Is HD dead or not based on "loading Windows etc"
Posted on 2012-03-24
This is for a customer; I fix PCs for a living. As I am not on site yet, I have no info other than what is below. I seek an answer BEFORE I go onsite.
Based on what is below is the HD dead or not ?
Laptop Toshiba L775D-S7222. Was probably dropped as Screen has a crack. Happened while customer was away. Damage could affect only screen OR HD too. It depends on what part of laptop was hit. This paragraph is background info ONLY. Do not make any final decision based on this paragraph.
Also on first boot after getting home, something about Recovery or Restore and Hard drive appeared; she can not remember anything else about that message. I asked customer if she entered Yes or Y or CLICKED ANYTHING. She swears she did not. However NOW the symptoms below (two paragraphs down) are DIFFERENT which makes me wonder. As it appears that SOMETHING HAS CHANGED since that first boot into the problem state.
Next paragraph is from customer over phone. I have not actually seen Laptop yet.
Now LT boots, first screen says Toshiba as it should. (Maybe there is another screen of "post" info, maybe not). Then next screen is black with white text and says "Windows is loading" with a moving horizontal WHITE bar at the bottom. This is NOT the screen with black background over most of screen and a moving blue or green bar at the bottom, please NOTE that. Next we see black and no matter how long customer (on phone) waits it goes no further.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: I own a Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OS Desktop Dell XPS 8300 PC. Toshiba laptop is running EXACT same OS. When I boot MY Dell, I do NOT
see the "windows loading screen". Note: I have seen this screen on SOME Win XP PCs in the past.
I view that (above paragraph) as 100% certain proof that the Windows loading screen IS FROM THE BIOS, NOT FROM WINDOWS OS. If it were from the Windows OS it would appear on my Dell too.
QUESTION: Does the above mean the HD is dead ?
Some may say as it did not get out of the BIOS, the HD must be dead. I see other possibilities for a few reasons.
(1) In my 7 years experience fixing 6,000 PCs, when the HD is dead the BIOS puts out a fairly explicit statement to that effect. We are not seeing that.
(2) The fact that the Toshiba (after the BIOS generated "Windows loading" screen finishes) goes nowhere does not 100 % certain mean it never started getting files off the HD. Hypothetical situation. HD is fine as well as EVERY file on HD is fine EXCEPT the first file that is run when Win 7 64 bit OS is run. That file is missing or corrupt. In THAT situation I am not sure you will get an error "like NTLDR (or any file) is missing because we are so early in the Windows startup process that the ability to put out ANY error messages about missing or corrupt files is not there yet. Do you see what I mean?
SUMMARY: Given what is above (which is all I have to get onsite) do you thing
(a) the HD is 100% certain dead
(b) the HD is PROABABLY dead
(c) Could be a corrupt or missing file in the start of the Windows 7 boot process.
NOTE: There is no request here as to what to do TO FIX PC once I arrive onsite. I KNOW many things to try. That is NOT what this Question is about. Having a PROBABLE idea of the problem BEFORE I arrive onsite can be very useful as I can prepare to solve THAT problem. (example bring a new laptop HD !!) There is one exception to this (see below, (A), (B), or (C)) but these are still related to "Is the HD dead" not how to fix laptop
Note: Once I am onsite I could remove the HD, connect it to a sata to usb converter (turning it into an external USB HD) connect it to a 2nd computer (which will be available to me) and then I could quickly tell the state of the drive (also by listening to it). BUT I can not do that before I arrive and that is why I am posting here.
I ALSO seek a way to know WITHOUT removing the HD. One idea (which I will do) is go into BIOS/Setup and see what it says (ex does it show a HD MODEL NUMBER)). The problem is I do not know if the Toshiba L770 series BIOS is dynamic meaning it checks the HD model at every boot OR the model number was put there at an earlier time when the HD worked. Do you know the "dynamic or not" BIOS answer?
(A) What Function key do I push at boot on the Toshiba to get to a DIAG menu (example on Dell PCs, F12 goes to the choose boot device menu BUT there is also an option there to run diags (example on the HD). WHAT IS THE ANSWER? I have done a Google search on this but can not find an answer (which could mean Toshiba does NOT provide this functionality). Also Toshiba provides no online Service/Maintenance manual for this model.
(B) Could anything that happens AFTER I push F8 at boot (example NOTHING HAPPENS) tell me that the HD is dead or not. Or I get the F8 menu (which may be BIOS generated) and I select "Repair your computer" (and nothing happens) ?? Answering this question (B) requires you know, in the sequence described in (B), when does the PC FIRST read a file off the HD OR does the BIOS put up the "Repair your computer" menu and in that case we STILL have not accessed the HD.
(C) I will have a Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OS install DVD with me. I boot from that DVD. Is there anything I can do in the Various menus (i.e F8 and then Repair your computer) that could be used to find the state of the HD without removing the HD. The situation here is different than (B) because I suspect that that menus come from the Win 7 install DVD (Please correct me if I am wrong) and not the HD so it would be something in the Repair the computer menu that will need to be used, not just whether the menu appeared or not.
Example: System Restore: If the Repair your computer menu is from the DVD (or from the BIOS in case (B) above) and I select System Restore NOTHING will happen OR I will get an error if the HD is dead.
Note: Just to avoid confusion, the Windows 7 Repair your Compter Menu has a "Memory Diagnostic" choice but NOT an overall diag or HD diag choice. (But again on some brands of PCs a certain funtion key at boot takes you to a diag menu. See my important question (A) above about this.