RAM Install goof, now hard drive not booting

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I'm trying to upgrade one of our household computers using parts from
another.  I've taken an Athlon XP2000+ CPU, fan and heatsink, Macron 300w
PSU and installed them in another computer in place of a Duron 750 and a
250w PSU.  The receiving computer had a Biostar M7NCG 400 mobo, one stick
256MB DDR2100 RAM and a Western Digital 40GB hard drive.  After the
transplant, Windows XP, which was already installed on the HD, booted fine
and ran, albeit slowly.  I then installed an additional 256MB stick of
DDR2100, but put both sticks in the "B" banks.  When I rebooted, XP loaded
but froze on the log in screen.  On the next reboot, the BIOS reported a
checksum error, then a disk error.  So, now I RTFM and see the RAM is
supposed to go one in "A" bank, one in one of the "B" banks.  I then removed
the RAM, replacing the original stick where it was originally, in "A".
However, I got the same disk error, no boot.  I then booted to my WinXP CD
which gave me the option to reformat in NTFS only, no FAT32 option.  I tried
this, it appeared to format, but then gave a message that it could not
format the drive.  I tried a different drive, a Maxtor, which formatted and
installed XP normally.  Western Digital's Data Lifeguard run on the WD drive
timed out with an error code.

So, my questions are:  Did the  incorrect RAM installation wreck the hard
drive, or was it about to die and coincidentally chose this point in time to
do it?  Is there any hope of reviving it now?

Your suggestions are welcome, however please note that I already know to
RTFM first!


Re: RAM Install goof, now hard drive not booting

On Sat, 3 Dec 2005 19:32:09 -0800, "WaterWatcher"

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I'd wonder if a Macron 300W is enough, that board uses 5V
power for CPU and thus, a pretty heavily loaded 5V rail
might mean a larger 3V+5V capacity spec on the PSU helps.

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Leave the middle slot empty, I have a M7NCG-400 that's been
running with 2 x 512MB like that for well over a year.  One
thing noticed about that board is some kind of bios bug
where it runs stable at CAS2.5 but not CAS3... even if the
memory was spec'd as CAS3 (I tried several memory modules
and configs in order to uncover this CAS oddity)  This is
with the memory bus set synchronous to FSB, it might be
worded as "100%", I don't recall.

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Don't ever boot windows after making memory changes until
after you've ran memtest86+ for several hours.  Skipping
this step can allow memory errors to cause file corruption,
even putting the operating system into an instable state
AFTER you've fixed the memory errors if any files required
for running are then corrupt.

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It could be a drive problem, a very good chance of this...
but I'd wonder if the WD is more susceptible to insufficient
power and try a stripped down config with as few parts as
possible, underclocked FSB to 100MHz, manually set 100MHz
memory bus and CAS2.5, something like 2.5,3,3,9 timings.

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While it could corrupt files, no it should not make the Data
Lifeguard program crash AFTER the memory errors are
resolved.  If you haven't tested with memtest86+ yet, you
don't necessarily have any assurance the errors are
resolved, could merely be occuring a bit less frequently.

So I suggest checking the memory and underclocking the bus
with minimal parts and then trying Data Lifeguard again.
Could be it doesn't support nForce2 chipset properly either
so it would be good to retry this WD drive in another system
if possible.

Re: RAM Install goof, now hard drive not booting

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Thanks for your suggestions.  I tried the drive in another computer and a
newly downloaded Data Lifeguard failed to complete its tests also.  Tried
writing zeros to the drive and that failed too.  Next I ran it as a slave
but could not read it or format it that way either.

Looks like big magnet & big hammer time ;-).

I see Hitachi 250MB and Seagate 200MB IDE drives for $70 and $50,
respectively, after rebates, at Fry's.  Might just have to pick one of those

Appreciate the help,

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