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Diagnose my PC fail help - Page 2
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  1. #11
    Sergeant at Arms Andy Cap's Avatar
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    Default Re: Diagnose my PC fail help

    Quote Originally Posted by rabid_redneck View Post
    Ok, here's where I'm confused...

    Monroe said it takes 3-4 hours to POST (Power On Self Test). This is a function that the motherboard will accomplish even if there is no hard drive installed. If the HDD was bad, it would say 'No boot device' or 'Bad boot device' or something like that. So, here's my question: How can a faulty HDD cause a 3-4 hour POST? I'm asking cause maybe you guys know something I don't or maybe it's just one of those things that computers do that can't be explained...

    Anyways, in lieu of an explanation, I'd say that it's the motherboard or processor that are at fault, so, update the BIOS and see what happens...

    EDIT: Just re-read what I said and had a thought: disconnect the HDDs and see if it POSTs any faster. If it POSTs fine with the HDDs disconnected, then they're at fault, if the problem persists, then your HDDs are fine and the problem is elsewhere.
    I think a lot of people use the term POST without knowing technically what it means, and where in the boot process it has been accomplished. Although Monroeski is one bright guy, I am not overly confident he would have made the differentiation before this thread.

    So, you may get a ridiculously long boot time. I don't know for sure, but I doubt a system would still boot up if it took 3-4 hours for the POST. I imagine the POST routing must have a timeout built in.
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    [DP]Andy Cap

  2. #12
    Oberführer, Department of Forum Signatures Sparhawk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Diagnose my PC fail help

    I'd go down the HDD route in the interim. I imagine you have a spare drive somewhere Monroe? If so, connect it up and go through the motions of installing Windows on it. If it all goes through in less than an hour, then your other HDD is the problem. I'd swap out the Sata Cables as a pre-caution anyway. Cables are one of the biggest points of failure in anything even if they just sit there and seemingly do nothing.

    Have you not got a spare rig you can try the potentially problem HDD in? If so, try it in there too and see if the same problem occurs.

    USB HDD's, if you have any, disconnect and try again.

    There normally is a timeout feature in BIOS POST but then weird things can happen.

    The other thing is that Network Cards can cause all sorts of weirdness. I'd go into the BIOS and disable all on board Network cards your mobo has or if you have a plug in one (not likely), disable that or remove it.


    To be honest, any component in the computer can cause a boot issue. They're ALL queried upon start up. I'd go for the HDD route first and if you don't get any success, start testing individual components.


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  3. #13
    DP Guild Member Blatherbeard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Diagnose my PC fail help

    Cant add anything but a good luck and thanks to everyone for this info. Good stuff to know!

  4. #14

    Default Re: Diagnose my PC fail help

    It's the mobo. Cap is right in that I may not be using the reference to POST properly. To me POST is when the mobo is going throught the process of starting the machine. Detecting drives, checking ram and processor, etc.. and then going on to boot which is when the OS starts to load. The entire startup process takes 3-4 hours. The actual POST process is probably 2-3 hours but I don't actually sit there and time each segment. I left it on while doing some paperwork and looked at it every few minutes. I would think it was locked up and then it would move on to the next step. I just left it on to see what would happen and it ended up starting many hours later. I tried it a second time and the same thing. Many hours to actual go through the entire startup process. Every step was super slow.

    I have the cash sitting there waiting to do the upgrade when the right parts are available at the right price. I just wanted to isolate the problem to a part I am changing out. Thanks everyone for your help. I am pretty good at building machines but suck at making them run.

  5. #15
    Resident Grump Lincoln's Avatar
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    Default Re: Diagnose my PC fail help

    If it's the mobo, do a bios reset, change the battery and see if it changes the POST speed.

    Oddest problem ever to prevent a pc from starting up was: a hard drive shorting out on the case. Yes, you read that right. When I was building custom PCs for extra cash, I built this rig and was doing the boot test and it wouldn't power on. Unplugged all but PSU and it did fine. Started plugging in CD rom, boots. Plugged in floppy: boots. And so on but once I connected the HDD nothing happened. Kept the HDD plugged in but removed it from the case and the system booted fine. Somehow, that particular hard drive was shorting out when attached to the case. We even tested it touching the case and the system wouldn't boot. Weirdest thing I've ever seen on a pc.

  6. #16
    DP Guild Member rabid_redneck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Diagnose my PC fail help

    Worst thing I've seen is a system crash caused by a little dust in an unused electrical connector behind the motherboard, shorting it to the chassis. Fried the motherboard, 3 HDDs, 2 optical drives and the PSU. Had a hell of a time isolating that.

    Vim Vi Repellere Licet

  7. #17
    Sergeant at Arms Andy Cap's Avatar
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    Default Re: Diagnose my PC fail help

    Quote Originally Posted by [DP]Monroe View Post
    It's the mobo. Cap is right in that I may not be using the reference to POST properly. To me POST is when the mobo is going throught the process of starting the machine. Detecting drives, checking ram and processor, etc.. and then going on to boot which is when the OS starts to load. The entire startup process takes 3-4 hours. The actual POST process is probably 2-3 hours but I don't actually sit there and time each segment. I left it on while doing some paperwork and looked at it every few minutes. I would think it was locked up and then it would move on to the next step. I just left it on to see what would happen and it ended up starting many hours later. I tried it a second time and the same thing. Many hours to actual go through the entire startup process. Every step was super slow.

    I have the cash sitting there waiting to do the upgrade when the right parts are available at the right price. I just wanted to isolate the problem to a part I am changing out. Thanks everyone for your help. I am pretty good at building machines but suck at making them run.
    As Spar wrote, many things contribute to the boot process. I would still suggest checking event logs.

    Linc is on target too, it is quite possible something in the bios got bunged.

    Keep in mind that the boot process involved loading drivers, and locating the resources. So, if the memory is messed up, the boot up may be slow to index it. It's still possible the drive is located by the bios, but it takes forever to spin up properly, and may even be losing blocks as it goes along.

    The reason I don't really lean towards the Mobo is usually they either work or they don't. That's not saying that it isn't the mobo.
    ------------------------------------------------------------


    [DP]Andy Cap

  8. #18

    Default Re: Diagnose my PC fail help

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Cap View Post

    The reason I don't really lean towards the Mobo is usually they either work or they don't. That's not saying that it isn't the mobo.
    Same here. I'll try a bios reset, swap ram and toss the old hdd back on it. Its a bootable windows vista raptor I replaced with an ssd and large cap storage drive setup. Seemed wierd the mobo would die but still work but these things are magic as far as im concerned. Who could imagine a bunch of chips and wires could do this stuff if put together in the right way. Witchcraft I say!

  9. #19
    Resident Grump Lincoln's Avatar
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    Default Re: Diagnose my PC fail help

    A nice layman's post on what the POST process does.

    http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch001263.htm

  10. #20
    Sergeant at Arms Andy Cap's Avatar
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    Default Re: Diagnose my PC fail help

    Really good article Linc. Thanks for sharing.
    ------------------------------------------------------------


    [DP]Andy Cap


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