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Windows Vista PC won't boot. (Update: BIOS issue?)

Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
edited February 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I don't know why, but my PC started refusing to boot early this morning. The computer makes it to the second BIOS screen (where it starts loading drives) and then hangs. I can make it to the setup or boot menus, but what I've tried so far hasn't worked. A HDD diagnostic says that the drive is okay, but neither booting to my utility partition nor using a boot CD work. Trying to boot to the utility partition causes a hang similar to booting normally. Attempting to boot from the startup disc I made causes the following message: "Selected boot device not available." I'm given the options to retry or go to the setup menu, but retrying gets me the same message.

Any thoughts? Any additional information I can provide?

Fig-D on
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Posts

  • JavenJaven Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Check the boot order in your BIOS to make sure everything is as it should be. That's usually the first place I look when having booting problems

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  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Boot order is floppy drive, CD, HDD. I'm pretty sure that's business as usual.

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  • Dunadan019Dunadan019 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    A similar thread came up a while back where the problem was a loose cable.

    Check to make sure that all power and data cables are in their upright and locked position.

  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I just opened it up, checked the wires, unplug/repluged some and gave it a good cleaning while I was in there.

    No change.

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  • Dunadan019Dunadan019 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    How long have you waited during boots? Might want to let it sit for a good 20 minutes to see if it gets past the hang or shoots an error code out.


    If you take out/unplug everything except for your HDD and 1 strip of ram, does it boot?

  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    The max I let it sit was probably 10 minutes? I'll try again at let it sit a while longer to see if I get a message.

    For the second test, I've got 4 strips of RAM in my PC, do I take out 3 sticks or 2 so that I have one pair? I'll have to try that a bit later after I let it sit for a bit.

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  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Well, I left my PC on for about an hour and it didn't get past the hang or give me an error message.

    Unplugging one set of RAM, DVD drive, floppy, wireless card, and my external HDD (that doesn't have any Windows/system files on it) had no affect other than the boot telling me that items were missing. I had unplugged my video card but I don't think I have onboard video and not being able to plug my monitor in makes things a little hard to see. It did make different beeps when started it up without the card though, so I guess I can assume its no the issue since it didn't do that otherwise.

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  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I read online that the reason the boot disc isn't reading may be a faulty DVD drive. So I'm going to go out and snag one of those in a bit if no one else has any ideas.

    EDIT: Yeah, that didn't work. Help meeeeeeeee. I'm stumped.

    EDIT2: Found a diagnostic disc and it actually boots. If it tells me anything useful I'll make another post.

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  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Okay. I was able to get the Vista startup disc to run finally (burned it to a different disc).

    The first option I tried was "Startup Repair" but it didn't detect anything wrong. So I tried to use "System Restore" to try and restore my PC's state to a few days before this issue started and it said the process was complete, but the original issue persisted after startup. I checked the "Startup Repair" log and it said all three times that it managed to get the OS to boot successfully so now I'm looking elsewhere.

    Could my BIOS have been affected by something somehow? What sort of fix would be available to me? I'm sure there are better sites to be asking these sorts of questions on but I'm not sure which sites are any good. Any recommendations there?

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  • Coarse LanguageCoarse Language Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Run linux instead. Reasons are listed:

    -It's free

    -Tech support is some Linux fan on IRC

    -If you hate IRC Google has the answer

    -Vista blows and every step microsoft is taking is an apology for it. http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2008/03/05/microsoft-apologizing-for-windows-vista-with-new-singularity-os/

    -It's free

    -Most applications (eg. word processors, spreadsheets, imaging software, music players, etc.) are free to download

    -It's stable, and has been since the 80s

    -Most hackers and programmers are running a distribution of linux, programming viruses that target your own operating system is like bathing with a toaster.

    -Bill Gates hates you

    Ubuntu 10.10 is the most current and user friendly version out at the moment. Did I mention it's free?

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I do not understand the thought process which concluded that would be a seriously helpful post.

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  • RusparRuspar Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    It sounds like your Motherboard is bite the huge hotdog, brother.

    She be toast.

    In otherwords, I think your motherboard is Borked

  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Fffffuuuuuuuuuck.

    Anyway I can test that before I resume panicking?

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  • Coarse LanguageCoarse Language Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Gaslight wrote: »
    I do not understand the thought process which concluded that would be a seriously helpful post.

    If you've ever fixed a computer with a boot sector virus that eats windows and makes your machine a paperweight you would know exactly how that is useful.

    THIS IS MOST LIKELY NOT A HARDWARE ISSUE.

    Something viral got on your computer, probably while torrenting things off of tpb or surfing pr0n.

    Go to http://www.ubuntu.com Download 10.10 burn a cd for it or get a copy of LiLi to put it on a thumb drive (usb key, flash drive, whatever the savvy lingo is this week) boot from that device. This process will take you an hour to setup the boot medium in the first place. If it boots up ubuntu then great news, you needn't spend a dime on hardware. You can even test drive the OS without even changing anything on your fucked over hard drive.

    Was that helpful enough at breaking down my previous post gaslight? Should I draw you a fucking map?

  • SkeezicksSkeezicks Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Go to http://www.ubuntu.com Download 10.10 burn a cd for it or get a copy of LiLi to put it on a thumb drive (...) boot from that device.

    Definitely try this first before panicking.

  • Coarse LanguageCoarse Language Registered User
    edited February 2011
    ^o^

    Holy fuck, personal hero. Thank you skeezicks. I thought I may have been speaking in sanskrit or something. Too many people discount the simple and free option as useless. I could kiss you... No homo, no homo...

  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I don't think I've torrented anything illegally since I got out of high school. But that's nether here nor there

    If I can boot ubuntu and keep the stuff on my hard drive intact then I'll give it a shot. I don't have much that's irreplaceable so it wouldn't be a *major* loss, but I'd like to get my resume and other documents off of there if nothing else.

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  • Coarse LanguageCoarse Language Registered User
    edited February 2011
    If you have access to a hard drive dock you can save what you need elsewhere. The lesson you should take away from here is "back-up your important shit regularly"

    You might be able to look through the filesystem and rescue important shit while running on disc. Keep a couple usb storage devices handy. Regardless Ubuntu gives you the option to test drive without any change to your hdd so the only thing you stand to lose is an hour of your time. Which leads me to the question, why are you wasting time posting to the forums when you could be taking a step toward a working machine?

    I usually have to get a computer working for my friends after they say it's a doorstop so when I go at it I format and start fresh.

    I like this report feature. I never used it on other sites but now that I've been yellow carded and then red carded a few times I might just start...

  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    The ubuntu iso was downloading as I typed the last post and burning during this one.

    I haven't really looked into Ubuntu before so I'll have to look at what I can get running in its environment.

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  • Coarse LanguageCoarse Language Registered User
    edited February 2011
    If you want to play pc games you're fucked and need a dual boot. If you're an average user and you just check email, write documents, watch movies, listen to music, etc. this is the perfect OS for you. Windows is pretty much for PC gamers and anyone who doesn't know better. As far as compatibility with other computers with your saved files is concerned most of the office software will save and read in windows format as well as linux or mac.

    Linux is the OS of choice for hackers and programmers. The reasons are it's stability, the open source nature of it, and the simple fact that after the early nineties most distros had provisions for compatibility with windows and mac OS.

    Did I mention it's free?

    PS. A program called WINE will emulate windows enough to play some windows games, some others don't play nice with WINE so if you're a serious gamer (most of us are) you'll need a dual boot. If you know any college students going for programming or IT they have access to a couple flavors of windows for peanuts. I recommend XP Pro or 2000, I'm not familiar with 7 as I ignored anything Microsoft put out after vista.

  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Booting from the Ubuntu disc gave me this message and error as it loaded:
    BusyBox v1.15.3 Ubuntu 1:1.15.3-1ubuntu5) built-in shell (ash)
    Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
    
    (initramfs) mount: mounting /dev/loop0 on //filesystem.squashfs failed: Input/output error
    Can not mount /dev/loop0 (/cdrom/capser/filesystem.squashfs) on //filesystem.squashfs
    

    "help" gives me a ton of commands, almost none of which I'm familiar with.

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  • Coarse LanguageCoarse Language Registered User
    edited February 2011
    this is why I suggested google. Your answer is there, probably on a forum. If not there is someone on an IRC server that is more well versed than I am with even less of a life than me who will be more than happy to help.

    If I try to solve the riddle of your error message I'm going to google it myself, but I have to take care of things today. Good luck, just copypasta your message into a search.

  • SkeezicksSkeezicks Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    It could be that your download messed up. Check the size of it. I think it should be about 600 to 700mb.

  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    The size of the iso was significantly smaller than that. I'll re-download.

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  • Coarse LanguageCoarse Language Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Thank you skeezicks. I'm juggling about 8 things at once.

    As a side note, if you don't want to waste cds a blank thumb drive will work by playing with the boot order. You need to run lili on your .iso to make it play nice but otherwise it's ready to roll.

  • SkeezicksSkeezicks Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Thank you skeezicks. I'm juggling about 8 things at once.

    Well, the way I see it is that H/A is a community effort. ;-)

  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Well, Ubuntu seems to run from this second disc just fine, so I guess that means you were correct about a boot sector virus.

    I'm a little shaky on randomly Googling answers now, as that was what I was doing before the issue arose. I was looking for a way to have Steam recognize a directory on a separate drive (I use the machine for everything, including quite a bit of gaming). My external drive was off at the time, so I guess I can move personal documents and save games over to that.

    I'm pretty much looking at a HDD format, yes? Better to wipe it then try and clean it?

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  • Coarse LanguageCoarse Language Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Take your important shit. Resumes, family photos, etc. the things that cannot be replaced. As far as your music and video collection is concerned the virus may be mixed in there so consider anything replaceable cancer and format the mofo.

    You're going to need a working version of windows to run your games, WINE is a finnicky whore. Talk to any of your college graphic design friends or even bribe a college student with ten extra dollars to get a cheapp distro of Win XP Pro or whatever flavor they have now. The students usually can get a copy for about 10% of the cost of standard retail. Although getting Windows in this fashion isn't expressly illegal it is frowned upon. Most campuses wont sell Win to anyone but their computer majoring students. Good luck bro.

  • SkeezicksSkeezicks Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I don't like to jump to conclusions. This could simply be that your boot sector got corrupted. I would try these steps first.

  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Awesome, thank you.

    The instructions on that page helped me get my computer up again. I'm going to run MBAM and avast! to see if they pick anything up.

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  • SkeezicksSkeezicks Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    That's great. Glad to hear it. :^: Let us know the results.

  • Fig-DFig-D Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Sorry to get back to you so late.

    MBAM didn't turn up anything but avast picked up what it thought was a virus in my HP folder. I wasn't sure it was actually a malicious file but I deleted it anyway since I've been having trouble with the HP stuff since I installed it. I then had avast do a pre-boot scan where it found a Java bug and a corrupted (but not infected) file so I had it trash both of those as well. There was an avast update after I got back to Windows sometime this morning so I'm scanning once more to see if anything slipped past the boot scan or replicated before deletion.

    As far as my original issue goes though, the boot issue has been solved. Thanks for all the help guys!

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  • SkeezicksSkeezicks Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Yeah, HP's software can be a real pain sometimes. I'm glad you got that mess sorted out.

    Cheers.

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