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orangeatheist
05-06-2009, 05:15 PM
Hey folks. Got a question regarding my PC.

Was working on it today, transferring video from a tape video camcorder to an external HDD. No need to get into details, but I found I needed that captured video on my main HDD in the machine itself (the one running the operating system, etc. Not just the external storage). So, I went and grabbed all the files ("CNTL + A") and then dragged and dropped them into My Documents where the video editing software wants them.

At any rate, I was doing that and I noticed the file transfer really slowing down. I had a webpage minimized so I tried to bring that up. No luck. I had another program minimized (Notepad) and tried to bring that up. Again, no luck. Computer was acting like it sometimes does when a webpage is malfunctioning. You try to bring up a page and you just get the boarder and a white center; know what I mean? Any way, after a minute or so, I suddenly get this blue screen telling me that something has malfunctioned. Said that if this was the first time I experienced the issue to just reboot. If it was not the first time, try uninstalling the new hardware (huh?), yada yada. So, I reboot (press power button). System tries to reboot, get Windows loading and then a flash of blue screen (way too fast to read) and the system reboots itself. Does this a few times and then on one of the passes it stops and says, "Disk Boot Failure. Insert System Disk and Press Enter."

Ohh...that doesn't sound good. So, I decide to reboot again. And again I get the "Disk Boot Failure" screen. I go and get my Windows XP disk and insert into the CD drive, reboot, and then run the "repair" option. Get a DOS prompt that just says this is for repairing Windows, type EXIT. I did; system reboots, (no "disk boot failure" this time) but after loading the Windows splash screen I get the flash of blue again and a reboot. Happens a couple of times again and then I get the "Disk Boot Failure" again.

Took out sticks of memory to see if that helped and it didn't. Here's my theory. Just looking to see if anyone else agrees:

1.) Windows is messed up somehow and I need to reinstall.

or

2.) The HDD is bad and needs replaced.

Any other ideas or opinions?

Thanks!!!

broncosteven
05-06-2009, 06:08 PM
How old is the system/HD?

Usually if the HD is going near failure SMART will detect it and warn you at boot.

If the HD is more than 3 years old I would buy a new one and do a fresh install on it. I would get a cheap < 100 gig hd to use as system drive and if you don't have a data drive buy a bigger (300+ gig) drive to store files on.

Either way you are going to reinstall. If you reinstall on the old drive make sure to run a Scandisk ASAP after install.

fdf
05-06-2009, 06:12 PM
How old is the system/HD?

Usually if the HD is going near failure SMART will detect it and warn you at boot.

If the HD is more than 3 years old I would buy a new one and do a fresh install on it. I would get a cheap < 100 gig hd to use as system drive and if you don't have a data drive buy a bigger (300+ gig) drive to store files on.

Either way you are going to reinstall. If you reinstall on the old drive make sure to run a Scandisk ASAP after install.

BroncoSteven is right. Replace your HD. I would never trust that hard drive again even if you got it to work with a reinstall. It has either failed or will fail again soon.

Hard drives are cheap.

Ratboy
05-06-2009, 06:45 PM
Before reading it all, I was thinking it may have been a RAM issue. May be a bad harddrive.

Is the hardware configured correctly? Maybe something is loose.

When you reinstalled windows, did you delete the old partition?

Check the bios, what is the boot sequence?

Is anything in your CDROM/Floppy Drive?

I would check all the cables, make sure everything is tight.

PaintballCLE
05-06-2009, 07:02 PM
SEE IF YOU CAN BOOT INTO SAFE MODE...........usually by holding down f8 while you turn your computer on. if you can, use system restore and you should be fine. If not, its probably the HDD or MOBO

orangeatheist
05-06-2009, 07:32 PM
Thanks, guys.

I haven't reinstalled anything yet but did try to run in SafeMode. Didn't work. Did the same thing as trying to run in regular mode, just got through the Windows splash/loading screen, flashed some sort of blue screen upon which I could see the last line consisted of a bunch of zeros and perhaps other numbers or alpha-characters (sector/memory address?) before it recycles into another reboot.

I've got two sticks of RAM and removed each in turn (so there was only one in the machine at a time, also moved slots) and that didn't affect anything so that's why I think I can eliminate the memory (two sticks going bad at exactly the same time? Doubt it). Could be a MB issue but I doubt that too, since it gets pretty far into boot up before it fails (just about to finish loading Windows and then, BAM!). Also, the fact that I'm getting two oddly dissimilar (on the surface) problems: 1.) auto reboots with a blue screen right as Windows is about to load and 2.) the occasional "Disk Failure" as if it can't read a boot sector. So...that's why I'm suspecting the HDD. While those issues sound dissimilar, they sound to me to be HDD related. But, since I'm not sure, thought I'd ask for some additional wisdom!

Looks like a trip to Microcenter tomorrow!

ColoradoDarin
05-06-2009, 09:18 PM
Probably a bad HDD and some of the sectors that contain Windows have errors, hope you have everything backed up (sounds like it with the external HDD). New drive, have fun installing everything again.

Ratboy
05-06-2009, 11:08 PM
Start with the cheapest and work your way up if you feel the need to buy the parts.

orangeatheist
05-07-2009, 04:42 AM
Gonna head to Microcenter this morning and get a new HDD. But, I do have some items on the old HDD that I'd like to try and retrieve. Do you think that's possible?

Anyone know how to make the old drive a "slave" so I can just look at it from Windows once the new HDD is installed and see if I can find any data on it? It's a SATA and I've never done it with those before.

gyldenlove
05-07-2009, 07:13 AM
It sounds a LOT like a driver error. Do you run your hard drives in a fancy mode like RAID or AHCI? if so you may be in trouble. You want to check that you didn't accidentally enable or disable either of those modes, since that will give you exactly the error you are seeing. You can try to go to legacy IDE mode, that may work since it doesn't require any drivers outside of Windows own capabilities.

slatimer
05-07-2009, 07:39 AM
probably need a new hard drive. Your data is probably still safe. I wouldn't recommend slaving your old hard drive. You can buy a SATA docking station pretty cheap that you could hook your old drive up to to recover your data, they work pretty slick.

BABronco
05-07-2009, 08:01 AM
Get a mac

mr007
05-07-2009, 08:22 AM
Holy ****, half the answers here are made by people who seem to be computer illiterate.

First of all, if RAM was an issue, you would never get to the "Unable to boot" screen.

BIOS should be able to recognize your HDD. Make sure you can see it in BIOS (could be F1, F2, F8, or even F10 on bootup). If your HD is recognized in BIOS, that's a good start.

Once you get past your POST/BIOS test, hit F8 and you should have an option to boot to command prompt. If you can, check your file system from there. Go into your C:\ drive (assuming you installed your OS there) and do directory checks. If you can see files there, you should be golden.

It's quite possible you thought you were copy/pasting video files and you removed some operating system files. There are multiple ways to restore OS files - XP should allow you to load a recovery disk that will check your HD. Anyway hope that helps, I can help you out some more once I'm actually at work.

alkemical
05-07-2009, 08:58 AM
Thanks, guys.

I haven't reinstalled anything yet but did try to run in SafeMode. Didn't work. Did the same thing as trying to run in regular mode, just got through the Windows splash/loading screen, flashed some sort of blue screen upon which I could see the last line consisted of a bunch of zeros and perhaps other numbers or alpha-characters (sector/memory address?) before it recycles into another reboot.

I've got two sticks of RAM and removed each in turn (so there was only one in the machine at a time, also moved slots) and that didn't affect anything so that's why I think I can eliminate the memory (two sticks going bad at exactly the same time? Doubt it). Could be a MB issue but I doubt that too, since it gets pretty far into boot up before it fails (just about to finish loading Windows and then, BAM!). Also, the fact that I'm getting two oddly dissimilar (on the surface) problems: 1.) auto reboots with a blue screen right as Windows is about to load and 2.) the occasional "Disk Failure" as if it can't read a boot sector. So...that's why I'm suspecting the HDD. While those issues sound dissimilar, they sound to me to be HDD related. But, since I'm not sure, thought I'd ask for some additional wisdom!

Looks like a trip to Microcenter tomorrow!

you can run system file checker and see if there's anything that can be replaced, or boot from CD and do a restore...might buy you some time.

Rigs11
05-07-2009, 09:28 AM
Holy ****, half the answers here are made by people who seem to be computer illiterate.

First of all, if RAM was an issue, you would never get to the "Unable to boot" screen.

BIOS should be able to recognize your HDD. Make sure you can see it in BIOS (could be F1, F2, F8, or even F10 on bootup). If your HD is recognized in BIOS, that's a good start.

Once you get past your POST/BIOS test, hit F8 and you should have an option to boot to command prompt. If you can, check your file system from there. Go into your C:\ drive (assuming you installed your OS there) and do directory checks. If you can see files there, you should be golden.

It's quite possible you thought you were copy/pasting video files and you removed some operating system files. There are multiple ways to restore OS files - XP should allow you to load a recovery disk that will check your HD. Anyway hope that helps, I can help you out some more once I'm actually at work.
not true. i have been able to boot into windows with a bad stick of ram only to have windows crash after that.Most times the BIOS will recognize even a a bad hard drive.XP can be restored using the windows XP disk itself, no need for a recovery disk.

mr007
05-07-2009, 10:45 AM
not true. i have been able to boot into windows with a bad stick of ram only to have windows crash after that.Most times the BIOS will recognize even a a bad hard drive.XP can be restored using the windows XP disk itself, no need for a recovery disk.

I apologize, you're absolutely right on this one. I was trying to get ready for work while reading the mane so I was typing fast =).

I've never seen a bad memory stick cause a "Disk Failure" error. Bad memory sticks can definitely cause blue screening when everything seems to be operating normally.

Before replacing your hard drive, I would try a couple more things besides just the recovery disk. Sometimes a driver will try to load and if your MB has issues connecting to that device (could be a bad slot, could be the device itself) that will cause blue screening. Though that still doesn't explain the "Disk Failure" error to me.

If I was you, I would individually test each component directly attached to your motherboard and see if it makes a difference. Disconnect your sound card, network card, etc and see if that makes a difference. If you have a video card and also a motherboard that has on-board video, try disconnecting the video card as well after you enable on-board video via the BIOS.

Haroldthebarrel
05-07-2009, 11:10 AM
i had the exact same problem and it turned out to be the hard disc.

What I did though was shortcircuit the cmos port and I could boot a few times, but then the disc error message reappeared and I had to buy a new hd.
Stay away from Raptor hds they live a year tops.

broncosteven
05-07-2009, 12:48 PM
Gonna head to Microcenter this morning and get a new HDD. But, I do have some items on the old HDD that I'd like to try and retrieve. Do you think that's possible?

Anyone know how to make the old drive a "slave" so I can just look at it from Windows once the new HDD is installed and see if I can find any data on it? It's a SATA and I've never done it with those before.

I doubt you can recover anything off the system drive. Always save data to a second data drive. The 2nd drive doesn't spin as much and is less likely to fail.

If you try to reinstall on the bad drive once you format the drive all the old data will be wiped. I personally never been able to connect a failed drive to any device that would allow one to move files. Good luck with that.

Set your system up right this time so next time you can just replace the system drive and know your Data is ok.

Oh and even if it is a MEM stick save your most important data to it every now and then so it doesn't get toasted.

alkemical
05-07-2009, 12:49 PM
OA, you could probably recover the data. It's always worth a shot. Even if it will only work for so long, that's that much longer you got to read the drive.

Fedaykin
05-07-2009, 01:28 PM
Sounds like you are on the right path.. replace the hard drive and reinstall your OS and apps.

From there, to get the data off your old drive, all you have to do is plug both drives in to your machine (after you've installed Windows on the new drive and have your system basically running), and copy the old drive into a folder on the new drive. The new drive will show up a D: or E: or another drive letter (depending on how many drives you have already).

Then just get rid of the old drive, it's not worth mucking with. Destroy it physically or use a shredding program on it if it has sensitive data on it like bank records or risque pics of yourself ;)

The only likely hitch (other than the old drive being unreadable) is if while you have both drives plugged in your BIOS tries to boot of the old drive instead of the new drive. However, if you plug the new drive in to the same connector the old drive was plugged in to (and the old drive into a different slot), your BIOS will likely correctly recognize the new one as the boot drive. If not, you'll have to go into the BIOS and select the new drive as the boot device. =)

orangeatheist
05-07-2009, 02:14 PM
Update for those interested.

Got the new HD and installed Windows again. I'm going to let it run for a few days and see if it repeats the reboots or not. In the process of getting all my drivers again! What a pain!

Once I'm confident the system is stable, I'll plug in the old drive and pull off the files I wanted to keep. Once I do that (or fail trying!) I'll run a ScanDisk on the drive and see if there are any bad sectors. If so, I'll chuck it. If not, then I'll assume I had corruption in Windows or something and reuse it as a storage device.

Thanks millions for everyone's advice! It REALLY is appreciated!