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Computer stopped working - Looks like HD crashed

RichyRichy Registered User regular
edited May 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
I don't know what else to say. I wa just reading the forums this morning, when all the sudden my computer rebooted. Now it reboots non-stop. It passes the BIOS, gives me the Windows "this computer failed to start properly last time" menu, the Windows logo with the progress bar appears for one or two seconds, and it reboots again. In the option screen, I've tried booting normally, last known good configuration, even failsafe mode, all with the same result.

I have a PC with Windows XP Pro. I checked inside, on a hunch that it might be overheating, but all the fans appear to be working fine. I have not installed any new software or hardware recently.

I'm open to ideas.

Richy on
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Posts

  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    First step is generally to try booting from something else (Install CD, Recovery CD, Linux LiveCD or USB stick) to narrow down the problem to either a hardware failure of some kind or a problem with your Windows install.

  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    japan wrote: »
    First step is generally to try booting from something else (Install CD, Recovery CD, Linux LiveCD or USB stick) to narrow down the problem to either a hardware failure of some kind or a problem with your Windows install.
    I'll try to find my Windows CD (I haven't used it since I moved). In the meantime, I've booted with a floppy with a custom OS I made for one of my courses, and it works. So looks like a Windows problem.

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  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Richy wrote: »
    japan wrote: »
    First step is generally to try booting from something else (Install CD, Recovery CD, Linux LiveCD or USB stick) to narrow down the problem to either a hardware failure of some kind or a problem with your Windows install.
    I'll try to find my Windows CD (I haven't used it since I moved). In the meantime, I've booted with a floppy with a custom OS I made for one of my courses, and it works. So looks like a Windows problem.

    Update:

    I found my Windows CD and an Emergency Repair Disk software CD that I'd forgotten I had. I tried running the ERD software first, and near the end of booting it blue-screened and said to inspect and/or disable any new hardware or software installed on my system.

    Again, I'll say that I did not install any new software or hardware recently.

    The Windows disk booted, I'm in the first screen of the Windows setup menu now.

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  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Richy wrote: »
    The Windows disk booted, I'm in the first screen of the Windows setup menu now.

    I decided to try the Repair option in the Windows menu. It almost instantly blue-screened, saying to check or disable any new software or hardware installed. The error name is BAD_POOL_HEADER.

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  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Further details: hardware-wise, everything I have is integrated in the motherboard. Graphics card, sound card, network card, are all part of the motherboard. So it's not like I installed any new peripherals lately. I also have not installed or updated any drivers for a while.

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  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Progress! I unplugged both hard drives, and the ERD booted ok. So the problem comes from one of the hard drives, or their IDE connector.

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  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    A-ha! The ERD works fine with one of the HDs plugged in, but blue-screens when the other is plugged in. Looks like we found our culprit.

    Unfortunately, the HD that works is the one where I archive stuff, and the one that crashed is the one with the OS on one partition and all my documents on the other partition. This is not a good HD to crash.

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  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I would be ok if I could salvage the partition that has my documents on it. Any suggestions on how I could do that?

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  • KyanilisKyanilis Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    As a note my beast of a machine started doing this exact thing. Turns out I just had to unplug and plug back in the mouse.

    Weird eh? But it happens. In this case it may be your HDD. As far as salvaging it goes you might be able to if you put it in another computer where it isn't the primary drive and see if it loads. But it is likely accessing the drive may just not work at all for you.

  • SarksusSarksus playing tennisRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Yes, either connect the HD to another machine, though not as the device the computer boots off of, and see if Windows will recognize it so you can access your documents.

    I would personally recommend burning a Ubuntu Live CD, though, and booting off of that with the hard drive connected and see what Linux can dig up. If that doesn't work there are recovery suites like Trinity Rescue Kit, though it's all command line so you'll need some experience with Linux to use it effectively.

  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Well, good news: Future Shop hooked it up to one of their machines, and after running a few checks they managed to access the data. I bought a new 1TB USB drive, and they'll copy everything to it. Meanwhile, I'll install Windows on my second HD. So, losses will be a minimum - mostly program settings and stored passwords.

    So, I guess, thread solved. Thanks everyone!

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  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Or maybe not...

    When I tried to install Windows on my second HD, the Windows installer detected it as NTFS with 7GB free, which is right. It started copying some files, and I left it. When I came back, the installer had apparently restarted, as it once again was asking me to select what I wanted to do and to accept the license agreement. And it detected the drive as unformatted. I aborted the install, and since then I've been unable to boot with the HD in. With the HD unplugged, everything seems to work, but with the HD plugged in it can't even get through the BIOS.

    This is the HD that was working fine this morning. It's not likely that both HD would fail so catastrophically on the same day... so maybe it's a problem with the IDE controller on the motherboard. I gave the whole thing to Future Shop's tech support to run an inspection.

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