIOS dude!!!! That should take care of it!!
    Opus :D
     
  3. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure I understand here...it has been working fine for over a year, and now it is acting up...are you thinking that something may have become corrupted in the BIOS, or that I just need an update?

    I will get the update from the Asus site, but wait to hear back from you b4 I proceed...
     
  4. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    It sounds like the CMOS chip needs a flash! That easy....can't hurt to try it!
    Opus
     
  5. Tommy P.

    Tommy P. Well-Known Member

    Definitely back up your data to a new drive, just in case one of your WD drives is breaking down. I've had a bunch of WD's fail after a year of normal use.
     
  6. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    BIOS flashing can be dangerous. Every once in a while, it's possible to get a bad flash, then you're screwed. That leaves you in a position where you either have to replace the chip or the motherboard. So, before you flash your BIOS ...
    Do a thorough check on your harddrives. MANY things can go awry here. Disconnect the IDE cables that go to your harddrives and inspect the cables. If they are flat cables, make sure they haven't been crimped or creased, as this could weaken the copper wire inside. If so, replace them, perferrably with good round cables. Next, disconnect the power leads that go to your harddrives, and check extra-carefully that none of the wires that go into the connectors have become lose. These wires are only crimped inside the connectors, and often can become lose due to normal plugging-in and (especially) unplugging the power supply leads from the hard drives. Make SURE they're all tight and well-secured. This is a VERY common problem, and can cause all sorts of weird $*^t to happen.
    Once you've ensured that your cables and connectors are A-OK, let's check those harddrives. Connect ONE harddrive (your boot drive) to IDE 0, ensuring that the power cable and the IDE cable are firmly seated. Disconnect all other IDE cables from the motherboard. You can leave the floppy drive connected. Boot it up. Is the harddrive spinning? Any problems? If not, then go ahead and connect the other harddrive and boot the system up again. Boot drive still spinning? Any other problems? If not, MAYBE the problem is solved. If you want to check the second harddrive, you can transfer all of the data on it to another harddrive, install it alone on IDE 0, disconnect all other IDE devices, set the jumper to MASTER, partition and format it, install an OS on it, and see if it boots up reliably several times in a row. If it works fine, then you'll have to, again, partition, format, and set the jumper back to SLAVE before you reinstall it as your second harddrive.
    This sounds kinda lengthy, but it's only a couple hours of your time, total. A couple of hours spent doing this just might pinpoint the problem that is causing your dilemma. If it were me, I would definately do this before attempting a BIOS flash, because if any of these things are wrong ... like a bad cable, connection, harddrive ... a BIOS flash isn't going to fix it. If these steps DON'T fix the problem, at least you know what's DEFINATELY NOT causing the problem, and you can then move-on to more risky steps. Otherwise, you're putting the cart before the horse.
    This is my opinion, and it's what I would do. I'm not NEARLY as qualified as others in this thread, but I've had more than my share of troubleshooting pesky $*^t. I've learned that it's always better to check the obvious before taking any drastic or risky measures, as the problem/solution is usually right there under my nose. It won't cost you anything, it won't hurt anything, and if nothing else it will at least give you the peace of mind of knowing that these basic things aren't causing your problem. Then again ... you just MIGHT find the problem while doing this!
     
  7. Tommy P.

    Tommy P. Well-Known Member

    Change the lithium CMOS backup battery before you flash, as a matter of fact, it may have been the reason your BIOS lost its settings in the first place.
    SOS is right about checking loose IDE cables and such...unfortunately some WD drives do not take system anomalies too well, and can end up damaged as a result. WD's have three year warranties and easy online return authorization proceedures-usually a two week turn around.
     
  8. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Well...here is an update...

    I went ahead and flashed the BIOS, that was *before* I saw your message SOS, but to be honest, I am not sure if I would have gone through all that. I do have everything backed up to my main File Server on my Network, and it only took minutes to flash the BIOS.

    Tommy...Great advice about the battery as well...I will do that today. If I take out that battery, is the BIOS going to reset itself? Will I have to re-flash???

    So far, so good as they say. When I tried booting the system this morning, it locked up again during the POST, so I just said "screw it" and tried flashing the BIOS. It has booted several times successfully since I did this, but again, that doesn't mean much...let's give it a few days to a week to see what happens...

    Thanks for the help, let's hope this isn't something major, I can't deal with a dead computer right now!
     
  9. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Guys...especially SOS...
    You are giving advice that is going waaaaay beyond the scope of what is going on here. SOS..
    your troubleshooting is great but as you are new to the PC world as far as problems and not all the time do you need to go so indepth into it!
    Basically here's why I know it's a BIOS screw up...the key was James telling us the error in the BIOS!!!

    " Less than a week ago, I booted my system, and lo and behold, up comes the BIOS setup screen telling me that my CPU speed does not match what is being reported (or some such language...I don't remember exactly). It allowed me to check the speed (1000 Mz), save the BIOS setting, and then everything went back to "normal". I figured it was just a "glitch"..."

    At that point we know it's NOT a hard drive problem. Hard drive problems would be NT Kernel can not be found or you constantly get a scandisc happening. And then it asks you to fix clusters and says it can not fix clusters! That is a hard drive problem.

    Another reason we know it's a BIOS issue:

    "Now, last night, I tried booting the system, and it never made it past the POST. The screen was reporting that the CPU was a 500E Hz (E = "error"?) processor. The RAM registered Ok at 512, but the system was locked up tight at the point in the boot where the screen was displaying the "plug-n-play" part of the POST messages...And again, this was only being displayed on one monitor (the secondary one if it matters...)"

    The CPU ID is not properly seen! Corrupt sector block on the BIOS read!

    A battery problem would be clock information not being kept. So everytime you boot up it will give you a date of say, 1980 or so! Maybe even earlier than that!

    Yes, replacing the battery every once in a while is a good idea but it won't cause the BIOS to reset itself or lose any saved settings.
    Flashing the BIOS basically just rewrites the block sectors on the CMOS chip
    CMOS standing for Complimentary Metal Oxide Semi-conductor. Which means it can be written to for changes!!! Which means it can be updated and revised to help with problems such as the one James was having!

    So, I hope this is a good lesson to you SOS! Don't over complicate the troubleshooting! I gave James the correct answer on the first try!
    I don't just spout of things for the halibut you know!
    Peace
    Opus :D
     
  10. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Ya know, some times I hate computers, and today is one of those days...

    The good news is that my computer boots just fine now, and goes all the way to Windows, no problem...the bad news is that once I get to the Windows splash screen, it locks up tigher than a drum. HD problem??? I have rebooted my system tonight at *least* 50 times (maybe more), and it is now booting just fine...past the POST without problems, etc.

    After trying to repair windows about 3 million times, I went ahead and reinstalled it, removed and added the Matrox drivers, Echo card, UAD-1 card, etc...its been a long night, but everything seems to be back to "normal" now...after too long of a story to go into...boots fine, Windows loads fine...all my settings were saved (or seem to have been).

    Fingers are crossed, but not too hopeful. I have had this computer for over a year without one single problem...NONE. And now all of a sudden???

    I'm off to bed...Did I mention that I hate computers? :)
     
  11. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    OPUS,
    Sorry to get lengthy, but there just wasn't a shorter way to explain it. And as I said...
    **********************************************
    "This is my opinion, and it's what I would do. I'm not NEARLY as qualified as others in this thread"
    **********************************************
    I didn't say, "Don't do what OPUS said to do", I only suggested doing a harmless check of a few other things before risking a BIOS flash.
    If nothing else, you'll have it to paste in another thread if someone has a problem where this sort of troubleshooting will apply. Connection problems are VERY common, and don't always show themselves at a casual glance or with a few jiggles of the cables. The more a person is inside their computer, the more likely that a connection problem can occur, and audio guys tend to be in their computers a lot.
    I REALLY appreciate you taking your time to tell us how you came about your diagnosis. I definately learned from it! Thank You!
    OH...BTW OPUS...Would you please go down to the Mac Forum and see if you can help-out in "Silent But Deadly"?
     
  12. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    System is still working fine...after BIOS flash, and the Windows re-install nightmare from last night...works like a charm... <fingers still tightly crossed>
     
  13. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    2 days...no glitches! Boots normally...Windows comes up just fine...
     
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    OPUS RULES! I pledge my unending loyalty to you Don Opus...and may your first child be a masculine chld...... :D
     
  15. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Hehe...yeah! Opus rules! (And you don't do so bad yourself there Mr. Fat Man! :)

    Computer is working like a charm again, and good thing since I am in the middle of really big project! Opus to the rescue! <bow> You da man!
     
  16. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Bow and kiss the ring of Don Opus! lmao
    Opus :D
     
  17. Tommy P.

    Tommy P. Well-Known Member

    LOL! So you didn't change the battery? ;)
     
  18. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    Damn, and I didn't even get a chance to suggest you might have a bad power supply...
     
  19. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Hehe...nope, didn't change the battery, nor the power supply! Please realize that it has only been 2 days (but about 50 reboots, especially with the Windows re-install and all the Windows updates)...Let's see in a week or two or three if any of the problems creep back up...
     
  20. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Actually, I thought it was the connuter valve...
     

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