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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there.

I recently had a problem where when I tried to reinstall windows, my PC turned of and produced a smell of burning. I originaly thought this was a power supply problems, but it turned out not to be. Although I could not turn the PC after this problem, if I left it for a few minutes and tried again, it worked. This happens every time I try to setup a new windows installation and I can never get it finished.

I've been told that the problem may be software related, does anyone know why this is happening and what I can do about. I have been told that I should re format my Hard Drive before I try a new installation and that this may be the problem, although I do not know what that means or how I do that. Can anyone tell me?

And lastly, everytime I turn on the PC now it asks me if I want to install a new copy of windows or run Windows XP home edition, my current operating system. I have to select the latter everytime to get the PC to work. In the event that I completely fail to re install windows, is there any way I can stop this screen from appearing?

Thanks a lot in advance.
 

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Hi Steve

It sounds as if the advice you mention is referring to a low level format - the easiest way to do this is to download the diagnostic software from the drive manufacturer's website and use it to zero the drive (but only if you do have a windows CD and not a recovery set-up). You can find out the make of your drive using Belarc:-
http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html

You will lose all of your data, so back-up anything you want to keep.

Once the low level format is completed you will be able to use the windows disc to do a high level format and re-installation of windows ... this tells you how to proceed with the windows installation:-
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/expert/honeycutt_02october07.mspx

Try tapping your f11 key from start-up which hopefully will bring up a menu that enables you to boot the Windows CD without the need to access the BIOS.

When the installation is finished you will need to re-install the mainboard and graphic drivers and windows updates.

Post again if you need any more info or clarification.

As for the smell of burning, that's going to be a hardware issue - it may be worth opening up the case and seeing if you can identify where the smell is coming from. Try putting a cardboard tube onto your vacuum cleaner hose (I use the tube from a kitchen roll) and see if you can suck out any dust from the power supply housing and the inner bits and pieces.

Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi again. I know this is an old post. The probalem was originally fixed by the local PC shop who re installed windows for me, but now I'm going to try and do it myself as a problem has arisen again. I think i know what to do but I would like it confirmed, and to ask a few questions.
The situation with trying to install windows at the moment is
1) every time i startup I have the option to either setup windows, or just go to windows XP which works. Setup always fails as is shuts down near the beggining as my PC makes beeping noises. (does anyone know how I can stop the computer from giving me this option and just go straight to windows rather than giving the option to set up?)

I have found that my PC is a maxtor hard drive. I a floppy disk using a maxtor facility which says it will low level my hard drive. It is this program.http://www.maxtor.com/portal/site/M...torage/Maxtor Other/Diagnostics&downloadID=22
If for some reason the floppy disk does not boot and i need to enable it in BIOS, what option do i need to adjust to make it do this? I think I have am using a gigabyte mother board which I believe affects the BIOS menu.

If i do manage to low level my hard drive what should I do then? I have the windows XP setup disk (not SP2) and a MSDOS floppy boot disk. Should I be able to use these to setup a new installation of windows, and how?

If i zero the hard drive and i still cannot install windows, what do I do then (i'm guessing this won't happen but just to be safe).

Lastly, is there any other tips on what to do when re installing windows like this, anything else I can do?

Once again, thanks a lot for your help.
 

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Hi Steve

The normal boot order is Floppy Drive (aka A drive) > Hard drive > Optical i.e. CD drive. To boot the windows CD you just make the Optical drive the first in the line of order. However, you may well be able to achieve a boot from the Optical drive by tapping your f11 key from start-up which should bring up an options menu.

However, the first step will be to download the hard drive diagnostic utility onto a floppy - leave the floppy disc inserted in the drive and re-start your machine and it should boot into the program.

Once you have zeroed the drive (performed a low-level format) there is no going back as everything will be wiped off (over written with zeros to be more accurate). But it should be pretty straightforward to exit the program, remove the floppy and then either use the f11 ket to boot the windows CD, or enter the BIOS and change the boot order as mentioned above.

This may help:-
http://www.pcguide.com/byop/byop_SettingtheBIOStoChecktheCDDriveWhenBooting.htm

Once you have booted the XP CD it should offer you the option of formatting in FAT32 or NTFS - go for NTFS (both options lead to a high level format) - you should then get various prompts and options from then on as windows installs. Remove the XP disc when the installation completes, otherwise you might start the process over again. Restart the machine.

You will need to install your mainboard and graphic drivers after the XP install completes, plus windows updates, etc.

I think you'll be surprised at how easy it is.

Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, once again I've needed to revive this topic, my solution is still not sorted. Sorry bout this.

Anyway, I started low leveling my hard drive. I don't know how far through it got, but it crashed, making the same beeping sounds at it does when in shuts down right at the begining of setup. I tried set up again, it didn't work.

I was then unable to work on the PC for a week so I left it, and came back a week later. I had already set CD rom to be startup drive before, and the setup disk was still in. WHen I turned it on, it started setting up! I don't know what happen but after a week the problem wasn't there in set up anymore. Everything went smoothly until I got to choosing format. I choose NTSF (quick) It didn't crash, but it said that there was an error in the hard drive and that it could not continue. I believe this is probably because it failed while doing a low level.

Thinking that the problem of turning of had gone away, I started my Drive low leveling again. And it crashed again, making the same shut down beeping noises it did before. I tried setup again, and that did not work. I couldn't get past the screen where I was given an option.
A little bit of more information. Sometimes the monitor stops responging to the PC (this only occured with the problem) so several attempts between doing my failed startup and the retry of Low Leveling, i had to turn the PC of because the monitor was not showing anything. I normally get this working again after I wait, or turn the monitor of. Just thought I'd day this if it helps with Diagnostic

Also, i read about a shut down issue during setup that could be solved by pressing F5 while the PC detects the drivers and selecting an option . I did this about a week ago and it didn't work, but I did not try again.

So does anyone know how I can stop my PC from restarting. I don't believe this is a hardware issue. The PC shop can fix this without changeing my hardware because they did it before. tThey just haven't told me how (but I haven't asked). I don't really want to take it back to them again, they charge alot. Thanks a lot again.
 

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A few things to check out:-

*Use the manufacturer's diagnostic utility to check the drive over

Also, try changing the drive cable for a new one.

* The beeps you hear may give us a clue to the problem but we need to know the type of BIOS that you have, can you post up the make and model of your mainboard?

* I'm not as confident as you that this is a software problem - if the low level format process stalls, I think it's more likely to be a hardware problem - as mentioned, the beep codes may help us to diagnose the issue.

*Check the security of all hardware in terms of seatings and if you haven't already run memtest:-
http://www.memtest86.com/

The way this problem fluctuates and affects different parts of your system in an intermittent way makes me wonder if your power supply is failing - do you have another one you can try?

Peter
 
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