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Laptop does not boot / stick, cd do not work


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#1 hydrag

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 03:00 PM

Good evening,

 

So I got a request from my neighbor yesterday to try and fix their Laptop, an Acer Aspire. According to them Windows 8 was installed although I don't know if 8 or 8.1. Some time ago the Laptop showed an error message but did not shut-down or froze or so.They had to turn it off anyways about the time the message appeared so they just regularly shut it down. Since then it did not boot again.

 

While UEFI Boot Mode was set in the Bios it would show the Acer logo for about 20-30 minutes without any reference of how to enter the Bios (F2). After 20-30 minutes a message would appear, black background, blue box saying 'boot manager failed'. If you hit ok it will start the cycle again and end in a loop. So I started it again and hit F2 for 20 minutes until the Bios showed up and changed the

Boot mode to Legacy Boot. I saved and restarted.

 

This time it would only take a few seconds to boot and it would also show me when to press F2 to get into Bios. So the two modes clearly differ. They also differ in the error message. For Legacy Boot mode it does not tell me about a boot manager but displays that no bootable device was found and I should enter a boot disc. I also set a Bios security password and disabled the secure boot as some said this would cause some problems with boot sticks. I do not have a Windows 8.1 CD...well I do have one but I don't know where it is but I got a Windows 8.1 recovery disc that was in the package with my custom designed PC. I started the computer with this and it would show the Windows Logo and the small circle moving below it only to switch to a dark but still illuminated window. The screen is not off, the Laptop is still running. The hard drive is running and does not make any funny noises. I can also see the small blue LED going on and off indicating, that it is still doing something. But nothing is happening even after 2h. It would always just show the blue windows logo, then have the circle run for 1 minute and then it would not display anything else.

 

I also tried a boot stick made from the Windows 8.1 rescue software you can download on the net with the same results. And, because it may still be Windows 8.0 I also have a self made rescue stick back from when I had Windows 8.0. It would boot the same and also end in a black screen.

 

I then used Parted Magic to boot it via Linux to save their data. I once had a boot issue with my PC and was able to boot it via Linux using this tool. So I set up another stick and it would show the first line of the software. Indicating the software, license and creator and then the blinking cursor in the next line. But it does not continue from there. It will always just continue to flash for hours before I turn it off. So it seems I can get into Bios, it recognizes different bootable media. It launches them but then stops to work for some reason. It does not seem to freeze although the disc will stop to run after some minutes. My flash-drive has an LED and I can still see the light flashing on it and on the Laptop as if it was trying to do something.

 

Is there anything else I could try or is this probably the hard drive?

Also they are still trying to save their data and files. So installing a new version would be the last option for them no matter how complicated the fixing process might be. IS there any hope or should I tell them that it probably doesn't help.

 

Also, when I remove the disc or remove the stick no matter if it's after a minute of black screen or 2 hours it will give me a short blue-screen. I wasn't able to read it but it is this ' :-( your PC ran into a problem [...] '. blue screen and then it restarts. So it still seems to do something with the stick or disc and immediatly gives an error once it is removed. Does this tell my anything about the boot status?

 

Thank you all in advance for your help and suggestions,

Greetings,

Martin


Edited by hydrag, 09 April 2018 - 03:01 PM.


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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 03:56 PM

This time it would only take a few seconds to boot and it would also show me when to press F2 to get into Bios

 

 

I would change the mode back to UEFI but leave SecureBoot disabled. Download Mint Cinnamon. Use Rufus to create a bootable USB. Run Rufus and select GPT for a partition scheme in the drop down box. Leave all boxes checked. Where you see FreeDos select iso image in the dropdown box, click the small icon, and browse to the iso file of Mint. Press Start. Attach the USB flash drive and tap F12 while booting the computer. This will give you a boot menu to select the boot device. F12 may need to be enabled in your UEFI settings. Do not input anything until at the Mint Desktop. Click the Computer icon on the desktop. In the left pane will be your hard drive listed in GBs. Click on it and if linux can mount the drive you will get a file manager window showing your hard drive contents. Attach a USB external drive. A USB icon will appear on the desktop and another window will open showing the USB external. You can copy and paste between drives. 

 

You can create a bootable USB flash drive or burn an iso of a full Windows 8.1 install using the Media Creation tool for 8.1. Use the iso option it offers. For burning a DVD right click the iso file and select Burn Disk Image.

 

If Mint boots and you can recover your data then do a clean install per the below guide. The guide is for Windows 10 but the steps are the same for 8. Use the convert gpt command shown in the guide.

 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/667627/doing-a-completely-clean-install-of-windows-10/?p=4419457



#3 hydrag

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 02:29 AM

Hi,
Thank you. I will try that once I'm home from work this evening. When you said 'do not input anything until at the Mint Desktop'you ment after I pressed F12 to boot from the stick, right?
Greetings,
Martin


#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 07:37 AM

 

Hi,
Thank you. I will try that once I'm home from work this evening. When you said 'do not input anything until at the Mint Desktop'you ment after I pressed F12 to boot from the stick, right?
Greetings,
Martin

 

Right, when Mint boots it will ask for some input but just leave it and wait until you are at the Desktop.



#5 hydrag

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 01:04 PM

Good evening,

 

So I switched it back to UEFI and disabled the secure boot mode. Then I started the Stick from F12 and chose the first option to run it 64 bit without compatibility mode. It took a few seconds and gave me a list of errors, see attachement.

After last error shown below it turned to the loading screen and loaded for 15 minutes until the desktop popped up.

 

Now I chose 'Computer' on the desktop and then there are 4 folders:

The DVD-reader/writer, my USB Stick, something called file system and a long name that ends in ACER and is probably the harddrive, at least the same name was in the boot menus as first boot. When I try to open it it gives me an error message, also attached below.

 

If I choose 'Home' and under devices 'Acer' it comes up with the same error message. Is there somewhere else I need to search for the data or is the harddrive pretty much screwed?

 

Greetings,

Martin.

Attached Files



#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 02:02 PM

In Mint click the menu icon and type Disks in the search box. Please provide a screenshot of the Disks Window. The error you received is most likely due to Windows hibernation file.

 

Mint should not have taken that long to boot up. If worse comes to worse you can remove the hard drive and attach it to another computer using a USB adapter similar to this one. You may be able to find one locally.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/SATA-PATA-IDE-to-USB-2-0-Adapter-Converter-Cable-for-Hard-Drive-Disk-2-5-3-5/182974829882?hash=item2a9a26553a:g:~oUAAOSwXtNaZT~z



#7 hydrag

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 03:10 PM

Here is the copy of the discs window.

 

Meanwhile I also tried PartedMagic. It launched as well after I set it UEFI but wasn't able to read the hard drive either. I tried launching the rescue stick (Win 8.1) and the disc but they would not boot. It would tell me to press any key to boot, then restart and give me the normal boot that ends in a loop after half an hour. So this only seems to work for Linux based systems.

 

I also tried to mount the things in the discs window but it would always give me the error message I already uploaded.

 

 

Attached Files

  • Attached File  Disk.JPG   82.26KB   0 downloads


#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 03:22 PM

The drive shows 37 bad sectors. The two images in your shows some sector errors that Mint could not read.

 

There is a command that may allow you to mount sda4. In the lower left of Mint you will see a small monitor with a prompt. This is called the terminal. Click on it and at the terminal prompt type the following command.

ntfsfix /dev/sda4

All lower case. After the command finishes click the computer on the desktop and in the lower left pane select your hard drive. It will be listed in GBs. 

 

If ntfsfix does not allow Mint to mount the partition then you will need to attach the drive using a USB adapter to get your data from the drive.



#9 hydrag

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 03:29 PM

Hi,

 

Thank you for the fast answer!

So I tried it and it does not seem to mount. I guess this probably means that they will have to give it to a tech support. I cannot open the laptop and I don't want to buy extra stuff for them. But thank you for your help. I guess this is as far as I can go here. Is there another option for the Windows Repair, why it only launches in Legacy Mode but suddenly freezes and does not open in UEFI mode? Perhaps some sort of tool may be able to find the broken parts if it's really a boot issue.

 

 

 

Attached Files



#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 03:31 PM

Sorry, I think I missed something. Type the following. I believe sudo is required.

sudo ntfsfix /dev/sda4


#11 pcpunk

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 06:41 PM

I agree that you should take it to tech support at this point.  If the data is not super important and money is an issue run "chkdsk /f" from a Repair DVD or Install DVD.  Then retry booting into windows.  I usually run chkdsk /r but for some reason linux is saying run /f.


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#12 hydrag

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 11:08 AM

Tried the sudo version:

 

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#13 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 11:12 AM

Click Computer on the desktop. Click on the hard drive in the lower left pane. If that does not work reboot Mint and see if you can access your drive by clicking Computer. If that fails you will need to give the computer to good shop or somebody you know that is good at tearing down computers in order to access the hard drive so it can be attached via a USB adapter and possibly scanned to recover your data.


Edited by JohnC_21, 11 April 2018 - 11:12 AM.


#14 hydrag

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 03:06 PM

Good evening,

 

Sorry to have you kept waiting for so long. So I tried what you suggested but even with a restart, it did not work.

As it seems to boot differently from UEFI I also added my Windows drives again. And for the rescue stick, I once made for my old Win 8.0 it really showed a blue Windows screen after 30 minutes asking me to select a language. Then I chose the keyboard setup but it would not continue and suddenly switch to a blue screen of death. I tried the Windows 8 disc someone gave me today and also the recovery disc from my PC but they are not supported and not bootable according to the Laptop. I tried Parted Magic again and when I scan the hard drive for health issues it stops after a second and tells me the harddrive is offline. When I try to mount it I get the same error as with Mint. 

 

So I think you cannot combine 8.0 and 8.1. Perhaps the issue with the BSOD was due to the wrong update. I could perhaps create a similar stick from my Windows 8.1 PC but is there any difference to the rescue software you can download from Windows? Because of seems to be accepted and bootable while the one isn't.

 

I thought about this USB adapter. The problem is it is not my PC. I am only doing this because I am interested in the case and want to be prepared in case something happens again. I once had a boot problem with my Laptop in 2014 and although I went back to the store they did not want to repair it but wanted to send it in and give me a new one. They will certainly not repair it anywhere around here. Back then I was lucky enough that I could use Parted Magic to save my files and Lenovo added this recovery button on their laptops to boot from a different partition and automatically install Windows again. They didn't even give me a Windows CD to help me boot in the store back then. And nowadays Laptops don't seem to be sold with the CD as the code and the installation files are on partitions on the laptop. And they expected me to make a copy for myself (which I did afterward).

 

This was the biggest store around which means they will not take it apart nor will they help them. And as it doesn't accept any windows based boot sticks they probably even won't help them set up a new system. Which means we could be really creative here. They want me to save their data but if that is not possible I cannot help it.

 

So from my perspective and please correct me because I have no idea about computers this main drive is not really innocent anymore. It contains Windows specific partitions, it has a password, it requires a driver ( I read one mounting issue with Linux is that sometimes you need the driver), etc. At least this is how I imagine it to be. Or are all security measurements suddenly lost as soon as someone boots a Linux system? So perhaps there is an issue with the connection. I mean the hard drive could be dead, who knows or perhaps there is just a problem with Linux.

 

Problem is I can only boot Linux based systems, windows based systems seem to freeze when I try to boot them. Question is is there something else, something that works with Windows and imitates a startup repair perhaps and is not based on Linux? Perhaps something by a smaller group that you wouldn't use regularly. I'd really like to see if there are other options than the common one because the only other option will always be to completely erase all the data.

 

I may be oversimplifying stuff here but could this be possible? That perhaps the main drive and its files are somewhat windows based and Linux has problems reading that?

 

Also thank you all for the help until now. I really appreciate the work!

Greetings,

Martin.



#15 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 03:19 PM

So I think you cannot combine 8.0 and 8.1. Perhaps the issue with the BSOD was due to the wrong update. I could perhaps create a similar stick from my Windows 8.1 PC but is there any difference to the rescue software you can download from Windows? Because of seems to be accepted and bootable while the one isn't.

I believe this to be correct. If you have Windows 8.1 installed you cannot use a Windows 8 "recovery drive" which is term Microsoft used for a bootable USB flash drive.

 

Another disk that may be able to access your files is the lazesoft recovery suite. Download it on another computer and run the program. It will ask what OS is on the computer to be accessed. Select 8.1. It will give you the option for a bootable CD or USB flash drive. There is a file manager on this suite. Hopefully it will not freeze when accessing the drive.

 

http://www.lazesoft.com/lazesoft-recovery-suite-free.html






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