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Desktop Pc Will Not Fully Boot


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#1 peppers13

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 10:24 AM

Hi, I am new to bleepingcomputer.com I am not sure if this should be posted in the Windows XP software forum or this forum, so I'll try this one first!

I have a Sony VAIO PCV-RX700C Desktop PC that is at least 5 years old. It runs (well, it ran) Windows XP Professional and is a Pentium 4.

Within the past month, I installed Norton 360 which did a general "tune-up" helping things run better. Basically, there is one hard drive that is partitioned into 2 drives. The C drive had consistently been too full, whereas the D drive still had quite a bit of space. I would guess (since I can't confirm) that the C drive was about 30 GB and the D drive was about 60-80 GB. With Norton 360, things did seem to be better, although a bit sluggish at times.

BEFORE installing Norton 360, I tried to backup both drives to my Western Digital external hard drive. The D drive backed up fine, but it refused to backup the C drive. I was hesitant to backup the drives again after the installation of Norton 360 to wait and see if there were any issues. So, the bottom line is almost a month has passed since I have done any sort of backup.

Yesterday my computer was working fine. I was not in the room for probably 45 minutes, and when I came back to the computer, I was surprised to hear the tower making a spinning sort of sound and to see the monitor displaying the black background with white text describing the Pri Master Disk (well it spelled it as "Pri Master isk"), Slave Disk, PCI Device Listing, etc. with a small dash at the bottom left of the screen flashing continually. I tried doing "Ctrl-Alt-Del," and it just rebooted. The Sony logo appeared, and then it immediately went to that same screen I just described.

I turned it off manually, waited, and rebooted...still same problem. I then powered down completely (turning off the UPS system), and it still would not work when I tried to fire it back up. By the blue power light, there is tiny text that says "Drive" with a small orange light. That light flashes at the beginning but then completely stops.

I DID try pressing F8 (hoping to go into Safe Mode), but it refused to work.

Ideally, I'd love to be able to backup the files that I had added since the most recent backup. In browsing online, there seem to be some "data rescue" programs that have pretty negative reviews, and I do NOT want to pay someone a fortune to try and retrieve files (considering I already have most of them).

Let's say that there is no hope of recovering anything...I have heard that there are ways to delete things off of your computer before donating it or disposing of it via software programs. How can I do this if it will not even boot? I had been thinking of buying a new computer soon anyway...sigh.

I am NOT someone who is comfortable taking a computer apart, so if there's a way to avoid this, all the better!

I truly hope someone has some suggestions please as to what can be done. Thanks!

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#2 smurfgod

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 11:40 AM

I'll handle the easy part, the no hope section :thumbsup: not saying it can't be fixed. But, if you decide to donate/throw it out then its no harm no foul if you happen to mess up while destroying the data on the HDD. First unplug it, take off the side, or more likely since its so old have to take the the case off since they're most likely all attached. Inside you'll see a thin gray strip (the IDE cable) attached to your cd/dvd drive maybe to a floppy and another attached to the HDD, unhook it from the HDD take out the 4 pin power supply cable, Remove the drive, Place it on the floor and do a mexican hat dance on it, Or you could also use magnets that will destroy the data too, and perhaps actually save the drive, but thats no fun. there are more technical ways of course, but anything short of that is going to leave traces if you are that worried.

There are as you said plenty of data recovery programs out there, but thankfully i have no experience with them, somebody else will. just wait for it.

The spinning sound? was it a clicking? Sound like fans just going insane in there?

If there was no clicking i would try to recover the data (if you feel its worth the price tag) and reinstall the OS. If it clicked toss the HDD and figure out what you want to do with the rest of the pieces.

#3 dc3

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 12:10 PM

Do you have the XP installation disc? If you do try doing a repair installation, for instructions please read this article.

You could try installing the hdd as a slave unit in another computer and transferring you files from there.

Edited by garmanma, 01 May 2008 - 07:19 AM.
fixed link

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#4 peppers13

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 05:06 PM

Spinning sounds were probably the fan...no clicking that I could hear.

I am honestly not sure where the XP installation disc is, but if I can find it (which will be an adventure in itself!), the repair install feature sounds like it could work.

Appreciate the suggestions...thank you so much!

#5 mommabear

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 05:08 AM

Ideally, I'd love to be able to backup the files that I had added since the most recent backup. In browsing online, there seem to be some "data rescue" programs that have pretty negative reviews, and I do NOT want to pay someone a fortune to try and retrieve files (considering I already have most of them)


I've never used this, but maybe it will help you recover your files if nothing else works to get you going. It is free. Avira is a respected software vendor. I've used their free antivirus program for years.

Avira AntiVir Rescue System is a Linux-based application that allows accessing computers that cannot be booted anymore. Thus it is possible to:

* repair a damaged system,
* rescue data,
* scan the system for virus infections.

http://www.free-av.com/en/tools/12/avira_a...cue_system.html

#6 peppers13

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 10:54 PM

Thanks for the suggestion to try the Avira program.

Before I read your post, my cousin had recommended I try using Puppy Linux. I was able to access the D partition of my drive and transfer over the files that had been added/changed since I had last done my backup. However, it refused to mount the C partition. The fascinating thing to me was that when I installed the Norton 360 software, I had put it on the D partition. Through Puppy, I saw that there was a Norton folder on the D partition, but it was EMPTY.

I had put Norton 360 on the D partition, because there was very little space on the C partition. I'm just wondering if Norton could have caused all of this?

Also, when I looked at the folder containing the most recent batch of pictures I had transferred to the D partition from my digital camera, one of the pictures was corrupt according to Puppy. I know that before it HAD been viewable (before my computer refused to boot).

I wonder if Avira would have any success with my computer, but I will wait to proceed.......

#7 peppers13

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 06:45 PM

Just FYI, the Avira program did not work. It is an .exe file. I tried burning it with an ISO burn program which refused to burn it, so I used the regular method. Therefore, it didn't boot up my computer like the site said it would. Frustrating, but it was worth a shot. Thanks anyway.

#8 smurfgod

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 07:03 AM

I'm assuming that you are running linux through a live cd? have you tried to load the avira program through linux? I'm not sure if it would kick you out of linux if you took the CD out while you were running off it but i think its worth a shot.




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