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Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC SYSTEM FAILED"

By artmosley ·
I have an old 90 MHz Pentium machine that will not boot. (It was given to me by a friend already broken, so my knowledge about this computer is limited to what I can see.)

When I turn it on, it gets past the memory check and hard drive identification. Then it stops, saying:

A: Drive Error
Press F1 to RESUME

If I press F1, it goes to the next screen (the chart showing the components of the system), then pauses for a while, then flashes to another screen saying (in text much larger and wider than standard DOS text):

NO ROM BASIC
SYSTEM HALTED( _ )

(That?s a flashing underscore/text insertion point that I put in parentheses)

This is where I am completely stuck. I have experimented with some settings in the BIOS (which, by the way, has an interface similar to ancient version of Windows (before 3.1), but that did not help. What I did was turn off the option to check for a floppy disk at startup, and I also set the order in which to look for a boot disk from A:,C: to C:, A:.

When I restarted I did not get the ?A: Drive Error?? message, and I did not get a pause at the second startup screen before going into the ?NO ROM?? message. (The second startup screen was displayed for less than 1 second before the ?NO ROM?? screen displayed.) I then went back into the BIOS and set it back to normal.

Other things I have tried are booting with a Windows 95 startup disk (this had no effect whatsoever), and I tried booting with another hard drive. One thingI noticed when looking inside the computer was that there appeared to be no jumper setting on the floppy drive (meaning there was a place where jumpers could be set, but the little, black jumper setter was not on them).

If anyone can help me getthis computer back into working order, I would greatly appreciate it!

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Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC SYSTEM FAILED"

by artmosley In reply to Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC ...

**UPDATE**

This might not be very important, but I made a mistake in the first line. This computer I bought a few years ago from a computer guy and gave it to my friend. It worked fine until a technician at my friend?s office tried to install an Ethernet card in it. Then it would not boot, and the guy who tried to install the Ethernet card blamed the motherboard or the hard drive. That is when I was given back the computer.

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Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC SYSTEM FAILED"

by tbradley In reply to Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC ...

The first step is to get this beast to boot from a floppy, and that has to be your A drive. Being this old, it may very well have a 5 1/4" drive ( any drives that look like an extra wide slot with a handle? ). If not, you have to make sure A ( the 31/2" ) is properly connected.

Floppy drives do not normally have jumpers, instead the ribbon cable set the drive letter. The A drive must be connected to the connector on the ribbon cable that has the twist. This sets it as drive 1 ( A drive ).

In your system bios, change the sequence to boot from A, then C. Get a good bootable floppy, with fdisk and format on it.

Boot with the floppy, and run fdisk. Use option 4, display partition information.

If fdisk tells you no hard drive present, power off, and check the cables on the hard drive. It should be a 40pin flat ribbon cable.

For both drives, A and C, make sure that pin1 on the cable is attached to pin1 on both the drive side, and the board side. Pin1 is usually colored,and on the drive side must go to the power supply side of the slot.

These are usually keyed, but if not, you will have to look close on the board side to make sure that the color stripe connects to the boards pin1.

Check the bios, and make sure it actually detects a hard drive present.

When it boots, again check fdisk, and if it detects a drive, follow the menu, and prepare a partition, and make it active.

Use format to prepare the drive

format c: /s will make it bootable.
Note: this machine has probably been setting for a long time, so the cmos battery is probably dead, and you will have to set-up the CMOS/BIOS each time you boot until you can get the battery replaced.

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Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC SYSTEM FAILED"

by tbradley In reply to Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC ...

One of 2 things happened, based on your comment, either the ethernet card is taking up the irq for the primary IDE controller, or the tech who installed the card was heavy handed, and knocked something loose.

1. Pull the ethernet card.
2. Check all other cards and cables, and make sure they're tight. All else in original post still applies.

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Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC SYSTEM FAILED"

by artmosley In reply to Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC ...

The question was auto-closed by TechRepublic

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Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC SYSTEM FAILED"

by dmiles In reply to Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC ...

It may be that he did not set the partition to active,insert the boot disk and using fdisk,chose the selection (4) and check the hard drive info,it sounds as though you have a bad hard drive or the bios needs to be flashed
Use FDISK,at command prompt type FDISK /MBR
using a windows 98 startup disk,
Reformat the disk
reboot the computer and at command prompt type setup, if the computer starts to run setup,insert and use the win95 system disk and cd rom.

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Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC SYSTEM FAILED"

by artmosley In reply to Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC ...

The question was auto-closed by TechRepublic

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Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC SYSTEM FAILED"

by alan.robinson14 In reply to Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC ...

90 Mhz is a pretty good machine, despite the previous comment.
To get it in prime condition with this error I would format the hard drive
>A:Fdisk
erase partion and create partion
>A:Format C: "this will remove everyting on your hard disk "Yes"
Rebuild from scratch.
a) You must have a floppy start up disk, that gives you a CD drive.
If you don't I can help
b) You have no documents on the PC that need saving, otherwise save them to floppy. Here I am taking Documents NOT Applications.
i.e. your video collection. or Invoices etc
c) Your computer is probably very good, but you must have a CD with WIN95/98/ME etc and a Floppy to boot from.If all above OK. Then
>A:FDISK
Delete
Create
> Format C:
>
> \SETUP

Don't worry.
Any problems contact me

Alan Robinson http://rcss.uk.com/

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Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC SYSTEM FAILED"

by artmosley In reply to Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC ...

The question was auto-closed by TechRepublic

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Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC SYSTEM FAILED"

by mphoffar In reply to Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC ...

Sounds like the only thing you need to do is break out the fdisk and set an active partition. Older systems will do this if there's no active partition set.

Good luck to you

Mark

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Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC SYSTEM FAILED"

by artmosley In reply to Won't Boot--"NO ROM BASIC ...

The question was auto-closed by TechRepublic

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