Computer crashed upon booting OS

May 12, 2011 at 10:26:53
Specs: Windows XP
Working on a computer currently.

The computer crashes upon loading WINDOWS XP.

It will reboot and go through the boot process again no matter which mode or process I try to boot in.

I skipped some steps and just put a hard drive that I KNEW worked, and still had the same problem.

So that eliminates it being a hard drive or OS problem right?

What should be my next step?


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#1
May 12, 2011 at 10:41:14
Tell us the make and model of your brand name system, or if you have a generic desktop system, the make and model of the mboard.

The specific model of a brand name system is often shown on a label on the outside of the case somewhere, or it can often be determined by going to the brand name's web site and loading a program they have available, if Windows is still working, on the subject computer.

If it's a Dell computer...
Go here for how to find the Service tag "number":
http://support.dell.com/support/top...

Tell us what it is.

If it's a HP or Compaq computer.....
Go here:
http://partsurfer.hp.com/search.aspx
Scroll down a bit.
Look for the similar label on the outside of your computer.
Quote the specific model number - that's at the end of the first line.
Quote the Product number - that's on the third line.

The model, sometimes the make, of a mboard in a generic desktop system is usually printed on the mboard's surface in obvious larger characters, often between the slots.
.......

What have you tried ?

What works, what doesn't work ?

You need to supply more info about your symptoms.

E.g.

What are you seeing ?

Are there messages ? - if so, state them.

"just put a hard drive that I KNEW worked, and still had the same problem."
"So that eliminates it being a hard drive or OS problem right?"

You haven't supplied enough info for us to determine that.

Not necessarily.
E.g. If the hard drive "that I KNEW worked" has a Windows 2000 or XP installation on it that was installed when the hard drive was connected to a different mboard, and you tried booting from that with it connected to the subject mboard, if the hardware of the present mboard is more that a little different, the operating system will often NOT load normally.



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#2
May 12, 2011 at 10:46:49
Sorry. I would provide more information if I had it. This is a frankenstein gaming computer that I stumbled upon. Clear case - no brand label. Can't determine any specs currently. Looks like AMD Athlon processor, 80g hard drive, 2 extra sticks of ram installed.

It will run through the normal boot process, go to the Windows XP loading screen, I get a flash of a "blue screen" - "dumping physical memory" which i've seen before with a bad hard drive. It will then restart and go through the boot process again.

Thank you for the reply. I apologize sincerely for not being able to provide more information.


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#3
May 12, 2011 at 11:26:46
It is a "GIGABYTE" motherboard. There is no other information printed on it.

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#4
May 12, 2011 at 12:40:54
"Clear case - no brand label."

There may be
- a label inside where you open a door or an access panel on the front
- a label stuck to inside of the case.

If it's a brand name system part number, then it's probably a special brand name computer model system.

However, if it's a generic system the case model info won't help.

"2 extra sticks of ram installed."

They usually have a label with a part number on it - either the ram manufacturer's or a brand name system specific one. If it's a brand name system specific ram part number, then it's probably a special brand name computer model system.
E.g.some Dell systems have an Alienware case
The ram module often also has ram timing numbers, either 3 or 4 of them, and a specific ram voltage printed on it.
If the stated voltages are different, try installing only 1 of them.

"It is a "GIGABYTE" motherboard."

If it's a retail model....

The model, sometimes the make, of a mboard in a generic desktop system is usually printed on the mboard's surface in obvious larger characters, often between the slots.

There may be something in the way of you seeing that.

If it's an OEM only model - made only for brand name computer system builders - it may have no model number printed on it. However, in that case, there should be a stuck on label on the mboard somewhere that has the brand name system's part number on it for the mboard, or for the mboard with the particular CPU installed - it often has bar codes on the label.

Also - the model number may be shown
- in the mboard's bios Setup
- on a Logo (graphical) screen while booting the computer
........

"It will run through the normal boot process, go to the Windows XP loading screen, I get a flash of a "blue screen" - "dumping physical memory" which i've seen before with a bad hard drive. It will then restart and go through the boot process again."

So - the hard drive is booting fine, the operating system is generating the error message , but the operating system is not loading properly.

(If the hard drive "that I KNEW worked" has a Windows 2000 or XP installation on it that was installed when the hard drive was connected to a different mboard, and you tried booting from that with it connected to the subject mboard, if the hardware of the present mboard is more that a little different, the operating system will often NOT load normally.
That can be fixed without losing the personal data on the Windows partition, by running a Repair installation of Windows, if you have a suitable Windows CD to boot the computer from and if the circumstances otherwise meet the requirements for running a Repair installation of Windows.)

Windows is set by default to automatically Restart when it encounters an error that it can't recover from.

Press F8 repeatedly while booting, and choose
Disable automatic restart....

That will attempt to start up Windows normally.

When you get a blue screen message, the message will stay on the screen instead of the computer Restarting .
(Hold the power button in for at least 4 seconds until the mboard shuts off , then you can attempt to start up the computer again.)

Copy down the things that are unique in the message and post them here.

E.g.

STOP: 0Xx00000xx (we don't need the stuff in brackets beside that)

A_TEXT_STRING_ALL_IN_CAPITALS

There may be a problem file named at the end of the text.

There may be a link to More info or similar - if so, click on it to see if it names a problem file.

There may be a mention of a MINIDUMP file having been made - if so, copy down the name and location of it - you may need to click on a link to find that. That MINIDUMP file can be analyzed.

"dumping physical memory" which i've seen before with a bad hard drive."

That doesn't necessarily indicate the hard drive is failing, but it CAN happen if data is corrupted on the hard drive for whatever reason, including because the hard drive is failing.
The error event that causes the MINIDUMP to be made can be either hardware or software related.

If SMART error reporting is enabled in the mboard's bios Setup, if you get a SMART error reported while booting, the hard drive probably IS failing.

You're wasting your time trying to fix problems Windows is having if the ram or if the hard drive itself is having problems.
You are much better off to make sure those are okay first, before you do anything else.

When a computer is experiencing major problems, the first thing I do is I always test the ram with diagnostics, then when that passes, then test the hard drive with diagnostics.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...

If less than 4gb of ram is installed....

If you want to try a memory diagnostic utility that takes a lot less time to run a full pass than memtest86 does, this one is pretty good - Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag...
Windows Memory Diagnostic is limited to testing only the first 4 gigabytes (GB) of RAM.
It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.
If you don't have a floppy drive, see the Quick Start Information at that Microsoft link for how to make a bootable CD of the Windows Memory Diagnostic (you need Windiag.iso - you don't necessarily need to use the program they mention to add it to the CD).

If 4gb or more ram is installed
download and use
- Memtest86 v.3.4 or lower - HOWEVER it has bugs that produce false errors in two tests of it's set of tests on SOME systems that have an AMD cpu or AMD main chipset
- or Memtest86+ (it's NOT made by the same guy), HOWEVER, it has bugs that produces false errors on SOME systems, unless you DISABLE Legacy USB support in the bios BEFORE you run the tests.

If the ram does NOT pass the ram diagnostics, that does NOT necessarily indicate the ran is BAD. There are other things you can check and do before you can make that conclusion.
....

When the ram has passed....

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 intermittent, 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.

80 wire data cables must have the proper end connector connected to the mboard IDE header - usually that's blue, but in any case it's the one farther from the middle connector on a 3 connector data cable.


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.


Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
http://www.computing.net/windows95/...

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 compatibility, on another computer if you need to.

E.g.
Seagate's Seatools will test any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.
http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.j...

The bootable Dos versions of SeaTools can be used even if Windows is not working properly.

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

If the ram and the hard drive itself tests okay, you can be pretty sure your problem is a Windows hardware or software related problem, but it probably has nothing to do with the ram or hard drive being defective.
.......

You could also try...

Press F8 repeatedly while booting, and choose
Safe mode
or
Safe mode with networking
or
Enable VGA mode
or
Last known good....



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#5
May 12, 2011 at 14:43:35
Wow. Crazy helpful reply - thank you so much. I will record all of this information when I work on it again this evening and will post here. I will also go through the processes you posted. Already tried the last known config and reset, but I will try running an OS repair.

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#6
May 12, 2011 at 22:04:21
Do you know if the system was previously working with that hard drive and OS? If you just 'stumbled' across it maybe the previous owner had transferred the drive from another PC. That would also give you the blue screen since XP is keyed to only boot with the original motherboard.

Ding dong the witch is dead. . . .


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