Hard reboot during boot-up

March 28, 2009 at 19:46:39
Specs: When using ANY OS, Celeron 333, 128 PC100
This is driving me insane...

A long time ago I got an ASUS P2B motherboard (I hate these things more than words can describe; single most unreliable board I've ever used in my life) for free (and now you see why I got it).

Matched it with a 333MHz Celeron, however much RAM I had, a hard drive video card and all that. Friend wanted it, bought it for $30 or something like that. Fantastic.

Then he calls me up and says it just randomly reboots for no reason. I of course give him his cash back and he gives me the computer. At seemingly random intervals, it would just randomly power off and run the POST again. Then, after booting again, just shut off again and over and over and over.

I tossed it in the extra parts bin and promised myself I'd destroy it.

Fast forward to now, I'm trying to turn it into cash again. While it's gone through many other uses since, the exact same CPU is installed in it again. New RAM (128mb PC100, used reliably in other systems). An old PSU - but not the same one used with this board in the past. 20GB WD hdd. 4x toshiba cdrom.

I had this thing running for over an hour non-stop earlier. I installed Win2000...I let it run. I got on the internet. I did stuff, and it sat idle for a combined period of at least 45 mins. No issues

It's spread out on my desk since I don't have a case for it yet (don't want to invest if I can't get a return on it). I repositioned it slightly.

Now, I turn it on, and it'll get halfway through the 2000 loading bar, and then boom...the spontaneous hard reboot (no BSOD before either). It will do this in approximately the same point during the loading bar every time.

Safe mode, it loads windows, gets to the bar where it does such things as "preparing network connections", "loading personal settings" and the like, and it'll reboot then.

I've reseated all of the hardware twice, same results, but it seems to do it two notches later on the loading bar? I have no clue the relevance of that but it made a difference.

Funny thing is, if I boot to the Win2k CD (which takes much longer than booting OS itself due to 4x CDROM), it runs reliably during that. I just don't want to reinstall OS to find it does this yet again.

Any suggestions? Anything at all? lol

My own knowledge and research suggest PSU...but it did it with another PSU in the past, and on top of that, it isn't "random"...it happens at the same general interval every time.


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March 28, 2009 at 21:20:50
Since it doesn't do it when the hard drive isn't being accessed maybe the HD is the problem.

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March 28, 2009 at 22:57:24
Well...oddly enough...it looks like...a software problem?

I've again reinstalled the OS and it's running perfect.

I'm at a total loss for words over it, I don't understand how such a repetitive, seemingly hardware-exclusive problem can be fixed by an OS reinstall.

Dave, it seems it's not the HDD (this HDD is known to be reliable from other uses, and is also not the HDD used last time I ran the board).

It's as if moving the board somehow causes the OS to become corrupt (not even remotely possible, but it's what appears to happen).

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March 28, 2009 at 23:03:37
Actually Dave, come to think of it

Perhaps not the HDD itself...maybe the controller circuitry on the mobo

If I had any PCI ATA controllers I'd throw one in and give it a go

Like I said though, it's running very stably as it is. If this ridiculous nonsense starts again I'll try it with an ISA ATA controller (since I have oodles of them).


Alright, so for the first time since I've woken up, I tried to turn it on.

It gets to the exact same point (halfway) through the 2000 loading bar, and does a hard reboot. Literally the only thing that has changed overnight is the temperature in the room (now colder).

The fact that this happens at the SAME POINT every time suggests to me:

-Software-exclusive issue (which is ridiculous)
-Hardware-influenced software issue
-Magical hardware-exclusive issue that has beef with the Windows 2000 loading bar successfully completing

Is it safe to say the mobo is trash? I just don't get it...

I flashed the BIOS in an attempt to fix it (BIOS file from ASUS website for my board and revision), no changes, but it did mention that the new file didn't match the existing BIOS regarding the board it was designed for.

As far as narrowing it down...the only common element from the last time the board was used until now is the board itself. Proven reliable: CDROM, HDD, floppy, RAM, video, CPU.

Not proven reliable in the past: NIC, sound card, PSU.

The PSU, while not proven reliable, is (to me) an unlikely issue here. A PSU issue would be caused by fluctuations/inconsistent output, which would not create an identical problem every time at the same time, it would create random issues at any time (am I correct?)

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Related Solutions

March 29, 2009 at 11:41:20
I suggested the HD because if it reboots at the same point each time then it's accessing the same place on the hard drive each time. You'd expect some kind of read error instead if that were the case but maybe it's something more than just a bad spot.

Anyway, if it's not the hard drive then the motherboard seems the most likely.

(Edit) You might try connecting the drive to the secondary IDE motherboard port instead of the primary. If the problem is with the port maybe the secondary is OK.

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March 29, 2009 at 12:43:36
Tried the suggestion about switching to secondary port. Same results...stopped at same point in loading bar (I don't mean roughly the same, it's the exact same number of little blue blocks every time)

Next thing to test is a different HDD...even if this drive has been reliable before I shouldn't rule it out yet.

If that doesn't work, I will try an ISA HDD controller (I don't even care how usable the end result is anymore, I just want to know why it's happening)

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April 2, 2009 at 12:14:17

disabling SMART, putting CDROM on the primary channel with HDD, and removing floppy disk drive got it to boot up and run windows somewhat stably

it does still reboot from time to time

running CPU-Z reveals a continuously varying core voltage...lowest seen was 1.9V, highest 2.06V (proper core voltage on this CPU is 2.0)

I have not had it reboot yet while supervising voltages...but I bet the reboot happens when it dips particularly low.

Since that is handled by the voltage regulator on the motherboard this is probably impossible to fix. Can anyone back this up or provide an alternate possibility?

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April 2, 2009 at 12:29:08
I would install this and see if the problem continues.
2 different OS's same problem, good indication of hardware issue



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