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I have a board that supports only XP and Server 2003. It has been EOLed, so the manufacturer has not, and will not, update the BIOS for Vista and above. W7 has the Serverworks HT1000 chipset driver and shows it functioning properly.

I randomly freezes (no mouse/keyboard response) with no error messages, and USB devices sometimes fail to load, whether before or after boot. When they do work, the work properly, though, as music plays perfectly with a USB sound card. Incidentally, an old, well established PCI sound card refuses to be recognized. Additionally, the original 8MB PCI video card caused a "PCI standard PCI to PCI bridge" in Device Manager with the warning, "cannot find enough resources...". Upgrading to a 256MB card did not cause the PCI Bridge or any errors in Device Manager, but BSODed during WEI as explained below until remedied.

However, upon boot, the Administrative even error ID 6 comes up, which states "Some processor power management features have been disabled due to a known firmware problem..." Obviously this is the BIOS.

A series of BIOS and system settings have been tried to no avail, but just to get the system reasonably stable up to this point, required disabling 4 video acceleration features. This was done because it BSODed when running WEI during the graphics part. Now WEI runs and the numbers are all 5+ with the exception of aero/games at 2.5 or so, which would be expected. The 5+es are impressive considering a modest Opteron dual core and a slow IDE drive.

As far as I know, there are some RAM timing and voltage settings that are available that have not been attempted due to ignorance. I read a solution for random W7 freezes with no error codes, which stated reducing the maximum speed of the sticks and a few other settings solved the issue. But there is no guidance anywhere for my situation, otherwise I would attempt it. 2x1GB are installed.

So the question is can anything be done to the system to compensate for the defunct BIOS, in addition to the RAM settings?

Motherboard Manual, Opteron DC 175 2.2GHz, 2x1GB RAM Non-ECC (ECC recommended), PS/2 mouse and keyboard, Jetway N6201 GeForce 6200 256MB Video, Seagate 120GB IDE.

Current BIOS settings:

MTRR Mapping, Continuous and Discrete
LBA Large Mode, Auto
Block, Auto
PIO, Auto
32 Bit Data Transfer, Disabled
Clear NVRAM during boot-up, No
Plug & Play, Yes
PCI Latency, 64 clocks
Palette Snooping, Disabled
PCI Busmaster, Disabled
Offboard PCI/ISA IDE Card, Auto
IRQ3...15, all Available
DMA Channel0...7, all Available
Reserved Memory Size (Legacy ISA), Disabled
Serial Ports both Disabled
Memclock, Auto
MCT Timing Mode, Auto & User Config. Mode, Auto
Bank Interleaving, Auto
Burst Length, 4 beats
Enable Clock to All DIMMs, Disabled
Hardware Memory Hole, Disabled
DRAM ECC Enable, Disabled
HT_1000 S-ATA, Disabled
ACPI APIC Support, Enabled
ACPI OEMB Table,11 Enabled
Headless Mode, Disabled
MPS Revision, 1.4
Remote Access, Disabled
USB 2.0 Controller Mode, HiSpeed
BIOS EHCI Hand-Off, Enabled
PS/2 Mouse Support, Enabled
PXE Option ROM, Disabled
Boot Priority, CD, HD
Onboard RAID & NIC PXE Option ROM, Disabled
Boot Sector Virus Protection, Enabled

These are the Optimal Defaults, basically. I have not tried Fail-Safe yet, but attempted many combinations and different settings, so that is doubtful.

The system works with Debian Wheezy x64. No errors, lockups, or USB problems at all, even though that OS is unsupported as well.

W7 has trouble booting with USB devices connected, and sometimes renders the bus dead altogether. I tried the General Fix for USB Driver Problems , which had a positive effect, but did not solve the problem completely.

Since the anemic 8MB video card originally installed caused major problems, this seems to point to a resource issue with the PCI bus, which may also affect the USB.

ECC memory will have different timings, but I have only a single 1GB stick, which is not good for W7 as we all know. It is noticeably slower even before the system starts. Another stick should be tried. I mention this because certain sticks can cause random freezes (no mouse or KB) which can be remedied by adjusting the timings and voltage.

For the record, the 4 Video accelerators were disabled according to "Disable DXVA to fix Windows 8 BSOD on Experience Index test" and DXVA Checker, which made the system usable as mentioned above. Obviously, the Video is hogging the bus, or Windows doesn't know how to manage it. I may try a 512MB card which will attenuate the interrupt demand, and perhaps permit the re-enabling of the accelerators, although they are not essential for this machine.

I do not know which tools to use for diagnosing the area where W7 is having trouble. I suppose some event logging during boot and startup would be helpful. I see there is also WPA and WPR but I would not know what to do with these.

I understand this combination of hardware and OS will probably cause issues here and there, but I also know there must be a viable solution. The machine runs the USB sound card (when it runs) and also runs DVD videos flawlessly.

If anyone can help, I would appreciated it greatly.

share|improve this question
The first though that comes to mind is why. If you know the board doesn't support Windows 7, and you know the hardware will barely run Windows 7, then why are you trying to hack the BIOS to force it to work? Why not stick with Windows XP and have a stable and reliable OS? – Christopher N. Boisjoli Feb 14 '14 at 5:33
Support ends for XP and Server 2003 in April 2014. – ITPhoenix Feb 14 '14 at 8:51
You should provide more details, such as full tech specs, driver versions, BSOD dumps, what settings you tried already and what you changed/reverted back exactly so far, etc. Keep in mind you could mitigate the issues perhaps, but being unsupported will probably give you troubles anyway. – and31415 Feb 14 '14 at 11:10
Thanks and31415. The question has been edited with more info. – ITPhoenix Feb 14 '14 at 19:54
1) A BIOS should nut support an OS. It should support "The standard" and all OS's should use "The standard". It is possible that a BIOS has a known bug and that an OS works around that, or that the BIOS is buggy in a way which by accident does not cause a conflict with an OS or with an current (and thus usually well tested) OS, but stating that "The BIOS supports specific OS's" just seems wrong. – Hennes Feb 14 '14 at 23:33

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