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No bootable device error message at startup of Acer Aspire One Laptop

Hi Everyone;

         I wish to help a friend of mine with the following error message:  No bootable device-insert boot disk and press any key.  There are some entries which are displayed before this error message appears which read as follows: Intel UNDI, PXE-2.1 (build 082) Copyright (c) 1997-2000 Intel Corporation.  The second line is as follows: For Atheros PCIE Ethernet Controller v1.0.0.13 (2000/10/15).  And the final or third line is Check cable connection..!
PXE-M0F: Exiting Intel PXE ROM.  No bootable device-insert boot disk and press any key.  

         If I am not mistaken, I believe this error message is either caused by a failing harddrive or possibly a corrupted operating system.  Perhaps the master boot record of the harddrive itself is corrupted, thus, preventing certain crucial system files from loading Windows XP.  At any rate, these are just some conclusions drawn from my part which are certainly opened for correction and addition.

          To further complicate the matter, this laptop does not have a CDROM or DVDROM.  Everything hooks up to USB ports.  Therefore, if the XP CD is needed, I am not sure how to use it other than to possibly hook up an external USB drive and clone the cd to it.  And, then, run the cloned XP from the USB drive.  But, that sounds like a lot of work.  If the operating system is corrupted and needs fixing, hopefully this can be carried out straight from the internal harddrive itself.   Or, perhaps there is a restore folder on the harddrive which can be accessed.  At any rate, I will need to be able to get to some kind of c:\ prompt before checking this out.

           In conclusion, any help with this tricky problem will be appreciated.  I hope to hear back from everyone soon.

           Thank you.

           George
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GMartin
Asked:
GMartin
3 Solutions
 
bswinnertonCommented:
I assume you are correct GMartin, however if it is the MBR (or something of the sort) I would recommend investing in an external hard drive enclosure and taking out the hard drive and placing it into that. Once that is done, you can plug it into another computer and salvage any files.

From there, you should be able to find out if it is the MBR or not (whether or not the files are there). If it is something about the MBR, you could always try a linux live cd and try repairing it(on the other computer of course).

If the hard drive is corrupt, I would start to look into some programs that can salvage the data.

Either way, let us know when you can fully determine the problem and everyone can assist you further.
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi There;

         Thank you so much for your followup.  At this time, I do have a followup question regarding your response concerning the live Linux cd.  To be frank, I do not have any experience with this cd, but, I am motivated to learn more about it.  With these points in mind, could you possibly give me a direct download link for the Linux Live CD along with any instructions for carrying out a repair?  By the way, even though the problem hard drive does have Microsoft XP on it and the repair cd is an alternative operating system, Linux of course, will this create any technical concerns?  

           Any followups to these questions will be appreciated.

           Thank you.

            George
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi

         One more thing, could you possibly send me a direct purchase link or links for external hard drive enclosures.  I assume the installation of hard drives into these enclosures are self explanatory, but, I am not sure.  So, if there are any special considerations on that part, please advise.  

          Thank you

          George
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PUNKYCommented:
If you could remove the hard drive, hook it up to other system and copy data off (for safe), then try to diagnostic the hard drive. Normally, when you remove the drive you will find out what vendor (Seagate, Hitachi, or WD, etc), so directly to it website and download diagnostic tool and run test. Or using the link below and select what tool you need to check the hard drive, test utility (such ubcd) which is easy to use.
http://www.thefreecountry.com/utilities/backupandimage.shtml
The enclosure can be seen here:
http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=92&name=External-Enclosures  
 
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nobusCommented:
you could use  one or more usb adaptor cables :  http://tekgems.com/Products/tg-usb-sata-ide-25-35.htm
then you can backup and diag what you want...
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone;

        While I certainly was enlightened by everyone's shared feedback to this question, I am going to give the USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE Converter Adapter a try for this particular project.  This option seems to be most appropriate considering this laptop does not have a CD or DVD ROM.  Besides, based upon my review of the information contained within the purchase link for this converter adapter, it seems to be simple and straightforward.  Of course, if I should need further assistance, I will open up a new post.
For now, everyone has given me enough information to get a good start.

           Many thanks again everyone for a great job done.  And, as always, I was able to learn a great deal from everone's visionary ideas.  

            Great job once again!!!!

           George
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