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Dell Inspiron 545ST partition or boot error; won't boot to Windows


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7 replies to this topic

#1 cobrabill

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 04:41 PM

Hi,

The computer I've messed up is a Dell Inspiron 545ST desktop, dual-core processor, Windows 7, 6 GB RAM, 750 GB HD. Eight months old, still under warranty. I haven't backed up anything because, like making a will, I figured there was plenty of time. My tech knowledge is slightly above average--a dangerous thing.

I created a new, FAT32 (I believe; the computer's default is NTFS, of course) 20-GB partition using free, online software that seemed OK. (I don't know which because I can't access it now.) I used it to transfer Windows 98 files from a USB-connected enclosure containing an old hard drive to the partition, which it seemed to do flawlessly.

I chose the software's option to make the partition bootable. I thought maybe if anything was funky, it would be isolated and I could destroy the monster I created. Wrong!

I received an error message I do not remember. I figured, OK, that failed, but I still have the partition and the data.

When I rebooted, instead of Windows and my desktop, the Dell diagnostic screen came up. I ran every test, but, like they all are, it was useless. I rebooted and found that was now the default boot-up screen. After trying numerous fixes and about 30 reboots, I got this error message: Previous attempts at booting this system have failed at checkpoint [1c]. The error message has never repeated.

I called Dell, but they blew me off because it's software related.

To dig myself deeper, I tried Ultimate Boot CD, which was hours of fun, but my proficiency is inadequate; booting and partitions are new to me. I've tried various other programs to no avail.

My options on reboot are F2 (Setup) and F12 (Boot Options). I have no layman's access to anything on the computer. I've tried F8 and F11--and every other number--while pressing and not pressing Ctrl, Shft, Alt, etc., but any Dell utilities on the hard drive are now not found--I don't think the computer sees that partition, or maybe any partition, anymore.

I've got the Dell diagnostic/driver CD--the same thing the computer boots to. I also have the OS Reinstallation DVD, so I can get into DOS. I'm somewhat versed, but I'd need my hand held in DOS. I believe the Windows 7 Recovery Environment via the command prompt could be the holy grail, but I don't know what commands to use or how to use them.

I don't know what the real problem is. I learned through UBCD there are a lot of things to know about partitions and the boot process. As far as I know, the computer no longer recognizes any volumes, and it doesn't see Windows anywhere, but I don't believe I've messed that up.

I have access to a new Windows 7, quad-core HP desktop. My patience is not Jobian, but it's close. I'm certainly not afraid of trying anything--my boundless stupidity needs daily exercise.

I would greatly appreciate any insight. Let me know what else I can provide. Thanks for reading!

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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 05:57 PM

You will need to repair the boot sector on Windows 7 using fixmbr while under Recovery/Repair Console. you can only have 1 active partition that is bootable in a machine at one time.

#3 cobrabill

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 06:08 PM

Thanks for the fast reply, cryptodan. Let me give that a shot, then I'll report back.

#4 cobrabill

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 08:01 PM

Well, cryptodan, I found my way to bootrec.exe.

Here's what I have so far:

Fixmbr: was completed successfully.
Fixboot: "The volume does not contain a recognized file system. Please make sure all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted."
ScanOS: "Successfully scanned Windows installations. Total identified Windows installations: 0"
RebuildBcd: "Total identified Windows installations: 0"

That's where I'm at. Any ideas?

Edited by cobrabill, 29 September 2010 - 08:13 PM.


#5 cryptodan

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 08:16 PM

It seems you may need to reinstall Windows its not detecting anything.

#6 cobrabill

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 08:52 PM

No miracle partition work I could try? How about ideas about recovering data? If that were possible, reinstalling would be fine.

#7 cryptodan

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 09:42 PM

You can try putting the disk into another Computer.

#8 cobrabill

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 11:01 AM

Thanks, cryptodan. I believe I'll bang around a bit, then most likely reinstall, unless there are other brilliant ideas floating around bleepingdom.




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