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PC won't boot

Postby ef37a » Thu May 06, 2021 12:08 pm

After many years of faithful service my main music W7 desktop failed to boot yesterday. I got "press F2 to enter EUFI and select proper drive to start boot sequence" (or similar).
None of the drives shown do that and I end up with "Insert boot media and press start"

I have since burned an ISO "Boot Repair " disc that at first promises things but then the PC either shuts down of shows never ending lines of code almost all saying "error" or "failed to load".

I CAN it seems re install Windows from my disc (64 bit) but am loathe to do it as it means (I think) losing programs such as Samplitude Pro X 3.

Is there "proper" boot repair file I can download please?

Dave.
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Re: PC won't boot

Postby James Perrett » Thu May 06, 2021 2:10 pm

Have you got the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows? You can download it as an ISO image. It contains all kinds of useful utilities for exactly this eventuality. The first thing I would do is to run something that looks at the SMART parameters for your hard drive and can tell you whether it is failing or not. There's no point in making a failing drive bootable as it really needs to be replaced.

If it is failing, you can use the UBCD to take an image of it in the hope that you can restore it to a new disk and carry on as before.

Edit - I think the UBCD is probably now a DVD sized image
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Re: PC won't boot

Postby uselessoldman » Thu May 06, 2021 2:17 pm

does not sound promising. Me, what would I do? I would strip the computer down and start again cos well why not.

After strip down and a clean, boot the computer with no drives attached and go into bios and load default settings and save/exit settings.

Next connect ONLY your boot drive to Sata0 on your motherboard. Now boot up. Depending on bios it should say new drive detected F1 continue, it should then save/load that as boot drive and attempt to boot up. All going well it should work. AT this stage do nothing else and go into windows and just shut down.

Connect the other drives if any and boot up. Your bios already know sata0 is boot and continue to boot. You might get another new drives found F1 continue but usually not since they are no boot drives.

Then when you go into windows it knows the other drives config and set the drives/partitions to what they were before.

If or should that not work, then we do have more serious problems. The repair boot disk is useless and although it can work often takes 6 7 8 attempts. SO do not be put off if it does not work first few times, that is sadly normal.

Sometime you can boot as normal it will fail with no system files found no media etc press any key. Then when you do it finds the new boot disk and uses that, if your lucky. Otherwise set the bios to boot from the repair disk drive or press F12 with is the boot menu - just after bios closes as windows first boots up then press F12 select the repair disk

Then you get the menu repair computer. You should get two choices, repair as is keeping your personal folders files or repair as new computer. You want the first, keep my settings files folder.

Now the fun starts.
1st scan it only looks for bootable disks so it will give you one or more options depending on how many bootable disks you have, I have 2 in some cos I can boot windows 7 and 10

Next after choosing the disk to repair it scans the boot files and registry. Now it shoud say do you want to repair this system, Yes. But it will not say anything else and it does its thing

It should not shut down but it might restart, not telling you why or when. Just leave it and it might take quite some time, like 1 hr. yes seriously it can and even then might not work so this could be a long process of WTF. Eventually it should sort it out. like I said after quite a few attempts.

You learn from experience I have had this problem a few times and gave up the first few without persevering. Then a friends computer went and I had to repair it and had no choice. I spent all day messing with repair disk and eventually fixed it. He knew I knew what I was doing and asked me why it took so long, don't ask me its windows and when it works its great when not its the biggest pain in ass ever. I got the data off I needed and reinstalled windows, been perfect since.

That is why I always tell people not to have their personal folders in their default location move them to another partition then there safe should you need to restore or reinstall.
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Re: PC won't boot

Postby merlyn » Thu May 06, 2021 2:24 pm

Yes, the ultimate boot CD would be useful. Booting from USB is faster if you can work out how to get the UBCD onto a USB stick.

There are two ways of booting -- master boot record (MBR) and universally extensible firmware interface (UEFI). You need to know which one the disk is using so you can apply the correct tool. Even though your motherboard is UEFI the disk may be MBR as motherboards have a legacy boot mode.

It could be that the hard drive is failing. The first thing to do in that case is to clone the old disk onto another disk and work with the clone, so that the old disk doesn't completely fail while you're trying to fix it.
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Re: PC won't boot

Postby ef37a » Thu May 06, 2021 3:08 pm

Thanks chaps. I have managed to burn the UBCD and got a screen full of cryptic messages, little of which I understood! Still, I pressed on and got to "HDD test" (with dire warnings!) and ran it.

That told me I either have no hard drives connected, or their connections have failed OR a hard drive has failed. Time to dive inside and have a wriggle methinks?

BTW, NOT complaining but I don't see how I can clone the HDD if I cannot run the PC?

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Re: PC won't boot

Postby uselessoldman » Thu May 06, 2021 3:17 pm

If I was you I would get my hands on a cheap 1Tb drive if you do not have one kicking about and install windows on it so you have a bootable system or have you another computer? I didn't like to suggest using a system thats already working and potentially break another one

a 1Tb drive should cost no more than £20. THen you can backup anything you want since the system is working, but first lets get a working computer

I use crystaldiskinfo to check all my drives, its not perfect but its good enough. Can even tell you how many hours a drive has been switched on from start if life.
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Re: PC won't boot

Postby merlyn » Thu May 06, 2021 3:23 pm

ef37a wrote:BTW, NOT complaining but I don't see how I can clone the HDD if I cannot run the PC?

If the UBCD boots you kind of are running the PC -- from the CD rather than the hard drive. Does the UBCD have a disk cloning utility? It might have 'backup' in the name rather than clone.

It looks likely you will need another drive whatever route you take.
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Re: PC won't boot

Postby ef37a » Thu May 06, 2021 4:21 pm

merlyn wrote:
ef37a wrote:BTW, NOT complaining but I don't see how I can clone the HDD if I cannot run the PC?

If the UBCD boots you kind of are running the PC -- from the CD rather than the hard drive. Does the UBCD have a disk cloning utility? It might have 'backup' in the name rather than clone.

It looks likely you will need another drive whatever route you take.

Thank you Merlyn and others. I have come to the conclusion that this is beyond me. UBCD gives me all sorts of options but some ask for file names or sector names...?

The disc also seems to be telling me I have no hard drives but I cannot think both have failed? I have checked and they have 5 and 12V. Yes, I am thinking of ordering a cheap SATA drive and cobbling it in, spare storage is ever handy!

There is a very good computer shop a five minute walk away so I shall try a new drive and then probably take it there.

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Re: PC won't boot

Postby ef37a » Thu May 06, 2021 4:32 pm

I have a 40 quid 1Tb Barracuda coming tomorrow.

I intend to proceed as follows... Disconnect the two existing drives. Connect the new drive.
Then fire the PC up with the W7 install disc and install on the new drive?

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Re: PC won't boot

Postby uselessoldman » Thu May 06, 2021 4:40 pm

That is what I would do but I would choose a partition of 400Gb not the full disk. Then create a new partition for the rest and use that for your personal folders docs music vids etc

Once that is done start to connect the other drives hopefully they work, and backup copy transfer what docs files etc you need to save. Then you know you have a working boot drive with your work safely saved. Then we can sort out the install files etc you need later.
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Re: PC won't boot

Postby OneWorld » Thu May 06, 2021 5:21 pm

At times like these, apart from Ultimate Boot Disk, I have a bootable linux on a CD/DVD, then at least you can get booted.

Have a spare hard disk connected as well as the 'broken' Win7 HDD and once booted up get the data copied across, Windows can of course be replaced, lost data can't

Try and get Documents and settings copied in the process, or better still, the whole disk, and then at least when you have a healthy disk with a working OS (Win7 in your case) you can start rebuilding it. If your copy across the Programs, Program Data, Users and such you might be able to get the computer looking something like it was.

If you get to that stage, the very first job even before a cuppa and a biscuit is.....get the drive imaged

If it is any comfort, I have in the past managed to get a drive back long enough to get it imaged, by using Ultimate Boot Disk by repairing the boot sector
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Re: PC won't boot

Postby The Elf » Thu May 06, 2021 7:00 pm

Hopefully you have a recent disk image? Most imaging software comes with a boot drive/stick creator and it should be as simple as installing a new drive, booting from the utility disk/stick and replacing the image copy to the new hard drive.
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Re: PC won't boot

Postby ef37a » Sun May 09, 2021 4:22 pm

I have installed the new HDD and disconnected the other two.
The W7 disc starts the install process until I get to the keyboard/time/language screen then keyboard and mouse (USB) power shut off and I can go no further.

I am guessing there is some cryptic function I need to switch on in BIOS?

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Re: PC won't boot

Postby merlyn » Mon May 10, 2021 11:49 am

ef37a wrote:I am guessing there is some cryptic function I need to switch on in BIOS?

If the mouse and keyboard work with the ultimate boot CD then I wouldn't have thought so. Has the USB bus shut down? Or have the keyboard and mouse disconnected? You could see if there is power on the USB bus by plugging in e.g. a phone.
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Re: PC won't boot

Postby ef37a » Mon May 10, 2021 12:11 pm

merlyn wrote:
ef37a wrote:I am guessing there is some cryptic function I need to switch on in BIOS?

If the mouse and keyboard work with the ultimate boot CD then I wouldn't have thought so. Has the USB bus shut down? Or have the keyboard and mouse disconnected? You could see if there is power on the USB bus by plugging in e.g. a phone.

Solved that Em' the USB 3.0 drivers are not installed, the front USB ports got me mouse and kbd support and the install went 'almost' swimmingly...But, I cannot get internet to validate W7 because the network adapter driver is missing, so is USB 3.0 support. I can find 'Realtek' adapters but Windows refuses to run them.
I now have to try to find my original Asus install disc?

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