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Boot gets past BIOS, but then nothing but a blinking cursor

Posted on 2004-09-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Background: Win XP, two 160GB IDE HDs on the primiary IDE channel. One of the 160s (drive 0) contains OS & data, the other (drive 1) I had been using for backups only and can be considered to be empty. The PC ran trouble free prior to this incident.

It began when I set up a PCI RAID controller card. I took drives 0 and 1 off the primary channel and put them on the raid card, both master on each of the two available channels. I configured them as a RAID set, but when I attempted to boot into them (it) I got past the BIOS fine and following that just got a black screen with a blinking cursor in the upper left.

I pulled the RAID card out and put in the drives as they were before all this started, on the primary IDE channel, jumpering same as before, etc. Same result, blinking cursor.

I tried a 200GB drive that is a known-good clone of drive 0, and put that on the primary IDE channel, by itself, jumpered correctly. BIOS saw it fine, then I got the blinking cursor.

I took the known-good 200GB drive and put it in a USB enclosure. I configured the BIOS to boot first into the USB enclosure  drive (it was listed there). Nothing. Tried it again, and interestingly, I got past the BIOS and it began to load the OS from the USB drive. However, as the Windows gui started to come up, the PC spontaneously rebooted. No boot attempts after that resulted in anything but the blinking cursor. The USB enclosure drive is no longer listed as an option under the BIOS boot order menu.

Any ideas?
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Question by:edfoley
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by:
Callandor earned 100 total points
ID: 12084785
When you set up the RAID array initially, did you reinstall the OS on it?  You can't take a drive from a non-RAID setup and drop it into a RAID setup.
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by:edfoley
ID: 12085001
No, I did not. I didn't know I had to reinstall the OS. I figured I would just format them once they were setup on the raid controller, and clone the OS/Data on that 200GB drive back over to the RAID array.  
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by:edfoley
ID: 12085040
Increasing point value. I need to get this resolved today ;)
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by:Callandor
ID: 12085112
That approach would have worked if you had another drive to boot from - you can't boot from an array that you didn't install an OS on.  I know you tried to boot from the 200GB drive: you may not have cloned it correctly.  Using Ghost, a disk-to-disk copy should have given you a bootable drive.  If you didn't do this, you can try fixing it by booting with the CD into the recovery console and typing FIXMBR, and then FIXBOOT.  Once that drive can boot, then you can copy to the RAID array, and then disconnect the 200GB drive.
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by:edfoley
ID: 12085215
I think I wasn't clear. The 200GB drive is known-good -- It is a ghosted clone of the 0 (the original boot) drive with the OS/data on it. Before today, I could put that 200GB drive on the primary IDE channel as master with no slave, and it would boot right up, no problem. I could put it in the USB enclosure, tell the BIOS to boot that drive first, and it would boot, no problem. It is definitly cloned correctly. As per your last sentence, that was my plan, once the raid array was set up --  to put the 200GB drive on the IDE primary channel and copy it to the RAID array, then disconnect it.

I included the stuff about the attempted RAID install as background. But I can figure out the RAID install another time. I guess my primary concern here is, when the RAID card is removed, why can't I boot anymore from the known-good 200GB drive on the primary IDE channel, as was the case before I attempted the RAID install? Thanks for hanging in there with me on this.
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by:MarkDozier
MarkDozier earned 100 total points
ID: 12086787
Possiblily trying ot boot from the onboade SCSI bios and hanging at that point
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by:edfoley
ID: 12086906
MarkDozier - if that were the case, how would I tell it to boot from the HDD?
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by:Callandor
ID: 12087038
Usually, that is specified as a boot option in the BIOS.
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Author Comment

by:edfoley
ID: 12087058
What are the chances this is is happening because when I installed the RAID card I knocked the video card loose? If I did that, would the blinking cursor/failure to boot into Windows logically follow?
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Assisted Solution

by:Jared Luker
Jared Luker earned 100 total points
ID: 12087172
Do you have a Pen Drive, or some sort of external storage plugged in?
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Author Comment

by:edfoley
ID: 12087187
Yes, a USB external enclosure, plus there's a SD card slot in the USB printer that's attached. Why?
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by:Jared Luker
ID: 12087328
pull it and see what happens
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by:icedrop-dcse
ID: 12089140
you can also try to reset your cmos settings
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Assisted Solution

by:pegasys
pegasys earned 100 total points
ID: 12090714
That is because you can't boot off of raid  (unless the motherboard supports it, or if it is SCSI). Raid is an entended 'property' as to put it.

Shove the bootable HDU back onto your pri master ATA line, and the other on the raid, then boot up, install the raid drivers, and watch the other drive appear.

I had the same thing, and I found it rather cranky personally.

Regards

pgx();
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Assisted Solution

by:XSINUX
XSINUX earned 100 total points
ID: 12101075
Are you sure the hdds are getting detected with the right Settings ? LUN, CYL, HEADS, TRACKS, Correct Capacity etc ? I suspect the Int 13H Failure on the Motherboard. Anyways you may try this and get the system up.

Take the CMOS Battery out and Keep Pressing and Releasing the Power Button of your System ( Chassis ) holding the power button down for 5 second and releasing it and repeating the process for about 1 - 2 min. This Process has to be done with the CMOS battery out or else there is no use. What we are trying to do is Releasing the Flea Power ( Static Charge in your Motherboard ) and thereby resetting the CMOS N-RAM. This may default the settings and redetect all the components and the IDE configuration settings. If you are lucky this should help.

Else :( Replace the Motherboard.

Good Luck

Sinu.
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Expert Comment

by:Jared Luker
ID: 12101376
Pulling the external usb devices didn't help?
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