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Another Vista won't start thread. Is my HDD dead?

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#1 cpsn78


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  • Local time:05:39 AM

Posted 26 December 2011 - 05:31 PM

Hello all, long time browser of this site but first time poster. I will try to be as detailed as possible but please ask for more if needed as I'll probably leave important ones out. Thank you for any help!

Basically, I am running a Dell XPS420 on Windows Vista and cannot get it to start properly. For the past month or so it has been acting strangely. Basically anytime it's reset, I have to go through a Dell Pre Boot System Assessment Build 4507. It would run through some diagnostics and then start properly. This always worried me but it always came back on properly. I have also been hearing strange, loud grinding noises from it for at least a month or two. I never thought much of them though as sometimes computer's are loud. Now it will not start properly at all though and I suspect it could be a hard drive failure? Yesterday morning I tried putting a new CD in it and opening iTunes which became unresponsive. I tried logging off and logging back on which usually fixes that problem, but the process of logging off was taking incredibly long, so I (and this was probably a mistake) just powered it off.

Now when I start it I get "Windows failed to start. A recent hardware of software change might be the cause". It then prompts me to either start Startup Repair, or start Windows normally, which brings me back to the same screen.
I have tried Startup Repair and am told it cannot be repaired automatically. I have tried booting from the last good configuration which does not work. I have tried System Restore and am told that no restore points have been created (which is not true), but that's what it says. I have tried the Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool. I am kind of stumped as to what to do next? Through researching my problem I have found that maybe changing my boot sequence in the BIOS would help, but it appears that my HDD is not present. My options in the boot sequence are.
1. Onboard SATA Hard Drive (not present) 2. WDC WD5000AAKS-75YGA 3. Onboard or USB Floppy Drive (not present) 4. Onboard or USB CD-ROM Drive
I have online data backup through Carbonite so data loss would not be a huge problem if I had to reinstall Windows or get a new HDD. I would just like to make sure there are no other fixes before I pursue one of these options.

When I try Startup Repair, this is what I get.

Problem Signature:
Problem Event Name: StartupRepairV2
Problem Signature 01: AutoFailover
Problem Signature 02: 6.0.6000.16386.6.0.6001.18000
Problem Signature 03: 6
Problem Signature 04: 458758
Problem Signature 05: NoRootCause
Problem Signature 06: NoRootCause
Problem Signature 07: 0
Problem Signature 08: 2
Problem Signature 09: WrpRepair
Problem Signature 10: 2
OS Version: 6.0.6000.
Locale ID: 1033

I'm just stumped as to what to do next. I e-mailed a local computer store in my town and maybe they will be able to help but I imagine it won't be exactly cheap. I don't know what the rates for computer repair are. I also have a Geek Squad nearby but unless I'm told otherwise, consider that a last resort.
I am no computer wizard but can follow directions simple enough and if possible would like to fix it myself, which is why I'm here. We have two other laptops in the house (which I'm typing on now) and have smartphones, and I am on winter break, so it's not an urgent problem, but it is rather annoying.

Thank you to everyone.

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