Can't start Windows XP

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Marvin, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. Marvin

    Marvin Screenwriter

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    Starting a few days ago I can no longer boot up my PC (Windows XP). Almost immediately I get a screen saying Windows is unable to start, sorry for the inconvenience and gives me the option of restarting normally, trying to restart with the last successful configuration, or various types of safe mode. None works.

    I didn't do any hardware or software additions/deletions prior to this. I suspect it may be a hard drive problem. (A while back I had been hearing what I thought were either fan or hard drive spinning noises from the PC but these seem to have gone away (or were happenng less frequently).)

    Right before it fails, I get a blue screen with writing but this goes away too quickly to read. I tried filming it with a camcorder and looking at it on my TV. The small writing is too fuzzy to read but it does say "Unmountable Boot Volume."

    I did some scanning for this error and the recommendation is to try booting from the Windows XP CD (which I don't have) or else downloading the boot file onto floppy disks and booting from them. This is in case the problem is a corrupted boot.ini file. There are then some DOS commands to enter to check for the type of error.

    I tried this but before I could enter any commands, everything froze...I couldn't type anything.

    So, has anyone ever had anything like this? Does it seem like a hard drive failure?
     
  2. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I'm voting for a loose connector. Either you crack it open, or get someone else to, and make sure that none have come loose.


    Glenn
     
  3. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    If you were hearing what you thought to be a noisy fan...which is now quiet, it could have stopped altogether in which case the computer could be overheating. This can cause all kinds of bizarre behavior. If that's the case there's a possibility that the processor has been damaged. Pop the case open and check the CPU fan...the power supply fan...and in some cases there is a fan on the motherboard for the chipset itself.
     
  4. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    turn yer pc on and insert yer winxp cd into the cdrom, and boot to it. go into the recovery console and type chkdsk /f.
    chkdsk /p will tell you if yer drive is marked bad or not chkdsk /r will tell ya if you have bad sectors and what not. yes generally this does mean yer hardrive could be failing, but it could also just be slightly corrupted.

    it could also just mean that yer mbr (master boot record) got jacked which is an easy fix.
     
  5. StevenFC

    StevenFC Second Unit

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    Sounds like a hardware issue for sure. Take your time and think about how to approach checking everything. Always check the most obvious and simple things first. You'll figure it out. PC problems aren't normally that difficult to diagnose if you don't overthink it.
     
  6. Marvin

    Marvin Screenwriter

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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'll try to open it up this weekend and see if I can figure anything out.
     
  7. Marvin

    Marvin Screenwriter

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    I checked it out last weekend, and unfortunately it wasn't a matter of a loose connector, or anything else that was obviously wrong.

    I ended up taking it in to Circuit City and after a day, they said the hard drive was shot. Nothing could be retrieved off of it.

    They offered to put in a new one for $110 labor and another $30 (after rebate) for the drive. (This was from a phone message; they didn't say which drive in particular but from their website, based on the price, it looks like it might be a Seagate 80GB drive (the one I had was Maxtor 80 GB).)

    The labor seems a bit high to me. It appears I can extract the old drive by popping open a compartment on the front of the PC and disconnecting a couple of cables. For that price I assume I can get a larger drive, connect it and then do a disk format of the new drive.

    Is it all that simple or would I be better off having CC put one in for me?
     
  8. Al_S

    Al_S Second Unit

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    If you're familiar with PCs than it should be a piece of cake for you. I wouldn't pay CC that much money for a 5 minute job. You may want to ask a friend who is computer literate to help you out.
     
  9. StevenFC

    StevenFC Second Unit

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    I don't believe that no data can be retrieved from your drive.

    I do believe that Circuit City can't retrieve or won't really attempt to retrieve your data.
     
  10. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    Where is your Windows XP recovery kept? If it was also on your HD in a partition, then how will you re-install Windows?
     
  11. Marvin

    Marvin Screenwriter

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    Good question. The manual that came with the PC said there's a read-only copy of XP stored somewhere on the PC. Can it be anywhere but the hard drive?

    I downloaded and created 6 floppy boot disks last week as mentioned above. Can I use these?
     
  12. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Yes, there might be a disk under the motherboard, and no, I'm not kidding.

    Glenn
     
  13. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    My HP came with Windows XP as the "D" partition on the HD; stupid, and it saved them what, 50 cents for a CD?
     
  14. Marvin

    Marvin Screenwriter

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    I checked the owner's manual, and it looks like I'll need to order (unless I can find someone who has) a recovery CD. Thanks for pointing this out. D'oh!

    I suppose I will then need to re-download SP2, the same way I did originally?
     
  15. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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  16. Steve Deacon

    Steve Deacon Stunt Coordinator

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    $110 labour for installing a hard drive? Wow, I'm in the wrong business.

    It really is as simple as you think to change a hard drive. Literally a few seconds work.
     
  17. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    Circuit City is likely extremely limited as far as data recovery is concerned. True data recovery gets really expensive, really fast so you have to ask yourself if the information is really worth it to you.

    I don't see in the thread what brand computer you have, but the manufacturer will be able to provide you with the disk...for a fee, of course. Anywhere from $10 to $50. It's cheaper than buying a full copy of XP. If it's a local shop special, then you could have a problem.

    Physically swapping out the drive isn't difficult. You'll have to match the jumper settings, etc. but you're eventually going to need a legal copy of Windows to install.
     
  18. Marvin

    Marvin Screenwriter

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    It's an IBM and I had to order a Windows recovery disk ($45 plus shipping; would have been cheaper, I suppose, if the PC was still under warranty). I bought a hard drive (the one CC was going to install) and will attempt to start it up when the recovery disk arrives, probably early next week. Thanks for the responses.
     

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