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Vista wont boot - no OS found


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#1
xppc

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HI, I broke my moms vista machine. She has anHP A6142N amd athlon 64 x2 dual core 4400+ 2.3ghz 2 gb ram with Vista home premium 32 bit.

 

I got some help here before with her machine with bsod and driver issues. Long story short. I tried to install Zorin OS alongside Vista and the instillation failed for some reason. The initial screen of going to bios or to system recovery does show up but goes to a black screen with just the cursor. When I placed the Zorin OS cd back in the, the initial message was that no OS was found on the hard drive.

 

I have been wanting yo upgrade her pc to WIn 7 sine last summer but she hasnt wanted to. I purchased an exretnal case and have the hard drive in that. My goal is to retrieve the files and do an install of WIn 7 and go from there. I have done this before with a laptop that had issues and the external case with hard drive appeared as a lettered (E, F, or G) drive.  With the problem I created with this pc the external case with hard drive show under devices and printers as a sata bridge and not under computer as a lettered drive. I did not do this since I am not exactly sure what would happen and did not want to take a chance and really lose the data.

 

When I go to computer - mangage - disk management (inn attempt to give the drive a letter) the only option that is no greyed out is "convert to dymanic disk". She has some family geneology files that she does not want to lose.

 

Any thoughts ot suggestions how I can retrieve the files?

 

Thanks in advance for your help.


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#2
Plastic Nev

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Hi and welcome back.

Without more to go on, at a guess I think the failed attempt at installing the Zorin, and possibly incorrectly, it got as far as reformatting or partially reformatting the drive, which of course has basically deleted everything.

As for as at least trying to get a recovery of the files on the hard drive, and considering it is in an enclosure, you just might have some success with Recuva, though whether it will find the drive if no letter allocated I don't know. It is worth a try though.

 

https://www.piriform...recuva/download

 

You only should need the free version which is in the left hand download box on that page.

 

I wouldn't at the moment try to do a full reformat in order to make it obtain a drive letter, see how it goes without first, and let us know.

 

Best of luck,

 

Nev.


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#3
xppc

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I downloaded and ran the recuva as requested. I ran the progran using the scan  all disk options and received  the following message  "hard disk volume 3: unable to determine file system type" found 6386 files (141,453 ignored).


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#4
Plastic Nev

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Hi, due to a similar problem, a good friend (DSTM) gave a link for a different recovery software, again a free one and worth a try as it seems to be better at finding files without any sort of file system, give this one a try. Ignore the fact it is mainly directed at Seagate, the system will work with other makes of drive.

 

http://www.icare-rec...ile-system.html

 

Nev.


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#5
ranchhand3

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At this point I can only suggest a Linux based distro that runs from memory, and if possible, it will enable you to enter your hard drive and pull off the files you want. I reviewed the Zorin website, and they claim that Zorin will install "alongside" Windows. What they exactly mean by that is not explained. So hopefully your undamaged data files may still exist. You will have to do this on a different computer that has a CD burning utility.

Click This link and download Reatogo. It is a SXF (Self Extracting File) so double click on it, and when is asks if you want to burn the image click "yes". Have a CD disk in the drive. After it is finished burning, take that disk, insert in your problem computer's CD drive, and reboot with it in the drive (make sure your computer's BIOS is set to CD=1st boot device) and be patient, it takes a long time to load. On completion, you will see a Windows XP type desktop, and hopefully the hard drive. Also hopefully you will be able to access it and read the files there.

There are no guarantees on this, but it is something else to try.


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#6
xppc

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i will give both of those a try. Right after I posted last, I saw easeus had a data recovery program but will only recover 1GB without buying the program. The scanning process is completed but the "building a directory has been running since Saturday morning. The options to pause and stop appear but are showing but not available... sholuld i use the good old ctrl alt delete and forece this to close and try the above suggested?


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#7
ranchhand3

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Yes, definitely, it is hung in a loop. Just FYI, every operating system must be installed on its own partition; there is no such thing as being installed "alongside" Windows. I am just guessing and I may be wrong, but somehow Zorin attempted to create a partition on your hard drive automatically, and it is no surprise that it corrupted everything. BUT....that is just a guess. First try Plastic Nev's suggestion, and if that doesn't work try mine.


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#8
xppc

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I tried as Nev suggested and saw some file but when i went to preview them I was sent to a screen to purchase the program. (My mom doesnt want me to spend money unless I have to but is aware that it may be necessary).  What Ranchhand suggested works to a degree on a different computer with th sata bridge. I  can see the disk under disk partitioner but it does not show under my computer or undelete + . I was unable today to get the reatogo to install evan after a 25 minute wait on moms pc. I also tried ubuntu (via cd rom.. for curiosity) the sata bridge hard drive does show up as a tow part disk... the grub and local volume. I am able to view the grub and the local volume list many folders... bin..media..run..usr..boot..mtn... etc The few that I looked at other that bin all showed empty. Many I needed to wait longer to see  if data would load to the files..

 

I will try again with the reatogo on her pc again with the hard drive installed and see if i can get that program to load.

 

thanks


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#9
ranchhand3

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Thanks for the update; please let us know results.


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#10
xppc

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I noticed something last night then had a thought this morning. under easeus partition master the hard deive that was pulled from the pc is a 500gb hard drive. under easeue partition master it shows as 2 partitions

 - 243mb... ext 2    primary

 - 465.65 gb ..other... logical

 

is the computer lookng at primary and not knowing what to do? if so could i just delete this and resize the drive (or even not resize) and see if windows finds itself? i will be stopping by later today and trying the reatogo again and see if it will load up on her pc.


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#11
ranchhand3

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I would suggest you not start deleting things until sure what is going on.

First, If you add up the sizes of the Primary and Logical partitions (as reported by Easus) you end up with more than 500 gigs. That means something isn't accurate.

Second, a logical partition is not physical; the word "logical" is typically used when something is loaded into memory only but is being used as though it were physical. For example, Reatogo is actually a logical program that resides only in memory, but acts exactly like a real operating system. As soon as the computer is shut down it disappears. So....the results as reported by Easus are to be taken with a grain of salt, I don't know why it would label a partition as "logical" unless the hard drive was so screwed up that it used the closest definition it had.

 

The fact that Easus is seeing another partition seems to support what I posted earlier:

 

I am just guessing and I may be wrong, but somehow Zorin attempted to create a partition on your hard drive automatically, and it is no surprise that it corrupted everything.

So, if that is what happened, I would say that the partition you do NOT want to delete is  the 465.65 gig partition since that is probably the one that holds your data. But.....why Easus calls it a logical partition is anybody's guess. The 243Meg (notice how small it is) possibly is the partition Zorin attempted to create and crashed in the process.

IF my thinking is correct (no guarantee on this, we are all flying blind here) then the 465 gig partition is the one you want to access to get your data.

 

You said:

 

I tried as Nev suggested and saw some file but when i went to preview them I was sent to a screen to purchase the program.

Yes, that is the problem with these "payfor" programs; it may be that you purchase it, and then it  "sees" the partition but you still can't access it. Except now you have spent money. Try this as a last-ditch resort because there is no refund if the program doesn't work.

 

You said:

 

I was unable today to get the reatogo to install evan after a 25 minute wait on moms pc.

That is unusual; could you post exactly what happened? Remember, this does not install to a hard drive, it creates a virtual drive in memory and loads into that, so the hard drive is by-passed entirely. Is your BIOS set to 1st boot device = CD? That is necessary, because if the computer is trying to access the hard drive first (looking for the Master Boot File) it won't find it because the partition is corrupted. If you don't know how to do that post back. Did Reatogo even start with a "loading" message?  Anything?


Edited by ranchhand3, 03 October 2014 - 09:49 AM.

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#12
xppc

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The Bios is set for cd/dvd first and I go to boot menu and use the arrow down key to select cd/dvd drive and "enter" to accept.

 

I currently have the original hard drive in the pc (files being prior to  dec 2011) so she can get online and use her pc. The drive in question was installed after repeated messages of impending hard drive failure. I just tried a ubuntu and the reatogo with the original hard drive installed and they both loaded without problems. When i reinstalled the messed up drive ubuntu will allow me to use the "try ubuntu" option but just sits and does nothing until i power off the machine. When i try Reatogo a message flashes at the top of the screen almost instantly after i hit the "enter to accept"  but the "loading bar" does not come across the bottom of the screen at all.


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#13
ranchhand3

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 So let me review. Please correct me on anything wrong.

> You have a working laptop and it will boot into Windows without problems.

> You have an external drive that has the problem we are discussing, and your mother had important data on that drive.

> You said:

 

drive in question was installed after repeated messages of impending hard drive failure

So I take that to mean that you received a system generated message that SMART had tripped on the external drive and it was in danger of failing, but you went ahead and tried to install Zorin on this drive anyway. Or....did you run a separate drive test utility on that drive which generated the warning?

 

Ok....IF I am correct on all the above, run Reatogo with your external drive DISconnected. Once Reatogo is up and running, now plug in (or switch on) the external USB drive and let Reatogo find it. If I am not correct on any of the above, do not do this and post corrections so I know for sure the situation.


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#14
xppc

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I have a current working laptop that will boot into WIn 7.

 

My mothers desktop has the original drive (pre dec 2011) and will boot to vista. The drive installed now received several messages about hard drive failure and at that point I installed a new hard drive (lets call sata bridge drive), fresh install of vista and copies the files with no issues.

 

The drive with issues  (sata bridge drive) has been used since dec 2011 but has had multiple crashes (bsods but nothing stating hard drive failure) even with drivermax (which was suggested summer 2013) and updated drivers and whocrashed it has time to time crashed. I suggested putting Win 7 but mom really didnt want that (2 summers ago). I had gotten tired of seeing that her machine crashed or her say something about it not working so I saw Zorin OS can look like windows and decided to install that "along with" windows so she may have another way to get online if she didnt want to use vista. The install failed and that is why I came back here for assistance to retrieve the files from the sta bridge drive. This drive is pulled and in an external case.. using usb cable and ac adaptor to power it, it shows as sata bridge.. not as a normal external drive would show up as "E, F, G"

 

I hope this clarifies things a little better.


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#15
xppc

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i will try your suggestion monday.. i did find the following at a ubuntu forum

 

https://help.ubuntu....ity/Boot-Repair

 

 

thoughts?


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