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Unbootable Hard Drive

  1. Aug 27, 2008 #1


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    Hi guys

    I need help with my pc I use for my projects and programming.It doesn't want to boot from the hard drive and really need it to because I have some very important information in it. I am not good with hardware(hope one day i will) but have tried everything I can to get it working again. So please guy, anyone who can help unleash this matter please help me.

    Any help is really appreciated
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2008 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Can you give us some info on what happens when you turn it on? "It doesn't boot" doesn't help us much.
  4. Aug 27, 2008 #3


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    Hey thanks for the interest.
    When I switch it on it says "boot system failer insert disk and press enter" and when I do that it continues to load windows setup and then it says there is no hard drive installed.

  5. Aug 27, 2008 #4
    I'd get myself a live cd of UBUNTU (www.ubuntu.com) and boot off of that. from there you just go to PLACES>>Computer and see if the drive was found. you can then burn all of your info to cd from there.
  6. Aug 27, 2008 #5
    Sounds like dieing sectors to me. Is your computer a Dell or Gateway by any chance? The easiest fix will be to go out and buy another HD and after installing it and reloading your OS, plug in your old one as a secondary to retrieve your data.
  7. Aug 27, 2008 #6
    cds are a lot cheaper than harddrives... another check is to see if it is a hardware problem. Does you BIOS detect the drive, because if it doesn't than the above 2 ideas are pointless. check this by hitting <del> or <F2> right at startup and go to the corresponding menu for IDE or SATA HDD detection. If it doesn't detect it it could be that the harddrive is completely crapped out, or it could be the cable or the motherboard channel, or the power.
  8. Aug 27, 2008 #7
    Another thing you might try is to download a utility like BartPE or get a boot floppy or CD and run a chkdsk /f on the drive. I've come across quite a few drives that woudn't boot because of a couple bad sectors on the disk.
  9. Aug 27, 2008 #8


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    Staff Emeritus
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    One should always make a bootable rescue disk (CD, these days, as opposed to 3.5'' floppy). That way one can boot off something other than the HD.

    It could be that the boot sector is damaged.

    However, if the system cannot read the HD, then is could be the controller on the motherboard is bad, or it could be a catastrophic hard-drive failure, i.e. a mechanical failure. A mechanical failure of the HD means you'll have to have to send it to a company that does data recovery from failed HD's and that will cost ~$1500-$2000, and success is not necessarily guaranteed.

    However, what one can do is buy an HD caddy with USB connectivity and put the HD in that to see if can be read on another computer.

    My daughter's laptop drop off a stool and the HD crashed. It appears to be a mechanical failure such that it could not be read. The only recourse was to install a new HD in her laptop and install a fresh copy of Windows from the Windows CD that came with the laptop.

    The guy who worked on the laptop told me that his company is seeing much higher failure rates of HD of with 200 GB or more, especially those using NTFS.

    If one values one's work, one should backup all data files on DVD and one or more external HD's which are protected from vibration and temperature variations.
  10. Aug 27, 2008 #9


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    Thanks again.
    Honestly these ideas help. But to tell what really happened: my friend came with his HDD and we removed mine to put his.We then did what he wanted (writting his info to a disk) and then when I tried to put mine there came a problem.what I trying to say is,the chances of it being a HDD mechanical failer are slim. i thought maybe its some BIOS configuration that change.
  11. Aug 27, 2008 #10
    Check to make sure that your jumper is set to master on the HDD and some mobo's are picky about the boot drive being on IDE0 (The first wide ribbon cable connector).
  12. Aug 27, 2008 #11


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    Hmm - hopefully you changed HDD's with the computer off. Is it a laptop or desktop?

    Switching out HD's is not a good idea, especially if the friends HD was setup on a different OS or motherboard. Next-time but the other HD in a USB caddy.

    Settings might have changed.

    When starting up the PC, go into set up (some BIOS use del key, others F8, F10 or F12, which one holds down) and look at the boot sequence. See if the setup can detect the HD. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, take the computer to a reputable computer service or Best Buy's Geek Squad, and explain the problem.

    Sometimes devices get switch if one is exchanged. One might have to uninstall components like CD.
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