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Vista 64bit stuck at Gateway Screen, can get into Bios, can't get to Safe Mode screen list


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#1 ghost wiring

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 06:30 PM

Hello,

My fathers Gateway laptop (Windows Vista 64 bit, Model number: MD7820u) has recently encountered a problem. When you press the power button the Gateway start screen pops up (the one with F2 for BIOS, F10 for Boot Menu in the corner) the screen then has a blinking underscore in the left corner, the screen goes black then returns to the Gateway start screen and continues to repeat the cycle. There are no beeps. I can load the computer into BIOS, but I haven't really messed with the settings there as I'm afraid of wrecking things further. I can load it to the Boot Menu and a dialog box with the options CDROM/DVD, Main Hard Drive, Boot to LAN and Enter Setup pops up, with the Phoenix Secure Core , BIOS ver etc popping up for a second before the dialog box pops up. I've tried to boot the Main Hard Drive to no avail - it just starts the cycle over again. I've pressed all the function keys in hopes to find the menu to boot it to safe mode (I know it usually F8, but figured his computer might be different) but the buttons just beep.

As to how it got this way? He left it on hibernate last night and when he tried to turn it on this morning this is what he encountered. We figure it might has something to do with Windows Automatic Updates.

Some history about the sad state of his compter: His laptop battery will not hold a charge, it works off A/C power. His CD/DVD ROM is dead/ near dead. We've bought him an external CD/DVD drive that hooks into his USB port. Sometimes if his external CD/DVD drive is plugged in his computer won't start up correctly and needs to be fixed through Safe Mode (that very well might be because his BIOS Boot order is: 1.CDROM/DVD, 2.USB Floppy drive, 3.Main Hard Drive, 4.USB Storage stick, 5.USB Hard drive, 6.Boot to LAN). His computer has needed to be System Restored through Safe Mode recently after he got up to use the restroom when watching a movie on his computer using the external CD/DVD ROM at around 3am and when he got back his computer was off. He turned it on and the Gateway screen would pop up and then the screen would stay black. That time I could get it into Safe Mode, this time it just cycles through the Gateway start screen, black screen and back again. I have a feeling this problem might have something with windows updates because last night my sister's computer (HP Laptop,Vista 32bit) started itself up out of hibernation mode at 3am, presumably for updates. And I've seen my father's computer start up out of hibernation mode at 3am before (it scared the crap outta me) and the timing before, when he was watching the movie, seems to fit.

I've researched the problem somewhat and have seen that it might possibly be a hardware problem (ie. PCU, Motherboard or RAM. I've tried to start his computer without his battery, as well as with, and without his external CD/DVD drive hooked up. Anyone have any ideas to fix this?

Thanks in advance.

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#2 jhayz

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:14 PM

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/repair-windows-with-windows-startup-repair/

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#3 AustrAlien

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 02:00 AM

Re: blank black screen with blinking cursor
It sounds as though the MBR (MasterBootRecord) is infected &/or damaged, so let's take a look at it.

Please try the following: You will need a USB drive/flashdrive and a new blank writable CD.

:step1: Please do the following on a working computer:
  • Download GETxPUD.exe to the Desktop.
  • Run GETxPUD.exe
    A new folder will appear on the desktop.
  • Open the GETxPUD folder and click on get&burn.bat
  • The program will download xpud_0.9.2.iso, and when finished will open BurnCDCC ready to burn the image.
    Please be patient: This could take awhile - download file size 63MB.
  • Click on Start and follow the prompts to burn the image to a CD.
You will use this CD to boot the ailing computer from.


:step2: Boot the ailing computer with the xPUD CD.
  • (You may have to configure the Boot Menu or BIOS Setup Menu to boot first from the optical/CD/DVD drive.)
    A Welcome to xPUD screen will appear.
  • Click on File.
  • Expand the mnt icon on the left (click on the little arrow beside the icon).
    • sda1, sda2 etc. ...usually correspond to your HDD partitions
    • sdb1, sdc1 is likely to correspond to a USB flashdrive, external USB hard drive etc.
  • Click on the folder that represents your USB drive (sdb1 ?).
  • Click Tool on the top menu, and choose Open Terminal.
  • Type the following at the hash prompt:

    dd if=/dev/sda of=mbr.bin bs=512 count=1

    • Note: Leave a space between the following:
      • dd ... the executable application used to create the backup
      • if=/dev/sda ... the device the backup is created from (the hard drive when only one HDD exists)
      • of=mbr.bin ... the backup file to create - note the lack of a path - it will be created in the directory currently open in the Terminal
      • bs=512 ... the number of bytes in the backup
      • count=1 ... says to backup just 1 sector
        It is extremely important that the if and of statements are correctly entered.
  • Press the <ENTER> key.
    After it has finished a file will be located on your USB drive named mbr.bin.
  • Go to Home > Power Off > Turn Off and remove the flashdrive as the system shuts down.

:step3: On the working computer:
  • Insert the USB drive, and navigate to the file mbr.bin
  • Zip-up the mbr.bin file:
    • Right-click on the file and choose Send to .. > Compressed (zipped) Folder.
      A zipped folder will appear in the same location as the mbr.bin file.
  • Please attach the zipped file to your next reply.
    This will allow the MasterBootRecord of your hard drive to be checked to see whether or not it is infected &/or damaged.

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#4 AustrAlien

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 02:03 AM

... His CD/DVD ROM is dead/ near dead.

If necessary, create a bootable xPUD flashdrive instead of a CD.

Download http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/unetbootin-xpud-windows-latest.exe
and http://noahdfear.net/downloads/bootable/xPUD/xpud-0.9.2.iso to the desktop of a working computer:
  • Insert a USB flashdrive.
  • Go to Start > My Computer > right-click on the flashdrive > choose Format > Quick format.
  • Double-click the unetbootin-xpud-windows-387.exe that you just downloaded.
  • Click Run > OK.
  • Select the DiskImage option and then click the browse button located on the right side of the text-box field.
  • Browse to and select the xpud-0.9.2.iso file that you downloaded.
  • Verify the correct drive letter is selected for your flashdrive, and then click OK.
    A small bootable Linux operating system will be installed on the flashdrive.
  • Once the files have been written to the device, you will be prompted to reboot: Do not reboot the computer.
    • Instead, just exit the UNetbootin interface (simply close the installer).
  • Remove the flashdrive from the computer.
You will use this flashdrive to boot the ailing computer from.

Edited to add ...
In this case you will need only the one flashdrive.
If you cannot see the flashdrive once booted into xPUD, simply un-plug the flashdrive, and then re-insert it. The flashdrive should then be able to be mounted (viewed and accessed).

Edited by AustrAlien, 16 September 2012 - 02:06 AM.

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#5 ghost wiring

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 01:01 AM

Heya!

Sorry it took a bit for me to get back to you, I have the craziest work schedule. :)
Ok, the optical disk drive pulled through for me and is working, HOWEVER:
Under the MNT folder there is only SDA1 and SDA2. No SDB or SDC anything. If I navigate to DEV/BUS/USB, I find 001-008 - all with files in them. I don't think these are what I need though. The laptop has 4 usb ports, 2 on the left and two on the right. Maybe they're in a different folder? Have any ideas?

Thanks.

#6 AustrAlien

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 01:10 AM

You have booted to xPUD on a CD: Is that correct?
  • sda1 and sda2 would be partitions on the laptops internal hard drive.
You have a flashdrive plugged in to a USB port, but it is not showing up as sdb (sdb1): Is that correct?
  • If that is the case, un-plug the flashdrive and insert it in a different USB port.
  • Then have another look in mnt to see if sdb1 shows up.

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#7 ghost wiring

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 01:18 AM

Ha, I hadn't plugged in a USB stick first, duh. One second and I have that file for you. :)

#8 ghost wiring

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 01:26 AM

Hey, this was only 1kb.

Attached Files

  • Attached File  mbr.zip   457bytes   1 downloads


#9 AustrAlien

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 01:43 AM

Yes, the MBR is only 512 bytes to be exact. You did well: Thank you! :thumbup2:

If the MBR has a problem, then I can't see it. Giving the topic some more thought ...

MBR Analyzer v1.1.0

File : C:\Documents and Settings\GEOFF\Desktop\ghost wiring_BC\mbr.bin

--------------------------------------------------------------

--OFFSET--  0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-A-B-C-D-E-F-  0123456789ABCDEF

0x00000000  31C08ED0BC007CFB5007501FFCBE1B7C  1.м.|P.P..|
0x00000010  BF1B065057B9E501F3A4CBBF050031C0  ..PW.˿..1
0x00000020  B280CD1373074F7402EBF3EBFEBD9007  ..s.Ot...
0x00000030  807E005A745CF8B81096B315CD157216  .~.Zt\....r.
0x00000040  81F90000742BF8B81096B316CD157206  ...t+....r.
0x00000050  81F90100741BF8B81096B318CD157206  ...t.....r.
0x00000060  81F90100752CF8B881CACD1580FA0174  ...u,....t
0x00000070  19BEBE07B104382C7C08750B81C61000  ...8,|.u....
0x00000080  E2F489F5E97700E97100F8B880CAB300  .w.q..ʳ.
0x00000090  CD15BDBE07668B5E0860680000680000  ..f.^.`h..h..
0x000000A0  665368000068007C680100681000B442  fSh..h.|h..h..B
0x000000B0  B28089E6CD136161730B4F740830E4B2  ...aas.Ot.0
0x000000C0  80CD13EBCDE87B00BDBE7FC6460080C6  ..{..F..
0x000000D0  461000C6462000C646040BA0917FA804  F..F .F......
0x000000E0  7404804E2410A0917FA8087404804E34  t..N$.....t..N4
0x000000F0  10E8720068000068007CCBBDCE07668B  .r.h..h.|˽.f.
0x00000100  5E086068000068000066536800006800  ^.`h..h..fSh..h.
0x00000110  7C680100681000B442B28089E6CD1361  |h..h..B...a
0x00000120  61730B4F740830E4B280CD13EBCDE812  as.Ot.0...
0x00000130  00BDBE7F807E042774BAC6460427E825  ...~.'tF.'%
0x00000140  00EBB1BF050031C08EC0BB007EB80102  .뱿..1..~..
0x00000150  B500B101B600B280CD1373094F740630  .....s.Ot.0
0x00000160  E4CD0DEBDEC3BF050031C08EC0BB007E  .ÿ..1..~
0x00000170  B80103B500B101B600B280CD1373094F  .......s.O
0x00000180  740630E4CD0DEBDEC30000416365722F  t.0...Acer/
0x00000190  32000073797374656D00000000000000  2..system.......
0x000001A0  00000000000000000000000000000000  ................
0x000001B0  00000000000000002D2BD2D300000020  ........-+... 
0x000001C0  210027FEFFFF000800000000C00180FE  !.'..........
0x000001D0  FFFF07FEFFFF0008C00100D882230000  ..........#..
0x000001E0  00000000000000000000000000000000  ................
0x000001F0  000000000000000000000000000055AA  ..............U

---------------------------[ MBR ]----------------------------

MBR_CODE        : Acer Recovery
MD5             : D6F1F2C5DEE33DF70C908130DB6DE3D3
SHA1            : D1EA1F844A85F86625F6CCBF01BCB8D36FE12807
PARTITIONS      : 2
DISK_SIGNATURE  : 2D2BD2D3
SIGNATURE_ID    : AA55h

-----------------------[ PARTITION 1 ]------------------------

BOOTABLE        : NO
PARTITION_TYPE  : 0x27 ( RE Hidden partition )
PARTITION_SIZE  : 14.00 Go
STARTING_SECTOR : 2048
ENDING_SECTOR   : 29362176
TOTAL_SECTORS   : 29360128

-----------------------[ PARTITION 2 ]------------------------

BOOTABLE        : YES
PARTITION_TYPE  : 0x07 ( NTFS / HPFS)
PARTITION_SIZE  : 284 Go
STARTING_SECTOR : 29362176
ENDING_SECTOR   : 625139712
TOTAL_SECTORS   : 595777536

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#10 ghost wiring

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 01:51 AM

Does this mean the hard drive isn't shot?

#11 AustrAlien

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 02:06 AM

I've researched the problem somewhat and have seen that it might possibly be a hardware problem (ie. PCU, Motherboard or RAM.

Since the computer seems to run xPUD alright, I think we can rule out PSU, CPU, motherboard and RAM as being a problem.

There is no evidence to-date of the hard drive having a problem, as obviously we can access it to get the MBR from it. Can you open sda2 in XPUD and browse the contents of that partition (in Windows, that would be the C: drive).
  • If you can do that, we can rule out the hard drive as being "shot".
It seems to me that the BIOS is not seeing the hard drive as a bootable device for some reason: Hence the black, blank screen with the blinking underscore when it should be reading the MBR (the first 512 bytes on the hard drive) which is telling the system to boot from the second (Windows installation) partition.
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#12 AustrAlien

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 02:11 AM

What is puzzling me right now, is why the MBR is showing as an "MBR_CODE: Acer Recovery" .... on a Gateway laptop!
  • Any idea?
It may be normal, and OK .... but it seems strange to me at this stage.
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#13 ghost wiring

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 02:14 AM

Nothing shows up in the sda2 folder. Sda1 I can navigate, and it has numerous subfolders (ie. Program Files, BOOT, Users, etc); but the sda2 folder is empty.

#14 AustrAlien

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 02:25 AM

Nothing shows up in the sda2 folder.
... the sda2 folder is empty.

Ouch! This is where the Vista system should be, along with all files, programs etc. This is the partition (drive) that your father used.
  • sda1 is a 14 GB recovery partition.
Did you see any error messages or have any trouble when attempting to open and view the contents of sda2?
  • It might pay to try again, and perhaps allow a little more time (be patient!).
Can you tell me the brand & model of the hard drive, and its capacity?
  • It appears to be 320 GB in size.

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#15 narenxp

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 02:33 AM

What is puzzling me right now, is why the MBR is showing as an "MBR_CODE: Acer Recovery" .... on a Gateway laptop!


Acer owns gateway now.




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