Windows Server 2003 Boot Error

transam25 used Ask the Experts™
I have a Dell Poweredge T300 that was an configured server for a remote office. This morning it showed the server as offline. The user in the office said the screen was stuck on a Microsoft screen. I think Windows Updates ran last night and during the reboot it got hung up. I had him power off the server. On boot up this is the message that now appears on the single server office:
PXE-E51: No DHCP or proxyDHCP offers were received.
PXE-M0F: Exiting Broadcom PXE ROM.

strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility

Server is only server in the office and is running Windows Server 2003 SP2
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It sounds like one of two things has happened:

1) The hard drive on the computer may have failed and it's trying the next item (or items) in the boot order. Do you have RAID configured on this server for the boot volume?

2) The updates somehow damaged the Windows install and it's failing to boot. If this is the case, you may need to pop in a Windows CD and perform a "Repair Install" of the OS. You should also try to figure out what happened. Was the server low on disk space when the updates were being applied? Do you know if the update process was interrupted?
I had the user hit F2 to Reboot and this time it was successful, no error message.
F2 is to enter setup, so your user may have pressed F1 instead.
The diagnosis that was made by mwheeler1982 seems right to me:
HDD failure, OS cannot even BEGIN to boot (damages MBR) or boot device order change in BIOS.
Since you could finally boot up, this is not a damaged MBR

HDD failure is more likely to be the cause, so I would investigate and envisage to replace the HDD.

Use S.M.A.R.T. utility to see if there have been some errors detected with the HDD.
You have a list here:

I like Western Digital utility:

Also, check the server's event logs.


Resolved issue.

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