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Thread: How to test HDD's and motherboards?

  1. #1
    I've got some weird freeze/data corruption problems with a P-120 I've recently purchased and renovated, and am not sure whether they are caused by faulty motherboard or the hard drive.

    What kind of programs would you advise me to use to test that? The HDD's can be installed into another, "modern" machine for the testing purposes, but what about that motherboard? That thing is so old it does not boot most bootable CDs (with exception of Windows 98, that is...), so even though on a normal machine I would not think twice to use "Ultimate Boot CD", it's not an option here.
    So that program would either have to be containable on a bootable floppy or boot from such a floppy and then run from a CD.

    PS. It might sound ridiculous to some of you that I'm keeping such an outdated machine in the first place, but I just love those old DOS era games, and not all of them can cope with DosBox to run. The real deal is always better then emulators, afterall.

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    tesco's Avatar woowoo
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    How old is that computer exactly? Some modell numbers?
    Unless it's like a commodre64 or something, it should be able to boot from any bootable cd...problem could be that the cd drive won't read things.

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Quote Originally Posted by rossco
    How old is that computer exactly? Some modell numbers?
    Unless it's like a commodre64 or something, it should be able to boot from any bootable cd...problem could be that the cd drive won't read things.
    Not necessarily. There's more than one boot format and some of the later formats are not supported by older systems. My guess is that it dates from around 1996.

    @fifth_horseman: Can't you simply make a Win98 or WinME boot disk?
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    Virtualbody1234's Avatar Forum Star BT Rep: +2
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    This is running Windows 95 or 98 and your having freezing problems? Sounds completely normal to me.

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    How old is that computer exactly? Some modell numbers?
    Don't recall the exact motherboard model, but it's a Socket-5 Pentium-S running at 120 Mhz... somwhere between 1995 and 1996, I'd say.

    problem could be that the cd drive won't read things.
    The CD drive is about 3 years old in all, with 1 year worth of use (was bought as a replacement for my former 486 machine, which promptly broke at November 2004), and reads burned CD's without any problem.
    When I try to boot things like UBCD or Damn Small Linux, however, it displays an "unknown operating system" error message.

    Can't you simply make a Win98 or WinME boot disk?
    Haven't thought about that. Will try.

    This is running Windows 95 or 98 and your having freezing problems? Sounds completely normal to me.
    While I agree that it's not completely unusual for Windoze to crash, the excessive rate at which it occurs in this machine cannot be considered normal at all. What I'm speaking about is the PC freezing up in under 15 minutes after system boot, about 90% of the time.

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Sounds like it could be an overheating problem.

    • Make sure you clean all the dust from the cpu heatsink and fan (if fitted).
    • Try running it without the cover to see if there's an airflow problem.
    • Make sure that the psu fan (and any others) are clear of dust.
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    OK, thanks for the help.

    I first checked on the fans and heatsinks - but they barely had any dust after the thorough cleaning some time ago.

    So, I went to test the HDD. That resulted in the most hysterical laughter I ever produced - 196 MILLION read errors? 42 MILLION seek errors? Cough.
    A fairly complex workout I gave the HDD has shown it to be in 100% perfect working condition.

    Next thing to check was the CPU... 120 MHz Pentium-S was replaced with 100 MHz AMD K-5, and suddenly everything began working flawlessly. So I guess it was the dying CPU that caused that all.

    Thanks for the help, folks.

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Quote Originally Posted by fifth_horseman
    120 MHz Pentium-S was replaced with 100 MHz AMD K-5, and suddenly everything began working flawlessly.
    And you got a performance upgrade too.
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    Apparently, yes.

    Now to dig out that Command and Conquer CD that's been collecting dust for last three years or so...

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    You know, it may not have been the cpu that was the problem but the jumpers on the board were set in a way that made the 100mhz work but not the 120. Those old boards had gobs of jumpers or switches for mhz and multipliers etc. and if you were off enough on those the computer could freeze.

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