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new motherboard and associated problems

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I recently upgraded my system, to an Athlon 2400 running on an L7vta
I also had to buy new ram (DDR) and am trying to run the thing.

The problem I am having is that it crashes unexpectely and when it does so
it causes some damage the the boot-up process.
I usually have to run win98se setup again. I have also tried Mandrake 9.2
Linux with similar problems, so I pretty much know it is a hardware thing.

I have a new maxtor 120gb HD which I have installed with a DDO (dynamic
drive overlay), so that the large size of the drive can be used by the OS.

The most recent time it has crashed it seems to have wiped out the DDO and
so I now have data on the large HD which will be lost if I re-run the maxtor
DDO setup. I want to keep this data but the drive is not being seen by
win98se, even though it *does* appear to be seen in the boot process.
(running FDISK does not detect this big drive -only my old 4.3gb one which
is the boot drive).

I wonder if anyone can advise on probable cause of the crashes (I already
replaced the ram with a new. identical stick), and can i recover the large
HD without reformatting?
Will flashing my bios help?

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