The most ridiculous problem ever: I can't get my computer to boot off Win CD

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by DaRuSsIaMaN, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. DaRuSsIaMaN

    DaRuSsIaMaN [H]ard|Gawd

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    Seriously, WTF!!! How is this possible?? This should be the simplest thing ever.... :mad:

    I set my bios to have CD-ROM for first boot device. Duh. I have my winxp cd in the cd-rom drive. My bios shows the cd-rom, so apparently it recognizes it. And yet it completely refuses to acknowledge my Win XP cd at all! It goes through the first boot screen, where it shows the cpu, memory test and says at the bottom to hit Del to enter bios. You know the one. That screen vanishes, it goes black momentarily, then the next thing that appears is a mostly black screen, except that it says at the top:

    "Sil 3112A SATALink Host Controller BIOS Version 4.2.00"
    "Copyright (C) 1997-2002 Silicon Image, Inc.

    "Primary Channel: SAMSUNG HD103SJ"

    And it has the blinking cursor thing (like in DOS) at the far right. And that's it. It just stops there. At no point was there any message like "attempting to boot off cd-rom" or anything like that, like it does on my other comp. By the way, I do not have anything installed on the HD. Hence me trying to boot off the cd, so I can install winxp. It looks like it just bypasses the boot off cdrom attempt and goes straight to booting off HD. Finding nothing on HD, it just stops. That's my theory. Is it correct?

    My motherboard is a gigabyte 7N-400 Pro. That "primary channel" message indicates my HD that is plugged in. It is an SATA hd. I did a little search, and apparently someone else had the issue with the same board version 2. But the thread just died; no one gave a solution.

    Help would be awesome
     
  2. tiraides

    tiraides [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Stupid question, but have you tried switching the SATA ports that your CD-ROM drive and HDD are using?

    Are you using an IDE or a SATA CD-ROM drive? Which particular drive?

    Is the "version 2" BIOS the latest revision for the board?
     
  3. DaRuSsIaMaN

    DaRuSsIaMaN [H]ard|Gawd

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    Ok, to clarify, I have only the HDD hooked up via SATA. I have the CD-ROM hooked up as IDE. On this motherboard there are 2 SATA slots and 2 IDE slots and 1 floppy slot.

    I tried running it through both the available IDE slots... I think. Actually, I'm not 100% sure. At first I had 2 CD-ROM drives, one as master in the first IDE, second as master in the secondary IDE. I tried the CD in both drives. Then, I unplugged one of them. I tried running just the 1 cd-rom as both master and as slave (in the secondary ide channel, I think). But maybe I did not try to switch it into the other ide.

    I did not try switching the HDD to the other SATA port, but that should have nothing to do with this, right?

    I did not check the bios versions, actually. What I meant by version 2 is that there is a slightly different motherboard. There's a GA-7N400 Pro (which I have) and a GA-7N400 Pro2. That thread I linked where someone else had this issue pertained to the Pro2 board, apparently. Flashing bios is always a head-ache, so I was hoping to find a solution short of doing that. Besides, booting off the CD-ROM is like the most elementary bios function ever... why would there need to be a bios fix for that, of all the things??

    Thanks
     
  4. tiraides

    tiraides [H]ardForum Junkie

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    My assumption was that either the SATA/IDE bus was bad (which was why I asked about the type of optical drive you were using) or the optical drive itself was defective.

    The only troubleshooting step that I have to offer you is: Remove the cable select jumper from the CD-ROM drive; that should allow it to function on either IDE slot on the cable. Go into the BIOS and ensure that the IDE bus is active and your board is running all of its drive ports under IDE mode (or something similar), not RAID or AHCI mode (use your motherboard's user manual for further guidance).

    If that doesn't work, it may be easier for you to buy a new SATA optical drive.
     
  5. gwarren007

    gwarren007 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I know on some Abit motherboards you HAD to have the cd/dvd as a sata, or you couldn't load the OS.
     
  6. DaRuSsIaMaN

    DaRuSsIaMaN [H]ard|Gawd

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    Why the #$%! would any motherboard be so retarded?? Maybe mine is like that too?
     
  7. DaRuSsIaMaN

    DaRuSsIaMaN [H]ard|Gawd

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    Ok, so I learned that I am able to boot from the CD rom if I disconnect the HDD. That's the only way it works, so far. I tried loading the fail-safe bios defaults, as I was advised by the gigabyte customer support. It still does not work when HDD is plugged in. If HDD is plugged in, it goes to this screen and stops:

    [​IMG]

    If I do not have the HDD plugged in, however, it goes past that screen. At the bottom where it says Samsung HD103SJ it instead says "Drive not found". Then it goes to the next screen where it actually boots off the CD:

    [​IMG]

    So, this is a problem. It looks like no matter what I set the first boot device to, even if it's set to CDROM, that screen which has to do with all that RAID crap always comes up first. If my HDD is plugged in it tries to boot off that and fails. And stops. And it never gets to the next screen where it boots off cd-rom.

    So, what about this idea: is it possible for me to first boot up the computer with the HDD unplugged, and then plug it in once it gets past the first part? Isn't SATA supposed to be hot-swappable and stuff? In other words if it starts to boot off the WinXP cd, and then I plug in the HDD, would it work out alright?
     
  8. Dasimpson

    Dasimpson Gawd

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    if you have a working pc and a flash drive of 4 gb i would get wintoflash and try install off a usb pen had a problem with a machine like this befor but i did a dos install then copdyed other the xp install files and went from there
     
  9. defaultluser

    defaultluser I B Smart

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    On modern AHCI motherboards, yes, it's hot-swappable. But that thing is ancient, and I definitely would not take the risk.

    I would just consider paying $25 for a new SATA burner. You could get a temporary one at Worstbuy down the street to get your OS installed, then just return it. That way you can install you OS today!
     
  10. flyingturtle

    flyingturtle Limp Gawd

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    I recall have some similar issues with my uncles computer with an Abit board from around 4-years ago. I think I had to use an IDE DVD drive to install as SATA did not seem to work until I installed a driver. But it was awhile ago. Dasimpson suggestion of using the flash drive might be a worthwhile workaround.
     
  11. DaRuSsIaMaN

    DaRuSsIaMaN [H]ard|Gawd

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    Ok. Well I did try using an SATA cd rom, like several of you guys suggested. I borrowed it from my friend. It still failed!! :mad:

    It was the same screen as my first screenshot, only now it also identified the cd/dvd rom in the line below it. And then it stopped, just like before. It stopped doing anything after that point and just sat there -- like before. I tried switching between the two sata channels. Nope. I then tried unplugging the sata hdd once again, just to see, and it couldn't boot then, either. It went past the first screen and on to the second screen (my 2nd screenshot) to where it says "Boot from CD" and then it said "could not find NTLDR" or something similar. wtf?

    So to summarize, when I introduced the sata cd rom, it still (mis)behaved in exactly the same way as before when the hdd was plugged in. With the hdd *not* plugged in, it failed to boot off the cd from that sata cdrom.

    The gigabyte tech support told me that something must be wrong with the raid controller, and that under normal circumstances I would need to return the board for replacement ... except of course it's past any kind of warranty by now. I didn't believe him at first; I thought the method of using sata cd-rom would for sure solve it. Was he right?
     
  12. 86 5.0L

    86 5.0L [H]ardness Supreme

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    I recently had this problem, instead of booting off the generic cd-rom option, look for the specific optical drive, ie. I had to choose "NEC _DVD-RW"
     
  13. DaRuSsIaMaN

    DaRuSsIaMaN [H]ard|Gawd

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    What? You mean in the bios?
     
  14. Jarod888

    Jarod888 2[H]4U

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    In your Bios, see if there is a native sata port option, and if there is turn it off. Also, try addin a jumper to you cd rom, marking it as the master. I have experienced problems when the jumper was set as cable select. Have you flashed your BIOS to the newest version?
     
  15. 86 5.0L

    86 5.0L [H]ardness Supreme

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    yes, instead of Hard Drive, CD-Rom Drive, etc go thru all the options, and see if the actual optical drive isnt listed
     
  16. slideways666

    slideways666 Limp Gawd

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    i had something similar.. ended up taking out the cd rom.. Used the flash drive and the ms program to put the install onto the drive--- then of course made the usb my primary disk and my hd my 2ndary.. Then all was good...
     
  17. Corban227

    Corban227 Gawd

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    i also had a similar problem. i have an external esata port on the front of my comp and when it is pluged into the mobo, my dvd drive drops out of existence. only when the front port is unplugged will the dvd drive work
     
  18. Captain Jack Sparrow

    Captain Jack Sparrow n00bie

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    Hi.

    I stumbled upon this thread because I was Googling for info on Windows 7 drivers for my Gigabyte GA-7N400-Pro2 (Rev.2) board since I'm currently trying W7 out. I think I know what your problem is as I have experienced it too when I upgraded the HD in this system around a year ago. Although you left this important information out I'm guessing the HD you mention is a new drive you want to use in this system.

    The problem is that the older BIOS for your Silicon Image controller does not support 1TB drives. The latest BIOS for my mobo which has a 3512 based SATA-RAID controller on board contained version 4.3.43 which dates from 2003 and the latest at the Silicon Image site is 4.3.84 from 2007. That one did turn out to support 1TB drives.

    Your 3112 based controller most likely has the same issue and you should use the latest version for that chip (4.2.84 - also from 2007) which you can find here.

    You'll need to integrate it into the mobo's BIOS though but that can be done. I did it too using CBROM219.EXE which I believe was the latest version at the time I did it. The Award BIOS is modular and these modules can be extracted and added with this utility. Do some research and you'll find out how to do it.

    I also added a PCI SATA RAID controller last year also based on the 3512 chip and updated the BIOS in that one too (it was sold with the same then 5 year old 2003 BIOS version!!! :rolleyes:) so I now have two SATA-RAID BIOS's reporting for duty during boot in that system. The on board one with 2 640 GB drives (WD640AALS) in RAID 1 and the second with a 500GB Hitachi drive. The fourth SATA port is made into an eSATA connector via a bracket on the back of the computer through which an external 1TB WD10EADS can be accessed.

    The Dual BIOS feature is very useful here. I flashed the modified BIOS in the secondary BIOS memory and left the original in the first. This way you can choose which BIOS to use and you can keep the old BIOS as a fail safe in case of problems with the modified BIOS.

    If you are going to use or experiment with Win7 on your board too I'd be interested in your experiences with finding suitable drivers.

    Success.

    :)

    CJS
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  19. Corban227

    Corban227 Gawd

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    I know i dont have your exact same board but im running windows 7 right now and have no issues of driver comparability besides my very old external drive now running correctly.
     
  20. DaRuSsIaMaN

    DaRuSsIaMaN [H]ard|Gawd

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    Interesting! Yes, the HDD I'm trying to use is indeed a very new Samsung Spinpoint F3, 1TB.
     
  21. DaRuSsIaMaN

    DaRuSsIaMaN [H]ard|Gawd

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    Oh, how do I check exactly which version of the Silicon Image 3112 controller bios I have currently? Only from the description of the BIOS version that i have?
     
  22. Captain Jack Sparrow

    Captain Jack Sparrow n00bie

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    That's the version (4.2.00) and apparently it's from 2002. The 2007 version is 5 years newer. In computer land that's a looong time. You really must use the newest BIOS available on the Gigabyte site and replace the Silicon Image module for the latest one.
     
  23. DaRuSsIaMaN

    DaRuSsIaMaN [H]ard|Gawd

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    Alright, I understand what you're saying. Can you point me to a resource which will guide me how to take that .bin bios file for the SI 3112 chip and integrate it with the motherboard bios? I am going through google results but I keep finding only hits of people trying to flash their sata controller cards. I can't find yet how to do what you accomplished with integrated sata chip.

    Thanks!
     
  24. Captain Jack Sparrow

    Captain Jack Sparrow n00bie

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  25. DaRuSsIaMaN

    DaRuSsIaMaN [H]ard|Gawd

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    Mr. Captain Jack Sparrow. You, sir, are fucking awesome!!! Better than a tooth fairy. Your solution was the solution. Both the correct identification of the problem and all the necessary info to get out of this quagmire. I've got it working smoothly now: when the raid-related screen comes up, it checks my hard drive, indicates that its ~930MB, then continues to boot. And it was pretty easy, too! Once you gave me the very helpful link, then simply following instructions on using cbrom was no problem.

    So, thanks so much for dropping by this forum and saving a poor, lost soul :)

    However, regarding your aspirations to run Win7 with this mobo, unfortunately, I don't plan on experimenting with that anytime soon. Likely never. So I won't be able to offer any insights on that. Maybe Corban227 can help. I'll just stick with my XP pro and save win7 for whenever I finally decide to get a "new"(-ish) computer.
     
  26. Captain Jack Sparrow

    Captain Jack Sparrow n00bie

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    Hehe... You're welcome. It's because I knew I knew the solution and I saw that this thread was going on for almost three weeks without any progress and people thinking it might be an optical drive issue somehow instead of the boot process hanging/halting at the drive recognition by the SI controller and you making the effort of placing photos that I took the trouble of registering. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw my registration had to be 'approved'/activated before I could post this answer. I decided to put up with it instead of moving on.

    When I solved this problem a year ago I had an added complication of the 'manufacturer' of the extra PCI SATA RAID card (Sitecom CN-033) supplying neither newer firmware than the 4.3.43 from 2003 nor offering that original firmware as a download so I could flash it back if a newer version from the Silicon Image site would turn out to be somehow incompatible. I searched for, and finally found a utility which, after e-mail contact with its maker and three updates later because of bugs I found which he fixed, was able to extract the old firmware from the card and dump it to a file that I could use to re-flash if I would need to compare the functionality of the cards (I have two of them) with the original firmware against newer firmware. In the end it turned out to be an unnecessary precaution because they work fine with the newer/latest firmware but I felt it was a sensible precaution.

    The trouble you have to go through because of inadequate support..... Pffffff....

    As for Windows 7. It turns out Microsoft apparently feels they rather waste all that space on the Win7 DVD than actually making good use of it by providing drivers. That would be far too convenient after all. After having spent a few hours searching for drivers which resulted in a working Realtek AC'97, ITE 8212 RAID and additional chipset support I let it contact MS Update and lo and behold they had drivers for the Silicon Image 3512 and the AC'97 and one or two more there. I then only had to use the Adaptec 2930CU Vista drivers to get my SCSI card working. Now device management looks as it should again. WinXP has the option to check online for newer drivers if you select the update driver option in the device manager. Win7 apparently has lost that option. I would have used that before I used MS Update. That apparently also was far too convenient so it had to go.

    Win7 turns out to be slightly less annoying than Vista which I tested too at the time but it's a considerable pain nevertheless. There are a few nice things compared to XP but many things have changed for the worse too. Microsoft still doesn't "get it". Will they ever. I've been wondering whether there's a compelling reason why I would want to switch from XP Pro to W7 and so far I haven't found one.

    Oh well.... Good luck and enjoy your new drive.

    CJS
     
  27. DaRuSsIaMaN

    DaRuSsIaMaN [H]ard|Gawd

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    Agreed!! Gigabyte could have simply released a new bios update to incorporate the newer firmware, or at least their tech support could have been smart enough to tell me what you told me. They only told me that the chip could support drives up to 250GB only AFTER I told them about your identification of the problem and asked if they could walk me through the bios modding steps... :rolleyes:

    Oh and now I have all the more reason to stick with XP. So thanks for that (highly entertaining) Win7 review :)
     
  28. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    um yes windows 7 does ask you if you want to look online for drivers and use drivers from a specific location if the drivers arent already installed with windows... ya probably closed the window.. you could also go into the device manager.. right click the hardware thats not found.. click properties then click update.. which is the classic way of doing it which is the same way you can update in windows xp.. also there are a ton of drivers that come with windows 7.. but they chose to completely remove any drivers pre windows xp which was part of vista and made the OS insanely large at 15GB installed not including the default page swap as well.. windows 7 installed is about 10 gigs..