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Baffled by 8.1 crash and ensuing mayhem


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#1 RamJacCorp

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 06:03 PM

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 wouldn't reboot or restore. Went in through DOS, and it looks like partition info might be 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! Haven't tried to refresh yet, because I'd like to avoid losing programs and settings, if there's a way to salvage the drive. Looking into partition restoration software, etc. Anyone have any experience with this? I saw a similar post and added a reply to it, but figured it might make more sense to start fresh with a new post. Thanks!



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#2 Gr33n_Gh05t

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 07:18 PM

Possibly bad HDD. Try active@ partition recovery (name of program,not a site). I have had much success with this program fixing filesystem corruption issues.you will need access to a working machine and an external HDD to recover your files to. Use the superscan option and choose recover to external device after that is finished.before you start scanning, put your ear to the HDD and listen for grinding/clicking noises.if you his hear anything like that, you may want to use an imaging software like macrium reflect to make an image of the HDD before using the recovery software, as this would indicate a drive with physical failure. That way you could attempt to recover your files without the chance of further drive failure.Hope this helps.

#3 RamJacCorp

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 11:15 PM

Thanks a lot for the advice, GR33. The drive wasn't making any noises (I've experienced the failing drive sound before, sadly), but it's still possible the drive is defective and not just corrupted, I guess. My plan is to try and clone the drive, and then see if I can repair the partition damage. I still can't figure out why the original drive - which is fine - wouldn't boot, though. Any thoughts on that, or suggestions on things I might try? If I can get the old drive running, at least I can be semi-functional while I attempt repairs on the other drive. Thanks again.



#4 Gr33n_Gh05t

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 09:45 AM

Is the blank screen at the point that windows begins to load or is that all you are getting when the machine is turned on? Try going into the bios and checking that secure boot and UEFI mode are enabled.Also try setting the bios settings back to defaults.I will let you know if i can think of anything else.



#5 RamJacCorp

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 10:38 AM

Thanks, Green. I just tried again to boot the old drive, with same result. The blank screen comes up after the Dell logo screen. I ran diagnostics, and all hardware checks out fine. Tried with and without Secure Boot. Haven't tried setting BIOS back to default yet. Thought I'd be able to save data off the failed drive by hooking it up to my XP box and copying files off, but the XP box doesn't recognize the 3 TB drive at all. This is one major clusterf*@k after another, for sure. I'm wondering if I can hook an external drive to the 8.1 machine (USB), go into a dos prompt and try to copy data that way (don't know if the box will see the USB drive from the dos environment - never tried that before!) 



#6 KingdomSeeker

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 11:00 AM

Testing Computer Memory Using MemTest86+

--------------------
  • Download the latest version of MemTest86+ Windows Images: Image for creating boot-able CD , and and save it to your desktop
  • Right click on the folder and select Extract All...
  • Select Next, Next, then Finish
  • Burn the image file to a CD, as an image file. If you're unsure how to do this, see the How to Burn an ISO File tutorial.
  • Put your CD in the drive and configure your machine to boot to the CD. This is different on all machines, but it's usually by pressing F12 or F10 as your system boots, and selecting either "CDROM" or your cdrom drive.
  • If you've done it correctly, MemTest86+ will start to run automaticly, as shown below:

ac0a5ac4-ff90-4a82-9d49-36b87ebcd503.png

  • If you want to be reasonably your RAM is OK, then allow MemTest to run until you see this message:

d45be17d-b58d-4588-8722-8e2c02bcb2ab.png

  • On the other hand, if you want to be completely sure your RAM is OK, allow MemTest to run overnight. Memtest will run forever until power is pulled on the machine.
  • Check the MemTest screen for any reported errors. Errors will appear as RED warnings at the bottom of the screen, similar to the following screenshot:

ae37ec37-9f82-4be8-bc80-c88937bfebdf.png

  • Press the reset button on the computer, removing the MemTest disk in the process
  • Report the results
===================================================

Things I would like to see in your next reply. Please be sure to copy and paste any requested log information unless you are asked to attach it. 30258b59-3eb1-40d9-b3c9-8e9227951827.gif
  • MemTest results


#7 JohnC_21

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 11:20 AM

If you need to get the data off, boot the computer with a live linux disk like Fatdog64.

 

V6.31

 

http://distro.ibiblio.org/fatdog/iso/

 

Edit:

Based off of Puppy. Here is a basic guide on data recovery using Puppy. Clicking once on your hard drive icon will auto mount the drive and open a File Manager. Attach an external USB and you will see a USB icon appear. Click once on it and another File Manager will open. Left click with Ctrl to highlight your files/folders or left click and drag a window around them. Drag to the USB FIle manager and a dialog box will open asking to copy or move. Select copy.

 

Edit Edit: The other problem is the files may be encrypted if you use a Live account to login to the computer.


Edited by JohnC_21, 17 December 2014 - 11:26 AM.


#8 RamJacCorp

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 12:52 PM

Thanks, KS and John! Just finished trying a variety of restore points, but all failed. Pretty sure it's due to corruption, including the partition table. I downloaded Partition Wizard, and will give that a go to see if it can help at all. I think I'll try one of your suggested bootable options first, though, to see if I can save off any data first.

 

Added note: not sure I need to run memtest, since I ran full diagnostics from Dell, and memory tested out fine, as did all hardware.


Edited by RamJacCorp, 17 December 2014 - 01:00 PM.


#9 Gloel

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 03:58 AM

 flash player for Windows 8.1 not working although install also computer has no virus but will not go to search pages on Explorer 11 not recognizing pages can anybody help  I am not so smart with PCs learning as much as I can help me please



#10 RamJacCorp

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 11:14 AM

Gloel - you'll have better luck getting an answer to your question if you create a new post under the main Windows 8 topic. You posted within an unrelated issue. Go here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/f/209/windows-8/ and click the Start New Topic button at the top right of the page. 



#11 RamJacCorp

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 09:15 PM

Update: Unexplainably, I was able to get the machine to boot into Windows. After copying off as much data as I could from the failed Toshiba drive, I attempted to save off an image to a backup drive, just in case the failed one decided to croak. It did just that, hours into the imaging process. Not yet sure how to proceed at this point. I have a backed up image from a month or so ago, but I don't think I can restore it to a new, raw hard drive on my old XP box. 

 

I tried using ImgBurn to create a bootable UBCD disk, but the PC wouldn't boot off it. Any suggestions? (Yes, I did change the boot settings first.)



#12 KingdomSeeker

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 09:27 PM

Did you try to load Fatdog or Puppy Linux to try to retrieve info as suggested? I do know they are kinda fickle but if you can get them loaded it can be a life saver.



#13 JohnC_21

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 09:40 PM

You changed your boot settings in BIOS. Did you disable SecureBoot and Fastboot? If that did not work change the boot from UEFI to Legacy or CSM?

#14 RamJacCorp

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 09:47 PM

KS - thought I'd give UBCD a try first, as I was a bit more familiar with it. Definitely will try Fatdog, if need be. I also burned that to CD, but don't know if I did it correctly - used ImgBurn with the ISO on that, too (on my XP box, of course).

 

John - I didn't disable SecureBoot/Fastboot - thought I had seen something warning against doing that, but maybe I'm wrong. I don't believe the BIOS allows me to change the boot to Legacy or CSM, but I'll double-check that.

 

Thanks, guys!



#15 JohnC_21

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 09:52 PM

I am pretty sure Fatdog can boot UEFI but if SecureBoot is enabled, nothing will boot except the hard drive.




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