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How do I deal with a System drive (Windows/7) that will not boot?

Posted on 2014-10-18
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Last Modified: 2014-10-22
I have a HP p6320y PC that won't boot.  BIOS does not see the system disk drive. I attached the SATA drive to a functioning Windows/7 PC and saved all the folders (User,System,...) to an external UB drive) using GetDataback for NTFS.  

I rebooted the PC. Windows came up and then a message appeared briefly saying I have a disk that needs to be checked and that I have 10 seconds to press a key or it will start the disk check.   I pressed a key. Windows came up. I brought up Disk management and Disk management recognizes the disk!!  It shows:

basic disk 931.51gb
E: 102MB NTFS healthy (active, primary partition)
F: 920.51GB RAW  healthy (primary partition)
G: Factory Image 10.9GB NTFS healthy (primary partition)

What steps do I take to get this PC back into its' original form?
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Question by:HenryWilfred
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by:rindi
ID: 40388899
First run the disk manufacturer's diagnostics utility on it, and based on the results either get a warranty replacement, get it RMA'd, or keep it.

If the diags show it is fine, allow it to run the chkdsk which it wanted to do when you booted off it. If after that everything is fine, OK, if not, try using the recovery partition's options to perform a factory restore.
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by:dlethe
ID: 40388933
No need to run diags. The hdd has failed the only diag that matters already.  Buy a replacement drive and then install your is on it and mount this bad one as D disk and start copying files over asap.
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by:nobus
ID: 40388941
>>  I have a disk that needs to be checked and that I have 10 seconds to press a key   <<  it is time now for letting it rebuild the file system

if the diag shows it's ok -  it's up to you to use it, or replace it.
many say here  that once the disk shows faults, you have to replace it - but imo that's not always true, it depends on what faults there were on that drive

i just recovered a drive (after more than a week running several programs) that simply was not accessible
once the data was restored on it (i suppose the MFT in this case) it let me recover the data

in this case  the customer told me what happened : he used it in bed (and fell more or less asleep) , and the laptop overheated , with this as result.
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by:rindi
ID: 40388945
I disagree. Most disk manufacturer's require you to run their diagnostic on the disk, and supply them with the error code it outputs, before you can return it for a warranty replacement, or have it RMA'd.
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by:noxcho
ID: 40389081
Check if the HDD has bad sectors using its manufacturer made test tool. If the drive has no problems then the problem is in partition table only.
Here you can try the following. Delete the existing partition an run Undelete Partition option from one of available tools and try to recover the partition to the original state. If NTFS partition boot record at the end of the partition is ok then you have luck.
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Author Comment

by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40389489
I have a new piece of information about the disk failure.  She was trying to send an e-mail (Yahoo email) and the computer froze.  She powered the PC down.  Next boot it fails  -- tells her to launch startup repair.
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Author Comment

by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40389621
I rebooted Windows/7 on a reliable PC.  The suspect 1TB disk drive was attached via SATA as a secondary drive.  The machine boots up... then the message appears --  "one of your disks need to be checked for consistency. Press a key in the next 10 seconds if you don't want the check.  I did not press a key. Now I see:
CHKDSK is verifying files   then:
CHKDSK is verifying indexes    then:
CHKDSK is verifying security descriptors

and then I get a message "Windows has made corrections to the file system"  and the boot completes.  I use Windows Explorer and have full access to the disk - no error messages.

I took the drive back to the HP p6320y PC and reconnected the sata cables. Booted and immediately get "Reboot and select the proper boot device". I reboot, pf10 to BIOS and  BIOS says that the PC does not have any sata devices - neither the disk drove nor the DVD R/W player.  ??  I checked the SATA cable connections and they are tight.
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by:nobus
ID: 40389677
so you ran the dskchk -seems it termminated without errors

it looks like you may have to reset the bios; try first default settings, if not, remove the bios battery for 20 sec
when you take it out, verify it has 3 V - it is a CR2032 cell
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rindi earned 150 total points
ID: 40389729
Check if the BIOS has a fail-safe or default setting. Also try another HD in it. If the BIOS doesn't recognize that disk either, and since the cables seem OK, I'm afraid there is probably something wrong with the mainboard. There might also be a problem with a mainboard cable, but to check that you'd have to take apart the notebook, and that can be difficult if you don't have experience.
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by:noxcho
ID: 40389869
Stil no imformation from HDD test tools. What is the model of the drive? Have you checked its health with HDD vendor made tools?
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by:nobus
ID: 40389901
also - disconnect all other drives than the boot drive for testing
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by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40390899
Thanks again for all the responses. I'll try to address all the suggestions.

I downloaded SeaTools and ran the quick scan diagnostics for the Seagate Barracuda drive.  The Scan failed. The tool didn't give info on what the failure was exactly. The tool advised me to run the long scan (Fix All).  I have it running right now -- looks like about 8 hours to run. They describe the scan as a "basic" scan that is virtually read-only for good sectors.  Seagate says that if it finds bad sectors the data is already lost.

I ran the Seagate diagnostic on another system disk.  The tool said that this drive passed inspection. I tut the passing disk into the problem PC and booted. But the problem PC does not recognize SATA drives (DVD or Disk).  I reset the BIOS to the default setting and rebooted - same result.

I have taken out the BIOS battery (it is t 3 V - it is a CR2032 cell) for a minute - then replaced it. I have booted with just one drive installed. Same result.  Motherboard issue?

It looks like I have two distinct problems, right?
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by:dlethe
ID: 40390916
As I said at the beginning, the HDD failed diagnostics.  You had unrecoverable read errors that resulted in data loss.  A chkdsk (or scandsk /f) will rewrite bad blocks which will make a bad block test pass, but they won't get your data back.  The 8-hour scan indicates deep recovery.  Blocks are getting read, re-read, and re-read, for up to 30 seconds (a lifetime)  before the HDD marks as unrecoverable.

this disk can't be trusted.  Your BIOS battery won't create bad blocks.    Even bad memory / motherboard /  ECC errors will not create this type of error.   -  a power failure in the middle of writing a large number of blocks MAY, but it is rare.
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by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40391206
The Seagate Diagnostic Windows Quick-Scan failed.  After the failure, Seagate recommended creating a bootable CD that would do the disk diagnosis from DOS.  I did that and then I ran a full scan (from my own PC) with the troubled drive as a secondary drive.  It took 90 minutes and came back saying that the scan passed!!  DOS says Pass ---  Windows says Fail??

The troubled drive (now my secondary SATA drive) looks good. Pictures, videos other user data is functional.  I compared this drive with the data I recovered yesterday (using GetDataBack) - The size of the Users folder on each is identical - 64.8gb. I have a copy of the "troubled" disk.  AND the troubled disk is no longer troubled. It is functioning w/o error.

I think i can close the data recovery problem now - agree?  

Now I have to get on to the Boot problem. Why does my client's HP p6320y PC not see any SATA drives?  Is there any hope for repair or does she have to replace the HP PC?  Advice appreciated.

I
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by:nobus
ID: 40391362
can you update the bios?  if that is possible, it "may" fix your problem
if it does not, you need another motherboard
as for the "bad" disk, i have recovered many drives with hddregenerator (the tool i used in my first post)
http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html      
if that passes, i would do a format of the drive, and use it as storage - but keep in mind it once had problems; i always mark them with the date, so i can check later
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by:noxcho
ID: 40391428
The storage controller on the mobo could be fried. But try the following. Connect the drive back to "bad" motherboard and then boot that PC from this DOS CD you created for scan. Does it see any drive?
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by:rindi
ID: 40391448
You could try opening the notebook's case so you can get to the mainboard, and check that all cables are properly connected. That is just about all you can do.
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by:nobus
ID: 40391675
you can also connect the drive to another port, and swap the cables for testing
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by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40392320
Your suggestion:  Connect the drive back to "bad" motherboard and then boot that PC from this DOS CD you created for scan. Does it see any drive?
Tried it -- no luck -- It does not see any sata drive.

 "connect the drive to another port, and swap the cables for testing"
I have tried both Sata cables with HDD only -- no luck.

Thanks for trying -- I'm thinking I could try an IDE disk/CD  -- bad idea?  The PC does have IDE cables.
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by:noxcho
ID: 40392402
you can try it but it is time to replace the motherboard.
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by:nobus
ID: 40392529
be sure if you try it to set the bios to IDE, or compatible, - not sata or ahci
and be sure the drive is set as master
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by:rindi
ID: 40392756
I'm a bit confused now. I was under the impression this was a notebook, not a PC. Notebooks usually don't have the possibility to change ports or use another interface.
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Author Comment

by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40393157
Other info-questions: The PC has been coming up directly with the "No boot drive" message (that was the original problem the client saw).

Now it comes up to the HP screen  (f10-Setup, f11 - System Recovery , Esc- Boot Menu,F9-Diagnostices ) AND then it hangs.  If I tap f10 while it is coming up I get to the setup screen.  not so for esc ,f9 or f11.

"can you update the bios?"
Not sure - can I?  Give me a tip on how to do that.

Thanks again.
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by:rindi
ID: 40393167
I would wait with trying to upgrade the BIOS, it could make things worse. Have you already changed the CMOS battery?
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by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40393520
No I did not change the cmos battery
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Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 350 total points
ID: 40393719
i could not find a bios update; here all the drivers :  http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareCategory?product=4120661&lc=en&cc=us&dlc=en&lang=en&cc=us&submit=Go%20%BB

probably it is done from within windows
i also found that this model has known problems with GPU

as far making things worse - it is bad already

anyhow, to be complete, here's how i deal with such problems - i use the minimum setup method:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Components/Motherboards/A_1945.html                  (Short-overview-of-how-to-troubleshoot-bad-hardware-when-a-pc-does-not-post)
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by:noxcho
ID: 40393818
So if you get the HP screen it means that the HDD is now detected. Is the size of the drive detected correctly?
These Utils normally reside in hidden HP partition on the HDD. And it could be that this partition is set as Active. Try to set the MSR or system partition active.
And btw, how many partitions do you have on this drive? can you list them and their content?
Where is BootMgr file and Boot folder?
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Author Comment

by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40394636
"So if you get the HP screen it means that the HDD is now detected. Is the size of the drive detected correctly? "

It does not look like the HDD is detected.  The Bios shows no drives.  I also tried this with another SATA drive (a functioning SATA system drive) and it could not be detected.

From my first POST:
basic disk 931.51gb
E: 102MB NTFS healthy (active, primary partition)
F: 920.51GB RAW  healthy (primary partition)
G: Factory Image 10.9GB NTFS healthy (primary partition)

This is what showed up on MY PC when I attached the client drive to MY PC as a secondary drive.  It now functions as a 2nd drive on MY PC (after Windows had made corrections to the disk).   See my 10/18 post -- 2014-10-18 at 22:32:56
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by:noxcho
ID: 40394669
That's pretty strange. The common HP systems had the test tools always on HDD protected area. How do you get then those? Maybe in BIOS.
What did you do to change the behavior from "no boot drive" to show the "hp repair options"?
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Author Comment

by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40394865
I have never seen HP repair options.  Sounds like something that would be useful.

This is not my PC. I am trying to help out a friend . I did get her data saved to my Disk.  Looks like I will be telling her she needs a new/refurbished PC. I am not going to mess with motherboard replacement.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 350 total points
ID: 40394979
it looks like a bad motherboard to me
best use the minimum setup i posted above
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Author Comment

by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40394992
Sorry Nobus --  what minimum  setup are you referring to?
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by:nobus
ID: 40395061
read above post :ID: 40393719
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by:noxcho
ID: 40395229
But you wrote eaelier this:
Now it comes up to the HP screen  (f10-Setup, f11 - System Recovery , Esc- Boot Menu,F9-Diagnostices ) AND then it hangs.  If I tap f10 while it is coming up I get to the setup screen.  not so for esc ,f9 or f11.
Or did I understand ir wrong?
In any case the diagnosis is clear. Motherboard is defect.
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Author Comment

by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40395321
noxcho - sorry, the HP options were showing up on boot. After they came up - the PC was frozen - would not allow me to do esc,pf9,pf10  etc.  When I booted and continually pressed pf10 I would get to BIOS setup.  If I continually pressed pf9 at boot time I would get to the HP diagnostics -- CPU tested OK, RAM tested OK, then "no drives detected".

I would try to bring up system recovery (pf11) but that would not come up.
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Author Comment

by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40395393
Nobus, The minimum set up passed inspection. I even looked at capacitors and they looked clean - nothing like the bad pictures in your attachment.

The only thing that is failing is the inability to recognize SATA drives (disk or dvd).  The PC will recognize the same drive with a USB connection.

I will close it out as Motherboard failure.

Thanks to all for assisting me in this.
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Author Closing Comment

by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40397035
The data has been recovered (to a different 1TB disk drive). That is the most important thing to me.  The disk drive had failures but CHKDSK "repaired" them and it functions well now (I have been cautioned about this disk being problematic in the future).

After data recovery, the issue remaining as the PC not recognizing any SATA drives.  Tried many things - nothing worked --  concluded motherboard failure.

Thanks to all that worked with me on this.
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by:nobus
ID: 40397132
thanks for feedback
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by:noxcho
ID: 40397159
Well, I do normally agree with the points assigned. But if here the points are assigned for telling - the motherboard is bad. Then I think I deserve some of them as well as I said the same in comment ID: 40392402
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Author Comment

by:HenryWilfred
ID: 40397629
I had thought all along that the mother board might be the problem.  I was hoping I was wrong.   I didn't award based on the insight that the motherboard was bad.

I recovered data from the disk drive early on. What I really wanted was to have someone help me with why the PC would not recognize the SATA drives.  I awarded based on who tried to help me with that question.

I did a poor job of making my question(s) clear.  I'll do better in the future.
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