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Syntax SV266A System Board Problems and Fixes
Frankly, the choice of the Syntax SV266A system board for use in student's computers was a poor one because it has Rom Bios problems, installs the wrong drivers from the included CD, and has caused hosts of other problems which could have been avoided.
But; since that is water under the bridge, as they say, these pages will help you to fix those problems; after which, it ain't such a bad deal, after all.
Some of you may have your system report that it has and AMD XP 1800+ Processor, rather than the 2400+. The picture to the right is of the Syntax system board and the jumper (J4) which affects the speed.
BUT , for the system to work properly, you must jumper it in the slow position until all of the drivers and updates have been installed; so, the first thing to do is to turn it off, remove the left side cover, and jumper the system in the slow position.
Some of the Windows Updates correct timing issues in the Athlon CPU, the VIA chipset, and the NIC, so you must slow it down to achieve success!
The next big note is that the Bios has problems in that it programs the chipset's timing incorrectly and this leads to a mis-installation of Windows XP; a problem which will only get worse as time goes on. I would heartily suggest that anyone with the Syntax SV266A system board get the Bios upgrade from my page on the subject and install it. Included on that page, too, is an important change in setup that affects the memory timing.
Next, we should uninstall any bad drivers that were installed by the Syntax CD and upgrade to the best set of system board drivers.
If you have the "C-Media" sound drivers installed, they are wrong and your sound isn't working properly. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs and Remove the C-Media drivers if they are present. You will be prompted to restart and before you do that, place the silver Syntax CD in your CD Rom drive and unplug your network cable (otherwise XP will try to search the net for the drivers). When the system restarts, the New Hardware Wizard will start. Choose "Install from a list or specific location" and click Next. Choose "Don't search..." and then Next. Leave "Show All Devices" selected and click next. Click "Have Disk", select your CD Rom drive letter and Browse. You will be presented with a list of folders and may need to use the folder with the green up arrow icon to move up to the list which should show "IDE" at the top. Double click on Sound, then VIA823x, then WINXP, and Open. Click OK , Next, and Finish to install the drivers. Restart the computer and you should not only hear sound; but should also have a speaker icon in the system tray (down by the time).
Because you will need these if you have the nastiest problem of all, download and run this file, which is a self extracting copy of the VIA chipset drivers, version 4.43. According to VIA, they are the best for the SV266's chipset. Make sure you save it to disk and remember where you saved it, because you may need it twice. It is a self extracting Zip file and will prompt you to Unzip to "C:\". Click Unzip, then OK, and then Close. Double click on My Computer, then (C:) under Hard Disk Drives, then SV266A-Drivers folder, then VIA-4in1443v folder, and then the Setup which has a Computer Icon. The Via Service Pack setup will start and click, Next, Yes, Next, Next, Next, and Next. When prompted to restart, click OK.
Most of you probably have the right NVidia drivers for the MSI video card which was supplied and you should have an "NVIDIA Settings" icon in the system tray; but, just in case, the latest version can be downloaded here.
There are also other drivers for the modem and network; however, most of you should be OK and I will ask that you Email me if they are causing you problems.
OK (whew), now that we've been through the Bios and drivers, it's time to check for the nasty. Restart your system and, before it boots, hit the F8 key a bunch of times. You should get the Windows Advanced Options Menu. If you don't, restart and try again. The trick is to catch it right after the Bios is finished, but before Windows really starts to boot.
Use the Up-Arrow key to select "Safe Mode" and hit Enter. If you were in my track at Independence, you may also need to hit Enter again on Windows XP. If Windows boots and presents you with the login screen with Administrator and, at least, you for login choices, you can simply restart normally by clicking the Turn Off Computer button at the bottom left and choosing Restart.
If it does not (and I suspect it won't for about half), you can thank your lucky starts that Microsoft was nice enough to provide a full install, because you will have to re-install Windows and this is one of the few versions where that will actually work.
Reboot your computer as you normally would. Go back to the folder you saved the, put your XP CD in the drive, and choose Install Windows XP when it autoplay's. The setup will automatically select Upgrade for the Installation Type, so click Next, accept the agreement, Next, enter your Product key and Next, choose "No, skip this step" and Next, then sit back and wait while Windows re-installs.
You will be prompted for the location of VIAAGP1.SYS after the first reboot and you can find it in C:\SV266A-Drivers\VIA-4in1443v\WinXP if you completed my earlier step for upgrading the system board drivers. Click the Browse button to locate it.
Hopefully, Safe Mode will work after the reinstallation is complete and, if it does, you should find that your computer is both faster and happier. Make sure you test it, one more time, and Email me if it doesn't.
The last notes I will add after way more than I meant to write are three suggestions.
It is absolutely critical that you have antiviral software, unless you don't mind infecting all of your friends and family, and you can get it FREE, forever, at ComputerVirushelp.com.
Spyware, Trojans, and Worms have become the rage in the past few months, so be sure you get SpyBot Search & Destroy from http://www.safer-networking.org You will need to update it, which is a button in the program and should use it at least four times per year.
And, if you are on broadband, go to OfficeMax, Office Depot, or Best Buy and get a router. A wired router can be purchased for less than $30.00, is very simple to install (plug it in and it works), and will put a hardware firewall between you and the bad guys on the Internet.
As always, please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or problems.