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  • boot loop

    On my son's PC (with XP) the following problem occurred:
    The PC increasingly often did not boot up anymore and came into a boot loop that ended at the first welcome screen (I do not remember what the standard screen usually is called - in this case it was a "Fujitsu-Siemens" screen (the PC manufacturer). Also increasingly often it was not even possible anymore to enter the BIOS setup. At some point in time, the PC reported "unmountable boot volume" or the like.
    Via the XP repair console I ran chkdsk /r fixmbr until the point where bootcfg reported that it had a bootable configuration again. Nevertheless, the problem persisted.
    I checked the hard drive for virusses by taking it into another PC - nothing found.
    I concluded that I might have a hardware problem in the PC and as the PC was up for renewal sometime soon anyway, I bought a barebone, mounted the DVD drives of the old PC, a new SATA HD and the old SATA HD.
    Afterwards maybe a grave mistake: the old HD was the first in the boot order.

    The old problem now occurred on the new PC as well !!
    I disconnected the old HD and the problem remained (including showing the "Fujitsu-Siemens" screen). I cleared the CMOS with power off and even with the main board's battery pulled. The problem persisted. I disconnected the DVD drives, but again the problem persisted.

    If I leave the PC alone for a while, or also (I think) after clearing the CMOS, I am able to enter into the BIOS setup. I have then loaded factory defaults. After saving and exiting, the problem was there again. The problem is also there if I set the only boot option to be the DVD drive (with and without a VISTA DVD in).

    Sometimes the F12 key does what I think it is supposed to do, namely provide the output during running the POST routines. Everything goes well in terms of recognising memory, drives etc. Up to the point where it asks whether booting should be continued.

    Also, on a very limited number of occasions did I get to see the Windows XP boot-up screen (even if the DVD with Vista was specified as the first boot device). But the PC then returned to the loop in which it shows only the first welcome screen.

    The only common hardware between the old PC and the new one are the DVD drives and the old SATA HD. But like I already said above, if I take these off the new system, the problem persists.

    My conclusion would therefore be that the problem is not caused by a hardware failure. I would guess that upon first start-up with the old HD something must have been written into the BIOS that has corrupted the BIOS of the new PC just as it corrupted the BIOS of the old one.

    Can anybody give me some advise on what to do ?
    Should I flash the BIOS? How can I do that, if the system will not boot (I guess that if I cannot achieve booting from the DVD, I will also not be able to boot from a floppy drive ....

    I have an American Megatrends BIOS and an Elitegroup A740GM-M main board.

  • #2
    Re: boot loop

    To be perfectly honesty I think you may have disconnected the new hard drive not the old one accidentally. If you disconnect both hard drives what happens?
    cheers
    Andy

    Please read this before you post:


    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: boot loop

      Originally posted by AndyJG247 View Post
      To be perfectly honesty I think you may have disconnected the new hard drive not the old one accidentally. If you disconnect both hard drives what happens?
      I can assure you that I double-checked Anyway, the new drive has a green sticker (for green technology) on it, so there is no way of mixing them up.
      I also disconnected both drives to see what happens: it does not make a difference.

      Something must have been written in the bios - to me there appears to be no other explanation ..... And it is not the cmos values. A virus ?

      Regards

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: boot loop

        Do you have legit media for the OS (not a re-image disk / partition from the OEM) and was it used to install the OS originally? If so, a repair install (vs. the repair console) may be for you (after a complete backup).

        Search this site for "repair install" and you'll find a few threads that may help.
        Cheers,

        Rick

        ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points sigpic where appropriate **

        © 2006-2099 R Valstar. This post is offered "as is" for discussion purposes only with no express or implied warranty of any kind including, but not limited to, correctness or fitness for use. Nothing herein shall be construed as advice. Attempting any activity based on information in this post is done at your own risk.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: boot loop

          Originally posted by rvalstar View Post
          Do you have legit media for the OS (not a re-image disk / partition from the OEM) and was it used to install the OS originally? If so, a repair install (vs. the repair console) may be for you (after a complete backup).

          Search this site for "repair install" and you'll find a few threads that may help.
          Thanks for the reply !

          If I understand correctly, for a repair install I must make it to the boot device. So far, I wasn´t able to achieve just that.
          I do have a legit XP (OEM, but not just an image) for the old PC and a legit Vista (non-OEM) for the new one.
          I have already backed up the complete hard disc via an SATA-USB converter onto my laptop.

          If pressing F11 on boot (if the PC was left alone for some time) I make it to the BIOS boot menu. There I can select the DVD drive with Vista but if I select it, I end up in the same loop as always

          Regards

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: boot loop

            If you put the drive back in the original machine the way it was (primary master or whatever) and then try the "repair install" per the links in one of my earlier posts (since the drive is backed up), it should get the MBR and boot loader set back properly.

            Best of luck.
            Cheers,

            Rick

            ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points sigpic where appropriate **

            © 2006-2099 R Valstar. This post is offered "as is" for discussion purposes only with no express or implied warranty of any kind including, but not limited to, correctness or fitness for use. Nothing herein shall be construed as advice. Attempting any activity based on information in this post is done at your own risk.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: boot loop

              Originally posted by rvalstar View Post
              If you put the drive back in the original machine the way it was (primary master or whatever) and then try the "repair install" per the links in one of my earlier posts (since the drive is backed up), it should get the MBR and boot loader set back properly.

              Best of luck.
              Hi - thanks very much for the quick answers - I appreciate it very much.

              I will check whether there are any differences between the "repair install" you refer to and the repeated running of "chkdsk /R" and fixmbr that I already performed in the old system at the time where it still functioned. However, at the point in time where I took the old hard disc out, also in the old system I could not boot anymore from the DVD drive with the XP DVD.

              And I have the problems also in the new PC with the old disc drive not connected - so although I agree that probably the old hard disc does not have a functioning MBR, on its own it cannot be responsible for the new system not booting with only a new drive connected ...

              In the meantime I have flashed the newest available BIOS via USB stick. At least this worked (via F11). I could therefore prepare a bootable USB stick also with utilities for checking things - only, I do not know what to check Or which tools could help.

              Helpfull would also be answers to:
              - can a PC boot without a hard disk connected ?
              (if yes, then it is clear that whatever happens, has nothing to do with the MBR)
              - can a program write into the BIOS ?
              - how can I read anything sensible from the BIOS ?

              Another symptom of my new system: clearing CMOS and/or pulling the mainboard's battery does not help in allowing me to enter the BIOS setup or reaching the BIOS boot menu. The only way I can do those things is to simply wait for half an hour/an hour - otherwise it will inevitably end up in the loop.

              Regards
              Last edited by Salsero; 27th October 2008, 23:23.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: boot loop

                Shame on me

                The explanation for the 1/2 hour to an hour power off enabling me to thereafter reach the BIOS:

                it was the .... monitor. At some point in time it even stopped saying "No signal" in between of the loops. That was already suspicious. But not saying "No signal" after turning off the computer made clear to me that there must be something wrong with the monitor.

                Whether the monitor was mal-functioning all the time remains unclear. Before discovering any problems with the monitor, this morning before leaving to work I managed to work my way through to the DVD drive and I started re-installing, e.g. either the screen was bad all the time and I was lucky for once that it functioned that long and/or there were more things wrong. At least all the (undocumented) beep codes sent upon booting before the re-install would say, there were also problems with other hardware and/or the MBR.

                Coming to the hardware: the USB mouse did not function immediately after re-install, now it does. The USB keyboard functioned after the re-install but strikes at the moment. I connected a PS2 keyboard instead and it intermittently sends keyboard strokes on its own. Another thing: one of the 2 DVD drives that I tried to use as boot device before, cannot read the Vista CD. Apparently (although it is a rather new drive) it does not function 100% in the new system. In the old system no problem. The rather very old 2nd DVD drive functions without problem (of course the one that I suspected of making problems ).

                I am now going to test the voltages of the power supply and the USB/PS2 ports. There must be something wrong there.

                My apologies to all who spent time in thinking about the causes of the problem.

                At least my experience of the last couple of days seems to confirm that what I read in many other threads: if there is a boot problem that early (eg before windows starts) it will normally be some type of hardware problem. In my case maybe caused by over oder under voltages or an unstable power supply. The fact that so many hardware problems arise at the same time would point to that rather than a problem with any individual hardware component. Maybe also the voltage on the sub-D is off-spec and so caused the monitor malfunctioning.

                I'll do some further testing and post any new insights that I may gain from that.

                Regards

                Added afterwards:
                after running the newest version of PCTools SpyWare doctor with antivirus I found something that wasn't found by doing the previous scan with the hard disc drive attached to my laptop´s USB port: a malicious software called Hacktool.reboot - alias RiskTool.win32.Reboot.f
                Some info to be found on http://forum.hijackthis.de/showthread.php?t=34100 (sorry, is in german) and http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/foru...index.php/t168 - the virus is a backdoor and/or rootkit type. The system instability was caused by not resetting to BIOS defaults after clearing CMOS (after resetting to BIOS defaults I did not experience hardware problems anymore - also the monitor was OK). So the boot loops were caused by the virus - will do some further search on how it functions.
                Last edited by Salsero; 29th October 2008, 01:27.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: boot loop

                  A fujitsu siemans montior? Glad you are getting somewhere now though.

                  Having a had a quick look at that hack tool it implies it can capture keystrokes so I would recommend changing your passwords if you do online banking etc.
                  cheers
                  Andy

                  Please read this before you post:


                  Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: boot loop

                    Originally posted by AndyJG247 View Post
                    A fujitsu siemans montior? Glad you are getting somewhere now though.

                    Having a had a quick look at that hack tool it implies it can capture keystrokes so I would recommend changing your passwords if you do online banking etc.
                    Hi Andy,

                    thanks for the warning.

                    Will still have to do some work to ensure there are no remnants left, but at least it is clear what to do.

                    Regards

                    Comment

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