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Odd freezing at BIOS splash screen

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I have an old Alienware Aurora R4 desktop, running Windows 7 Home. The last couple of months it has been acting oddly during booting up, alternating between locking up at the BIOS splash screen and booting as normal. What happens is that, after having booted up normally, if it restarts/reboots (cold or warm) once it reaches the BIOS splash screen, where you can select F2 or F12 (or the hidden F8) it beeps once then the computer just hangs there. Nothing works: no keys, mouse; no input at all. Pressing the power button immediately kills everything: the machine instantly shuts down and all power off. Pressing and releasing the power button after that, and the computer does nothing at all for about 3-4 seconds, before turning on as normal.

It does this on a regular cycle, alternating between locking up at the BIOS screen and booting up to the desktop. I tried everything to fix it: disabling all services except MS ones using msconfig; unplugging all peripherals, including mouse and keyboard; assuring all software and drivers--including BIOS--were up to date. I finally pinpointed the problem: the wireless USB network adapter.

I've tried two different ones: Netgear and Belkin, and the same thing happens: If either are plugged in (and I've tried four different USB ports with each) the computer goes through the alternating freeze-and-normal boot cycle. If I unplug them, then the computer boots normally. If I have them plugged in, then unplug them before rebooting, the computer boots normal and without the odd 3-4 second pause. I just can't have them plugged in during a boot. 

I can't seem to find anything online that addresses this, so I thought I'd try here.


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