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britfrog

P.C's will do it to ya !

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ever since updating norton a few days ago my fsx vfr hard drive has been a bit wayward. sometimes it would lock for a bit when on firefox, sometime it would not boot the first time, sometimes when i booted up on another drive the p.c. would hang for a bit or also need rebooting more than once. Sometimes when on the boot menu you could not access the bios WTF?

So have been putting up with the odd boot up or weirdness. tonight i disconnected 4 of the drives leaving the vfr drive and it would not boot at all, hit F8 nothing, hit delete quite a few times and could not get into the bios???? eventually at the 6th attempt or so up comes the bios message insert a program disk  and hit return, weird this hard drive already has an operating system on it why install a new one?

After much cajoling i managed to get into the bios and discover that no hard drive was connected  !! checked connections all seemed ok drive was spinning checked the bios and lo and behold there was a hard drive attached and it booted up!!

turned off computer and again nothing no boot disk installed

changed the sata cable and vavaboom all is working again and much quicker than before !! dont ask me why but that sata cable (ribbon) had some sort of internal fault  why it should produce an intermittant fault I know not and why should it be noticeably quicker to boot and access info ?? still ther is something to put at the back of the grey matter, if the pc doesnt boot properly check the sata cable yes they are smaller than the old ribbons but appartently less robust!!

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So the updating of the Norton was a Herring rouge?

I have had problems with drives, SSD's to be precise, now on my third and all seems ok now.

Strange how a cable can be ok one minute then faulty the next.

Good to know you sorted it.

Cheers

Joe

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I'm reliably informed that the deeper your understanding of the details of how computers work, the more amazed you will be that they can work at all.  I am sufficiently far down the hardware, BIOS and OS learning curves to be blissfully ignorant and not at all astonished when mine boots up properly. 

 

Good find on the cable.  Congratulations.  

 

Some technicians who used to work for me, when we had an ongoing casualty/mystery, were fond of telling me, "We have it narrowed down to two things - it's the fuse, or something else." 

 

They did that to see steam come out my ears and I seldom disappointed them.

 

John

 

 

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I suppose in a way i dont help myself because i have 6 drives in my p.c. 3 are normally hooked up to give A) normal internet or by rebooting B) vfr FSX orC) IFR FSX  I also have a hard drive that has windows 8 on it what a useless program that is! however in order to boot windows 8 i have to disconnect the other drive ribbons, and i suppose it is this repeated (once a week) disconnecting, that has somehow damaged the sata cable , the other 2 drives are backup's and are only connected when i wish to update them.

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Hi guys,

I have an even stranger boot up problem on my pc! When I start it up I get the page that allows you to press del to enter bios f12 to set boot and then goes to the loading windows page after a few seconds it crashes and starts to dump. I have wiped the drive numeerous times reloaded win7 and get the same thing now the only way around this I have found is start pc press 'del' go into bios settings go to temperatures page and wait until my cpu temp has risen from -3 or so to a warm 3 then exit my bios and my pc starts up with no problems! Any ideas?

Thanks Glen

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wow that is a weird one, is it possible that the f12 key (or similar) is jammed down? (too many orios :))  have you tried a different keyboard? alternatively -3 temp??????? isnt it time to move out of the dog kennel ???

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If those are actual temperatures, condensation might be an issue, particularly if the temperature in the area is changing. There will be cold surfaces inside the PC case even as the room warms up. Moisture will condense on any surface below the dew point temperature.

John

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Thanks for the input guys my pc is in a spare bedroom that stays very cold even with heating on as it is built over an archway that was once a public path on the estate I live on (built 1960's on the cheap) it stays cold as underneath is open to the weather so I think I might move it to a warmer part of the house see if that helps although I have never had any problems with any other pc's that I have built and used in that room over the years.

@Britfrog - no mate its not the keyboard as that is wireless and I'm very strict on having no food/drink near my pc (and have my little keyboard hoover and compressed air) I don't even let my kids on it (I built them each a pc of their own)

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It is certainly a bad connection of some sort, which makes a good connection as it expands with warmth, have you tried taking the cpu ut and reseating it? likewise the memory sims, also the graphics card ,similarly the hard drive ribbons , if you have a spare change it over, as the modern sata cables are made of very thin pieces of wire and could easily have an intermittant connection as mine did.

sadly it is a trial and error thing, if you have done all the above the only thing left is a poor connection on the motherboard.

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Not going to chime in with current diagnostics on Glens PC as its being dealt with and I know too many cooks can spoil the broth, I'm sure these guys will sort it for ya though Glenn ...

 

My intention to post here is about the original topic and cables to drives, you would not believe it but some SATA 3 cables that are identically specified can perform better than others and sometimes the best third party ones don't necessarily perform the best either!

 

In my recent I73960X build I wanted as best I could and it seemed silly to go overboard as I did and not buy expensive brand name SATA 3 cables too, thankfully I tested my SSD's to current known good results and benchmarks and when I found less than par performance I did the usual swap and plug diagnostic routine, amazingly my Asus board standard Sata 3 cables performed the best repeatedly ... really talking small margins here, but hey, there must be some difference in build quality of cable to account for that so consistantly and I wouldn't say it was cable length either?

 

Cheers.

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I wonder if things like stray capacitance from different lead lengths, variations in conductor to conductor spacing from tight radius bends, or other small factors could cause minor throughput differences. To the extent the signals are asynchronous (I don't know if they are or not), very small differences in rise and fall times for voltages for each bit might add up to the point of causing measurable effects over millions of operations.

 

Noise, too, leaking through poor shielding or crappy connections can cause checksum failures and re-sent blocks, adding to the overhead.

 

I think your empirical testing is a good way to go at it if your intent is to really optimize things.

 

John

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Not going to chime in with current diagnostics on Glens PC as its being dealt with and I know too many cooks can spoil the broth, I'm sure these guys will sort it for ya though Glenn ...

 

My intention to post here is about the original topic and cables to drives, you would not believe it but some SATA 3 cables that are identically specified can perform better than others and sometimes the best third party ones don't necessarily perform the best either!

 

In my recent I73960X build I wanted as best I could and it seemed silly to go overboard as I did and not buy expensive brand name SATA 3 cables too, thankfully I tested my SSD's to current known good results and benchmarks and when I found less than par performance I did the usual swap and plug diagnostic routine, amazingly my Asus board standard Sata 3 cables performed the best repeatedly ... really talking small margins here, but hey, there must be some difference in build quality of cable to account for that so consistantly and I wouldn't say it was cable length either?

 

Cheers.

 

you cant beat Asus stuff it is simply the best out there bar none, they have the lowest failure rate under warrantee of all the pc component makers. my current setup is the first time i have strayed from Asus for about 20 years. my sata cables are all Asus stuff that i have collected over the years , funnily enough the cable that bit the dust was an Gigabyte one that came with the motherboard. Gigabyte have always been my second choice for components.

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Hi guys just to confuse you some more (lol) I had probs with Fsx so decided a spring clean was in order so wiped hard drive reinstalled OS and FSX /service packs/registered as I always do. When I turned on my computer following day it started no prob and I haven't opened my tower and fiddled with anything! So I can only assume it was some prob with my OS. Will keep an eye on it if I have same prob again I'll strip it back to nuts n bolts and inspect as I rebuild. Thanks again everyone ;)

Glen

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Have been commissioning/repairing computers for more than 4 decades, from purely mechanical types (still being manufactured through much of the 1970's would you believe), valve ones using double triodes, electro-mechanical relay logic types, decatron computers, transistor computers, inhibit core logic types & the first microprocessor models (4-bit processor).

 

Despite the variation in computer technology, most hardware faults with all these computer types were bad cable connectors, switches, power supply problems or overheating due to cooling fan failures or blocked air filters.

 

Ray.

 

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Hi guys,

Just an update to let you all know my pc is now running sweet and I found the problem. Believe it or not it was my power lead! I could jiggle it about where it plugs into the psu. I replaced it with a new one which is a tight fit and hey presto starts first time no sudden cut outs and runs and runs! Thanks for all your thoughts and help on my strange (computer) problem! I was beginning to suspect my new psu!

Thanks again M.H'ers

Ps, so next time anyone suspects gremlins 'in' the pc don't forget cables outside the pc too! ;)

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Lol I've now got a huge bald spot from head scratching and tearing my hair out! Thanks again guys its better to have 'many cooks to prepare the broth' in times like this as one may come up with the last thing you would never of thought and that would be the answer! (If you get my strange ramble?) Again thanks all. ;)

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