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PC failure on boot, battery voltage low error, then system file missing, then non detection of hard drive..

mchyzik
mchyzik asked
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I have a Dell Dimension 9100 that is failing on boot.  It states battery low voltage error, press F1 to continue or F2 for setup.  I select F1 and I then get a win/sys32/config/system ....etc  file missingor corrupt error and told to repair windows.  I replaced the cmos battery and still get the same errors.  I then tried booting to a XPHome disk, and it fails to detect the hard drive, get 'setup did not find any hard disk drives installed on your computer, cannot continue.  I then proceeded to run the dell diagnostics (f12 to the utility partition) and it tested the hard drive and it was fine/successful.

How can I get this system back up please ... :)  suggestions?
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The first thing I would try is to find the clear CMOS jumoer. Use it to clear the CMOS and try again. If  that fails, reseat the memory, and make sure all cables are tightly connected. Clean any dust off of the circuits as they are electrically conductive and can cause these errors. If still getting errors, try swapping the power supply from a known working identical unit. If still hapenning, then you may have fried the motherboard and will need to replace.

Good Luck!

-J
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
How many physical hard drives are in machine?
Maybe setup as raid?

http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/driverslist.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=gen&ServiceTag=&SystemID=DIM_P4_9100&os=WW1&osl=en&catid=&impid=

Under "Sata Drives" > Intel-Driver
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
here is how to get it going :  http://www.google.be/#hl=nl&q=config+system+file+missing+or+corrupt&aq=0&aqi=g7&aql=&oq=%5Cconfig%5Csystem+&gs_rfai=&fp=39ea95d826cc98e3

windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:  \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
An easier way is to boot from a Bart PE CD (or UBCD4Win CD) and use the file manager for manipulating files. Here  the procedure :
1. rename c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM to c:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM.bak
2. Navigate to the System Volume Information folder.
it contains some restore {GUID} folders such as "_restore{87BD3667-3246-476B-923F-F86E30B3E7F8}".
The restore points are in  folders starting with "RPx under this folder.
3. In such a folder, locate a Snapshot subfolder. This is an example of a folder path to the Snapshot folder:  C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot
4. From the Snapshot folder, copy the following file to the c:\windows\system32\config folder
 _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM
5. Rename _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM to SYSTEM
6. Exit Bart PE, reboot and test

Use a fairly recent restore point from at least a day or two prior to problem occurring .

** you can add the other hives also with this procedure

http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/       BARTPE
http://www.ubcd4win.com/            UBCD4WIN

Commented:
you have a bunch of bad sectors on your hard drive. That is preventing Windows from booting up properly. You can do two things to fix your problem.

1: boot to the recovery console and run the following command. CHKDSK /R /F
2: backup any data that you can. Format and Partition your hard drive and reinstall Windows.

To backup your data you probally going to have to take out the hard drive and put it on a USB enclosure.

to get to the recovery console:  http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ss/rconsole.htm

http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000635.htm


Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
for the cd not finding harddisks - are they sata disks by any chance?  then you muwt supply the drivers for it (use the F6 key), or slipstream them

Author

Commented:
There is ONE SATA drive, partiioned with a small 'dell' utility partition.
I purchased a new CMOS battery, installed it and setill get the voltage error.

I did make a backup of the 'dell recovery disk', and will try to use that next...

suggestions on the cmos issue?  

WHat could have caused all of this mess?

Author

Commented:
I can not boot to recovery console as for some reason 'setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer'  But yet, I can run the Dell diagnostics on the drive during boot (using the dell utility partition).  Why is this? Now what?
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
You will have to download the sata drivers listed above anyway and put them on a floppy disk.

When entering recovery console you will see a prompt to tap "F6" to install additional drivers.
Select drivers on floppy disk in order for Windows to recognise the hard drive.

Author

Commented:
running chkdsk now... found another backup disk and for some reason that one saw my HDD's??

Author

Commented:
OK, chkdsk ran, and fixed.  Rebooted machine..it went up to the winxp splash screen then I received BSOD: BAD_POOL_CALLER, stop 0xC2 ... then I rebooted again, and got the same error (low battery voltage, hit F1 to proceed). I hit F1, then received the following error again:  'windows could not start because the following file is miisng or corrupt: /windows/system32/config/system.... says to repair if possible.
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Test the ram. Let it pass at least three times.
Use Memtest to do so.
http://www.memtest.org/#downiso

Author

Commented:
We were getting multiple and different BSOD's before it took the final crash and could not find the system file.  I went and purchased new ram and installed it before I started everything here.  I ran the RAM test from Dell diagnostics and it was clean... the system did not BDSOD until it tried to go into windows.  I am now installing a new version of windows (in a different dirctory)..... t just rebooted for the first time during the reinstall, and is now just past the first splash screen and in the 'an exciting new look' window, and installing windows (setup will complete in approx 39 min).
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Ah, ok :)
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
post results.
it can be you have more than 1 problem as well
an test the ram as suggested (in fact when i have problems, i always test ram and disk to be sure about the basics! -  i use the bootable ubcd for that )

Author

Commented:
The install completed successfully.  I proceeded to begin installing all of the drivers.  I installed the chipset driver and now none of the USB ports work.  I can't install anything else!  I tried rebooting to 'last good known config', and that didnt work, now I booted to safemode, and that didnt work either... help please!  There are no PS2 connectores, only USB so I have no mouse and keyboard once windows comes up.  Ugh!
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
so they do work (keyb+mouse) - till you install the chipset driver?
i would start by flashing the bios -  then start over again from fresh !

Author

Commented:
OK, update:
Ran a 'repair' of the OS install and am back to ground zero at least.  NO BSODS yet.  Set a restore point so I dont have to go back and do this again hopefully!   Now installing some updates and applications needed.. thus far, no bsods.  Still receive the 'LOW VOLTAGE' error and have to hit F1 to proceed.  How can we fix that and what is causing it?  What is really going on with this computer?
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
i posted it just above...
Commented:
Bad motherboard.

Author

Commented:
everything is working, with exception to the 'low voltage' error upon boot.  Seems when you turn off power to the machine, that the time/date gets reset to 0 again (I am assuming loses CMOS battery charge).  THoughts?  RIght now we have the customer just hitting the F1 key to proceed with boot.
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Did you test the replacment Cmos battery with voltmeter to see if it is ok?
Try a different battery
Distinguished Expert 2019
Commented:
did you do a bios update yet? as i suggested ?
if that does not help - ->bad mobo !

Author

Commented:
we will need to go back onsite and do a bios update... we tried multiple batteries, I even went to Radio Shack and purchased a brand new one just in case the ones I had in stock were too old.  It is a Dell, do I get the bios update from them or the mobo company?
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
from Dell - and you can test the battery, it should read 3 V

Author

Commented:
Looks like a bad Mobo... running it now just to keep production going and keeping in mind we will need to replace in the near future.  Just hitting the f1 key to get past voltage error on boot for now...