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"Hard Drive Was Not Found" on bootup.


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#1 DocSatan

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 06:39 PM

Hello All,

My mother's computer: Gateway PC, running XP Pro

She denies dropping or hitting the computer...ever. :flowers:

She did say that she had left the computer on for a couple of days with the doors to the cabinet closed. It's a wooden cabinet with air holes. She turned it off. Then the next time she turned it on she got the message "Hard Drive Was Not Found. Please consult the Troubleshooting section of you User's Manual" (Full version in #3 below).

When I checked out the computer, this is what I did and what I found:

1. I turned on the computer and immediately could hear the drive "clicking"...sounded like a lawn sprinkler: "click-click...click-click...click-click..etc..". Never heard the typical "grinding" sound.

2. Got the "Gateway" logo screen for about a minute.

3. Then black screen with white lettering:
  • "Hard Drive Was Not Found. Please consult the Troubleshooting section of you User's Manual."
  • "Press ESC to prevent displaying this warning in future"
  • "Press Enter to continue"
4. Pressed "Enter"

5. Blinking Cursor on Black Screen, like in a Dos Prompt.

6.Turned the computer off and then back on.
  • "A Problem with the hard drive has been detected. Consult the troubleshooting section of your user's manual"
  • "Press Enter key to continue"
7. Pressed the Enter key
  • CHKDSK ran.
  • Verified Indexes, Security Descriptors, and Replacing Bad Clusters
  • Then went back to the message from #6 above.
8. Hit Enter again
  • "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
    Windows\system32\hal.dll
  • "Please reinstall a copy
9.I tried inserting the OS Disc and restarting the computer (Off/On button) but got the same messages. CheckDisk only ran that one time.

Is this computer toast? :thumbsup:

Doc.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 07:38 PM

FWIW: Black Screen (fixmbr) - http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb;en-us;314503

I'd run the fixmbr command from the XP Recovery Console, as a first step.

Then...I would run the chkdsk /r command on that boot partition/drive, since it seems that you have some drive problems.

Louis

#3 DocSatan

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 04:18 AM

Hi hamluis,

Thank you for your input. :thumbsup:

After reading your suggestions I realized that this part of my post was misleading:

2. Got the "Gateway" logo screen for about a minute.

  • I didn't get to this Logo the usual way, i.e., startup -> BIOS screen-> Etc.
  • The computer never initiated the "usual" startup.
1. I turn the computer on.

2. I hear that click-click...click-click (sounds like something is loose/broken)
  • This is with a black/blank screen
3. Then the Gateway Logo screen pops up for 30-60 seconds.

4. Then I get the "Hard Drive not found" message.

I don't see a way that I can get to the RC (don't remember if she even has one) or other boot options. I'm pretty sure that I tried F8 after turning the computer on...and I still got the "Hard drive not found" message.

Thanks for your help. :flowers:

Doc.

#4 hamluis

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 11:23 AM

Download Recovery Console, Bootable ISO - http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/repair_xp.htm

How to use CHKDSK in the XP Recovery Console - http://pirules3.14.googlepages.com/recovery_console_chkdsk

Louis

#5 DocSatan

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 03:52 PM

Hi hamluis,

Thanks for your assistance. :thumbsup:

I went to that page you linked to, but couldn't find Download Recovery Console, Bootable ISO.

Were you referring to: How To Create a bootable CD to access the Recovery Console?

Sorry if this seems simple. Having little knowledge in this area I tend to be literal in my following instructions. It's my Albatross. :flowers:

#6 DocSatan

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 12:25 PM

No need to answer the above post. I was able to create the RC Bootable ISO. Ran it on my machine and got to the RC via the CD.

Now I'm off to see if it works on my mother's computer.

Doc.

#7 DocSatan

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 05:42 PM

Hey Hamluis,

I tried fixmbr and chkdsk /r from the RC, using the Bootable ISO. Still can't "see the hard drive".

fixmbr
  • Got the "The new master boot record has been successfully written" message.
chkdsk /r
  • Stopped at 60%. Got the following info:
  • "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems", then a bunch of kilobytes and bytes info.
Still unable to boot the machine normally
I still get the clicking of the HD plus these messages:
  • "A problem with the hard drive has been detected. Consult the trouble shooting section of your user's manual".
  • "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
    <Windows Root>\system32\hal.dll
    Please re-install a copy of the above file"
    .
  • "The hard drive was not found. Consult the troubleshooting section of your user's manual".

I booted from the CD again and ran chkdsk /r again, but this time it stopped at 28%, with the same info following as before.

Any ideas? Is this HD gone? Can I use UBCD4Win to replace the file hal.dll?

Patiently Awaiting your guidance. :thumbsup:

Doc.

#8 hamluis

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 06:19 PM

When a hard drive won't allow chkdsk /r to complete...IMO, it's in bad shape. Those "unrecoverable error" messages reinforce that line of thinking.

I would run the long test of the HD manufacturers HD diagnostic, just to be sure. But I would first move any data I wanted from that drive.

Hard Drive Installation and Diagnostic Tools - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/28744/hard-drive-installation-and-diagnostic-tools/

Louis

#9 zorro59

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 12:28 PM

I got that error with hal.dll also..The only option is to reinstall windows...
But i dont think that will help you because it cant find the hdd...
I am afraid that you will have to open it and see if the wires are ok, if everything is good, get a hdd from a friend, it that fails the laptop is gone...Else the hdd...
You may try with the recovery console, but, unless you have some vey important files on it, it is useless...

#10 DocSatan

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 12:47 PM

Just an update to my problem:

I ended up just buying my Mom a new computer. :thumbsup:

Thanks for your help hamluis and zorro59.

Doc.

#11 hamluis

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 01:26 PM

LOL...a new computer solves an awful lot of these situations witnessed here :thumbsup:.

Feedback appreciated :flowers:.

Louis




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