Windows 2000 goes into CMOS/BIOS set up at start
February 18, 2007 8:22 AM   Subscribe

One of my PCs running Windows 2000 Professional has been a stable workhorse for several years. However, beginning a few days ago, it has not been booting properly - it heads to the CMOS/BIOS set up menu after the memory test rather than log in.

It's not making any BIOS error beeps - only the one happy successful POST beep. No recent hardware or peripheral changes; the only software added in the last week was Kapersky's online virus scan (which I have since removed). Oddly, the only thing that gets me into the normal boot and log in is doing a Ctrl+Alt+Del just before drive detection. I have Googled and searched on Microsoft over the past few days and have not found any useful information, and I honestly don't have a clue whether this is an OS, hardware or other problem. Perhaps a kind soul here can hope me?
posted by vers to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
This probably isn't an OS problem. It would be helpful to know the BIOS vendor and version. It should be displayed somewhere in the menus.
posted by saraswati at 8:30 AM on February 18, 2007

I would also poke around in there for some kind of event log. There could be an error being thrown that you're not seeing.
posted by saraswati at 8:32 AM on February 18, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you for your quick response, Saraswati. The BIOS is from Award Software International, Inc. 4.51 PG.

I do have an error in the event log that I am suspicious of - but it's been happening far longer than the recent start up issue:

The Automatic Updates service hung on starting.

If there's further info that would be helpful, I'm happy to provide -
posted by vers at 8:40 AM on February 18, 2007

Your CMOS settings may have been corrupted. In the CMOS menu try resetting to defaults. It has worked for me in the past.
posted by notpeter at 8:42 AM on February 18, 2007

Years, you say? Checked your CMOS battery?
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:59 AM on February 18, 2007

Response by poster: I hadn't suspected the battery, Smart Dalek, though the motherboard in this machine is 5 to 6 years old. If it were the battery, wouldn't I lose the clock setting or other settings on the machine, or is that erroneous?
posted by vers at 9:08 AM on February 18, 2007

It certainly isn't an O/S problem. Your BIOS hasn't started your operating system yet, so that can be successfully ruled out.

Here are things I would try (in order of ease/cost and likelihood of result):

- Reset the BIOS. Write down all your settings or record them in some way before doing so. Doing a hard reset could clear up some minor glitch that is causing it to go into setup.

- Change keyboards/mice. There's a chance your keyboard or mouse is sending a weird signal that the BIOS is interpreting as F8 or whatever the command is to get to setup.

- Put in a new BIOS battery. This seems like a possibility, but I agree that you should be seeing some other indicators (like a reset clock) if your BIOS battery is failing.

- Re-flash the BIOS. Notice this is different than resetting the BIOS. This actually writes a new BIOS file to your computer. It's a fairly risky procedure and I wouldn't do it before backing up ALL my data first to a device that's disconnected from your computer.

- Get a new motherboard.
posted by onalark at 9:24 AM on February 18, 2007

yeah, check that you have the latest bios and reset to defaults.
posted by rhizome at 9:32 AM on February 18, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you all -- I'm off to try (some of) these suggestions. If I'm not back soon to mark best answers, you know what I'm doing...
posted by vers at 10:29 AM on February 18, 2007

i'm nthing the battery issue. bet that's it.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 11:11 AM on February 18, 2007

Oops, I should've been specific. I meant an event log in the BIOS. CMOS battery was what I was getting at, although I don't think I've ever seen a BIOS that goes into the menu system automatically on error. Typically you get a notification and an option to continue or enter setup. If it was something as simple as the battery I can't imagine the BIOS vendor would've made it so non-trivial to just ignore the error and continue on.
posted by saraswati at 2:36 PM on February 18, 2007

You know, if it's not the battery, you could have a stuck key on your keyboard.
posted by kc0dxh at 8:07 AM on February 19, 2007

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