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Cannot Boot From Hard Drive


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#1 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:51 PM

Hello,

While my computer was running absolutely fine this morning, I cannot boot from my hard drive. When my computer is turned on, the indicator light that shows the hard drive is running is not going off, and no noise indicates the hard drive is booting. When I try to boot, it says System Files are missing and it cannot boot. I have tried checking the cables plugged into my hard drive, power supply, and motherboard; still won't budge. I tried using the Windows Setup Disc to repair file; can't find the hard drive. I think the issue is just that something is loose, but I've checked and unplugged/replugged everything associated with my hard drive. Any ideas on what I can do?

Thanks for any help!

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 08:49 AM

System manufacturer and model?

What is the exact wording of each error message received onscreen?

At what point does the "system files are missing" message appear?

Louis

#3 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 10:03 PM

I apologize for the late reply.

The manufacturer is Dell. The Model, I beleive, is an Alienware Aurora... the computer was manufactured in 2006.

The message I'm getting is exactly this:Posted Image

The message appears before the Windows boot screen appears. It will not get past the error screen.

#4 AustrAlien

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:00 PM

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM


Please try the following as a first step ...

Let's use a FreeDOS image for CD that contains a few tools (compiled & hosted by noahdfear).

The first step is carried out using a working computer.
:step1: Download NTBR_CD.exe and create a bootable CD:
  • Save the file to your Desktop and double-click it. This will create a folder named NTBR_CD.
  • Open the folder and locate BurnItCD: Launch it by double-clicking it.
  • When BurnCDCC opens, click Start: The CD tray will open.
  • Insert a blank CD and click OK.
    The tray will close, burn the image and then eject the disk.

:step2: Run chkdsk on the problematic computer.
  • Boot the affected computer with the new CD.
  • Once presented with the boot screen press <ENTER> to boot from the CD.
    After a warning screen there is a keyboard language options screen.
  • Press <ENTER> to leave it at EN-US.
    You should now be at the Tool options screen.
  • Type 5 and press <ENTER> to choose the command prompt.
    You will see an X:\> prompt, where X: is the ramdrive (temporary drive space in memory).
  • At the command prompt type the following bolded command:

    tools\ntfs4dos\chkdsk
  • and press <ENTER>.
    You will be prompted (in ?Dutch) to press <ENTER>.
  • Press <ENTER> to start the check disk utility.
    Check Disk will check all attached drives and attempt to correct any errors.
    Please make a note of any errors found or corrections made.
  • When it completes type menu and press <ENTER> to return to the tools menu.
  • Type 6 to select Quit, and press <ENTER>.
  • Press <Ctrl+Alt+Del> to restart, and remove the CD.
  • Allow the computer to attempt booting normally and let me know the outcome.
Please let me know if chkdsk reports any errors or corrections made, or if it completes without incident.
***(With thanks to noahdfear for the above tool and instructions.)
----------
As an example of a successful outcome after running this tool, see the following ....
Anne_ATL: "I cannot get into my computer even in safe mode, how can I fix or at least personal files off"
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic404710.html/page__view__findpost__p__2312856

EUREKA!!!! :bananas: :bananas: :bananas:

At least for now, I have not checked everything to confirm that I did not lose anything, but I am at the desktop.

Thank you so much! :flowers:


Edited by AustrAlien, 20 January 2012 - 11:09 PM.

AustrAlien
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#5 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:25 PM

Uh oh! I've ran into an issue trying to burn the disk. Glad I left the forum tab up, haha.

The disk seems to burn successfully, but when it read verifies the disk, it says "Unable to Read" and ejects the disk. Anything I'm doing wrong? I used a CD-RW Disk, first at 2x Speed, and then at 8x speed.

#6 AustrAlien

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:29 PM

I suspect a problem with the CD-RW disk.

Do you have a new/unused CD-R disk that you can use?
AustrAlien
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#7 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:30 PM

I have plenty of new CD-R disks, but I've already tried a couple of them and it didn't seem to work.

#8 AustrAlien

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:35 PM

It should work without any problem, so I am not sure what is going on at your end.

Is your machine capable of booting to a USB device (flashdrive)? If so, perhaps we can do it that way? Let me know.
AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

Posted Image

#9 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:37 PM

Hmmm... I'm not sure, but it's definitely worth a try. None of these discs seem to be working. Just guide me through on loading it to a USB and we'll try that.

EDIT: I have another computer that I could try to burn the disk off of. So, to be clear, do I need to use a CD-R or CD-RW?

Edited by Cartoon Shark, 20 January 2012 - 11:40 PM.


#10 AustrAlien

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:42 PM

Hmmm... I'm not sure

There's a couple of ways you might find out ...

:step1: Start the problematic computer tapping F12 and see if it brings up a boot menu listing devices it is capable of booting from (F12 may not apply).

:step2: Start the problematic computer and enter the BIOS Setup Menu, and look at the Boot Menu.

You need to see something like "USB HDD" or "USB KEY".
AustrAlien
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#11 AustrAlien

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:45 PM

I believe a new/unused CD-R to be preferable in all circumstances, and I personally choose not to use CD-RW at all.

On the other hand many people use CD-RW disks and seem to get away with it.

Edited by AustrAlien, 20 January 2012 - 11:45 PM.

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#12 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:52 PM

We have success! I was capable of burning the disk on my other computer. I will run the disk on my corrupt PC and get back to you with the results.

Edited by Cartoon Shark, 20 January 2012 - 11:53 PM.


#13 AustrAlien

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:54 PM

Excellent: I'll be around for some time yet.

Good luck.
AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

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#14 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 12:13 AM

I got as far as 79% on the CHKDSK. It deleted several files from sectors and sorted some things out, but as soon as it hits 79% on the second part, it says "An Unspecified error occured." I've tried it twice and it still only gets as far as that. Should I try booting?

#15 AustrAlien

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 12:18 AM

No, I don't think attempting to boot to the HDD is a good idea.

Let's do the following and see what happens ...

Test the hard drive. If you tell us the hard drive manufacturer's name (brand name) and model we can point you to the most appropriate diagnostic utility to use. It is best to use the hard drive manufacturer's own diagnostic utility, but Seagate's tool will work OK on most brands. The diagnostic tool is run from a bootable CD (Windows does not need to be working.The first two steps are done on a working computer, while the third step is to boot the ailing computer with the CD that you create in the first two steps.)

:step1: Please download SeaTools for DOS (CD) from Seagate's SeaTools for DOS web page

or use the following direct download link to download the latest version of SeaTools for DOS:
Download SeaTools for DOS ISO Image

The downloaded file name is SeaToolsDOS223ALL.ISO
[/list]
:step2: Burn the downloaded .ISO image to a CD using the appropriate burning software.
  • If you do not already have a suitable burning program for writing .ISO images to disc ...
    • Download and install ImgBurn.
      Ensure that you UN-check the box agreeing to install the Ask toolbar during the installation.
    • Place a new (blank) CD disc in the drive tray.
    • Choose Write image file to disc.
    • Under Source, click on the Browse button: Navigate to and select the .ISO file that you wish to burn.
    • Place a check-mark in the box beside Verify.
  • Click Posted Image

    When the CD has been burned and verified as successful, it will be bootable.

:step3: Boot from the CD.
  • (You may need to access the BIOS Setup Menu or the Boot Menu and change the boot order to enable booting from CD before hard drive.)
  • From Basic tests on the Main Menu, run the Short test and then the Long test.

    (The long test will take some considerable time to complete.)
    The results will be shown as either a PASS or FAIL.
    There is a chance that during the Long test, you may be offered the opportunity to attempt repairs on the hard drive:
  • If so, go ahead and attempt to do so, but ONLY after backing up all important personal files.
[/list]Note: You may wish to view the following ...
Please let us know the results of the tests.

When you can, include the make and model number of the problematic hard drive. If you do choose to use SeaTools, you will see the model number (and maybe the make) when SeaTools first detects the hard drive.
AustrAlien
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Posted Image




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