Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-10-2004, 11:01 AM
Phatlewt Phatlewt is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Queens, NY, USA
Posts: 395
Computer locks up in bios menu?

I bought a new motherboard, because of a bad IDE controller on my old one. I put the new board in the system, booted up, and I get one of two things happenening now.

1. The system posts, and boots until it looks for something bootable to load. The power supply then shuts off on it's own after about five seconds.

2. I enter the BIOS setup menu, and the system locks up after a few seconds. No keyboard input (other than Ctrl-Alt-Del) does anything. Once the system let out an endless series of short repeating beeps.

AMD 2600+ (333 mhz fsb)
Asus A7v880 mobo (via kt880 chipset)
1 ghz kingston KVR333X64 RAM (2 512MB modules)
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB video card.

Any suggestions on where to look first?
Old 12-10-2004, 11:14 AM
ParentalAdvisory ParentalAdvisory is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Chicago Area
Posts: 5,956
Not knowing your computing backround, here are a few things to mention....

1. Check for loose cable connections.
2. Make sure the CPU and memory are seated correctly.
3. Is the memory compatible with the board? (ECC, non-ECC, parity, non-parity. Mixed brands?)
4. If you have a spare power supply, you could try swapping that to rule it out.
Old 12-10-2004, 11:15 AM
ParentalAdvisory ParentalAdvisory is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Chicago Area
Posts: 5,956
to me, after reading your memory line.
Old 12-10-2004, 11:38 AM
Noelq Noelq is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 838
I would suggest referring to the motherboard instruction manual, and checking out the "beep code" page for what the series of short beeps means - its a significant indicator of what your problem could be.

I will also say that in my experience, its a 50/50 shot as to whether or not your hard drive will accept the new motherboard without requiring reformatting. If you can't get it to work, I'm sorry to say that if you reformat your hard drive, and reinstall your operating system, you can probably get it to work.

I can say that of the two ASUS motherboards i've installed for friends, that each time I've had to reformat the hard drive in order to get them to work.

However, Your Mileage May Vary.
Old 12-10-2004, 09:50 PM
Jurph Jurph is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Charm City, Hon
Posts: 3,380
* I second Parental Advisory's advice about checking your power supply. I don't know what made your first IDE controller go bad, but if poor power was the root cause, then your upgraded components (I assume that the parts you listed are upgrades!) won't fare any better -- that video card and CPU are power-guzzlers. Who made your PSU, and how much current does the label say it delivers on the +5V and +12V rails?

* It's possible your system shipped with an outdated BIOS -- try getting the latest BIOS version and flashing utility. If nothing else, perhaps this will give you access to the BIOS screen where you can do further troubleshooting.

* The manual page 1-11 doesn't list your RAM as compatible, but it does list the next faster model from the same manufacturer (so you're probably okay). Nonetheless, try using the jumper next to the CMOS battery (set to 2-3 to clear, 1-2 to run) to reset your CMOS settings, or holding down F2 on boot to use "failsafe defaults," just in case your system is defaulting to 400MHz FSB and your RAM can't handle that.

* AMI BIOS uses a continuous beep to mean memory or video failure. Count the beeps to be 100% sure that's what the system is complaining about.
Old 12-11-2004, 10:01 AM
matt matt is offline
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: A Brit in 'Stralia
Posts: 1,964
I've just replaced a power supply because of random lockups, including locking up the BIOS.

When I was trying to diagnose what was causing it, I found I could still get into the BIOS with only the power supply, motherboard, memory and video card. No drives connected, no CPU.

Don't know if your motherboard will allow you to do that, but it really helped me narrow down the candidates.
Old 12-16-2004, 11:22 AM
Phatlewt Phatlewt is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Queens, NY, USA
Posts: 395
I've tried an Antec Truepower 430W and an Antec 300W power supply, with no difference in behavior.

Wiping the CMOS seemed to fix the problem with the auto-shutdown and the lockup in bios.
My next problem was Memtest failing. My memory has successfully passed the same memtest in another system. Setting my DRAM voltage to 2.75V fixed this problem.

After this, WinXP Pro couldn't install. It would Blue Screen of Death with an IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL error, relating to USBPORT.SYS. I had to disable all the onboard USB controllers on the motherboard to get past this, but after the install was completed, I re-enabled all the USB on the board, and I haven't seen the BSOD since.

I still have doubts about the stability of the system though. There's been a few lockups in games. Is there a recommended benchmark/stress test for WinXP I can use? Something similar to linpack HPL for CPU/Mem testing, as well as tests for an AGP video card?

Chances are high that I'm going to ditch this board, but I want to make sure that I don't have problems with any components I plan on keeping.
Old 12-16-2004, 11:42 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 27,234
I am an IT professional and I had the same thing happen 3 months ago when I built my new computer. I tried everything I could think of over the course of three days and nothing worked. I bought another motherboard and everything was fine:

Here is what I suggest:
1) Reset the CMOS by using the CMOS clear jumper.
2) Take out the motherboard battery for a few minutes and put it back in.
3) Try to Flash the BIOS if you can get it to do it.

If all that does not work, then just return the motherboard or buy a new one.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:49 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017