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Dell XPS A2420 - NTLDR is Missing & No boot device available


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#1
longframbri

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I have a Dell XPS A2420 with Windows 7 installed (initially Vista but immediately upgraded to 7 before use)it is circa Nov 2009 - OK, I know its old but I like it!! It has run pretty faultlessly for many years, but lately it started getting very slow and hanging to the point that only a switch off would kill it. The usual windows startup repair about a week ago seemed to cure the issue,with some bad sectors identified and marked. I should add that I have current PC Doctor anti-everything running and all OK on that front. The PC was running great up to Thursday night (7 Feb) and my plan was last night to run up and peform a back up before a spot of housekeeping last night (Fri). Unfortunately, sods law and all that, on start up I was met with the Windows Repair option, which I ran and this eventually returned a message "NTLDR is missing".

I went through the start-up procedure again and this time the repair procedure advised "Windows cannot repair this computer automatically" - two link choices available: Ist Choice - 'View Diagnostic and Repair Details': This confirmed the last successful boot time as 2/7/2013 7:14:23 PM GMT which tallies with the last good performance on Thu evening. Scanning through the multitude of Tests it had run revealed that all were completed successfully, but the final log entry read - Root cause found: Unspecified changes to system configuration might have caused the problem. Repair action: System files integrity check and repair. Result: Failed. Error code = 0x2.

2nd Choice - 'Advanced Options for system recovery': This gave me a box to choose the recovery options and identified Operating System: Windows 7 on (C:)OS.

A. Start Up Repair - No Good, as before and just ended back at the same place eventually
B. System Restore - No Good, Red Cross Message: There was an unexpected error - system cannot find file specified (0x800070002)
C. System Image Recovery - No Good, same error message as System Restore above
D. Windows Memory Diagnostic - Ran successfully, with no problems
E. Command Prompt - which give me a new box entitled C:\Administrator:X:\windows\system32\cmd.exe and a basic black screen Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600] and X:\windows\system32 > "flashing cursor"

Not knowing what to type next, I have this morning (Sat) tried booting from the Windows 7 Backup disc supplied and the Dell Drivers and Utilities disc supplied, but to no avail in both counts.

At this point (having finally persuaded the [bleep] DVD drive to give up the disc!!!)I tried another restart and this time it went into a screen 'Intel ® Boot Agent GE v1.3.10' and gave the following screen info: CLIENT MAC ADDR:00 21 70 58 B9 6E GUID:44454C4C 3300 1039 8043 C$C04f474631, then PXE-E53:No boot filename received, then PXE-M0F: Exiting Interl Boot Agent. No boot device available.

And thats where I have got to - gazing bewilderdly at the above paragraph on the screen with the cursor blinking in front of me !!!!

Sorry if that's all a bit long winded, but I figured the more relevant details I could offer would help you more knowledgeable guys out there. If it turns out to be a hard drive problem rather than software then I am resigned to starting the Windows 7 re-install from scratch, but as my last back up was 8 Dec 2012 (I know - slapped wrist and all that!) I would like to rescue my files off the hard drive before wiping the disc.

Hope someone can help!
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#2
Wolfeymole

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In the old days when you saw an NTLDR Is Missing error it was because someone had left a floppy disk in its drive and no one ever changed the boot order to the hard drive as the first boot.

To my mind what you have here mate, which you have explained very well in detail by the way, is that the hard drive is totally dead and that is why the machine is looking for a Network boot option.

My advice would be to get a new hard drive and re-install Windows 7 and you should be back to normal.

You will of course have lost all stuff that was on the original drive when it died unless you made backups to an external.
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#3
longframbri

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Oh dear, although I was half expecting that, but thanks for the feedback anyway Wolfymole.

Is there absolutely no way of getting anything at all off the disc?? Could it be transplanted into another machine as a separate final check that all hope is lost and the last rites need to be adminstered! Like you see on Holby or Casualty,the decision to make the final switch off of the life support is a hard one to take!!!
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#4
Wolfeymole

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Ah I see you are a Brit, me also.

Old Dell boxes are famous for having faulty optical drive mechanisms and this is why they won't spit the disk out no matter how long you press the Eject button sometimes.

You could of course invest in something like this, one of which I have, to attach the drive to another machine to see if anything is salvageable.

http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/B001A5SK56
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#5
longframbri

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Thanks for that - it has got to be worth a punt. I'll release the moths from the old wallet and give it a go. I'll let you know how i get on.
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#6
phillpower2

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While Wolfeymole is offline another option or two for you to try and retrieve your data;

===================
***Required Hardware***
CD Burner (CDRW) Drive,
Blank CD,
Extra Storage Device (USB Flash Drive, External Hard Drive)

===================

1. Save these files to your Desktop/Burn Your Live CD:
  • Download Latest Puppy Linux ISO (i.e.: lupu-520.iso)
    Download BurnCDCC ISO Burning Software

  • Open BurnCDCC with Windows Explorer
  • Extract All files to a location you can remember
  • Double Click Posted Image BurnCDCC
  • Click Browse Posted Image and navigate to the Puppy Linux ISO file you just downloaded
  • Open/Double Click that file
    IMPORTANT: Adjust the speed bar to CD: 4x DVD: 1x
  • Click Start Posted Image
  • Your CD Burner Tray will open automatically
  • Insert a blank CD and close the tray
  • Click OK
Puppy Linux Live CD will now be created
2. Set your boot priority in the BIOS to CD-ROM first, Hard Drive Second
  • Start the computer/press the power button
  • Immediately start tapping the appropriate key to enter the BIOS, aka "Setup"
    (Usually shown during the "Dell" screen, or "Gateway" Screen)
  • Once in the BIOS, under Advanced BIOS Options change boot priority to:
    CD-ROM 1st, Hard Drive 2nd
  • Open your ROM drive and insert the disk
  • Press F10 to save and exit
  • Agree with "Y" to continue
  • Your computer will restart and boot from the Puppy Linux Live CD

    Posted Image

3. Recover Your Data
  • Once Puppy Linux has loaded, it is actually running in your computer's Memory (RAM). You will see a fully functioning Graphical User Interface similar to what you normally call "your computer". Internet access may or may not be available depending on your machine, so it is recommended you print these instructions before beginning. Also, double clicking is not needed in Puppy. To expand, or open folders/icons, just click once. Puppy is very light on resources, so you will quickly notice it is much speedier than you are used to. This is normal. Ready? Let's get started.

    3a. Mount Drives
  • Click the Mount Icon located at the top left of your desktop. Posted Image
  • A Window will open. By default, the "drive" tab will be forward/highlighted. Click on Mount for your hard drive.
  • Assuming you only have one hard drive and/or partition, there may be only one selection to mount.
  • USB Flash Drives usually automatically mount upon boot, but click the "usbdrv" tab and make sure it is mounted.
  • If using an external hard drive for the data recovery, do this under the "drive" tab. Mount it now.
3b. Transfer Files.
  • At the bottom left of your desktop a list of all hard drives/partitions, USB Drives, and Optical Drives are listed with a familiar looking hard drive icon.
  • Open your old hard drive i.e. sda1
  • Next, open your USB Flash Drive or External Drive. i.e. sdc or sdb1
  • If you open the wrong drive, simply X out at the top right corner of the window that opens. (Just like in Windows)
  • From your old hard drive, drag and drop whatever files/folders you wish to transfer to your USB Drive's Window.
For The Novice: The common path to your pictures, music, video, and documents folders is: Documents and Settings >> All Users (or each idividual name of each user. CHECK All Names!) >> Documents >> You will now see My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos.

Remember to only click once! No double clicking! Once you drag and drop your first folder, you will notice a small menu will appear giving you the option to move or copy. Choose COPY each time you drag and drop.

YOU ARE DONE!!! Simply click Menu >> Mouse Over Shutdown >> Reboot/Turn Off Computer. Be sure to plug your USB Drive into another working windows machine to verify all data is there and transferred without corruption. Congratulations!


If you're doing this to recovery from a virus or malware infection, (or even if you're not), DO NOT copy executable files (.exe, .scr. etc...) if any of these files are infected you could be copying the corruption over to any new device/computer. just copy documents, pictures, music, or videos.

Note that there might be some other Puppy distros on the page (such as Slacko Puppy), but you need Lucid Puppy (lupu), the Ubuntu-based one. Always make sure you start downloading a file that starts with "lupu"!

Puppy on a USB flash drive http://www.puppylinu...flash-puppy.htm

Second option http://www.pcworld.c...931618-pdt.html
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#7
longframbri

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Hi Phillpower - sorry for the delay in responding but I have been incommunicado whilst performing open heart on the Dell. First off - thank you so much for a very clear and detailed set of instructions. You guys really know you're stuff and are so helpful to us relative novices.

By way of update for Wolfeymole and for your benefit, I did obtain the bipra usb to sata adapter suggested by Wolfeymole and this worked a treat up to a point. I managed to retreive quite a bit of stuff from the old Seagate drive, but not all and there are still some keys files that I would still like to get at. I propose to try your technique and have done the downloads and created the Puppy Linux Live disk. In the meantime, because the old Seagate drive was still playing up, I took the plunge and got a good deal on a WD Caviar Black 1TB drive and have installed and loaded it up yesterday - boy its fast in comparison!!

I will shut down, swap the WD for the Seagate again and start up as you advise in your instructions and proceed accordingly. Hopefully it will allow me to prise a bit more stuff off the old disk and onto my external back-up drive. On completion I will swap the drives once more and see how that goes.

Thanks again - Bri
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#8
phillpower2

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Thanks for the update longframbri :thumbsup:

Hopefully Puppy will enable you to secure the remaining data, good luck with it and keep us posted.

You are welcome BTW :thumbsup:
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#9
Wolfeymole

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Let us know how you go on Bri mate. :thumbsup:
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#10
longframbri

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Well the run up using the Linux disk went exactly as you described with no real hitches. I did manage to get a little more off and felt as though i was on a roll, but unfortunately a good number of the files were found to be marked with a warning triangle with exclamation mark and QUOTE: File doesnt exist or I cant access it:/mnt/sda3/"filename" UNQUOTE

Unless you have any other ideas, I guess I have now run out of options. Although a slightly disappointing end, I can however console myself that (with your and Wolfymole's invaluable help) I have managed to retreive a significant amount of my data and I am really pleased with that. Oh and I have a nice shiny new hard drive!!

Cant thank you guys enough and who knows I may enjoy the benefit of your expertise on some future issue - but not too soon I hope !!!

Best Regards - Bri
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#11
Wolfeymole

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You're more than welcome Bri. :thumbsup:
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#12
phillpower2

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The data may be corrupt or inaccessible due to bad sectors on the HDD but Recuva is worth a try http://download.cnet...4-10753287.html

You're more than welcome Bri. :thumbsup:


Ditto to what Bob has said.
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