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WIN98SE Crashes Terminally

by Spyker6 / May 7, 2004 4:54 AM PDT

My homebuilt PC has the most aggravating problem that I hope someone can help me with. It has an ASUS A7N8X Deluxe motherboard with an AMD Athlon XP2500+ processor running WIN98SE. It has 512megs of DDR memory and a Verto GeForce FX graphics card. It's
mounted in an Antar case with a 300w power supply. The problem is that with no warning what-so-ever it will fail to boot into Windows, after about two weeks of working fine daily. The problem has happened 5 times since I first put it together in February and the only way I've ever been able to get it running again is to FDISK, reformat the drive and start all over again, loading all the software again from scratch. This is getting old. It will run fine for about two weeks then the next time I go to start it up ...nothing but a blank screen with a blinking cursor.
It will run in SAFE mode. If I do the step-by-step start-up it always fails at loading the msmouse.vxd file. I also tried reloading Windows but when it gets to the point where it?s ready to restart, it hangs again. I've tried all the MS Knowledge base ideas and nothing worked. The virus software is up to date. HD diagnostics fail to find anything wrong.
I?m getting pretty exasperated, so before I go through the whole scenario again, I?d sure like some help figuring out what could be wrong. Can anybody help? Thanks.

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Re:WIN98SE Crashes Terminally (on 300 Watt PSU).
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 7, 2004 5:15 AM PDT
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Re:Re:WIN98SE Crashes Terminally (on 300 Watt PSU).
by Spyker6 / May 7, 2004 9:06 AM PDT

Bob,
No mystery here, it was the unit that came with the case. I appreciate your advice, and will look into getting a more powerful power supply. Thanks.

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Re:Re:Re:WIN98SE Crashes Terminally (on 300 Watt PSU).
by Spyker6 / May 8, 2004 2:57 AM PDT

I read that article on power supplies and I understand how a weak PS could make a system unstable but in my case it's more than unstable. For one thing it doesn't crash while it's running, it's always been on startup and the second thing is once this happens, something PERMANENT happens because it WILL NOT BOOT NORMALLY again unless I start all over as I mentioned in my first post. So although it can't hurt to install a more powerful PS, I still think it must be something else causing this particular problem.

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An insidious problem.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 8, 2004 3:19 AM PDT

Not only is the Watts inportant, but how the PSU handles a few milliseconds of high demand.

Frankly, until the PSU is of an oversized variety, I'm pretty deaf to what problems a machine has. It does no one any good to chase ghosts due to a small power supply. Worse, running on a small power supply strains the capacitors and power supply parts on the motherboard and what else is in the machine.

Your choice, but the cost in lost time and stressed components outwieghs spending 20 bucks on a generic 450 Watt supply.

After you get your supply under control, if the machine hasn't suffered damage from the too small supply, items like BIOS, motherboard drivers and such are reviewed.

Too bad you could make this a warranty issue.

Bob

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QUOTE!
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 8, 2004 3:25 AM PDT

"Frequently users blame problems like this on sloppily programmed drivers or hardware mined with errors."

You are falling into a trap. I supplied the articles and some fall into a denaial mode where they can't believe that 300 Watts isn't enough.

It's not funny to read long dialogues about this issue and read as their hardware continues to degrade under the stress of the inadequate power supply.

Take action before you descend into this trap.

Bob

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''Static x.vxd''
by Cursorcowboy / May 8, 2004 10:53 PM PDT

Since you've identified the responsible x.VXD file, have you deleted it from the following key in the registry, [Q192926] and that it is not listed in the C:\98WIN\SYSTEM\IOSUBSYS folder?

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD

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Re:WIN98SE Crashes Terminally
by topscribe / May 14, 2004 3:51 AM PDT

I can't believe a 300W power supply is not sufficient. That's pretty strong for Windows 9x, unless you have an unusual number of peripherals attached.

I experienced something similar with my daughter's computer. Thing gave us fits for the longest time, and all sorts of troubleshooting turned up nothing. Finally, I decided that when you have exhausted the logical, then you start working with the illogical. I brought over another hard drive and "ghosted" the old one over onto it--that is, I transferred everything over and made the new one the active HDD. Haven't had a problem since--at least not that one. As it turned out, after I installed the old HDD in another computer, it went bad.

I don't know if that's your problem--it doesn't make much sense, I admit. However, that is not the only case I've run into that didn't make sense. But, for what it's worth . . .

Oh yes, another (again, remote?) possibility: What is the ambient (room) temperature where your computer is? Also, is your computer adequately ventilated? I don't know . . . perhaps installing an additional case and/or slot fan may bring the temp down and solve your problem. Unlikely, but, as I said, possible.

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It's not 300W.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 14, 2004 4:01 AM PDT

Read the supplied articles and you find why this is a repeating problem. Your comment is noted at the supplied web sites.

Its truly a shame how people have endured over a simple undersized part of their machine.

Bob

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Re:It's not 300W.
by topscribe / May 14, 2004 5:13 AM PDT
In reply to: It's not 300W.

Well, actually, I had already read the articles before I discovered your comment in this thread. Most certainly, it won't HURT to put in the stronger power supply--in fact, since it is a relatively cheap device, it is a good idea. However, as a technician, I could not generically represent it as THE answer to this person's problem. That's all I'm saying. Happy

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Re:Re:It's not 300W.
by Spyker6 / May 14, 2004 9:31 PM PDT
In reply to: Re:It's not 300W.

Thanks to everyone who's responded. Since power supplies are so inexpensive I decided to cover all the bases and bought a new Vantec with a claimed 520 watts and even if it doesn't quite make it's rating I'm sure whatever it puts out should be more than adequate. Anyway I'll be starting from scratch in the next few days and we'll see what happens. So thanks again and watch this space!

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You are right.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 14, 2004 9:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Re:It's not 300W.

But it's a simple problem of trying to remove likely candidates from the problem list at the least cost.

While I'll agree that one can't be absolutely certain if "part B" is at fault or undersized, in a forum like this, I take the "most likely" and "cost based" approach to the issues.

If one were to move the "certainty factor" level up to where one would only offer the "part B" is undersized if that was 100% assured to be the problem, then this forum should shut down and everyone needs to take everything to shops they trust.

But that's not where we have to operate. Since I find 450 and higher PSUs in the 20 dollar range and its a too often repeating issue at the shop, then when one sees over GHz machines (especially Athlons) with under 450 Watt supplies then its time to offer the advice to move that issue off the problem map.

Bob

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Update
by Spyker6 / December 3, 2004 9:39 AM PST
In reply to: You are right.

12/03/04
Since I posted my last message back in May, I upgraded the power supply to a 520 watt unit and have started all over with different HDs, but it still fails the EXACT SAME WAY.
Even though I have some generic memory installed, I tested it using the "Memtest86" program and it checks out OK. According to some ASUS specific message boards, ASUS mobos are picky about which memory manufacturer to use so perhaps that's where I should go next.
It has run several times for longer than two weeks and in fact this last time it ran for more than 3 months, then just like every time before, I went to start it up and it's gone again.
Monitoring the temperature with the ASUS Probe feature says everything is OK but lately I've been thinking that maybe my BIOS is defective or I have a bad version mobo. Any other thoughts would be most welcome.
Thanks very much,
Mark K.

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Try this.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 3, 2004 10:28 AM PST
In reply to: Update

Use just one stick of RAM. Your are right about picky memory, but trying one stick of RAM can help sniff out the issue.

The power supply is good to have off the possibility list.

Bob

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Re: Try this.
by Spyker6 / December 5, 2004 4:32 PM PST
In reply to: Try this.

Thanks for "staying on the case". I am already running just one stick, and have both tried it in other slots as well as using another stick of the same size, by itself, using the same criteria.
Thanks again.
Mark K.

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What else can be changed?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 5, 2004 8:14 PM PST
In reply to: Re: Try this.

Remember that a bum motherboard is ... a bum. Has the vendor been asked to replace it?

What else is suspect?

Bob

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Re: What else can be changed?
by jhall49 / December 6, 2004 12:13 PM PST

I read all the posts and after thinking things over my thought is that it must be the mother board. Almost everything else has been eliminated, hard drive, memory,and power supply. I guess that it could be some other hardware that is sometimes dragging the system down, but I don't find that likely. I am thinking that it must be a faulty cap, or chip, maybe even a cold solder joint on the mother board.

Just giving you my two cents worth. I repair copiers for a living and sometimes they have the same strange problems. You have shotgunned everything but the mother board.

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