This is a bit lengthy to explain, so I’ll do my best.
Last night, I decided to compress the contents of my primary hard drive (C:) as I’ve done with every other computer I’ve ever had, to save some gigs (had 50 left out of 500). So, the way I’ve always done this before, is that I opened the “Properties” menu for the hard drive, checked the “Compress this drive” (or however similarly it’s named) checkbox, and clicked “Apply”. I then let it work overnight (it estimated that it would take over 24 hours). A few “Can’t compress this file” errors appeared, so I clicked “Ignore” when they did to skip over them.
So this morning, I wake up, and the compression is still going. Only now, it’s taking a huge bite out of my resources, so I just cancel it. It doesn’t give me any errors, and the PC seems to be working as well as usual. I then restart it, as I hadn’t done that in days.
It starts up, fan kicks in, it passes the BIOS screen (with the “Press F2 to enter BIOS” message) … and then I get the error message: “BOOTMGR is compressed. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to continue”.
I’ve tried everything I could think of since: I tried booting from the Vista installation DVD, but no matter how I try to access it (either by placing the disc drive at first priority in the boot menu, or by telling the PC to boot directly from the disc drive), it either gives me the same “BOOTMGR is compressed” message, or sometimes, even tells me “Can’t find CD-ROM drive” (or however it’s worded). Doing some Googling, I hear people suggesting to use the command prompt and enter some code, but how the heck do you enter command prompt when the PC won’t boot past the BIOS screen?
Here’s where things might get a bit complicated, for me at least. The thing is, the hard drive in my dead PC is an upgraded one (500 gigs) that I used to replace the one the PC (a Gateway 504GH) came with (which had 200 gigs), which still has Windows XP on it (the new/current/dead one is Windows Vista). Now, when I try to enter the “System restore” (with F7, F11 or whatever it is, I’ve tried them all) during the loading screen, nothing happens – either I get “BOOTMGR is compressed”, or it redirects me to the BIOS.
What I’m worried about, is that since the hard drive my PC came with is no longer in
the PC (though still functional, just slow and clunky), that the restoration files and such are now on that drive, and not present on my current, disabled hard drive, so it’s simply impossible to restore no matter what I do.
What can I do? I’m at complete wit’s end. Please, keep in mind that A) I’m a total noob, so any explanations that aren’t clear enough for a 5yo to understand may go right over my head, and that
preserving my files present on the disabled HD (which I’m confident are still intact, even if the HD just isn’t bootable) is my utmost priority. Any action that results in the loss of my files is an absolute no-go. We’re talking absolutely everything I have – my books, songs, pictures, works, everything – and to lose them, or even any of them, is unacceptable. They’re all I have. =( (And yes, naturally, I was too slow and stupid to make prompt backups.)
If I cannot do anything manually myself, I’m thinking of bringing the HD (or entire PC if necessary) to some customer servie outlet or something, and asking some tech experts to fix the HD, if they can (and to just make copies of all my files if they can’t). Would this be a viable option?
System specs (just in case):
MODEL: Gateway 504GH\
OS: Windows Vista Pro, SP1
HD (current): 500 gigs (SATA) (unbootable)
RAM: 3 gigs (DDR)
2 disc drives
Any help, any recommendations at all, would be tremendously appreciated. If you need any more info or details, lemme know. Thanks in advance.
(Also, if anyone knows why the hell this (compressing my HD and its contents) always worked before and now suddenly it screwed my PC up royally, it’d be much obliged.)