OT PC Surgery

John Sessoms jsessoms002 at nc.rr.com
Thu Oct 22 21:38:59 EDT 2009

David J Brooks
> Well, it looks like its time to do something about my 8 year old MDG
> P4 computer.
> Its been acting up again the last few weeks, not booting. It does
> after a number of reboots. I get a boot fail, system halted, or a full
> DOS screen with all my memory numbers and a few other things, and at
> the bottom i get press f12 to boot form network or f1 to enter set up.
> I enter set up, scroll over to exit and it boots.
> Its an old machine, slow and USB 1.1 to boot, but its calibrated well
> for my Epson 2400 prints, so i'm leaning on fixing it one more time.
> Going in Saturday for a look see. Hopefully adding a new HD and
> mapping my stuff off the old one will work. The HD was upgraded 3
> years ago and never really worked well after. Many boot problems, but
> it would work, eventually.

It's been a while since I have had to troubleshoot a computer, but these 
are some things I remember.

If you've got everything you need to keep from the HDD backed up onto 
another drive, try booting to a command prompt and run "chkdsk" to see 
if it reports any errors on the HDD.

Or if you haven't backed up everything you need, boot it however you 
have to get it up and copy everything you need to keep before you run 
"chkdsk". "Chkdsk" shouldn't hurt anything, but why take chances.

If it's a FAT32 system, try "scandisk".

I'd also look to replacing the CMOS battery. It may be just losing the 
settings when shut down. That would account for it booting after you 
exit setup.

If "chkdsk" reports errors, you can use it with the /f switch to "fix" 

It may also have corrupted the boot sector on the HDD. Use "fdisk /mbr" 
with Windows 95, 98, 2000 or NT and "fixmbr" (have to boot from the 
installation CD and choose recovery) for XP or Vista.

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