Tacky start up problem

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Tacky start up problem
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junglevip
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January 2, 2011 - 4:12 pm
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Hi everyone, and thx for listening,

I have a totally weird Windows 7 (32 bit) start up problem and I am caught in some infinite loop. I am at a loss and appreciate any help or tips before I pull the plug and do a total recovery of my PC.

I have a MD 8060 desktop (all specs are here http://aldi.medion.com/md8860/nl/). Recently I had a Shockwave Flash Player Update which I did not have the PC run completely and then the problems started. I am unable to start up properly.

The PC starts up rather slowly, and after about 20 seconds I receive an error message that the plug and play service is turned off. I also get the message that I do not have the correct driver for my ATI Radeon Graphics card (HD 5670) or that it is not recognized. The PC starts a turn off procedure and then restarts. In this very limited time frame I am of course unable to install new drivers or do anything useful like uninstalling something.

I tried the following things:

running in safe mode (makes it last about 10 seconds longer before turning off)
system recovery (this is interesting because it restores my system to the moment just before that Shockwave thing happened, and I can see the Icon appearing in the trail bar and then it switches off)
turning off the option that the PC restarts on error (doesn't make any difference)
running in low resolution (no use)

I checked all my cables and oddly enough my cable that connects my screen was not attached entirely secure. I fixed that one and I had about half a minute or so longer that I could do work in WIndows 7. It makes me believe that it might be something hardware related (too). I opened the box, checked all connections and saw nothing unusual about my graphics card. That doesn't make much of a difference as I am not really qualified to check out these things but at first glance all worked fine inside my PC.

So... anyone recognise these symptoms, or able to give me some useful info. I would really appreciate that.

Thx

Klaas

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Chad Johnson
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January 2, 2011 - 11:55 pm
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Hi, and welcome to the forum!

That's the good news.

First thing that should be done is to get any and all data off of this computer / Hard Drive that you need. When dealing with potential hardware issues, data can disappear quickly.

The fact that the computer is not running in Safe Mode is what we call a Bad Thing. It generally indicates that it is not software or driver specific but is a problem with the hardware itself.

How long can the computer stay up before it shuts down? Are we talking seconds or minutes?
Since you seem comfortable about opening up your case, try reseating the Video Card and RAM (take it out, put it back in). If you're not comfortable doing so, please let us know.
If you bring the computer up to its BIOS screen, will it stay on longer than it does when the OS is loaded?
Does a Live CD keep the computer running longer than Windows does (live cd are linux distros like Knoppix - very useful for troubleshooting)?

I would start there.

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junglevip
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January 3, 2011 - 5:23 am
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Thx for answering so quickly. Here's an update on my experiences.

As the computer stays on only for about half a minute, I don't have time to change settings or copy data. So, we're definitely talking seconds.

I did reseat the RAM spikes and the video card, with no effect. I noticed the card was real warm, so maybe we have a problem there. The fan seems to be working properly, though.

The computer indeed stays on when it's on the BIOS screen, no problems there. So, I burned myself a Knoppix live cd and i can use it without hardware problems. I need to check out how it functions but i think i am able to get at least the most important data to a usb stick. Now that's a great relief, and thank you so much for the hint. I had never heard of it before.

Maybe I could could copy a recent video card driver. Don't know if that will solve it.

K

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Jim Hillier
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January 3, 2011 - 6:24 am
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Hi Klaas (and Ziggie) - Sorry for jumping in here and I may be way off track...but:

Klaas, what peripheral devices do have attached to the computer? Have you tried disconnecting (unplugging) all external devices; e.g. printer, mouse, keyboard, transmitter, receiver, webcam, external HDD, flash drive, etc?

Also, assuming your monitor is connected via the graphics card, have you tried connecting to VGA (via a cable with blue connectors)?

Cheers....Jim

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junglevip
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January 3, 2011 - 9:05 am
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Hi.

Thx for all the input. I was able to save the data I wanted from my hard disk and I initiated the total recovery of the system. The printer and other peripherals were not the problem, I think. As for the VGA cable, that's the standard connection I use.

I think some Windows start files got messed up. I certainly hope I don't have a hard disk problem, which may also be the problem here.

Klaas

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Chad Johnson
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January 3, 2011 - 10:42 am
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Hi Jim! No worries on jumping in. I wasn't thinking peripherals since Safe Mode wasn't working either. Good question though.

Hi Klaas - glad you were able to get your data off of the drive. While the sledgehammer approach (wipe and reload everything) certainly worked, it does make it difficult to track down any hardware issues that may have been occurring. Without knowing the real culprit, there is nothing to indicate this problem won't occur again.

That said, I'm happy you are up and running. If you're concerned about your hard drive, you can download a SMART reader (I recommend [url=http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php:1u2od97i]speedfan[/url:1u2od97i]) and read the log information off of your drive. This usually is a good indicator of a problem (essentially, if a problem shows up here, it's time to replace the drive).

--Zig

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