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PC won't start up: cycles through repair loop, files all hidden or gone


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#1 biciclub

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 08:49 AM

First off let me say my first thought was to google the problem, and I've found a lot of similar situations, but none of the fixes have worked so far.

 

I have a desktop running Windows 8.1 which was self-built about 2 years ago.  It has an intel CPU and an MSI mobo (I have more details somewhere if they're important).  The only issue it had was it would occasionally not wake up from sleep mode if you left it for a while.  My girlfriend was using it and got this issue, and forced a power button reset.  While I would like to be able to blame this all on that I have also done the same thing in the past.  She said it said "automatic recovery of disc, could take 1 hour", followed by the "repair loop" that i keep getting:

 

diagnosing PC ---> Attempting repairs ---> Automatic repair couldn't repair your PC

Log file: D:\WINDOWS\System32\Logfiles\Srt\Srttrail.txt

 

All the advanced options are dead ends.  For a while I couldn't even get it to boot from CD, but I went into BIOS and changed the boot order.  When I boot from Windows CD the problem is essentially the same.  I've specifically tried automatic repair several times because I read that sometimes it takes 3 times, but no luck there.  I've also unplugged all peripherals, same issue.

 

One weird thing is when I go into the command prompt (from advanced options) all of my directories are missing.  The same is true when I open notepad from command and browse files that way.  Specifically I see:

 

System reserved (C:)

Local Disk (D:)  <-- my hard drive

Boot (X:)

CD Drive (E:)

 

The D: drive shows 716 / 931 GB free, which seems high but I don't remember how much disk space I was using.  In the directory though it's just a few empty folders and some logs.  D:\WINDOWS has just   Logs ---> PBR ---> 4 files that are meaningless to me.  In the root directory there are a couple other folders (Intel and MSI) which each have a small handful of files (haven't been modified in over a month).  That's it.  I specifically looked for the srttrail.txt file but couldn't find it in any directory.  Command prompt runs from (X:).

 

by the way based on some googling I also tried

 

bootrec /fixmbr

bootrec /fixboot

bootrec /rebuildbcd

 

but it didn't seem to change anything.

 

That's all I can think of for now.  I even took apart my case, cleaned it and made sure the connections were all good.  Nothing obviously amiss.  

 

P.S. -- At one point while I was attempting stuff I held shift-F8 through the boot sequence.  It wouldn't start up at all after that, aside from a black screen with the number 99 in the bottom corner.  I swapped keyboards and it started getting to the repair sequence again.

 

Edit -- I also have no system restore points.


Edited by biciclub, 12 December 2014 - 08:52 AM.


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#2 KingdomSeeker

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 11:15 AM

A couple of things you could try.

 

1. Turn off computer, unplug it, hold power button for 30 to 45 seconds plug it back in and retsrt and try again.

2. Find the CMOS jumper. (It'll be a small rectangular piece with three prongs and a small plastic thing covering two of them) Remove the plastic piece and place of the other two prongs and wait about 30 seconds and replace it to it's original location. If this doesn't help we can try something else.


Edited by KingdomSeeker, 12 December 2014 - 11:15 AM.


#3 biciclub

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 06:51 PM

Hi Kingdom,

 

Thanks for the reply.  I did your first suggestion and nothing changed.  For your second suggestion, I looked in my motherboard manual and my CMOS jumper looks a little different.  My motherboard is an MSI Z77A-G41.  According to the manual my CMOS jumper is just two small prongs marked JBAT1, there is no plastic piece on them.  The manual says to short them to reset the CMOS.

 

Edit: shorted the CMOS.  Got a screen that told me all settings were reset to their default values.  Still got the same problem.


Edited by biciclub, 12 December 2014 - 07:04 PM.


#4 KingdomSeeker

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 09:21 AM

Have you tried unplugging your HDD? Occasionally this will work. You may have to do a reinstall of Windows. It may let you do a restore.



#5 biciclub

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 06:01 PM

Yeah I tried unplugging and reattaching the HDD, making sure the connections were good.  I also tried a restore but it says I have no restore points.


Edited by biciclub, 13 December 2014 - 06:03 PM.


#6 KingdomSeeker

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 06:38 PM

I'm referring to when you go to reinstall you should be given an option to restore without losing all of your data. This can only be done with a copy of Windows already on your computer. You will lose some of your stuff anyway but it's better than starting from scratch. I'd wait and see if someone with more expertise thanmyself has a working solution for you.



#7 biciclub

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 10:03 PM

Not sure what you're referring to.  Here are the options I get when I boot from the Windows CD:

 

First screen:

(1) Continue to Windows

(2) Troubleshoot

(3) Turn off your PC

 

Troubleshoot screen:

(1) Refresh your PC  ---> There was a problem refreshing your PC.  No Changes were made

(2) Reset your PC

(3) Advanced Options

 

Advanced Options screen

(1) System Restore  ---> No restore points

(2) System Image Recovery ---> Windows cannot find a system image on this computer

(3) Automatic Repair ---> Takes me through the same loop

(4) Command Prompt

 

Anyway I just bought a new drive so I'm gonna install windows on that and then see if I can recover files when I boot from the new drive.



#8 KingdomSeeker

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 10:14 PM

II hope you can. Good luck



#9 biciclub

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 02:22 AM

Yeah I have the computer running from the new drive now, and the old drive connected.  There is no data visible.  Looks like there is a decent amount of disk space showing as "used" but for all intents and purposes it is empty.

 

What are the odds I can recover some of my data without shelling out a bunch of money?  In particular if I could get a few TeX documents with some classwork and a few other miscellaneous documents I wouldn't mind discarding the rest of the lost data.



#10 KingdomSeeker

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 09:15 AM

One of the best programs for finding lost files is called Recuva https://www.piriform.com/recuva. You probably won't be able to recuver all of them but you should be able to recover some. Best of luck.



#11 RamJacCorp

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 05:36 PM

Piggybacking off of this thread, with a similar problem: I upgraded BIOS on a Dell XPS 8500 (running 8.1) to A12. A few days later (maybe unrelated) started getting system slowdown and pauses where HD light just stayed on and system did nothing. Ran chkdsk and fixed errors, only to have it happen again several more times. Worm or virus, maybe? Finally, system crashed and can't reboot or restore. Went in through DOS, and it looks like partition info is corrupted, because data appears spread across incorrect drives. Now for the fun: I had the original drive that came with the system (can't remember whether it has 8 or 8.1 upgrade on it), so I disconnected the failed one and tried to boot the old one. Got a blank screen. Need some serious help here, please!






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