POST freezing and other strange problems!

August 30, 2010 at 14:54:47
Specs: Windows XP, Pentium 3 / 512MB
My son thought it may be a fun, and educational, idea to take some of my old computer parts and to build his first system. Naturally, I supported him and offered my aid wherever he may need it. Rather than having him go through boxes of old (possibly not working) components that I have, I decided to take one my older systems, strip it down, give him a new case and tell him to put it all together.

However, he ran into a bit of a snag and not even I can figure out what exactly is going on. I figured I would turn to you guys.

The first problem was that no HDD would ever register on the POST screen for Primary Master. Yes, the drive jumpers are set to master, yes I'm using a proper cable, and yes the HDD has power. This had us stumped for awhile, so I decided to check if it worked in the Secondary Master. Lone behold, it registered. In the past we would get this:

Detecting Primary Master: None
Detecting Primary Slave: None
Detecting Secondary Master: None
Detecting Secondary Slave: None

However now the HDD registers in the Secondary Master, and if I hook a DVD drive up to it as a slave I can get Secondary Slave to register as that DVD drive too.

The hard drive is not the problem, as I have tried now 2 other drives (both working on my own machine) and found the same problem.

However, in theory, I should still be able to boot, right? It shouldn't matter (really) whether the HDD is on Secondary or Primary. However, right after it finishes detecting the IDE drives...the POST screen hangs. Just sits there and doesn't do anything.

As you can see, a lot of strange problems...

Here is my setup:
Asus P2b-S motherboard
Western Digital (cant remember model right now) HDD
ATI video card (same card that was working in the machine before hand)

Also, the power supply is working, but I still tried a different one...same problem. Same story with the RAM. I also replaced the CMOS battery, didn't help. Restored BIOS to default...didn't help.

The drive DOES spin up on both primary and secondary, but is only recognized on Secondary. Same with every other drive I've tried.

Cheers for any help!

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August 30, 2010 at 19:13:37
Start over with one drive. Use either cable select or no jumper and see if it can boot to bios. If so then see if you have a menu item in bios that searches for hard drives to identify them. See if it shows up in bios.

If not go and get new ide cable of good or better quality. Be sure it is the 80 wire type.

Why did it take me over a year to phone in a problem to ATT?

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August 30, 2010 at 21:52:48
When using CS (cable select) the drive connected to the end of the cable will be the Master. When using Master/Slave settings it doesn't matter where you connect either drive. You must be using an 80 wire/ 40 pin cable. Western Digital drives have two Master settings. One for Master alone and one when using Master/Slave settings. Master alone means just what the name implies, no other drive on that cable.

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September 1, 2010 at 06:56:46
I'm aware of the jumper settings and did make appropriate selections.

I ended up swapping out the mobo itself for an older one (AMD Athlon only), and using the same cables, same drives, and same components it now works.

This of course leads me to believe it was some sort of motherboard problem. Obviously I would still like to rescue the board if possible. Any suggestions are much appreciated.

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Related Solutions

September 1, 2010 at 13:42:50
Did you try the test I suggested?

Why did it take me over a year to phone in a problem to ATT?

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September 1, 2010 at 15:15:49
You gave the impression the older system you started out with was a working system.

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September 2, 2010 at 07:40:13
It was a working system, which is the strangest part.

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September 2, 2010 at 08:11:04
Were you installing to the same case using all the same components? ESD may have come into play.

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