Won't Boot - Reboot and select proper boot device...

Posted on 2007-08-01
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Seemoingly out of the blue my computer stopped booting up. It is a pent 4 running win XP. When I try to boot it I get a message 'reboot and select proper boot device...'

when I have PXE to LAN enabled in the BIOS I have also gotten the messages PXE-E61 'Media test failure: check cable', PXE-MOF 'Existing Boot Agent', and previosly PXE-E53 'No boot filename recieved' (I am not getting this one right now).

I have some data on this system I really need to access. Any advice??

Thanks, Liddy
Question by:Liddy
    LVL 14

    Accepted Solution

    Hello Liddy:

    When you look in your BIOS what boot device choices do you see?

    Ordinarily the sequence would be:

    removable media (floppy? USB?)
    removable media (CD/DVD)
    Hard Drive

    The boot off lan choice is only applicable when you have a system that supports bootp devices and some other hoo-haw that you wouldn't have on a stand-alone system.

    If you have more than one hard drive then you might have another place to select the drive that shows up in the boot sequence.  If you have recently added an external drive this might show up there.

    It is also possible that your hard drive is mis-identified by the BIOS - make sure it shows up on the first BIOS screen where all the devices are listed.  If it doesn't, make sure it's plugged in (power and data) and the connections are good.

    Finally, it's possible that your drive is going south.

    You might be able to boot the system with one of the bootable CD versions of Linux, such as Knoppix ( or you might be able to use the UBCD for Windows (

    The Knoppix or other live-CD alternatives can usually read Windows hard drives, giving you a way to recover your data - provided the drive isn't too far gone to read.

    Hope this helps.


    Author Comment


    The BIOS shows the boot sequence as 1) DVDRAM  2)  Hard drive  3) IBE GE Slot...

    I see the HD listed under the advanced tab of the BIOS on PORT-0. I also see it listed under the BOOT tab under 'Hard disk drives' as the 1st drive. (this is the only HD on my system.) I see no mention of hard drives on the first screen.

    I have disabled the PXE to LAN

    I have checked the cables and they 'look' good. If they were bad would the HD be listed in the BIOS?

    Is there some sort of simple utility to check/diognose the hard drive with before using one of the programs you listed?

    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    Hello Liddy:

    It looks like your BIOS is 'seeing' the hard drive - since it is showing up on Port 0 I assume it's on one of the IDE channels (the DVDRAM is probably on the other one).  My comment about the 'first BIOS screen' was a shot in the dark - it sounds like your BIOS is organized a bit differently.

    As far as being sure the drive is plugged in cables fully seated is just fine - unless you are familiar with the hardware I wouldn't go unplugging/replugging cables - it's pretty easy to bend pins and static electricty is always a hazard (less so if you are in a humid enviromnent, such as my Wisconsin home office just now...).

    Regarding 'easy' drive integrity tests, depending on who made your computer you might have a hardware diagnostics disk.  Otherwise, if you know who made the hard drive you can download diagnostics from the manufacturer - Seagate, Western Digital and many others have diagnostic utilities than can be downloaded and run off a (bootable) CD/DVD or other device. Just make sure you don't use a destructive test...

    The Windows UBCD has many of these tools included in it, as well.

    As you can tell, I'm a big Knoppix fan - it has pulled data off many a 'dead' system for me.  It's pretty good with hardware that's been on the market for at least a year, but it doesn't always boot on recently released stuff/laptopswithout some fussing around.

    However, if you aren't comfortable putting together a test disk and running it I suggest you find a competent PC tech to help you out.  That might be an oxymoron but hope springs eternal....


    LVL 91

    Assisted Solution

    you can try this : boot from a live cd, (BartPE = windows like, or Knoppix (usb support) and try to copy the needed data :      Knoppix                                      BartPe

    then you can test your disk with any of these :                  Drive Fitness Test Fujitsu            Samsung                        Western Digital                  IBM & Hitachi     Seagate & Maxtor

    i would recommend the ubcd for dos (much faster than the one for windows) :      


    Author Comment

    Good  advice all around. I was able to boot from the cd I created with the pebuilder but I think my HD may be done for. I will play around with it a bit more based on the leads you gave in your posts. I will go ahead and reward points now. Thank you both!


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