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Windows 7 won't boot from HD nor Original OS CD's!

Posted on 2011-10-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Had a one year old DELL PC stop booting, got stuck at Starting Windows with ONE RED DOT of the Windows logo being visible - that's all.

I have tried:

1. Safe Mode (every type)

2. Startup Repair

3. Updating the BIOS to the newest version (using USB key boot in DOS)

4. Tried OS booting from internal CD AND external CD.. both get stuck at the same Starting Windows

5. Even reformatted the HD (on another PC)


What on earth could be causing this? I've been doing this kinda work for a very long time and am actually at my vits end right now... HELP!
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Question by:kajbjo
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Purple_Tidder
ID: 36984067
Try a different video card?

Also, check to see what type of SATA setting you have in the bios.  If it's set to AHCI or RAID try setting it to IDE or Legacy, or vice versa.
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Expert Comment

by:Purple_Tidder
ID: 36984069
Also, test your ram with memtest86+ or some other reliable tool.  Could be some ram going bad.
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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36984092
I'm doing an extended memory test (been going on for
30 after that I'm going to try the video card
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by:Purple_Tidder
ID: 36984115
Video card would be my gut feeling, that's typically what I've found to be the issue if the splash locks without bluescreen.
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Expert Comment

by:luconsta
ID: 36984161
Could you try some "Windows XP Live CD/USB" to see if the video card is the problem or the Windows version?...
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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36984171
It has integrated graphics. I installed a pci express nvidia card instead. It stops in the same spot - STARTING WINDOWS.. loads ONE RED DOT of the logo then sits there... also it takes FOREVER to get there booting off the Windows 7 32bit OS CD...
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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36984204
Going to try XP boot now...
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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36984245
Holy crap!  XP Boot hangs on "Setup is Starting Windows"

Shoot me
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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36984287
Doing onboard diagnositcs using Symptom Tree "Cannot Boot the OS":

Everything has passed (L1 and L2 Cache, Realtime Clock, System Timer, Interrupt Controller)
Now doing SATA DISK tests...
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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36984324
Still doing an exhaustive test of the HD (I doubt it's that though..).

This PC is only JUST over a year old (so the warranty JUST expired like 2 weeks ago!). Maybe I just need to do ALL the onboard exhaustive diagnostics to find out if some part of the motherboard could be blown...
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 36984345
try if you can run from the live Knoppix cd  : ftp://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V6.7.0CD-2011-08-01-EN.iso

if that runs, the hardware is probably fine; you can use it to access the disk drive, internet, test sound and change video resolutions...

what worries me is that you don't talk about a backup...do you have one?
anyhow, if the disk is suspect, here is how to handle it : http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Hard_Drives/A_3000-The-bad-hard-disk-problem.html
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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36986542
All exhaustive tests of the disk came back with zero errors after many hours.

Why does backup worry you when this is a client system that saves all their data on their 2008 server? Besides I can't restore a backup to a system that won't boot up no matter if I use CD or USB, safe modes or system repair mode.

I am now booting KNOPPIX... let's see how/if that works. It is sitting on "Booting the kernel." currently... (and not much is happening).


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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36986658
After about 10 minutes of "Booting the kernel." the text has turned dark blue but still sitting at "Booting the kernel.". I'm going to give it a few more minutes before I call DELL and pay them to give me support in order to I guess order parts...? Any other ideas guys? Seriously some of the wierdest stuff I've EVER seen...

I am pretty convinced something on the motherboard is blown by now? But what could it be? Like half the PC is ALMOST working... Baffled.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 36986990
>>  this is a client system that saves all their data on their 2008 server  <<  without you posting that - i can't know
it is a young pc - but inspect the mobo for bulging or leaking caps around the cpu also
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Expert Comment

by:Purple_Tidder
ID: 36987013
Have you tried different ram anyway?
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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36987248
I have just tried a different HD with no change.

I will try RAM soon. I'm on the phone with DELL out-of-warranty support (I want THEM to diagnose it and start swapping parts so they'll be responsible for it not me...)

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Accepted Solution

by:
nobus earned 2000 total points
ID: 36987344
>>  After about 10 minutes of "Booting the kernel."      that means bad hardware
note that it can be ram, but also the ram controller on the mobo
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Expert Comment

by:Purple_Tidder
ID: 36987376
Not necessarily bad hardware if linux doesn't boot.  There are still more steps I'd take before saying that.

Have you reset the bios to defaults?  Pulled out any other cards, modem, firewire, additional sound cards, etc?  Tried adjusting the shared memory between the onboard video and system?  When you installed the nvidia card to test with, did you disable the onboard?  May not be an option for that.
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Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 2000 total points
ID: 36987410
in all cases where the knoppix live cd did not boot - i have experienced bad hardware
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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36987436
This is a "bare" office PC. Everything is "onboard". No cards in this PC at all. The only card I put in for a bit was an NVIDIA card to rule out the onboard video being faulty.

I just pulled the CMOS battery out, unplugged  all the cables and held in the power button for 30 seconds (according to the DELL technician). When powering on the PC it NOW gives me a 5 beeps repeatedly and an ORANGE FLASHING powerbutton.  Holding for the DELL Tech that will instruct me further...

P.S. - ram controller sounds likely to me too...
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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36987515
According to DELL:

Motherboard is not able to power certain parts. Motherboard needs to be replaced...

On hold now trying to get "out of warranty" hardware repalcement dept... (pay as you go)

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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36989525
Yup. Paying $319.99 to have a UNISYS tech come out and replace the motherboard. I could've just gotten the motherboard itself for $139.99 but they didn't have any in "stock" in that warehouse so I might have to wait a week or so... The "onsite tech" warehouse of course has everything in stock ;-)
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Author Comment

by:kajbjo
ID: 36989550
Purple: to answer your questions. There was no "disable onboard graphics" in the BIOS. Only changing to different TYPES of graphics. Also like I mentioned before this PC has NO CARDS in it. Everything is onboard.
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Expert Comment

by:Purple_Tidder
ID: 36990314
Bummer.  I just hate bad hardware, I try to exhaust every other possibility.

nobus: Just to give you a little idea of my experiences, I just built a new machine.  6 core AMD phenom, 16gb ram, nice MSi motherboard.  Neither ubuntu or Knoppix would boot to a GUI my first couple of attempts.  I wouldn't rely on that being a sure reason behind hardware being bad, although at that point I was pretty scared that my new machine was indeed bad. :)
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 36990882
tx for feedback and the confirmation of my ideas
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