Windows re_install Lock-up.

January 22, 2010 at 11:51:56
Specs: Windows XP
I have had this machine for 5 yrs. (Medion PC 8084XL w/ P4 3.0 Ghz, 1GB Ram, 160GB HD Western Dig., Chopped down MB). After removing wireless card to use in older PC (which has worked great there) Started having issues of freezes and lock-ups. Got so bad I decided to re-install Windows from CD. That was a mistake. It now locks-up at the 34min mark and will progress no further- repeatedly! Is there a way to restore this HD and system w/o a full recovery(wiping out tons of personal data and programs). I have a couple other HDs which I could try to get the machine running. One is an 80G WD w/ Win XP loaded and the other is a 500G Seagate with Vista Home. I then would need some way of either transferring all data and programs or installing WIn XP to old HD. Open to any and all suggestions.

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January 22, 2010 at 14:45:31
Your initial problem may have been caused by you un-intentionally knocking something loose, or damaging a data cable, but it's probably too late now, as far as your Windows installation is concerned.

You should NEVER run Setup when the computer is not working properly. Rule out possible connection or hardware problems first!

If you got part way through XP Setup and quit, your Windows is probably already trashed.
If you were trying to run a Repair of Windows, you probably don't have that choice now when you boot with the CD.
(If you ran a fresh install of Windows, there is nothing on that partition other than the trashed Windows installation. If you had data on that partition you did not want to lose, you need to hook it up as slave on another working computer, and use an Undelete program on it to rescue as much data as you can, and copy it somewhere.)
If all or a lot of your personal data you don't want to lose is on a single partition, the one Windows is on, if you want to rescue data from that partition, you probably need to hook it up as slave on another working computer, and copy what you do not want to lose from the partirtion Windows is on to somewhere, because it's likely that if you wanted to do a Repair procedure of Windows so you don't lose the personal data on the partition, you pribably no longer have that choice when you boot from the CD, because you didn't complete Setup. In that case you have to install Windows from scratch, or of you have Recovery disks for your brand name model, install that.

I've experienced your problem - "It now locks-up at the 34min mark and will progress no further- repeatedly! "
That's caused by a hardware problem - with a device that isn't working properly, e.g. a card not all the way down in it's slot, or some kind of resource conflict Setup can't solve. Setup loads the initial files and completes the first stage fine, you see "Setup will reboot the computer in xx minutes" or similar, it reboots, then gets to 3x minutes and stalls there, then black screens and reboots, before you have seen "Setup will reboot the computer in xx minutes" or similar, and starts the second stage again, in an endless loop.

Unplug the case/power supply.
Power off your monitor.
Open up the case by removing the left panel as seen when you're looking at the front of the case.
Check all the connections of the wiring to make sure they are all the way onto their pins and into their sockets, especially the main connector from the power supply. The wires close to the mboard going into the main power connector/socket should be more or less perpendicular to the mboard surface rather than at an angle. Make sure all cards in slots are all the way down in their slots.

A common thing that can happen with ram, even ram that worked fine previously, is the ram has, or has developed, a poor connection in it's slot(s).
This usually happens a long time after the ram was installed, but it can happen with new ram, or after moving the computer case from one place to another, and I've had even new modules that needed to have their contacts cleaned.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:

While you're in there, if the cpu fan/heatsink has mung (dust, lint, etc.) on it, clean it off, but DO NOT use a vaccuum cleaner to do that (they produce a tremendous amount of static electricity when running, and anything connected to them can discharge that to your components) - use canned air, or an air nozzle if you have access to an air compressor, or an artist's brush that can be used in small spaces, etc. It may be difficult to clean the top of the heatsink under the cpu fan - the most likely place to have mung on it - and the bottom side of the cpu fan blades unless you remove the fan. If you have a case fan, clean that too if it needs it.

Also check your heatsink and fan on your video card if it has that.

With the cover still off, restore the AC power, start the computer and make sure the cpu fan spins - if it doesn't spin, if you're sure the power supply is working okay, don't use the computer until you have replaced it.
If it spins too slowly, and/or if it makes rattling or screeching noises, most likely to be noticed when the computer has cooled to room temp, has not been used for a while, and then is started up, the cpu fan's bearings are failing - replace it as soon as you can.

It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittant, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, mere vibration can cause a poor connection of it - use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)

The same thing applies for the SATA power connection.

Open up your case and examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

This was the original bad capacitor problem - has some example pictures.
History of why the exploding capacitors and which mboard makers were affected:

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:

Check your PS.
Make sure it's putting out the right voltages, it's fan is spinning, it isn't full of mung.
See response 4 in this:

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibilty, on another computer if you need to.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.

You could now attempt to run Setup, but I recommend you do this additinal thing to probably stop the loop problem, especially if you didn't find anything wrong when you did the above....

Unplug the case/power supply.
Remove or unplug everything that isn't essential for running Setup - cards, usb connected stuff, etc

E.g. for me, it was a PCI Audigy card that was causing the loop in Setup with a system I was working on. The card installed fine after Setup was finished. It turned out later I found it only does that when that card is installed when you attempt to Repair XP, not when it is being installed from scratch.

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