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PC Start-Up Problem

Posted on 2009-06-27
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I turned my PC on this afternoon to find that Windows would not load properly and the system re-boots after the Windows XP splash screen. However, I can load Windows in Safe Mode without a problem.

I have Raid 0 (mirroring) configured on my system and BIOS is showing "Error Occured" in red against one of the Raid drives at start-up. However, as I can load Windows in Safe Mode, I don't think there can be a problem with the Raid !

My system comprises of an MSI 975X motherboard, Core2Duo 6600 CPU, 2 GB memory and 2 Samsung 400gb Spinpoint hard drives.

Does any one please have any idea how I should proceed in trying to resolve this problem.

Thank You
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Question by:technojunkie
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by:rindi
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Before doing anything, backup any important data (you can do that in safe mode). Then check what the error is that the BIOS is reporting, and fix that first. RAID 0 will cause you to loose all your data if it breaks. Maybe it is a SMART error you are seeing, SMART errors warn you of a Disk about to leave and they should be taken seriously, even if you can boot into safe mode. If you have to replace the drive, you are up to a reinstall (or if you have a drive imaging utility like bootit-ng you can make an image of the system to another drive, then restore that image when you have changed the drive and built the new array).

The trial version of bootit-ng is fully functional:

http://terabyteunlimited.com/

Only if all that is OK should you think of getting the system running in normal mode again. For that a chkdsk /x on all the partitions is the first thing you should do. Then zip your last 3 *.dmp files and upload them using the Link below so we can analyze them:

http://www.ee-stuff.com/
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Technojunkie - RAID 0 is Striping, not Mirroring.  If you have mirrored disks (RAID 1), then you have less to worry about, but if you have RAID 0, then as rindi says, get backing up asap.
Your motherboard supports RAID (0,1, 0+1) so check your disk configuration and work out which configuration they are in as this could either go horribly wrong, or you could be okay.
If your system is booting into Safe Mode and one disk is reported as having an error, then it suggests to me that you have RAID 1 (mirroring), in which case you should be fine as long as your remaining disk stays alive.  Either way I would get backing up just in case.
Based on a RAID 1 configuration, you should be able to replace the failed drive with a new one of similar or greater size and then repair the mirror.
I would at this stage boot into Safe Mode with command prompt and run CHKDSK /R to repair any errors on the disk, then boot up and see if windows is happy.
If it is, backup completely and replace the failed drive, if not, then as rindi suggests, try the bootit-ng to image the drive.
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by:technojunkie
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Thank you for prompt responses. I apologies for submitting the wrong info but I have Raid 1 (not 0) so obviously things aren't as bad as they could have been.

I'm currently running CHKDSK/R but, as BIOS reports "Error Occured", is it likely to be a Windows problem ? If it turns out to be a physical drive error, do I just remove the faulty drive via the BIOS Raid tool, change the drive, and then add the new drive via the BIOS Raid tool ?

I'll post again once CHKDSK/R has stopped running.

Thanks again.

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rindi earned 125 total points
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You just remove the bad HD (normally there is no need at that point to do anything in the raid tool). Then insert the new disk, and depending on how the raid utility works, it may pickup the disk and ask you whether it should rebuild the array with it, or you may have to manually add it in the utility, then it should rebuild. After that zip your dump files like I mentioned earlier and upload them.
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by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 125 total points
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The BIOS error is most certainly the RAID reporting a problem with one of the drives.
Once you have done the CHKDSK - see if Windows loads happily.  If it does, switch off, pull out the power & data from one drive and then switch on.  If it boots, then shut down, plug the drive back in and remove the other drives cables.  Switch back on and you will probably not be able to boot.
You should now know which drive is faulty.  Remove and replace this drive and RTFM to see any recommended options for repairing the RAID volume.
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by:mredfelix
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As it is rebooting at the splash screen it sounds like a driver has not loaded. Have you done a repair

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by:technojunkie
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CHKDSK still running so I will report status once completed.
I'm  not familiar with the term RTFM ! What does it mean ?
If it turns out that I have to replace one of the drives, will I be able to use the PC on one drive until I get a replacement ?

Thanks again for the continued support.

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by:Alan Hardisty
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RTFM - Read The F@$king Manual!
A Techie term - sorry ;-)
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by:technojunkie
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What do you mean by a repair and how  would I go about it ?

I tried restarting Windows to its last known working status (F8 screen) but that didn't work !
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Repairing a RAID 1 volume involves duplicating the data from the working drive to the new drive so that your disks are then mirrored.
Your manual may give you info about how to do this without losing your data - which could happen if you get it wrong.  You could end up writing the blank disk data to the working drive, which would be a disaster.
Basically, you may need to boot into the RAID options in BIOS and then repair the RAID volume by adding the new disk to the array and getting the data to push to the new disk.
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by:rindi
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It should keep on working with 1 HD while you wait for the replacement, but if that HD breaks too you risk losing the data. So you should make sure you get the replacement asap.
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by:technojunkie
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CHKDSK still running, now 5 of 5 at 88% !

Will the PC automatically boot onto the working disk or will I have to change a setting in BIOS ?

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by:Alan Hardisty
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Won't be long now.
Should boot normally.
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by:technojunkie
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Just checked the PC again and CHKDSK has ended and started again after completing 5 of 5.

Any ideas ?
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Leave it going - if it happens again, then there is a problem.
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by:technojunkie
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I finally have my PC working on a single hard drive. I turned the PC off, disconnected one of the drives, re-booted, let CHKDSK do its things and now I have a working PC on one drive.

I'm going out this morning to buy a replacement drive and will post the results.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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Great news - make sure the new drive is the exact make / model of the dead one, or at least larger if you cannot buy an identical one.
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by:technojunkie
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Thanks for the continued support alanhardisty.

The drive that needs replacing is one of a pair of Samsung 401LJ 400GB SATA 2 drives. However, due to the failure of one of these drives, I'm obviously reluctant to buy another one the same.

Is it essential for the drives to be the same manufacturer/model or can I just buy a drive with the same (or more) capacity without fear a problems in the future as a result of the drives not being matched ?

It is now Sunday and we're off on holiday tomorrow for a week. The chance of me being able to find the same drive locally is virtually non-existent but I would like to have the problem resolved before turning off my PC tomorrow morning and leaving it for a week.

Thanks again.
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by:rindi
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No you don't need the same drive, from my experience samsung HD's are usually very good quality. Of course they can break, but you'll have that with all other drives too. If you want some assurance, look go for the drive that has the longest warranty.
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by:Alan Hardisty
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I had a similar problem with Maxtor drives.  3 died in the space of 3 weeks, all near their 3rd birthday!   I vowed to never use them again.  I now favour Seagate Baracuda drives, but Seagate make Maxtor!
At the end of the day, all mechanical things break down, so you maybe just got unlucky, but being RAID1 you have built-in redundancy, so you had covered your ass.  Any drive large than the original drive will suffice, as I previously stated and as rindi also confirms.
Alan
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by:technojunkie
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My system uses the Inter(R) Matrix Storage System for Raid which provides a Windows interface to rebuild the degraded RAID volume once a new hard drive is installed.

Do I assume that this tool will also automatically format the drive as there is nothing in the software instructions regarding formatting the new drive.

Thanks again.
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by:technojunkie
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I've bought a 500GB Hitachi Deskstar Sata II as this was the only drive my local PC store had in stock. I'm  currently backing-up all data to a third 320GB drive I already had installed just in case anything goes wrong with rebuilding the RAID.
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by:rindi
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You should be able to rebuild the array with that controller, but I don't know it well enough to be able to give the exact details. There should also be a way to get into the firmware utility of that controller during boot-up, and there you would normally tell it to rebuild the array.
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Author Closing Comment

by:technojunkie
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Thank you both for your help and patience in resolving this problem for me.
Excellent.
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