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Suddenly - "error Loading Os"


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#1 michtarr

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 04:08 PM

I recently had a Virtumonde Infection that I was dealing with. The malware was removed and I had a few issues to deal with afterward.

Suddenly yesterday I ran into an "Error Loading OS" problem during system start. This has basically made the system unavailable and I would like assistance in any non-destructive methods to start back on the path to a healthy system.

My Hijack This forum post that led to this is http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ind...=141704&hl=

Buckeye Sam referred me here. I hope someone can assist me in resolving this.

Thanks

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#2 garmanma

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 07:31 PM

Most things I've read point to the BIOS or hard drive problems.When it boots, does it recognize the hard drive? I would remove the CMOS battery for ten minutes to reset it. Don't forget to reset date and time. Set your hard drive to be first in the boot order. Other suggestiond here:
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#3 michtarr

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 02:52 PM

Well, here's what I did & found:
- The BIOS sees the drive
- The boot drive wasn't first in the sequence, so I made that change
--- When I made it first in the sequence I got a very long delay, followed by a "A Disk Read Error Occurred Press ctrl+alt+delete to restart" message
--- This is repeatable, as is the "Error Loading OS" message when in the other sequence
- I disconnected the subject drive and I get the "Eror Loading OS" message - not surprising since no OS on the ones remaining
- I didn't bother resetting the BIOS by removing the battery since the messages now seem to point to the drive as the problem

I'm hoping for less than the worst here. While awaiting a response I plan to use a retired IDE drive, do a clean Windows XP Pro install to it with no other drives in the system, then see what I can salvage/back up from the troublesome drive... I know, I should have had a current backup :thumbsup:

The drive is less than a year old, so there is warranty involved. Naturally I want to capture what I can from it before any possibly destructive activities, then head down the diagnostics, repair, and/or return path.

Please provide recommendations of next steps for dealing with the drive that's causing the troubles.

Thanks

#4 hamluis

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 03:41 PM

Well...if you plan to RMA that drive, the first thing you will have to do is...run the manufacturer's diagnostic on it and save the results.

Might as well make that Step One...before doing anything other than moving data files or backing the system up.

You want to run the long test, not the short one, if two are offered.

I think I've had this one once or twice and I would advise you to check all drive connections before doing anything drastic. Remove and reseat the IDE cable and PS cable...only takes a minute. The fact that a drive shows up in the BIOS...does not guarantee quality connections.

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#5 michtarr

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 03:22 PM

I followed advice and checked all connections - it was worth a try, but no help.

I pulled up the SeaTools for DOS diagnostics package and ran some tests.
The short test was not able to end - and tripped SMART, so I'm now on notice that a serious failure is in process.

The long test ran to about 75% done and generated a list of bad sectors. I had them repaired, ran again, and had more the next run... Per the support forum I found that the tool only finds 99 bad sectors at a time and figures more than that means it's time to replace the unit. At two hours a pass I decided this could be a very long process.

Meanwhile I created a new boot drive and tried to get the bad drive to run with it. After several frustrating attempts I decided that Windows was scanning the drive, so I let it run and run and run. It finally ended. Now the system has the bad drive up and I can see the root directories of both partitions, but getting inside any of them was not effective as the system seemed to hang -- then I called it a weekend and went to bed.

I will contact Seagate and start the RMA process. Meanwhile I want to save whatever I can from the drive.

Any suggestions for tools or techniques that will allow me to save whatever is still there? I hate to give up too soon.

Thanks

#6 hamluis

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 05:31 PM

Well...I have used (with success) File Scavenger for recovery purposes, Data Recovery Tool for Windows XP - http://www.quetek.com/prod02.htm

There are free recovery tools out there, but I have no positive experiences with them. Others may be able to recommend some.

I would not give up on the drive because of bad sectors...every drive has bad sectors and I usually only give up when there's something more significant than that wrong with the drive.

Chkdsk /r is, IMO, a good tool for dealing with bad sectors. Part of the delay when running it...comes from the fact that chkdsk tries to move data on bad sectors...to good sectors. If there is a lot of data on bad sectors, then it takes chkdsk /r a relatively long time to complete its mssion.

Bad Sectors On Hard Drives - http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?art...1583&page=3

If it were me, I would move the data files...run chkdsk /r on the drive...and then rerun the Seagate utility on it. I seldom find a drive unuseable and when I do, it's usually because of controller failure or something more severe. I know that "the standard line" is that bad sectors presage more problems...I just haven't found that to be so with the drives I've used very often.

Louis

#7 michtarr

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 09:47 PM

I took the RMA route to get a replacement drive delivered. Now I'm anxious to get whatever data I can moved to the new drive. The list of failed attempts keeps expanding:
- I tried the Seagate DiscWizard clone. This is supposed to do a sector by sector copy.
---The first attempt I had several sector read problems that I ignored, then did an ignore all. I left this to run for about three hours without a change in the progress bar, so I stopped it.
--- The second attempt had only a couple of errors early in the first parition, then again at sector 195,360,463. When I said to retry that one I got a 'ended with errors' message and that ended the run with the target drive not populated.
- I tried SpinRite v6 to recover some data, which took a huge amount of time to do a 'recover' on about 7 meg. I did this in small pieces, some were fast, some were very slow. Eventually it just stopped tracking the time going forward - like it wasn't really running even though there was data being displayed in motion. I tried to interupt the run, but the package ignored the request to stop. Eventually I powered down.

During this process I saw a behavior common to both the aborted Seagate DiscWizard run and the SpinRite run. The system gets into a sequence where activity freezes for about 10 seconds, then responds for about 14 seconds - over and over. I thought this was a 'feature' of the DiscWizard, but when SpinRite did it I decided to abort the run. More confusion for me.

I would like to mount the drive in Windows and run File Scavenger to transfer an image of the partitions to the new drive for analysis, but I am concerned what the windows automaic chkdsk will do to the drive. Is there a way to get windows to not run chkdsk on the drive the first time it is reattached?

I'd appreciate more suggestions - I'm getting frustrated and I don't want to get desperate.

Thanks

#8 michtarr

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 07:24 PM

I'll repeat the question from my last post, hoping for a reply.

I would like to mount the drive in Windows and run File Scavenger to transfer an image of the partitions to the new drive for analysis, but I am concerned what the windows automaic chkdsk will do to the drive.

Is there a way to get windows to not run chkdsk on the drive the first time it is reattached?

Thanks

#9 hamluis

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 10:12 AM

Windows XP is set up to run chkdsk on a drive which is detected to be in need of such...I suppose that can short-circuited, but I've never stopped chkdsk from running.

Why not just reboot the system? That should kill it, for the moment?

[post="http://www.computerhaven.info/forum/tm.aspx?m=55376"]On Stopping Chkdsk[/post]

Louis

#10 usasma

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Posted 16 May 2008 - 05:30 PM

If the dirty bit is set on the drive, then chkdsk will run automatically. AFAIK there's no way out of this without a disk reformat.
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