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Vista will not boot - possible HD prob?


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#1 two-zees

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:02 PM

I have an Acer Aspire with a primary Western Digital Caviar Blue (SATA) hard drive and a secondary Seagate Barracuda (IDE) hard drive. Running Vista Home 32-bit.

All was fine until yesterday - I plugged in a new USB scanner and accidentally clicked let Windows search for driver. Then I accidentally shut the system off when trying to eject DVD drive to pop in the scanner install disk (huge Acer design flaw IMO). Now my system will not boot up, it hangs at the little green notification bar. Cannot boot in safe mode either, it hangs at crcdisk.sys. Cannot get into anything else either - startup repair, last known good configuration, etc. It was an open box purchased 3 yrs ago so I have no warranty, no Vista disk.

I can get into BIOS, and this is what it tells me:

Primary IDE Master [Not Detected]
Primary IDE Slave [ST3320620A]
SATA Pri Master Channel :[WDC WD6400AAKS-22A]
SATA Pri Slave Channel :[HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH]
SATA Sec Master Channel :[Not Detected]
SATA Sec Slave Channel :[Not Detected]

Problem is I don't know if this is correct, because I'm not sure what it was before. Is the absence of a Primary IDE Master is the problem? It's the only thing that looks odd to me.

Hard Disk Boot Priority is:
1st Drive [SATA:3M-WDC WD6400]
2nd Drive [HDD-PS-ST3320620A]

I have opened the case, checked all connections (unplugged and re-plugged), hard drives are both running (vibrating and warm). So I have full confidence my data is still there and retrievable. I just need to get it to boot into Windows! PLEASE help!!!

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#2 Artrooks

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:25 AM

Hi two-zees,

Is the absence of a Primary IDE Master is the problem?


Your BIOS is showing that the SATA Western Digital drive is your primary boot drive and that the IDE Seagate drive is a secondary drive. That seems to be consistent to what you state at the beginning of your post.

What is the model number of your Acer Aspire ?

  • I would remove all USB attached devices (scanner, printer, external hard drive, etc.) from the tower and attempt a reboot.
  • No success, then boot into safe mode and leave it for an hour. If it eventually boots into safe mode you could attempt a system restore to before this incident.
  • If no success, then do you have access to another computer that you could slave your Western Digital Sata drive to? That computer would need extra Sata ports. This would be the easiest way for you to recover important files and then run hard disk diagnostics. I can post specifics.
  • If you don't have access to another computer with Sata ports, then you would need a computer with a cd burner. We could attempt data recovery and disk diagnostics via various bootable Cds.

Regards,
Brooks



 


#3 two-zees

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 03:55 PM

Thanks for your response! The system is an Acer Aspire M5641 desktop.

I had already tried unplugging all devices except keyboard, and I've left it booting into safe mode overnight, still no luck. I have a 5-year-old Gateway laptop, and I'm assuming it wouldn't have extra SATA ports. But at least it has a DVD drive.

I'm convinced it's some sort of driver or software issue. Prior to this I'd been getting alot of host process errors. So I guess the best way to go is make a bootable CD. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

#4 James Litten

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 04:57 PM

This one is a bit of a shot in the dark so only try it if it is convenient.

If you have a PS/2 keyboard, plug it in and if the BIOS has an option to DISABLE the USB controller(s), do that. Then try booting and when windows boots it may avoid the problematic USB device driver that seems to have caused the issue.

Also, if you have not tried it, try going into 'safe mode' with the scanner plugged into the USB port that it was in when you tried to install it originally and make sure that it is plugged in and powered on.

I too have shutdown those Acers when trying to open the optical drive :(

James

#5 two-zees

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:37 PM

No luck with either :(

#6 James Litten

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:50 PM

This sounds more and more like a registry problem. Have you attempted to clean any virus problems recently? If not, you need to check your hard drive for errors like Artrooks suggested. Maybe he can point you to the best boot CD for your situation.

James

#7 Artrooks

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:32 PM

Because you can not access safe mode, repair my computer, or command prompt options, we can try to run "check disk" with the "fix" option from an alternative boot CD.

On a computer with internet access and a CD burner, download "NTBR_CD.exe" by noahdfear.
  • Double click on the executable to extract the files. Open the "NTBR_CD" folder and double click "BurnItCD."
  • Insert a blank CD disk and click "Start" to create the bootable CD.
  • Boot the ailing computer with the NTBR_CD. Press <Enter> at the prompt, then "Press any key to continue."
  • Press <Enter> for default keyboard. You should now be at the Tool options screen.
  • Type 5 to go to "Command Prompt."
  • Type: tools\ntfs4dos\chkdsk, then press <ENTER>.
  • You will be prompted (in German) 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 and press <ENTER> to quit, then Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart.
  • Try to reboot normally.

Regards,
Brooks



 


#8 two-zees

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:21 PM

Above method completed twice. It went from scanning C: to D: too fast for me to see if it found and/or corrected any errors, but no change - rebooting normally hangs at the green bars and booting into safe mode hangs at crcdisk.sys. I tried again to set to last known good configuration and that hangs at the green bars as well.

#9 Artrooks

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:12 AM

Hi two-zees,

I was hoping that check disk might do the trick.

We can run the Western Digital diagnostics software on your hard drive, but I think it might be a good idea at this point to back up any important files/data on your Vista installation before proceeding further.

What you will need:
Another computer with internet connection and a CD burner, software capable for "burning an "iso" image to CD", a blank recordable CD disc, and a USB Flash drive or external USB drive large enough to rescue all of your documents.

1.) Start by downloading Lucid Puppy Linux (129 MB) from here or here.
  • Burn the iso file to CD.
  • Don't have the appropriate software or don't know how to burn the iso file to make the CD bootable. (See how to).
  • Make sure your computer is set to boot from CD/DVD drive first. (See how to)
  • Boot the computer with the newly created CD.
  • Puppy Linux is a "Live CD" which means that it runs outside of the windows operating system that is on your computer.
  • Puppy should progress and run automatically. When the desktop loads, click "OK" at the Personal Settings screen.
  • Note the icons, bottom left, above the Menu button. They represent each drive on your computer. Plug in your USB Flash drive if you haven't already. The flash drive icon will soon appear.

    Posted Image
  • Unlike Windows, in Puppy you only have to mouse click once on an icon to open it.
  • Find your system hard drive by exploring the hard drive icons ("hda" or "sda").
  • Note: use the green arrow (top left) on screen to go back up a directory.
  • Click once on your hard drive. Go to "My Documents" folder by clicking "Users," then "<YourUserName>." You will see the "My Documents" folder.
  • Click once on your USB drive. Now arrange the two screens by dragging them using the top, title bar so that both are visible; one on top of the other. Each window can be made smaller by positioning your mouse either on the top or right side of each window.

    Posted Image
  • Drag the "My Documents" folder into the USB drive and release. Click "Copy." Do the same for any other folders or files that are important.
  • If you right mouse click on the flash drive and select "Dismount," you may remove the drive, copy files to another computer, then reinsert the Flash drive to gather more data.
  • To "Exit" Puppy Linux, click "Menu," "Shutdown," and "Reboot." You will be presented with a screen asking to save any personal settings. Arrow over to "Do Not Save" and press <Enter>. The system will reboot. Remove the CD.

2.) Once you have backed up all important files, Run the Hard Drive Diagnostic Test:

Download the Diagnostic Test software for your hard drive: linked here.
  • Download Data Lifeguard Diagnostics for DOS (CD) and burn the "Diag504fCD.iso" image to a CD. (Read the instructions on the download page)
  • Don't know how or can't burn an "Iso" image?
  • Download ImgBurn from here.
  • Install the software then start ImgBurn.
  • During installation you may want to uncheck the box to add the Ask Toolbar.
  • Select "Write Image file to disk" then under "Source" click on the "folder icon" Posted Image to the right and select the "iso" file location.
  • Click on this icon to "Start." Posted Image
  • Restart your computer with the Diagnostic Disk. (For how to set CDROM drive to boot first, go here)
  • Run the short test first and then the extended test. Any reported errors in either test should make you suspect a failing hard drive.
  • If errors are found and the program offers an option to try to fix the errors, allow it. (Note: All important data from the hard drive must be backed up before running this option)

Regards,
Brooks



 


#10 two-zees

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:32 PM

Lucid Puppy loads fine, but I'm stuck with no functioning mouse. I've tried all USB ports including the one my keyboard was plugged in to, none will recognize the mouse. Ugh.

Edited by two-zees, 07 March 2012 - 02:07 PM.


#11 Artrooks

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:21 PM

It has mouse support built in. Can you try a different mouse?

Regards,
Brooks



 


#12 two-zees

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 05:52 PM

I've tried a USB mouse in all ports, a 9-pin mouse, and a wireless USB mouse.
I've tried with all 3 plugged in at the same time, and I've tried all 3 plugged in separately.
Nothing works.

#13 two-zees

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 06:00 PM

Would it be feasible to just do a Windows 7 upgrade and hope that any registry or driver issues get resolved along the way?

#14 Artrooks

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 08:45 PM

I guess the Windows 7 upgrade is a possibility. I personally prefer a clean install; less problems in the long run. You could also try a different version "linux live cd." If nothing else it would give you peace of mind knowing your data was backed up regardless of which path you choose.

Download Ubuntu Linux (700 MB).

Regards,
Brooks



 


#15 two-zees

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 11:29 PM

No luck with ubuntu either. It goes as far as the "Ubuntu 11.10" screen with the scrolling dots, then a black screen. Been waiting over an hour on the black screen :(




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