General Question

Mr_Grimm's avatar

I need help fixing a friends computer that I am constantly having to fix.

Asked by Mr_Grimm (367points) January 15th, 2013

My buddy has a custom built gaming rig. He has an intel quad core, 4 gigs of ram, vista 32 bit (I know 32 bit doesn’t allow full performance which is why I’m trying to boot onto my windows 7 64 bit disk) and an sli compatable graphics card with 1024 mb of ram. I can’t exactly be more specific because his computer won’t even boot without this error popping up. Which is wierd because It was just working perfectly fine just after fixing it a couple days before. It was freezing everytime he tried to play a game for 20 minutes or so, and it could hardly boot then either. When I finally got it to boot, it went onto his desktop. I installed the latest video card driver which he had the very first driver that came out for it. I then installed all the windows vista updates. It was running fine till that error. I told him to insert his vista 32 bit disk to try and boot into a system repair. However everytime he tried doing so, he gets this error. I even tried inserting my windows 7 64 bit home premium disk so that i could just install the os over his crappy one. However I still got that same error. What could be going on? If you need more information, I’ll do the best i can. Thank you!

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17 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’m not a expert on computers. However:
1) Is the BIOS updated?
2) Are all the ribbon cables tightly connected?
3) Are you the one that built this gamer?

Pachy's avatar

Unseated or bad memory board(s), maybe? That can produce all kinds of weird error messages.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I recently took zip ties and made sure the cables weren’t all loose and going haywire, and yes I went to every single connection, and disconnected them and reconnected them before I fixed it the first time, and it ran great. My buddy built the computer, and I have had to fix it about 3–4 times now. It’s getting very old.. and when he bought all the components and hardware he paid a company to install a bios into his pc. I’m simply helping him out by fixing it because he has done so many favors for me, I just feel the need to use my vast computer experience to help him out so that he doesn’t need to waste his money paying some other noodle head to charge more then needed.

jerv's avatar

It sounds like at least the optical drive is malfunctioning. That first error is a hardware error; nothing else kicks up a “Verifying DMI pool data…”, and the inability to boot from a CD points to the optical drive. It may also be the drive controller itself if the hard drive has similar reading issues, which means new motherboard time, but lets start simple and cheap.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

@jerv that makes sense. Especially since when I booted his computer and installed all those updates, i noticed his optical drive was being read as removable media. Which I found very odd.. However I contacted him, and he made a point by saying the optical drive reads game disks and other disks fine. It just doesn’t boot from them. Is that bad? I have never had to deal with this problem, but I can always learn!

Lightlyseared's avatar

I’m not sure there’s enough info to definitely say the second error is caused by the optical drive. You can get the same error for HD’s and unless the boot order has been altered the bios would attempt to boot from HD first so it’s possible its the HD that’s screwed. Not saying it is just that the two error messages alone are not enough info.

So you could try to reset the BIOS to the default settings. If that doesn’t help it maybe worth clearing the CMOS by removing and reinstalling the little watch battery on the MB (some motherboards have quicker ways to do this such as little jumpers or switches but if you aren’t familiar with the motherboard they can be a pain to find).

After that your stuck with replacing parts till you find the faulty one but the HD and optical drives seem the obvious places to start.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

@Lightlyseared there actually is a cmos reset button next to the cmos battery, i actually pressed that when I fixed it recently, i also went into the bios and made the first boot i believe to be the cd rom, the second the hdd, and then the third usb. Hope that helps!

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

A new 64-bit MOBO and more RAM with a current OS seems to be required to meet this gamer’s needs. Just my opinion.

jerv's avatar

I generally go USB, CD/DVD, HDD as I boot from a stick often enough to need it before the HDD in the boot order.

In any event, difficulty booting from either the hard drive or optical drive makes me suspect the drive controller itself as that is a common element that is shared by both.

@Dr_Lawrence I found 4 GB RAM adequate for the gaming I do. Once you get much past 3GB, the CPU and (especially) GPU are bigger bottlenecks.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@Jerv Thanks for that info!

Mr_Grimm's avatar

so @jerv what should I do? have him replace the hard drive? Or the cables? Or the optical drive?

Lightlyseared's avatar

If its the drive controller that’s defective then you would need to replace the motherboard.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

would updating his bios do anything? because when he bought it it didn’t come with a bios, he paid someone to put one on it for him.

jerv's avatar

No BIOS? That is odd…

There was a time when the BIOS was on a removable chip, but it’s been a long time since they changed to having the BIOS flashed into a chip that is hard-soldered to the board. Yes, the BIOS is only software. And every motherboard I have seen came from the factory with a BIOS, and has had some way to revert the BIOS to a factory condition, even if that condition is an outdated one that is missing the patches since the mobo first left the factory.

I think this is relevant.

If it is a CMOS/BIOS issue then re-flashing it might help.

However, as it seems to run fine when cool and breaks quickly under gaming, I suspect a temperature-related hardware issue. For instance, a broken trace on a circuit may function normally when cold, but heat causes it to expand, creates a gap, breaks the connection, and then causes all sorts of faults. Nothing can be done to repair that; it’s a replacement issue.

If you set up the boot order as CD—> HDD then a non-boot CD should skip it and boot from the hard drive. Apparently, that did not happen. If it reads other discs fine, then it isn’t the optical drive or cable; those tend to mess up all reads from that drive.

Here is a test though; set the BIOS to boot from USB, make a bootable USB drive with something like this , unplug the hard drives and optical drive, and see what happens when you try to boot from the stick. If it is one of those drives, the problem will disappear.

Mr_Grimm's avatar

alright thank you, i tried having my buddy do a clean install of his os because there was something missing from the regestry. after installation was done. it said the same regestry file was missing. Thats the first for me!

Lightlyseared's avatar

@jerv All of my recent ASUS motherboards have still come with replaceable BIOS chips. OK so if you needed a new chip you need to order it from ASUS and specify which version of the BIOS you want flashed on it and admittedly I’ve never needed to do this but still I suppose it’s possible if you bought a board second hand someone may have removed the chip.

jerv's avatar

@Lightlyseared Huh. That’s a new one on me. Learn something new every day….

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