Acer Aspire 3680 No Boot after Vista Updates

Acer Aspire 3680 does not boot after it was accidentally dropped from a table from a distance of 12 to 18 inches. It never even starts to boot, but goes to Vista Repair screen immediately after the initial Acer Post screen.  When one goes into Vista System Recovery no OS is shown.  Vista Repair (various options) fails to fix including one that runs chkdsk. (Chkdsk error is that Chkdsk can not even get started because of some basic HD file system "root" problem. But before that all HW-specific (i.e HW only) tests are passed for the HD.  

I remove HD and copy personal files to another PC via a Sata to USB converter. NOTE: That does NOT mean that the Windows folder is OK, only that the User folder is OK.

I use the the Acer Recovery Partion (reformat type recovery) to reinstall VIsta.  Evrything fine after that TILL I reboot. At that point (because I had turned on Windows Update) 42 Vista Updates are installed as it goes down. Upon reboot it fails EXACTLY as above.

My diagnosis is bad HD because the error condition is exactly the same as when we started. (However, it is possible, as this is not my laptop, that all the Vista updates were installed just before it was dropped). Even though HD passed HW diag tests AND User files can be copied off it when it is mounted as a secondary; because the overall situation suggests a transient, occasional HD problem that manifests itself ONLY at boot. So I have replaced HD and am now doing a scratch Vista Home Premium install from a MS logo Vista CD.

However, Google search shows several Acer laptop users have had problems after installing Vista updates. However all problems are AFTER Vista boots to the desktop which is NOT my case. In My case it hardly starts to boot before the error.

Do you agree based on everything above that there is PROBABLY a bad HD or disk controller. OR do you think this is another variation of Vista updates not working with Acer.

  Michael Gross

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mgross333Connect With a Mentor Author Commented:
I found the right wireless driver (on the 4th try), installed 60 Vista Updates (Critical, Recommended and Optional) and it rebooted and worked fine. SO PROBLEM **WAS** the original HD was bad. (However, I included the Recommended updates, many of which said "Improves .....compatibility...." and with the old HD I only installed the Critical Updates AND maybe one of the recommened updates improved compatibility with Acer HW. I will never know.

Also I forgot to mention something important. The situation after the Recovery and reboot (after installing Critical Updates) onto the old HD was not exactly the same as before on the old HD. It had an BSOD error "unmountable boot volume". THAT ERROR IS UNLIKELY TO BE CAUSED BY WINDOWS UPDATES IN MY OPINION. That error in ITSELF tends to imply a bad HD when combined with what is above.\

Sorry for forgetting to mention that in the original question.

Use Acer recovery again and don't install the updates, as simple as that. You need them, yes, but you also need an answer if your hdd is broken or not.
does it boot ok if you don't install the updates?
then do it 1 by 1 (or in groups) till you find the culprit
mgross333Author Commented:
Nobus and McKnife,

Thanks for your posts.

McKnight:  After 1st recovery, I CAN NO LONGER DO RECOVERY AGAIN. It will not come up at Alt-F10 (Acer Recovery keys and those worked the first time).

HENCE I AM USING A NEW HD (to remove all question of the HD being the problem) and have done a scratch install of Vista Home Premium and YES, **BEFORE** any updates, I can reboot with no problems.  Next step is to install all Critical Updates (the only ones I chose before and there are 42 critical updates per Windows Vista Auto-update). I have not done the updates yet because I am having a huge problem getting wireless to work.


I will post again after (AND IF) I can get wireless to work. (It worked after Recovery of course but finding the wireless driver after a MS logo install IS A HUGE HEADACHE as the install CD and Vista do not have the driver and there are 5 possible drivers and the one the User Guide says to use does not work). I am furious at Acer right now; they are idiots !! and incompetent.

After I fix the wireless (because without wireless the laptop is useless so THAT MUST BE FIXED FIRST) I will THEN install all Vista Critical Updates AND then REBOOT and post again here as to the result.

It is also an option to install XP !!! (the customer will not care) and maybe get out of this mess !!!

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