If you don't have another 3v coin cell to hand, don't worry, just flip the old one out. Nothing bad will happen: yes you may loose some settings in the BIOS, but they can be set again at another time. As Fred suggested a low bat (rather than a dead battery) could cause problems. If you have a digital voltmenter, it most likely will not show much difference from 3volts unless the cell is very bad. The coin cell needs to be loaded slightly to replicate conditions in the motherboard - a very small load, but a current drain all the same, otherwise you'll just be measuring the off load terminal voltage, which will be 3volts.
You mentioned the low PSU volts: yes they do look a little on the low side. Not horrendously so, but perhaps enough to make a difference. Other than the PSU being soft, could the mains supply to the PC be a factor? The PSU is a switchmode, so I doubt it will be low input voltage to the PSU that would cause the low supply rails, but I assume the motorhome run from an mains inverter.....Could there be noise on the line from it? Not all PSU's are made the same, but some I've seen don't like noise on the line. If you have an opportunity, could you run the PC from a standard mains supply to see if it makes a difference?
I believe there are some contributors here who have lots of experience running in a motor home and may well shoot me down in flames, but I thought it might be worthwhile raising the possibility....
Hopefully tomorrow I'll have the time to spend on diagnosing this further. I'm going to try the clean boot first to either eliminate or incriminate software. If that doesn't solve it, then I'll resort to the hardware tests. I'll start with the BIOS battery as that's the easiest to do, the PSU swap being the most difficult. I have a couple of button cells but not any CR2032. If the ones I have are 3V I'll try one of them.
We're on good mains power so that's not a factor, and I've run this computer on our 2000W inverter for many hours with no problems. But it was a legitimate question.
Tomorrow I'll either report I found the problem or I need more suggestions. Thanks all for the help thus far.
Dell Studio 17 Win 7 Prof.64 bit
I have recently had the same symptoms as described in nreiter's original post. I performed a disc clean up followed by a registry scan using CC Cleaner free edition. The scan produced a long list of errors associated with AVG. I do not remember the exact description, however following the fix errors procedure my boot is now back to normal.
Hope this may be of help
Well, with the holiday it took me a few days to get back to my boot problem. Today I used msconfig to do a clean boot, no services or startup items, and booting was normal. I turned on startup items and still a good boot. Turned on half of the services and still good. I think I have it isolated to the VMWare services but I still had trouble booting even with those set to manual. I have them disabled for now but I'm going to delay any further testing until another day so I can get some use out of my computer while it's up and running :) Also going to check the VMWare forums for any similar reports. I did install the latest version, 8.0.1, a few weeks before the problems started.
I may have finally fixed the problem. Since the hang was reproducible and always at the same point in the boot process, I decided it was not a hardware or PS issue, but a software problem. I could always get the system to boot, eventually, after trying various repair procedures, but usually getting it to boot into safe mode with command prompt would let me run chkdsk and a shutdown -r from there would usually work.
I had an accumulation of windows updates to apply so I went ahead and installed them today. A reboot hung, of course, so after several attempts I was able to get into safe mode and use MSCONFIG to do a diagnostics boot (only essential services). This worked and the updates had been applied. I then reset MSCONFIG to a normal startup and rebooted. The system came up with no hang ups. I'm hoping that one of the updates replaced the problematic driver or system file and I won't have any trouble in the future. However, since I'm up and running for now, I'm not going to tempt the fates and reboot today :)
I have read in a number of places that using a vacuum cleaner inside the case is dangerous. The primary concern is static build up. If you get an electric jolt in the motherboard components or the CPU the result may be bye-bye or buy-buy new board.
Originally Posted by nreiter
Compressed air is good.
Well, I finally solved the problem yesterday. I had been suspecting the system hard drive but the S.M.A.R.T. data didn't show any problems. After another attempt to install the January Windows Updates, the problem worsened. Not only wouldn't the system boot, it now blue screened. A system restore to Friday didn't make any difference.
So, having a pile of 500GB drives in the closet, I installed a Maxtor 7H500F0 on an unused SATA port and restored my C: backup from Tuesday night. The system rebooted, installed device drivers for the Maxtor and my LG DVD drive. Another restart and all was working. Another benefit is I have not seen any of the occasional short lockups that I had been experiencing for the last year or so.
Thank you for all the suggestions. Now on to the next problem :rolleyes:
To complete this story, after it appeared that the boot hangup problem was solved, I started getting blue screens at random times. This morning I couldn't stay up for more than a few minutes before a BSOD. Of course, the event logs were no help. I ran both the Windows memory test and memtest86 but no errors were found in the RAM. At that point, I decided it was time for a throrough cleaning and reseating of boards and connectors. I disconnected the myriad of cables (what happened to the wireless computer?) and opened the case. Although I had vacuumed it recently, there was some new dust inside. I then removed the NVidia video card and blew on it and almost choked on the dust! I used some canned compressed air and blew out a lot of dust bunnies from the GPU heat sink and fan. Probably enough that the fan may not have been turning. I also did a better cleaning with the case open on the table than I was able to do on the floor. I didn't bother reseating the RAM as the memory tests didn't show any problems.
I reassembled the case, plugged in all the cables, powered up, and it booted with no hangups. It's been running for about 5 hours now with no blue screens, no hesitations, and even Firefox seems faster :) Speedfan is showing some potential problems with the Maxtor drive so I may replace that with a different drive if it gets worse. I hope to replace this system with a NAS and a high end notebook in the near future, so I just need to keep this system running the interim.
The moral of the story is, keep the computer clean and be sure to check every heat sink and fan. There's lots of fans and several heat sinks in a tower system.
I have the same problem. Except I have on board video. Note that the computer runs just fine when booting to a different OS or even a live CD. Nothing was changed or added from the time W7 was booting and then stopped booting.
Originally Posted by nreiter
It all begins here with my XPP system and installing W7 for a dual boot setup.
I Installed New 1 TB hard drive.
1) XPP , 2) W7, 3) data
System can boot to W7 Menu. I can choose W7 default or "other"
Other takes me to the original XP menu.
XP starts as runs just fine.
I can also boot live CDs to other OSs,
W7 was working great for about a week.
The computer was left on and it shut it self down.
From this point it is not possible to get past the splash screen. W7 hangs and the windows logo seems to "pulse"
I have tried all of the restore, safe mode, repair "tricks" I can find. None work.
Looking for a solution
Try going into BIOS and setting the SATA boot disk to run in IDE mode.
Today I updated the nVidia driver to the latest as I always suspect the video driver when Windows has booting problems, took a restore point, and rebooted
Roll back the driver.