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Jen C
24-07-2004, 02:57 PM
Hi all

I have a friends computer here running WinXP home which is suffering from constant system freezes due to what appears a ACPI reading of an illegal IO port addresses. Information from MS Knowledge Base suggests a BIOS update is required.

Now, this should be fairly straight forward, just visit the mobo manufacturer's site and get the latest BIOS update, but .... I cannot pinpoint down the exact mobo model.

This PC is a remanufactured PC Company 950 Mhz Duron. The mobo manual supplied with the PC is for a Chaintech CT-7AIV5/7AIV5E board. This manual states the chipset is a VIA KM133 VT8365 or VT8365A + VT82C686B. Now Aida32 tells me this board is actually a VIA KT133 VT8363 Apollo chipset and the mobo is a Chaintech 7AIA board. I have examined the board itself and cannot find a model number printed anywhere on it. Does Aida32 (and Everest) mis-identify mobo's?

The current BIOS ID string is 08/13/2001-8363-686-IA6LMC0DC-00 - Award Modular v6.00PG.

Because this system is a remanufactured PC, I am concerned that the mobo manual might not be for this mobo, so does anyone have any suggestions of what else I can try to confirm this mobo's model number so that I can find the right BIOS update?

Thanks
Jen :)

Murray P
24-07-2004, 03:54 PM
Hi Jen

I guess you've looked in the usual place between the PCI slots for a model number.

did you use the Award BIOS Agent (http://www.esupport.com/biosagent/) to get the string, etc? There is a DOS floppy version if you're having trouble booting windows.

Cheers Murray P

bmason
24-07-2004, 04:07 PM
Grab the manuals for all of the possible boards and compare the layout of slots. And position & numbering of jumpers etc. If the north/south bridge doesn't have a heatsink you will be able to get the model number too.

Hopefully you will be able to at least eliminate some of them.


BTW, if its an ACPI problem there may be an option to disable it in the BIOS. It was very buggy in many of the early chips.

Murray P
24-07-2004, 04:24 PM
Old Chaintech Website (http://www.chaintech.com.tw:8008/products/socketa/index.htm) wit lots of pretty pictures but perhaps not your board.

Cheers Murray P

Jen C
24-07-2004, 04:57 PM
Thanks guys :)

Murray>
I got the BIOS ID string during bootup after POST (just hit the pause key to enable me to copy it down), Aida and that program you provided a link to both report the same string as well.

Brett>
I have been grabbing the manuals for both options of mobo, but lucky me, the boards appear identical visually.

I did consider disabling the ACPI in the BIOS, but have read that this may render the PC unbootable (which is only one step down from its current instability).

UPDATE: Well I was just looking in the BIOS now, I decided to try and disable the ACPI ... and it didn't boot after that :p

So, this leads me to think Aida32 is mis-identifying the mobo name and chipset and I do have the correct manual for the board. But I am going to go over the mobo with a fine tooth comb and match sure the jumpers etc match the manual.

Thanks for the advice so far.

merlin-nz
24-07-2004, 06:09 PM
Hi Jen,

I find Cpuz (http://www.cpuid.com) is the best.

Aida 32 and Everest have both given me false info in the past.

cheers merlin-nz ;-)

Jen C
24-07-2004, 06:25 PM
Really big *sigh*

Well, this board appears to be an unknown hybrid :_|

This board has a south bridge with VIA VT82C686B on it. It has 1xAGP, 3xPCI and 1xISA slot. None of the chaintech models appear to have this combination! The manual I have here for the CT-7AIV5/7AIV5E doesn't even list/show a ISA slot (but looks indentical otherwise)!

Using Merlin's cpuinfo tool, it has the motherboard manufacturer as THEPCCOMPANY, a model number of 8363-868 (this matches the BIOS ID string), a chipset of KT133 Rev81 and a southbridge of VT82C686B.

So I have a board which does not match the manual it came with, and does not appear to be one of Chaintechs boards (the expansion slot combo I have), so that puts my BIOS flashing plan up the creek now.

Hmmm ... this system really needs this problem fixed as it is near impossible to use with the frequent system freezes.

/me stuck ... any further suggestions? :)

tech_meister
24-07-2004, 07:19 PM
Hi Jen

The Pc company, I'm pretty sure use there own OEM bios and is tied into
the OS, so would be risky to use Chaintech's bios.
If the PC has the OS it came with the problem is unlikely to be fixed
with a bios update. Check the settings in the bios ACPI must be
enabled for XP to work and also make sure ACPI aware setting is enabled also.
The north bridge chip can be identified by the fact that the Via KM133 has
onboard video and the KT133 does not.
There is a 7AIV5 m/b on Chaintechs website,
I would not get to hung up on the different expansion slots as OEM's often customize these things.(likely to be the E version) cheap!
If all else fails try there bios, the OS installed may not like it though.
Don't you just love OEM's!! :x

Jen C
24-07-2004, 07:52 PM
Hi tech_meister,

I do remember now some comments about the PC Co using a OEM BIOS and how if you upgrade the BIOS the Recovery Disc would no longer work. The BIOS settings are set to ACPI enabled and ACPI suspend type S1 (POS), which are the defaults.

The strange thing is, that this PC worked fine for the first year of its life and only now has these freezes. On every bootup the Event log shows 4 ACPI errors, which can lead to system instability. I have checked out every other cause of system freezes, including running memtest86 and nothing has come up.

I am not willing to flash the BIOS if it results in the OS carking it. Do I tell them now that they should get a new mobo with a stock BIOS and then buy a full version of WinXP seeing their PC Co Recovery disk is now no good? Don't think they are going to like this news ...

tweak\'e
24-07-2004, 09:51 PM
> Do I tell them now that they should get a new mobo with a stock BIOS and then buy a full version of WinXP seeing their PC Co Recovery disk is now no good? Don't think they are going to like this news ..

sory jen .....but thats what they get for buying a supermarket pc. mind you i have bought a new mobo and a copy of XP cheaper than a replacement motherboard for a brandname pc.

bmason
24-07-2004, 10:36 PM
I would have a look at the drivers currently installed. A bad or corrupted driver will make XP behave strangely because there is no memory protection for drivers so anything can get messed up.

Try reinstalling all of the drivers (or rolling back to older versions). Check out the hidden devices in the device manager too.

Running the system file checker might turn up something too (run "sfc /scannow").

kiki
24-07-2004, 10:56 PM
> Using Merlin's cpuinfo tool, it has the motherboard manufacturer as THEPCCOMPANY

Yes, I figured out last year that this is the technique they use to link the recovery cd to that hardware. If you can make the BIOS contain that specific string 'THEPCCOMPANY' it will run any of their recovery cds. ]:)

If you update to the Chaintech BIOS you will definitely lose the ability to use the recovery cd that came with the PC.

I seem to remember they kept a list of the BIOSs on their site somewhere. Search PF1 for the link.

If you are confused about the motherboard version, just go with whatever Everest Home edition says, or try getting a hold of Sisoft Sandra which may get some more details. For example, 7AIA5/AIA5E are the same version, so either of the BIOSs will work. I think you'll find that they only release a BIOS for one side of the / sign anyway.

I wouldn't trust whatever the manual says, they could have easily given you the wrong one.

Elephant
25-07-2004, 02:28 AM
Going by the BIOS string you have a Chaintech 7A1A.

I suggest you check that board on the Chaintech web site and see if it matches.

Still won't help with the PC Company BIOS though unfortunately.

Jen C
25-07-2004, 11:38 AM
Well getting nowhere fast here.

Brett>
I had already updated the mobo drivers but I hadn't done the nVidia ones. Got all excited because the system ran for an hour smoothly and I thought we were onto a winner ... until it froze again. For the drivers I have been getting the older ones because it has a nVidia RIVA TNT2 Model 64 card so I used the 44.03 driver set, and for the mobo I had used the VIA 4in1 set which was recommended for the older chipsets. All the service packs and critical updates for XP have also been installed now.

Running sfc /scannow was impossible, the system constantly froze after a few minutes (tried at least 5 times to run it, and each time had to reset the PC again).

I have checked out the hidden devices in the Hardware Manager (also under Safe Mode) and nothing is flagging as a problem.

kiki>
>I seem to remember they kept a list of the BIOSs on their site somewhere. Search PF1 for the link.
Found the ftp url for the PC Company, but that site is now long gone ...

Elephant>
> Going by the BIOS string you have a Chaintech 7A1A.
That BIOS ID string is confusing, it also says that the manufacturer is Matsonic from the C0 portion. I have also gone over all their boards and nothing matches there either. The Chaintech 7AIA which is what Aida32/Everest report also does not match.


Seeing as the sfc won't run without locking up the system, I decided to do a repair of the OS. Unfortunately the repair utility is not recognising the Admin password, even after I booted into the hidden Admin account under Safe Mode and made a password for it. Just hitting "enter" as the password prompt doesn't do anything either ... so I can't even use the Recovery Disc for a repair of the OS at the moment.

I might suggest to them that I do a complete reformat and reinstall of the OS seeing as the PC did work fine for the first year of its life.

Thanks everyone for your comments :)

metla
25-07-2004, 11:44 AM
Just watch out if the new install aborts halfway through the process,then you get to return a non-functioning PC back to them,....never goes down well.

Pheonix
25-07-2004, 12:47 PM
Also, check out the recovery disk. I had a look at the brother-in-laws one and it is an XPsp1 install disk. Tried it on another PC, and it installs XP home OK.

tech_meister
26-07-2004, 08:43 AM
I have another idea that might fix your problem.
I had a PC company PC look alike that had a locking up problem
the other day and I finally found that if I swap some of the pc cards
around it then was ok after that, I think the main culprit was
the modem, sometimes they don't put the pc cards in the best places.
Also, is the freeze a solid lock up meaning you cannot even move
the mouse if that is the case it is usually a video card or driver problem,
if not it will be something else.

Jen C
26-07-2004, 10:24 PM
Hi tech_meister,

Wouldn't the modem have to be in use to be a contributing factor in these lockups? The machine normally connects via dialup with an internal modem, but I have it hooked up to my network via a USB connection to my ADSL modem/router at the moment and it still displays the same problem (with or without being on the network). The lockup/freezes are complete with no mouse or keyboard response at all and you can only use the reset button. Anyhow, I have tried the modem in a different PCI slot and it made no difference. I am currently running Knoppix Live-CD on it to see whether it will lock up under this OS ... and it hasn't so far but I will leave it running overnight. The system actually ran for nearly 24 hours today under XP before it froze again.

As a BIOS update is no longer an option, I will go ahead with the reformat and reinstall, and if that fails to solve this issue I will suggest they take it to a repair shop for more thorough hardware testing ... also any doom and gloom news might be better coming from experienced techies :p

Elephant
26-07-2004, 11:18 PM
> Hi tech_meister,
>
> Wouldn't the modem have to be in use to be a
> contributing factor in these lockups? The machine
> normally connects via dialup with an internal modem,
In my experience the modem or any other hardware will not have to be "in use" to cause a problem. The reason I say this is that all hardware is connected to the motherboard in one way or another via various ports, slots etc.

The O/S will poll through the BIOS, interrupts, drivers, CPU, RAM etc to figure out what key presses, mouse movements etc are going on.

Just because the modem is not being used does not mean to say that the O/S does not access it. The O/S will check on all devices all the time otherwise how will it know if something is being used?

The O/S will in fact monitor all hardware all the time. That is the job of the O/S. The O/S also runs application software like the word processor etc.

Just thought everyone would like to know that.

> As a BIOS update is no longer an option, I will go
> ahead with the reformat and reinstall, and if that
> fails to solve this issue I will suggest they take it
> to a repair shop for more thorough hardware testing
Sounds OK to me Jen_C but I am sorry we have not been able to resolve this issue.

> ... also any doom and gloom news might be better
> coming from experienced techies :p
Who said you weren't experienced? I, for one, think you have heaps of experience in computers.

tech_meister
27-07-2004, 08:32 AM
>
> Wouldn't the modem have to be in use to be a
> contributing factor in these lockups?

Yes, it would more likely to happen when the modem is in use.

I have a few more suggestions that you may want to try.
Go into computer management right click device
manager and select view resources by type and expand the + there you will see which devices use what IO's
see if you can find the one with the illegal
IO addresses, you might be able to pin point
the device giving you trouble, if you can remove or uninstall the device and see if you lock ups are gone.
As I mentioned before Hard lock ups are often
video card related (although maybe not in your case) so to that end updating video card and
direct x drivers is a good idea, If you think it might be the video card you could try a pci
video card and see (if you have one) if that helps, although I'm
not too sure if it's got onboard video or not, if it has just disable it in the bios, somtimes
they just disable themselves if another card is installed.
A couple of bios settings: make sure Plug &play aware OS is enabled and also while your there
enable reset config data and resoures controlled by auto, assuming your bios has these settings, usually in PNP/PCI config.

Murray P
27-07-2004, 08:58 AM
While your in device manager go up to the View menu and make sure "Show hidden devices" is ticked. If it's the same as win 2k pro, you may get a whole bunch of none plug and play device drivers to fiddle with.

Cheers Murray P

B.M.
27-07-2004, 10:41 AM
Ummmm, Iím a bit reluctant to post this Jen but does XP have a ďSAFEĒ start up mode?

As you already know, if it runs in this mode it would point toward drivers.

Sorry if youíve covered this and Iíve missed it. :8}

Cheers

Bob

valiantnz
27-07-2004, 11:50 AM
maybe this PC is just way below spec. Did you not say you play C&C generals. TNT is below spec (if even suporrted a5 all) for those games . More ram nd a better video card would do wonders I think. Can you borrow these 2 parts off of someone to try?

valiantnz
27-07-2004, 11:52 AM
^^^Sorry ^^^^wrong post in the wrong thread

Jen C
27-07-2004, 06:20 PM
> While your in device manager go up to the View menu
> and make sure "Show hidden devices" is ticked. If
> it's the same as win 2k pro, you may get a whole
> bunch of none plug and play device drivers to fiddle
> with.

You are right about the heap of non-play 'n' play drivers listed there, but none of them looked "suspect" and I didn't want to start fiddling unnecessarily with them and cause more havoc :D

Jen C
27-07-2004, 06:22 PM
> Ummmm, Iím a bit reluctant to post this Jen but does XP have a ďSAFEĒ start up mode?
>As you already know, if it runs in this mode it would point toward drivers.
>Sorry if youíve covered this and Iíve missed it.


Nah, don't be sorry, it is a good suggestion

I had tried safe mode whilst I was having a fiddle with the device manager and a few other things and it didn't lock up during that time, so I also tried safe mode with network support and it did locked up with all the networking drivers loaded. So I tried to uninstall and reinstall the network drivers incase one of these were behind the problem ... but no such luck

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, I did manage to do a repair of the OS today and it looks OK except for System Restore gronking it due to a dll missing, which looks like this should be resolved by SP1 which I am currently installing now. Well just have to hope this repair might do the trick

PS* on a slightly different note, anyone get a error message during the OS Repair about unregmp2.exe Entry Point Not Found relating to a MSDART.DLL? The whole Repair comes to a grinding halt at this point as clicking OK just results in the error window popping up again. A bit of googling later tells you to just keeping click OK whilst holding down the CRTL key until the message goes away - and about 50 clicks later it did, so the Repair continued onward ... strange.

Jen C
27-07-2004, 06:30 PM
> Go into computer management right click device
> manager and select view resources by type and expand
> the + there you will see which devices use what IO's
> see if you can find the one with the illegal
> IO addresses,
I had a look here, but really couldn't see anything helpful.

> As I mentioned before Hard lock ups are often
> video card related (although maybe not in your case)
> so to that end updating video card and
> direct x drivers is a good idea
I had already tried updating the nVidia drivers, but this didn't make a difference. I didn't try the directX ones as I preferred to leave them at the 8.1 version since I have used slightly older nVidia drivers 44.30 IIRC and this machine is not a gaming one and has a basic graphic card.

> A couple of bios settings: make sure Plug &play aware
> OS is enabled and also while your there
> enable reset config data and resoures controlled by
> auto, assuming your bios has these settings, usually
> in PNP/PCI config.
I had a look at these, and made changes where appropriate, but again, no luck.

Thanks very much for all your help though. :)

kiki
27-07-2004, 06:34 PM
I would update those video drivers a bit more to a higher version. I have one of those TNT2s and they can handle the newest drivers, I've tried. Did you try a fresh install of the OS? That would be a last resort too.

If you are still into getting a new BIOS, then it is definitely a Chaintech MB. So just surf the Chaintech site and match it up to the model number. You'll probably find that the 7AIV has a different FSB speed to the 7AIA etc and that will help you identify which one you have. I used to use a Chaintech 7AIA5/E but I think it died due to leaking capacitors. I can always take a photo of it and you can compare ;)

Jen C
27-07-2004, 08:33 PM
> I would update those video drivers a bit more to a
> higher version. I have one of those TNT2s and they
> can handle the newest drivers, I've tried.

They have been updated from the original drivers it came with which should of been enough to sort out a corrupted driver.

> Did you
> try a fresh install of the OS? That would be a last
> resort too.

Well I just finished a repair of the OS, added SP1 plus the rest of the updates ... but the problem remains.

> If you are still into getting a new BIOS, then it is
> definitely a Chaintech MB.

I am leaving the BIOS alone now, I don't want to render their OS recovery disk useless.


Well, after the repair of the OS didn't fix it, I am admitting defeat now and will suggest they take it to a repair shop. Just need to find a good repair shop in Auckland to recommend to them. :)

metla
27-07-2004, 10:07 PM
Must be a Dick Smith or Harvey Norman nearby.......

agent_24
27-07-2004, 10:33 PM
The name "duron" is probbly the key factor here

agent_24
27-07-2004, 10:35 PM
also different revisions of the same motherboard can have different configs, eg: rev A might have an ISA slot whereas rev B and C may not.

Murray P
27-07-2004, 11:13 PM
Hi Jen

The thing I've found before with the hidden drivers in device manager is that you can come up with left overs from un-installed devices, older versions or system files/.dlls that are not in use or conflict with the other (newer) versions. There also seems to be generic system disk/storage device, error tolerance, IO, network, type stuff in there, all the juicy stuff that ends out as events if perfdisk for eg, is configured/working properly and your having any performance issues with how data is being handled between cpu, memory and your disks. I've had occasion to find bits left behind in there by two separate AV programmes that had been un-installed but still seemed to have a good grip on aspects of my win 2k system.

It's not necessarily going to be productive time in your case, if you don't recognise the name of files or processes then the research is pretty consuming. That's made harder by not knowing exactly what ahs been on and off the system previously.

Cheers Murray P

tech_meister
28-07-2004, 01:51 PM
This seems to be a very tricky problem, Jen
Keep us posted on what is eventually found wrong with it.
Maybe you can send it to Colin Browne to fix :D

Jen C
06-08-2004, 07:46 PM
UPDATE:

Well the computer went into the repair shop and the CPU and motherboard were both fine. They reinstalled XP again which I had already done myself only days earlier and announced that this had fixed the problem. When the PC owner was just about to leave the shop with the machine, the tech guy mentioned the modem was a bit *odd* and offered to replace the modem before they left. They took up this offer (was only going to cost them $10 for the modem) and for the last 3 days the machine has been working fine.

I am picking that it was the modem at fault (tech_meister did suggest this), and I when I was testing the machine I only swapped the modem into a different PCI slot which did not fix the freezing. I do have a spare modem here, and in hindsight, wished I had thought of swapping this out as well - live and learn I guess :D

The ACPI error still occurs on each boot up, but XP seems happy enough again and the owner is certainly happy they have a functioning computer again.

Big thanks again for everyone's input into this problem. :)

Jen

tech_meister
06-08-2004, 11:25 PM
Good to see that the PC is working again, Jen
Winmodems can cause all sorts grief (never heard one described as *odd* though?)
I think however the repair shop should have fixed the ACPI error
as XP relys heavily on it to function properly, they may still have problems later on.
Does the error come up when Xp is actually booting up or is the error just
listed in the device manager?

Jen C
06-08-2004, 11:53 PM
> Winmodems can cause all sorts grief (never heard one
> described as *odd* though?)

This was how the problem was described to her by the tech who spoke English as a second language, the owners are not pc-savy and didn't question him further.

> I think however the repair shop should have fixed the
> ACPI error
> as XP relys heavily on it to function properly, they
> may still have problems later on.
> Does the error come up when Xp is actually booting up
> or is the error just
> listed in the device manager?

This error shows in every event log > system errors log after each bootup. I got the PC's owners to check to see whether it still does this after it was returned from the shop, and it does.

Hopefully this is the end of their problem and it won't resurface.

tech_meister
07-08-2004, 12:28 PM
Hope so

cmx2
28-03-2006, 01:43 AM
Hi, all

I happened to the same trouble.My mainboard bios isn't OK.I haven't update bios.So my computer is going to paralysis.Please help me!I want to get special BIOS.Aida32 tells me this board is actually a VIA KT133 VT8363 Apollo chipset and the mobo is a Chaintech 7AIA board.

Hi Jen c

I knowed that you have gotten it.Please help me and give me try it,is that right?

devout your friend

my email:chenmxiu@163.com

Thanks again!

Jen
28-03-2006, 06:56 AM
Hi cmx2

This thread is over 18 months old now, and I no longer have that BIOS update file. Have you tried looking on the Chaintech website for the file? :)

SolMiester
28-03-2006, 11:02 AM
Just skipped to the end of thread.

A quick note, ACPI is the instruction set for the O/S to control the PC power options and was flakey when 1st brought out. The solution with older board is to disable the setting in BIOS, THEN install windows. You cannot disable ACPI if the O/S was loaded with this option enabled.