Thanks for that detailed response, Paul. I'll give it another try this
"Paul" wrote in message
I should have thought of this earlier. Here is a link to a 19 second
video of the computer booting up:
"Dell Christopher" wrote in message
HP Pavilion Elite e9240f desktop computer
Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)
ATI Radeon HD4650 video card
Everything was fine until I booted up this morning. Now, all I get is a
blinking cursor in the lower left corner of a black screen and white lines
running back and forth along the very bottom of the screen. Here is what
I've tried so far:
* F8 and F11 (System Recovery) - same result
* unscrewed the caps for the integrated VGA and DVI inputs, and tried
instead - same result
* removed ATI Radeon video card and tried another standalone video card -
This is really perplexing and I can't think of anything else to try. Does
anyone have any other ideas? All input is appreciated.
OK, this is what I see in the video.
Motherboard with AMD chipset. RAID mode enabled in the BIOS (meaning,
a RAID/AHCI driver is likely to be used by the OS when it boots).
Four devices are connected via SATA. I can't be sure on the part numbers,
because my eyesight isn't good enough for that.
1) DVD DH16AAL <--- optical drive
2) BD BH403S <--- optical drive
3) WD18EADS-65M2B0 <--- a hard drive, with RAID metadata, single, standalone
4) ST3750630AS <--- a hard drive, no metadata
OK, after the RAID BIOS module has displayed that information, the BIOS
looks at the boot order, finds the first eligible device and tries to boot
from it (using Extended INT 0x13 BIOS code). You get the blinking cursor.
Next, the monitor apparently loses sync. The blinking (single line thick,
cursor continues to blink, but the monitor displays all the pixels at the
bottom line of the screen. Either the video card has stopped sending sync
or the monitor is no longer able to detect sync, and is pushing the display
content through the bottom line of the screen. The shape of the blinking
cursor is preserved, but the "chattering" around is because there is no sync
to align it to the edge of the screen. Both H and V appear to be gone,
likely turned off somehow.
First step, would be simplification. Plus the selection of test media.
I'd disconnect all except the DVD drive (1), pop in a Linux LiveCD into
the DVD drive, and see if the computer can boot from the CD. That means
disconnecting three SATA data cables, with the power off. Then power up
and see if the DVD drive boots.
For that to work, you'd want to enter the BIOS and examine the boot order.
For example, if the optical drives had been removed from the boot order
by someone, there might not be any way for the BIOS to boot from an
optical drive. So you'd at least want to check that.
If you get the Linux CD to boot, that will give you a chance to verify
the video works in some mode other than 640x480 or 800x600. Linux will
read the EDID of the monitor, and take a stab at running in native
resolution (like 1440x900 perhaps). And that will tell you whether the
video card can present a stable image or not. The sync should stay
running in that case. If the display is a jumbled mess, then either
the video card, the monitor, or the combination of the two, just
isn't working out. I'd try another monitor, and try it on the VGA
port in that case (as occasionally DVI/HDMI have compatibility problems).
The next step, is to verify the disk drives. The Seagate 750GB drive,
can be tested with Seatools. Problem there is, there's no guarantee
the Seatools for DOS disc will have a driver for the chipset. This
is the problem I've had with my current motherboard. My third oldest
computer still supports Seatools for DOS, but the two newest ones are
a no-go. It's almost like Seagate is "asleep at the switch".
The other disk, is a Western Digital 1TB drive WD10EADS-65M2B0. That's
what a search shows. You would need the Western Digital equivalent of
Seatools to test that. You'd go to the Western Digital site and look
for that tool.
With hot-plug capability, you could plug in the hard drive cable
(motherboard end) while the system was running Linux LiveCD, and
see if the disk and its partitions show up.
If you don't like that idea (and I'm not that big a fan of the idea),
you can also move each of the two SATA drives, into a USB casing and
then plug that into the computer while it's booted into Linux.
You can even move the 750GB and 1TB drives, one at a time, over
to your bench computer, and work on the drives there. As long as
they allow your bench computer to boot, you can do the diagnosing
There could be something about one of the hard drives, which
isn't healthy enough to allow booting. It could even be malware,
like some kinda boot sector virus. Anything is possible. By
connecting the hard drive, after the system is up, perhaps you'll
get an opportunity to examine/test the thing.
Another thing I'd try, if the BIOS supports it, is remove the
splash logo. It's one of the first things I do with a computer.
There's absolutely no need of an information-free color logo,
when good diagnostic text could be "hiding underneath". If I
can get into a BIOS, it's the first thing I disable, and I
don't turn it back on later, either. It stays that way. The
next time the computer breaks, you may be able to see text that
wouldn't otherwise be visible.