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Sometimes it starts, sometimes it doesn't...


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#1 Caravelle

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 07:13 PM

I have a friend's 64 bit Win 7 Compaq desktop machine here.  It was running slowly and full of junk and malware, so he had the OS restored to day 1 condition at the local PC store, and then I took it over to install his programs.   Oh, and all the Windows updates since Day 1, something the PC store didn't bother with.  The few programs I have installed work just fine, and everything I have tried within Windows 7 works OK.

 

But there is one major problem which is that sometimes it just will not start up - all I get when I push the power switch is a blank screen with a cursor flashing about once a second in the top left corner.  The only way out seems to be to press the on-off switch again - sometimes several times - or just disconnect the power, as there is no response to the mouse or keyboard.   Other times, it starts perfectly normally. There is no pattern that I can see to this.   Logic tells me that if there is something wrong with the software controlling the start-up sequence, it would fail to start every time, whereas if there is an intermittent hardware fault that could be the cause.   I have run chkdsk a couple of times with no result.   I have been messing about with PCs since DOS days and haven't had an inconsistent problem like this before, so can someone point me in the right direction please ?

 

Many thanks.

 

Caravelle.

 

 



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#2 Havachat

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 02:13 AM

Hope the Install they did was a legitimate copy of windows ? Anyway you can try the following.

 

 

Create a recovery disk from any Windows 7 PC or laptop.

Then change the boot options in the Bios to boot from CD/DVD internal drive - Look at manufactures documentation for correct Function key to do so.

Insert recovery disk into cd/dvd drive and hit any key when prompted to do so. Select "Command Prompt" from the list of options then type the following:

Bootrec.exe

bcdedit /export C:\BCD_Backup

c:

cd boot

attrib bcd -s -h -r

ren c:\boot\bcd bcd.old

bootrec /RebuildBcd

bootrec /fixmbr

bootrec /fixboot

Remove the recovery disc and boot from hard drive.

 

Ensure you change the Bios settings back to "Boot From Hard Drive".

See how you go - if no go repost results.


Edited by hamluis, 24 March 2015 - 08:42 AM.
Removed unnecessary quotebox - Hamluis.


#3 Caravelle

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 09:15 AM

Thanks for your help, I've made the "system repair" disk using  Control Panel (I presume this is the same as a recovery disk ?).  Now I am attempting to discover which function key turns on boot options on this specific computer from the HP support site.. A good deal easier said than done.  It will probably be quicker to just keep trying them all in turn until one works.

 

What I found rather scary was that I had hardly been at the site more than a few minutes and found the bit relating to the specific PC model when a window popped up "Alert.  Fix the Black Screen with blinking cursor issue View article" (http://support.hp.com/gb-en/product/Compaq-CQ1100-Desktop-PC-series/5146180/model/5176976/document/c04572861/).  Coincidence ?  Are they psychic or are they reading my Google searches ?  This leads to other articles which look like they may be useful, eg http://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c01997899.

 

As an aside,  don't most machines automatically try to boot from the optical drive first these days ?  Every machine I have makes noises in the area of the drive on startup, and when I asked in another forum they said this was due to the system looking for a disk there, before looking on the HDD.  

 

I don't believe that the store where the PC was fixed installed a new copy of Windows 7 at all - I'm thinking they simply used the Windows recovery partition.   I would probably have done this myself, but I had advised my friend to take it in to have it checked out physically as well, as some of the incidents he was reporting sounded like hardware failure to me.   I'm afraid I can't be very clear, this friend is mildly autistic and has learning difficulties, what he says is not necessarily what actually happened and what you tell him to do is not necessarily what he actually does.  Sounds like an average teenager, right ? Unfortunately he's 50.

 

But in any case, the store is the biggest nationwide chain in the UK and I doubt they would risk their reputation by installing illegitimate copies of Windows.

 

I'll get back with the result, but it may not be for some days.

 

Many thanks again.

 

Caravelle



#4 dc3

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 10:50 AM

This could be a problem with the Master Boot Record (MBR).

 

How to rebuild the Boot Configuration Data (BCD)
 
1.  Click on the Start orb and type cmd in the Search programs and files box.
 
cmd will appear above the Search box under Programs, right click on it and choose Run as administrator.
 
When the Elevated Command Prompt open type in bootrec /rebuildbcd and press Enter.
 
 
You should receive the following message.
 
 
Scanning all disks for Windows installations.
 
Please wait, since this may take a while...
 
Successfully scanned Windows installations.
Total identified Windows installations: 0
The operation completed successfully.
 
If you do not get this message I will post instructions for another way to rebuild the BCD.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#5 Caravelle

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 12:55 PM

Thanks very much.  While casting around trying to find the right key to get to the BIOS a "HP Recovery" screen came up, which offered to repair Startup, so I thought that couldn't do any harm and followed the prompts.  The trouble is, I can't keep on turning this PC on and off all day long to keep testing it.   And just when I think "It's started OK 20 times in a row, so it must be fixed" we all know what will happen the 21st time.  I can almost guarantee that this will be once I've handed it back to its owner too !   So, it will be some time before I know whether or not I should even try further suggestions.   I'm not ungrateful, do please keep them coming if you think you have something useful to contribute, but I'm just warning you all that I won't be coming up with any "mission accomplished" messages for a good while.

 

I did try out Arachi-thingummy's suggestion and got the message "Bootrec is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file" so further instructions are indeed needed I am afraid.

 

Caravelle


Edited by Caravelle, 24 March 2015 - 01:03 PM.


#6 Havachat

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 02:21 AM

As my time is sometimes limited , i would suggest you follow dc3 instructions and reply back to him with the results , that way he will be able to confirm if the fix provided gave a positive result.



#7 Caravelle

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 06:46 AM

Well, several days later and after fully closing down and starting up again a dozen times each day, the PC is behaving itself, so either the HP recovery "repair startup" widget fixed the problem, or it is lying low until the PC's owner tries it out.   I have kept a note of all your advice just in case, even though more is needed from "dc3" if I am to try it out, for the reasons given in my previous message.

 

Many many thanks for the help.   

 

Caravelle






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