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Old 06-18-2004, 11:30 PM   #1
Registered: Jul 2003
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2 seperate computers, same problem

this one has me stumped. my cousin had reported her computer had been freezing up. i could understand this as it is an older win98 system. however i checked it out and found no spyware or viruses. the background programs where to a minimum, only the virus scan, and basic windows operations. i did however turn off a logitech camera program. a scan disk yeilded no issues with the drive, well possibly some issue scandisk cant find. anyways my next question is the RAM, this system only has 96Mb, but memtest says its fine. i do several more tests with, memmory seems fine. so i boot back into win98, and let it sit. it gives me what i want, a good freeze up. so my next choice is CPU. this is where it gets bad. i swap in a new CPU, same type and speed (pentium 2 400Mhz) however when i come back down stair i am confronted with something bad, computer fails to boot. gives a standard POST but fails to do anything afterwards, i cant even get into the BIOS screen. so i swap in another CPU, pentium 2 350Mhz, same effect. I then pull out the keyboard and mouse, no beep or text warning. i then remove monitor, no beep code. so i place original CPU in, still the same. I then start with RAM.
suddenly it hits me, i have gone thru this before. more on that in a minute. so i start takeing it apart. after this i test the powersupply, it seems to be giveing th correct voltage and all. however i swap in a new powersupply, with same effects. i then take the system down to its bare. removing all the drives. once i removed all the IDE devices things seemed back to normal. i could get into BIOS. i didnt try to boot from a floppy as i dont have one in any of the systems here.
i place the HD in first, it goes into BIOS but still fails to boot. Also the BIOS will not let me change boot settings. THE BIOS does all hard drive setting automaticly, and this is a older drive. maxtro 4GB. so it should get the setting right, also they should still be stored in the system. well it fails to boot. i tried both channles.
i cleared CMOS and started new, fresh cables and all. still same effect

ok now for a possible explanation.

computer 2
a near similar type of system. Both are gateway systems. My cousins was bought as a bare bones (just main board case and powersupply) model is E-3200. pentium 2 or celeron, and possibly even early P3 support. this system was used when bought.
computer 2 is an old gateway that i owned. used early P3 and i am guessing could even use a P2. most likly very similar main boards, as far as chipsets and BIOS goes. computer 2 is doing a very similar problem. i know for a fact computer 2 is a fully working system. it was unused for about 6 months until last week. i installed a new 40GB HD in it and was planning on useing this as a mail server for freeBSD. well similar issue as cousin's computer. if i removed the hard drive and CD-ROM it seemed fine. however i do remember that by setting both devices to the exact same jumper settings it worked, but still froze up when you went to boot from the freeBSD disk.

so lets break it down
cousin's computer specs
Windows 98
4GB maxtro hard drive ATA/IDE,
96MB RAM PC100
pentium 2 400Mhz
8x4x32x CD-r/RW drive
main board built by gateway but uses basic intel P2 chipsets, memtest gave me this ifo but i forget

computer 2
No OS, was going to use freeBSD
40GB western digital drive (ironicly in the past i had the same model drive in this system with no issues. my dad upgraded from this to a AMD 1800+ and took that hard drive)
256MB RAM PC100
pentium III 450Mhz
12x8x32x CD-R/RW (IDE)
mainboard is a gateway PIII board, most likly very similar to my cousin's system. this came out in late 1999, i got it then seems to have been made in august/october

now why would this fail, with something that could be the same issue? thats the stumper.

other factors. both computers used same power strip in basement. its good and in working order. however what about the wall voltage? it seems OK i tested.

both used same monitor. an old VESA VGA monitor, had sat around in the garage for a while. however seems safe and has a good picture.

both used the same keyboard and mouse, IBM ps/2 - old keyboard that was on an IBM ps/2 286 system. the mouse is a Ps/2 ball mouse from an emachines computer.

any ideas. was there a IDE issue of this kind with gateways of that time period 1997-2000?

could a bad keyboard, mouse, or monitor do this??? seems odd.

if this is a BIOS/CMOS issue am i able to flash upgrade

can i use a external (PCI card) IDE adapter to fix this issue?
Old 06-18-2004, 11:39 PM   #2
Registered: Sep 2002
Location: Reconquista
Distribution: RedHat, Fedora
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CPUs temperature

Check the microprocessor temperature.
If this are high, the BIOS automatically freeze your cpu.
Old 06-18-2004, 11:46 PM   #3
Registered: Jul 2003
Posts: 74

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nope they where all fairly good temps. i think 90 F was about the highest it got.
other things tested
video cards (only sytem 2, cousin's system everything is built in)
CD drives i have sence swaped them
useing different channles, i have however not had both on the same channle

like i said this is a real stumper
however it could be that i have 2 computers that had the same type of failuer at near the same time.
Old 06-19-2004, 12:02 AM   #4
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Ohio, USA
Distribution: Arch Linux
Posts: 464

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Perhaps the first thing you should do is put the machines
back exactly as they were except with the cdroms out.
The HD's should of course be on ide1 as master.
If you can boot into the bios and the HD is there, fine.
If it won't boot or the HD is not listed in the bios, try removing
the jumper from the HD altogether. As long as the HD gets detected
the next step is to boot to a win98 boot floppy and check that all is well
with fdisk. I wouldn't worry about fdisks output as long as a C: drive is detected.
Then worry about the cdroms.

If you can't boot to a floppy you may need to check if you knocked
a jumper loose from the MOBO.
Old 06-19-2004, 09:58 AM   #5
Registered: Jul 2003
Posts: 74

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i think it may be the IDE controllers
i have tried all that. it booted up a few times. then i added CD ROM it worked, however i went to reboot and it failed agian. i swaped out the CD and hard drive for ones i know work. same problem.
both the HD and cd-rom seem fine in older pentium system.
my concern is that if the IDE controllers went out, what else might be damaged on the main board.

anyways i am gonna buy a PCI ATA card and see if that works
if worse comes to worse i give her my pentium box, which i dont use anymore.
Old 06-19-2004, 08:13 PM   #6
Registered: Jul 2003
Posts: 74

Original Poster
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i am going to say my cousins computer is totaly shot. i tired a PCI adapter with no luck at all.

booting into DOS/win98 boot disk and running FDISK shows nothing. i have dont all jumper settings and cominations. i even tried a different hard drive. nothing works. i am gonna guess that the main board is shot for the most part. i dont have the time, and i am not being paid for this. she will just have to use the pentium win95 system, or nothing at all.

i even tried to get a BIOS update, however this modle number is not listed on gateway's site for some FUBAR reason.
it is a E3200
however this may have been a server, it was originaly from a school.
Old 06-19-2004, 08:26 PM   #7
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Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Mosquitoville
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that stuff is often a power supply or motherboard. you've gotta have a pile of parts so you can try everything. keep swapping stuff. i guess you don't have any other motherboards.
Old 06-19-2004, 08:49 PM   #8
Registered: Sep 2003
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I have had similar problems before with older hardware, especially motherboards. Runs well and then gradually dies. Everytime the problem was the same...a leaky capacitor. Gateway used the cheapest mb's available and it would not surprise me if they used less costly, inferior quality capacitors. Check the capacitors carefully for cracks and leakage. If you tested all the components and they work fine, the culprit must be the mb.
Old 06-19-2004, 11:36 PM   #9
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Ohio, USA
Distribution: Arch Linux
Posts: 464

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They sure don't make them like they used to.

I still have old 486's running but nowadays your lucky to get
5 or 6 years out of a machine.
Old 06-20-2004, 01:20 PM   #10
Registered: Jul 2003
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Originally posted by whansard
that stuff is often a power supply or motherboard. you've gotta have a pile of parts so you can try everything. keep swapping stuff. i guess you don't have any other motherboards.
thats what i have been doing, except i dont have any mainboards of that type. it has to be something on the mainboard or even the riser. i did replace the riser card when i first rebuilt it, so maybe that one died. now it will be a pain in the ass to find a new riser. when i made it the guy had a box of them, and the main boards.

yea i agree that they dont make stuff like they use to. got a 486 and a few 286's here that work great.

the pentium computer that she is going to barrow works rather well.


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