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Windows XP unable to find operating system


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#1
l.k.madison

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Last night, I downloaded some software (which I assumed was safe - error one) and upon using it, within seconds, the computer posted an error that I don't recall word for word, but basically that there was a security issue. Since then, the PC is unable to find any operating system (not even DOS) and is stuck in BIOS mode.

Any word as to whether it was a virus associated with the software or because it was something I wasn't supposed to be downloading (I'll admit that it was a keygen to give me an activation number for a program that I already had a 30-day trial on, I won't name the program).

Has Windows finally gotten smart enough to see that or was it just a massive virus?

I have files on my computer that I'd REALLY like to have back, my husband keeps telling me that everything's gone and that's not the news I want to hear. Is there anyway to get my information back?
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#2
surfer99

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Aslong as your harddrive is still working and the program/virus did not delete the data it is possible to get it back, it might be extremely difficult and if really unlucky might need somone to physically be present to solve it.

I would like to know some more about your error.

You say it is stuck in BIOS mode, at what screen does it stop the loading of windows? (are you using windows?) what version?

does the machine give a display at all or is the monitor completely black?

they way you describe it i assume it loads up past the first screen with the "press f1 to enter setup" or equilivant message then it should proceed to look for boot sectors and upon finding a boot sector on your harddrive start loading windows.

Does it hang on any screen or any error messages ?
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#3
l.k.madison

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It tries to load, gives me the dell logo, then it does the "press f1 for retry and f2 for setup" options.

I'm running Windows XP (I'm pretty sure, I got the computer about a year and a half ago, so I would assume thats what it was).

within the Bios menu, it can search the hardware, it sees my usb drive and my cd drive but not much else, it just skips right over the hard drive when you click on it.
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#4
The Skeptic

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Try to repair the problem by using Recovery Console. For this you will need xp installation CD. If you don't have the CD try to borrow one.

To get to Recovery Console insert the disk into the cd drive and reboot the computer. Setup Windows screen will show up. If it doesn't, enter BIOS and set the cd drive to be first priority boot device.

Let Setup run until three setup options are shown. Choose Recovery Console by pressing R. When asked for XP installation type 1 (assuming you have only one operating system installed). When asked for password type your password or press Enter if you don't have a passwoed. A black DOS-like screen will show up.

At the prompt type chkdsk /r and press Enter. Please note the space in the command. If you succeed with booting the computer please post immediately in the malware forum. Use the link in my list, below.
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#5
l.k.madison

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My dad's a computer genius and offered this solution: install Suse onto another computer, burn it to a cd (my computer sees my drives just not an operating system) and see if I can't flash drive the files off of the computer (if they survived) then re-load windows. His fear is that I'll lose everything on the computer if I fix windows first.

He immediately said "virus" when I told him what i was doing - luckily, my husband has a mac and they both said that the chances are very very slim that if it was a virus, it'll go to the Mac, too. (yet another reason why I'm seriously considering a complete switch over from PC to mac).

He also said to get an external hard drive, take mine out of the laptop, but it in the drive and hook it up to another computer to get the files off of it.

I'll stay updated with what works, hopefully my misfortune (and idiocy) will help somebody else.

I'm just thankful for myspace, facebook and photobucket, where 95% of the pictures of my son are stored, if there's nothing left on the computer, I can get the files off of those.
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#6
l.k.madison

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So after running Suse, we've discovered that there's no partition for my OS.

Now, it's a matter of downloading data/partition recovery software onto a mac, butting it on a flash drive/Cd, installing my hard drive from a laptop into a desktop pc and hoping for the best while running said recovery software.

And I now know to avoid Best Buy, they don't know what they're talking about.

I actually heard "I know a lot about computers but I have know idea what a partition is" and I, the customer had to explain it to her.
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#7
Namflow

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i just had this problem.....my Dell screen would load and then I would get a black screen with a blinking cursor. I have done a bit of research and if this is your problem, there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that you can get everything off your hard drive. I copied linux to a cd and ran it when the computer started. You need to go into setup and make sure the computer is set to boot from the CD/DVD drive . Linux runs off your memory, not ur hard drive. When Linux is running, you can acess your hard drive and copy programs to another hard drive (internal or external). After you copy all the programs you want/need, you need to reformat the drive and reload windows (the bad news).

I had to do this in the last week and now my computer is fine. Just so you know, I have not seen a solution to this problem other than reformatting and reloading windows. I have tried every repair possible thru the XP install disk. Nothing worked.

Good luck
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#8
l.k.madison

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Diagnostic: partition for OS missing.

Solution: download the live version of Gparted (unix based) and run the cd in the broken computer. Follow the VERY simple and user friendly directions and viola, partitions back in place and computer running like nothing ever happened.

Windows did realize that it came back from "major damage" but that was just a window that popped up.

Virus software is installed and problem software is gone (avoid Paradox) and the program I was trying to get a free copy of before the trial went away is now running smoothly - and won't go away in a few days :).

So it took two trips to Best Buy (I hate their Geek Squad, I knew more than he did - and the "I know alot about computers but I have no idea what a partition is" employee) and a trip to a hole in the wall computer store that everybody swears by to get the solution. Best Buy wanted $200-$300 to fix it, it only cost me a blank cd to burn Gparted onto.

So, if anybody else ever has the same problem, I VERY HIGHLY recommend Gparted, it's user friendly, I figured it out and I know nothing about Unix and partitions. (I did have to tell it to boot from my NTFS partition and not the FAT16, but that's what my husband's for)

Thanks everybody for your help!
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#9
The Skeptic

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Thanks for letting us know.
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