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Can't get PC to boot


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#1
gmcube

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When I try to boot it shows the DELL logo and loading bar, then some garbled graphics for a second, then starts back at the begining to restart this cycle over and over. I cant even boot to safe mode, I had to post this from my wii. :)

does this sound like hardrive failure? man I hope not. I have over 6 years of irreplacable files (pics, photoshop stuff, etc) on this thing.

Edited by gmcube, 25 March 2008 - 02:33 PM.

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#2
hfcg

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Hello gmcube,
The dell logo is from the computer BIOS.
If the computer recycles back to this the hard drive is not loading windows.
Are you getting any kind of error messege like,
  • can not find media, check cable connection.
  • no operating system found.
  • error loading...
It may be that your hard drive has failed.
Do you have a valid XP disc that has the recovery console?
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#3
gmcube

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No, no error messages. at least none that are legible. as for the xp disk, I think Ive misplaced it. you guys probably cant help me without it, so I'll report back when I can get ahold of one.

Edited by gmcube, 25 March 2008 - 04:54 PM.

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#4
hfcg

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I would like to try to fix the master boot record before I say that the hard drive has failed.
If you have a hard drive that you can use for testing, try swapping out the hard drive and see if you get an error messege.
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#5
gmcube

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yeah I have a second internal hardrive. swaping them wouldnt swipe anything would it?

in any case, If I can avoid opening the case Id prefer that. because of my set up its a real pain to access. if I cant find the XP disk I'll try the hard drive swap.
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#6
hfcg

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I am almost certain that your hard drive has failed.
Swapping drives will only generate an error messege that no operating system found.
As it is the computer is not finding a boot device.
You will have to open the case and put in a new hard drive, but you will also have to reload Windows.
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#7
Mr Freeze

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to get your valuable information you could use a
USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE CABLE
and just plug the computer MOLEX power to your harddrive
along with the USB 2.0 SATA/Cable
it will show up in My Computer
you can get your valuable information that way
but you need to do this on another computer
the cable is not very expensive
mine cost 24.99 canadian dollars

Edited by Mr Freeze, 31 March 2008 - 10:58 AM.

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#8
gmcube

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ok I have found 2 disks. one is the manufacturers disk, the other is service pack 2. what do suggest I do first?
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#9
hfcg

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I would really like to know that the hard drive has failed before I suggest that you replace the drive and use the recovery disk.
You can try to boot off of the recovery disc just to see if the drive is seen (the drive will not be seen if it has failed).
If you perform a recovery you will loose all data and programs.
If you have a failed drive you will need to replace the drive and then use the recovery disc.
Try swapping drives, if the drive is seen but there is no operating system then the other drive is most likely bad.
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#10
Ztruker

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Since you have 6 years of irreplaceable data, why don't you have it backed up?

What you need to do is remove the drive from the computer and either use the USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE CABLE as Mr Freeze suggested (I bought one for $17 from Tiger Direct a month or two ago) or mount it in another computer as a slave and save your data now, before anything else happens.

It's possible the drive is bad as hfcg suspects but it's better to try to save your data now, before anything happens that causes you to lose your data if the drive is still good, or good enough to get the data off of it.

Once you have your data safe, then you can work on fixing the problem.
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#11
gmcube

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I tried booting with the disk and theres no change. just to be clear I dont need to do anything special other than inserting the disk and attemp to boot as usual, right?

anyway, I guess I'll plan on swapping drives tomorrow.

if I do end up needing to start fresh it does seem likely I can recover my data though?
I believe I had something like this happen before. I had a guy who specialzes in data recovery come over and fix it. the process seemed complicated though. all I know about that is I now have a folder with my old C drive stuff in it.

if the HD has failed as you suspect and I need a new one, I may decide to build a new PC altogether. still hope the valuable data can be recovered though.

Edit: as for why I dont have this backed up already? partly expense and lazyness I suppose. I never really knew what the most effecient way to do it is either. I do however have a chunk of this data on my second hardrive, so thats good. I never got around to tranfering everything though. mostly because of how unorganized I am.

I dont think I have acess to another pc to use as a slave unfortunetly. unless I end up going through with building a new one as I mentioned.

Edited by gmcube, 25 March 2008 - 08:41 PM.

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#12
Mr Freeze

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it can and will be recovered
i saved my info using a USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE CABLE
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#13
gmcube

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Okay, I swapped drives and it seems no different.
still no errors (except a keyboard failure, but thats because I havnt plugged in the keyboard yet).
it still recycles.

just an FYI, the first time I tried to power on after the swap, it wouldnt power on at all. I replaced the power supply with a newer and higher voltage one and it powers on now. not sure if a cable was loose before or what.

Edited by gmcube, 27 March 2008 - 06:48 PM.

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#14
Ztruker

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Disconnect the original drive completely, both IDE/SATA cable and power connector, see if that makes a difference.

Next thing to do is start removing parts, either one at a time or all at once and see if that has an effect.

Disconnect ALL external devices except mouse, keyboard and display. Try to boot, see what happens.

Remove all PCI cards, disconnect all hard drives, Optical drives. Try to boot, see what happens.

Remove all RAM, try to boot. You should get some interesting beeps from the computer. If so, put back 1 stick and try to boot again.

What you are trying to do is isolate to a failing component.
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#15
gmcube

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I took out the original drive and it now tells me Primary Hard disk 0 not found. No recycling.
does this mean its the primary that needs to be replaced? and if so, is it possible to make the secondary the primary (with no data loss), or would it be simpler to get a fresh blank drive to install the OS onto? and of course use that cable to recover data from the original primary.
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