19 total posts
You can start by providing more info
In order to help you, we'll need to know the details of your hardware and operating system. Make & model of the computer, what is the boot order set to in the BIOS, what are you booting from, what happens when you power up, etc. Do you get any messages? If so what? Do you see at least the manufacturers logo when powering up? Have you tried booting from a CD or DVD? Have you tried booting to Safe Mode? You can see that you left out a lot of relevant info, and I'm afraid my dog broke my crystal ball.
Thanks for the reply.....
Before the breakdown I was running Win 98 on an old Pentium - 166 MHz I believe. It's a steady office word processor and it was running very well as not too long ago I set it up afresh from an original back up restore. The system tailors well with the computer and has always given good service.
I was trying to add a different HD on the second IDE connector through auto-detect configurations in the BIOS, but I just couldn't make the new HD show in Windows even with manually configurating the setup programme; I had never had this problem before. So after days of trying I decided to reset the BIOS to default settings to get a fresh start and now I have nothing!
With power on the main HD makes a few start up sounds for a few seconds and after that all is silent with a blank screen and no sign of any activity at all. The computer just sits there waiting with just the CPU fan humming away.
I didn't provide any detail about the computer because it didn't seem relevant as the fault seems so fundamental, however I would like to get the system back. So if you can help I would be very grateful.
Do you get ANYTHING on the screen or any beeps?
Also look in the BIOS and see what the boot order is. While in the BIOS setup, check to see if it's recognizing both hard drives because if the BIOS doesn't recognize them, there's no way Windows is going to boot. Does the boot order match the hard drive with Windows on it? And are you sure you set the master/slave jumpers correctly? I usually use the cable select jumper settings, but you need to make SURE they're set correctly. Have you tried booting from a CD or DVD? If your motherboard and processor are OK, that should work.
Do you not get ANYTHING on your monitor screen, not even a logo when you boot? Do you get beeps? You're still pretty short on these details I'm afraid.
Nothing at all!
There is just a blank screen and no sounds from the speaker. Apart from the hum of a fan and the whirr of the HD on idle nothing happens. Though I'm not stating this as fact, it doesn't sound as if the CPU enacts the BIOS programme so the computer never gets to the Boot stage.
Before the problem occured the boot sequence was always: A-drive, CD-drive, HD-drive. The single HD that is now on the computer is set as a master, as it always has been. The problem with the secondary HD, which as I mentioned the computer never recognised anyway, is irrelevant now as I have removed it. The screen message for this event, which would follow (naturally!) all the system tests that the BIOS ran, was, 'Failure fixed disk 1, press F1 to resume, F2 to enter set-up'. I saw this message so many times last week that it's practically burned onto my retina.
I don't want to prejudice anyone's contributions, but if I was asked to give an opinion I would guess that the BIOS programme isn't present so the CPU has nothing to tell it what to do on start-up. This is just speculation, as I have no experience of fundamental faults like this.
Just to confirm the monitor works fine and everything else has the appearance of operating like it always did, with the obvious exceptions of course. What I did before the fault occurred implies it's probably the BIOS program that has changed profoundly.
So you were having hard drive failures?
Have you tried booting from a CD or DVD? If your hard drive is the problem, booting from a CD or DVD should at least boot. I usually use Ubuntu which you can download from
http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop and burn to a DVD-R. If you need a program to burn the disc, you can use the free Imgburn one.
There was never a HD failure... as such
However for about a week I couldn't get the computer to accept an additional hard drive on IDE2 and so this system component was not recognised by Windows. Getting the BIOS to register it was the likely source of the problem.
I have just tried to boot up the computer from a Windows operating system / boot CD which I have. I hope this was in line with your suggesting. I had no sucess.
The problem seems to lie far beyond, or rather ahead of the computer booting an operating system. The CPU doesn't complete (or even undertake?) any of the POST procedures in advance of the boot stage, so not unsurprisingly it never reaches a point where it wants to boot an operating system.
That means serious hardware problems
I'd say that narrows it down to power supply, mobo, CPU, or RAM. You could take it to a repair shop, but the expense would probably exceed the value of the computer. Maybe it's time to buy a new one?
If you have data on the hard drive you want to save, you could remove it, put it in an enclosure, and plug it into the USB port on another computer.
You're right about what you say.....
The computer is of little monitory value so it's probably not worth paying to have it looked at by an expert. However it suited me so I would be sorry to see it go. Cost isn't everything.
You're also right to be cautious about the cause of the fault. It doesn't have to be the absence of a working BIOS program that's killed it off, but it seems a coincidence if it isn't after what I did. Do you believe that this is "unlikely" to be the problem?
I can find an alternative power supply, check the RAM, and even try an alternative CPU. If another one fits the original socket it's suitable isn't it?
What's the "mobo"?
Thank you for your contributions and good luck to you to!
Mobo is an abbreviation for motherboard
I've never seen a BIOS go bad. I'm sure it's possible, but it has to be highly unlikely; and since it's integrated into the motherboard, it's not a replaceable part in any event.
That's very useful
I shall consider the other things first.
From my inspection the FBIOS chip on this board it is 32 pin insertable, plugging into a socket soldered onto the mother board. Theoretically it could easily be removed and replaced.
Re: show HD in Windows
That's quite normal it doesn't show.
To show in Windows Explorer in Windows 98 it must have a not too big FAT32 formatted partition on it. Since you tell nothing about it, it could well have been something else. That's when we use FDISK from DOS.
But if the machine doesn't boot at all even with the disk removed, that's not the current problem. To solve that, I'd buy a new motherboard and reinstall Windows 98. Might not be worth the money and the trouble, but that's up to you.
I don't know Fdisk well enough......
.......to understand how to use it as you indicate.
The point about the second HD not showing was that I had connected it up to the system sucessfully several times before so the problem of not having it accepted by the BIOS and not showing in Windows was new. In my frustration to access it I eventually chose to load the default settings in the BIOS and following this I lost a working computer.
I'd like to see if I can bring it back from the dead. If I could I would know, hopefully, what was wrong!
That's all new information:
- that the BIOS on the Windows 98 computer didn't see the disk either
- that it worked before on the Windows 98 computer and suddenly not
- that you run Windows 98 without knowing about fdisk
But as I said, none of this is relevant at the moment.
I have used Fdisk in the past,
but I don't know its application for making a "too large" disk show in Windows.
The question I have at the moment is, can replacing the chip labled FBIOS produce a replacement of the BIOS program?
The other enquiry - if an alternative CPU fits the original socket would it substitute as a working replacement?
The manual of the motherboard should tell about compatible CPU's. The customer service of the maker can tell you about fixing the BIOS or replacing the chip.
But it looks rather hopeless.
Thanks for your reply. I've made some progress on this!
The BIOS is working, I've had it start up normally. The initiating information came onto the screen followed by a DOS like screen requesting the inputting of basic settings. In the process the familiar set-up pages opened up and I input system information, saved and restarted. It looks like the CMOS storage is the problem because on the re-cycle following exit I was back where I was before with nothing!
I removed the storage battery for an extended period; this is how I got the BIOS start up program back again, but this time the following occured (and has ever since):-
1) No display just a black screen
2) After power is switched on the HD makes wake up sounds and the BIOS program seems to truncate at an early stage with two short beeps then two long beeps. (Three beats: two semi-quavers two quavers)
3) Following which the FD sounds like it about to boot, but doesn't of course, instead there is a steady three beep code which sounds repeatedly.
No matter how long I remove the battery now I can't get the initial screen display and any opportunity to give the BIOS its settings back, instead it's always the pattern described here.
Thanks for all the information so far. Any thoughts about how to proceed?
Might start with replacing the CMOS battery....
Right, this is what I've done....
1) Replaced the CMOS battery
2) Replaced the RAM / rearranged some of the memory in the slots
3) Tried another CPU - though I don't know if it is compatible with the motherboard.
All, I'm afraid, has been to no effect; the symptoms stay the same.
A more precise description of the beep code sequences:
1) The first set is a four beat sequence lasting, 1-half beat, 2-one&half beat, 3-one beat, 4-one beat. This sequence occurs just once.
2) Second set is again in four-four time: 1-beep, 2-beep, 3-beep, 4-no beep. This sequence would repeat ad infinitum if you let it
Thanks for the previous ideas, any other thoughts?