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windows will not boot up

Posted on 2004-09-10
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
hello all

here is the problem.  When I try to boot up this machine there are two options F1 will reboot normal and F2 will let you go into the bios.  if you hit F1 it will do nothing.  I went into the bios and it says that the hard drive and the cd-rom is not installed.  I want to try to get this back and running to normal we have a lot of important information on this pc so we would like the format or replace hard drive option last.  Has anyone had this problem before and could recover it.  It is a dell optiplex with windows 98 on it.  The guy that runs the PC said that it just locked up on him so he kept on hitting ctrl alt delete and finally it rebooted his machine with this error
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Question by:jwittkopf
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11 Comments
 
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:liddler
ID: 12026085
If the BIOS says hard disk and CD are not there it sounds like a problem with your IDE bus, cheapest thing to replace is the IDE ribbon cable from the motherboard to the disks.

On boot, do the disks spin up / light on the CD?  If not it could be a power problem
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12026163
Sounds like the controller(s) died (most likely in my opinion if the computer locked up on him).  Or the BIOS info was lost and has no auto-detect feature.

Press F2 and go into BIOS.  In what's probably listed as "standard" setup and try to auto-detect the hard drive and CD ROM - go over each of the four entries for disk drives and tell it auto-detect.  If they all come up with no drive, then the controller probably died.

Turn off the computer and try opening the case and look at where the CD and Hard drive are cabled to the motherboard.  There are almost always TWO connections at the motherboard, one is Primary the other Secondary.  Are both the Hard Drive and the CD ROM drive on the same cable connected to the mother board?  If so, just unplug it on the motherboard and connect it to the other connector.  Then turn the computer on - does it boot?  If not, or if the CD ROM and Hard drive connect to the motherboard, one to a connector (instead of the same connector), then it's possible both died.

There are a number of other things you can try, disconnecting the drives at the devices themselves, but then you have to make sure jumpers are set correctly (and that depends on the hard drive manufacturer most.  You can also take the hard drive to another computer and see if the other computer can read it.  

In my estimation, the hard drive is either dead or just fine.  (Duh!?) The point being that it's most likely a hardware problem and not software so formatting won't come in to the picture.  Either the data's there and fine, or its already lost (unless it's important enough to spend thousands on data recovery services)
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LVL 29

Expert Comment

by:blue_zee
ID: 12026541

If the data in that HDD is REALLY important, take it out of that PC and try slaving it in a functional PC.

This way you will load Windows in the working PC and have access to the other HDD.

IF... it is in good shape and not dead.

Zee
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:jwittkopf
ID: 12026742
leew
I noticed that they are connected seperatly I unplugged them and plugged them back in and now the bios finds them but it doesn't boot up at all.  it does the normal dell boot screen but after that it goes to a black screen with a blinking cursor in the upper left hand corner.  
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12026781
Hard drive could be dead.  What model (how new) is the dell?  Do you have the disks that came with the machine - one should be a Dell Diagnostics disk - if you run that, it might be able to determine the cause of the problem.
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12026802
Also, try swapping the cables - CD to hard drive's motherboard connector, hard drive to CD's motherboard connector.  I've seen one controller die where the other keeps working.  If this is the case, then you can put both devices on the same controller (assuming you only have 2 devices) and the system should work (but just test first by swapping the cables).
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12026830
And of course, you should be able to call Dell support - they may be able to help determine the cause of the problem (phone support has always seemed better to me than e-mail/web help anyway)
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Author Comment

by:jwittkopf
ID: 12027061
Its not that old of a dell maybe 3 yrs not too bad anyways.  I tried to swap cables but still nothing.  I will try the dell disk maybe that will work.
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LVL 96

Accepted Solution

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Lee W, MVP earned 360 total points
ID: 12027155
If you can, yank the disk and try it in another PC - not as a boot drive, but as a slave to see if you can read it.  Try booting off a floppy (98 floppy) to see if you can see the disk (easier than yanking it).  You're trying to confirm the hard drive is alive.  If so, then it's a problem with the PC, if not, the disk is dead and a new disk is required, data lost.

One thing you might do to test the computer is download Knoppix from www.linuxiso.org - it's a self-contained linux version that runs entirely off a CD.  If it works, you can generally rule out PC problems.
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LVL 29

Expert Comment

by:blue_zee
ID: 12027238

You should try a registry restore:

Bootup with a startup floppy disk and at the A:\> prompt type

C: (press enter)

Now type:

cd windows\command (press enter)

Your prompt should read C:\Windows\Command, correct?

Now type:

scanreg /restore (space between g and /)

Press enter, select a date PRIOR to the problem starting, press enter, wait for the process to finish and reboot WITHOUT the disk.

If you don’t have a startup disk, download one from www.bootdisk.com.

Any luck?

Zee


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Author Comment

by:jwittkopf
ID: 12029854
yup hard drive was dead had to reformat....thanks a lot to all of you guys...great info
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