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H/Drive PXE-E61:Media Test Failure BUT Western Digital Diagnostics says HD Fine!


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#1 gak1952

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 07:26 AM

Hi,

 

I have a tough one here.

 

I have a Dell Inspiron 7559 laptop. I sent it to Dell for an ethernet card fix. I kept the hard drive for obvious reasons. Once I got it back, I reinstalled the hard drive and booted up.

 

Disaster: I got the PXE-E61: Media Test Failure, check cable error. The error is described thus:

 

When hard disk boot failure occurs, the computer will not boot up and a message saying “PXE-E61: Media Test Failure, Check Cable” appears. The error may also read “PXE-M0F: Exiting Intel PXE-ROM” or “Boot Failure: System Halted.” This error message repeats each time one attempts to start up the computer and it restricts one’s access to the hard disk data.

Hard disk boot failure in PXE can happen for several reasons. The most common reason is physical hard disk failure due to a faulty or improperly connected hard disk. The error might also occur if a computer attempts to boot from a device and it cannot find the necessary boot files. The error can also appear because of incorrect BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) or CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) settings.

I've extensively Googled the error and tried all the suggested fixes to no avail. I'm still not sure that Dell technicians did not change the bios settings so that they are incompatible with the settings on my hard drive. 

When I make changes to the boot configuration, like disable NIC options and enable UEFI boot, I avoid the Media Test Failure error, but instead get a bootable drive not found error.

I do not think the hard drive has physically failed. Ashhampoo Hard Disk Sentinel (a hard drive software monitoring program) describes the drive as follows:error, hard drive temperature: 46 degrees centigrade health 9%. However, all the internal Dell diagnostics report that both the hard drive and everything else in the machine are fine. Several other hard drive testing programs report no problems.

Most importantly, the Western Digital hard drive diagnostics program gave the drive a perfect bill of health. I think this is the gold standard of drive testing programs. It tested every sector of the drive over seven hours. (I tested the drive in an external hard drive dock). I am presently running yet another extensive test and will probably use the Seagate drive testing program (it is a Seagate 1tb smart drive).

As you might guess from my writing here, I don't have a backup of the drive. I have, however, made Macrium and Realtek Drive Image XML image copies of the drive. I don't yet have a laptop drive to which I can copy these image files. I would then see if I could boot from them. If anyone has any thoughts about the likelihood of this working, I would very much like to hear them.

For the moment I would be very grateful if anyone could give help and advice about the possibility that the Windows operating system has become corrupted or is sitting on a bad sector of the drive. (This is the view of Dell Technical Support). Specifically:

  1. Is there any software (preferably free) that I can use to check the integrity of the Windows operating system either with the drive in the laptop or outside it? (Remember, I can't boot at all in the laptop)
  2. Is there any software (preferably free) that I can use to fix the Windows operating system, without wiping everything else off the drive? (I don't want to do a Windows' re-install as I assume this would result in my losing all the 'giveaway' software I have installed, along with a lot of apps and utilities I would have to reinstall)
  3. Is there any way I can use the image files of the laptop drives I have created to re-install the Windows operating system/software programs that were on the non-booting laptop drive?
  4. Anything else anyone might suggest, apart from always backup?

My thanks in advance for any help and suggestions anyone might have.

 

 



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#2 hamluis

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 08:26 AM

This error typically indicates a failing CMOS battery, costs less than $5.00 on desktop. 

 

https://www.parts-people.com/blog/2016/10/25/dell-inspiron-15-7559-p57f002-cmos-battery-removal-installation/

 

I would look for a cheaper battery, but utilize the info in the above link to replace the current battery..

 

Louis



#3 usasma

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 10:50 AM

EDIT:  The most common thing that I can think of is to open the case and reseat the hard drive again.  Be sure to use good anti-static precautions while doing this.

 

You get PXE errors when the system tries to boot to a network,

In general, the PXE error happens when you:

- have Boot to Network enabled, and

- you actually don't have a network that you can boot from, and

- when your system skips the other boot options until it gets to the PXE option.

 

The most common case for this is either a corrupted boot order (caused by a failing CMOS battery), or a failing/dead hard drive.

Replacing the CMOS battery is usually easy and fairly inexpensive.  But don't forget to go into the BIOS and check the boot order.

If the boot order still lists the hard drive up front (before the PXE), then you have to wonder about the hard drive.

At that point you'll have to attempt some hard drive diagnostics:  http://www.carrona.org/hddiag.html

 

Now, if the CMOS battery, BIOS settings, and hard drive prove good, then you have 2 other possibilities:

- other components in the storage sub-system are bad (cables and storage controller are the most likely).

- boot settings are corrupted on the hard drive.

 

You state that you tested the hard drive while connected to another computer.  Were you able to see the directory structure on the hard drive?  Could you back things up that way?  My point here is that, if the hard drive isn't physically damaged, then your data should be recoverable.  If you can't view the directory structure and the files in it, then file system on the disk may be damaged.

 

As for repairing/recovering it, I'd suggest that you post those questions over in the Backup forums:  http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/f/238/backup-imaging-and-disk-management-software/


Edited by usasma, 26 August 2017 - 11:02 AM.

My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#4 gak1952

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 12:16 PM

Hi,

 

Thanks for your replies. In response:

 

CMOS and battery failure: I don't know too much about CMOS and batteries, but I doubt if it is the battery (or any of the other laptop components such as cables). I've had the laptop on for extended periods and run all the Dell diagnostics a couple of times. According to the diagnostic reports all the components are working fine (including the hard drive!).

 

PXE Error: It's not really a PXE error. I'm just getting the PXE error because the bios cannot find the internal hard drive and goes searching for a network drive. Since I'm not on a network, it naturally cannot find one, and give a PXE error. If a disable the network options (or whatever you need to do to stop bios searching for a network drive). I simply get a boot error of the simple cannot find hard drive/no hard drive type (I forget the exact wording)

 

Hard Drive Failure; Maybe, maybe not. I've run four or five hard dive testing programs on the drive in an external dock. The results are ambiguous. Three (Macrorit, EaseUS Partition Master and Western Digital Drive Tester all give the drive a clean bill of health. Three others, however, all HD Sentinel, HDD Scan and  Crystal Disk Info all report various degrees of ill-health. Screen shots of the results of these six tests are attached in a PDF file.

 

Drive Readability: The drive is perfectly readable when it's in the external dock. I've had no trouble making Macrium and DriveImage disk image copies of the drive. I've yet to see if these images are bootable as I don't have another internal 2.5 drive to copy them to and install into the laptop. I don't yet know how to examine the drive when it's in the dock to see if boot settings are corrupted.

 

It's not data I'm concerned with saving. It's the programs I loaded. I probably won't be able to reload quite a few of them.

 

Boot settings are corrupted on the hard drive? Seems a likely possibility. Is there any way I can test for this? I'm looking at software that I can download to a CD/DVD/USB stick and check/correct bios/windows. If you know of any such software, please inform me of it. 

 

Is Windows Corrupted? Dell technical support wants me to re-install Windows. Am I right in thinking this is not a Windows problem? Isn't finding the hard drive prior to loading Windows?

 

Thanks again for your suggestions. If you have any comments, further suggestions to my responses and questions, I would very much like to hear them.

 

Thanks again.

 

I look forward to hearing whatever else you might have to say.

 



#5 usasma

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 04:37 PM

You can post over in the Windows 10 forums for assistance in manually fixing boot files.
FWIW - I do a repair install to fix them (which shouldn't delete programs, but I've seen it do that).

 

If it's a boot file that's the problem, then reinstalling Windows should fix it.
Also, if it's a warranty issue, then Dell will insist on the reinstall of Windows to rule out software.

Here's my explanation:

 

A clean install is:
- Windows is installed to a freshly partitioned hard drive with legitimate installation media (W10:  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 ).
- The installation media is only a copy of Windows, not the OEM recovery disks that you can make on some systems.
- Windows is fully updated after it's installed.  That's ALL updates - none excepted.
- NO 3rd party software is installed.
- There are no errors in Device Manager (if you find any, post back for suggestions).

This will wipe everything off of the computer, so it's advisable to backup your stuff first.
Also, it will wipe out all the special software that the OEM added to the system, so if you rely on any of that - let us know what it is so we can figure out a way to save/download it (the easiest way is to create/obtain the OEM;s recovery media)

The point of doing this is to:
- rule out Windows as a problem (if the problem continues, it's not a Windows problem as you completely replaced Windows
- rule out 3rd party software (if the problem continues, it's not a 3rd party software problem as you didn't install any 3rd party software)
- so, if the problem continues, it must be a hardware problem.

OTOH, if the problem stops, then it was either a Windows or 3rd party software problem.  If the problem doesn't come back, then you've fixed it.  Then all that remains is setting the computer back up the way that you'd like it and importing your data from the backup you made.


My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.




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