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Strange problem…

I am getting peculiar start-up problems which results in my PC often (but not always) refusing to boot into Windows when it is first switched on. Usually the problem occurs after the machine is switched off overnight and is then switched back on again the next day.

The POST is okay and all the hardware is recognized. When the machine hangs it is just before the point where Windows is booted. Then nothing further happens and I have to depress the start button for at least 4 seconds to force the machine to switch off. If I just press the hard reset button the machine will lose the video signal and the monitor goes into standby mode leaving me looking at a blank screen!

To get restarted I have to actually power down the machine. Typically after waiting for 30 seconds and switching back on again the PC will then boot straight into Windows with no problems. Once I get to the Windows desktop I can reboot, or switch the power off and then back on again, with no problem. I can also play DVD movies and the machine is stable.

System :
FIC KA-6110 motherboard with VIA Apollo Pro+ chipset
P3 CPU, 600MHz
256MB PC133 (running at 100MHz)
ATI Rage Pro 32mb AGP 2x card
Soundblaster 64 PCI card
US Robotics 56k modem ISA card
20GB IDE hard drive 5400 rpm
16x DVD ROM drive
Floppy drive
250W PSU

I have run diagnostic software on the memory chips (MemTest86 v3.0) and it reports everything okay, as does Norton Utilities. As far as I know the various adapter cards are working okay. I have run the ATI diagnostic software for the video card and everything tests out okay. I am not sure about the Motherboard or PSU.

Any ideas on what the cause of this problem is?

Thanks, Alan


weird. what OS? if it's "older", maybe there's somethin goofy in the win.ini, autoexec.bat, or config.sys files...
The OS is Win98se and was only installed about 3 weeks ago. There is minimal stuff on the machine. As the problem occurs before Windows is booted it could not be the win.ini file. The config.sys and autoexec.bat files only have the minimum entries - as left by the Win98se installation programme. Can't see anything there to account for this problem.

My feeling is that it must be a hardware problem.

I am going to try running the machine with the BIOS defaults, insteads of the best performance settings, to see if a more conservative set of parameters will make any difference. Will report on what happens.

Any other ideas please let me know.

Thanks, Alan


ya...maybe a BIOS update is in order, i dunno. does sound like it's motherboard- or PSU-related, tho...


Tomorrow Tweaking Today
This has happened to me before. It somehow managed to fix itself and I'm not sure how. It could be one of the Windows updates or driver updates. So, update everything possible and see what happens.:)
I have just replaced the PSU as I suspected voltage fluctuations were the cause of the problem but it is still there!

My latest theory is that there may be a dry joint somewhere in the system. When the PC is cold the contact is open and it won't boot. But after running the machine for a couple of minutes the heat released causes the metal to expand and contact is made, thus allowing the corresponding circuit to operate normally.

I know I may be grasping at straws here but I can't think of anything else to explain what is going on!


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Hello, is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me ...
What a long strange trip it's been. =)

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