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Old 04-30-2013, 04:28 PM   #16
guyonearth
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I'm suspicious that there is a fault in the hard drive of some kind. It's possible for a drive to show in the BIOS but not be accessible to an operating system. Even if it lost it's partition table or was formatted in some different system, it should still show up. You should run a diagnostic on the drive from a boot CD and see if it is accessible and responds properly, and do a SMART check. If you're running the Windows installer and it says there's no drive, that's not a good sign. The only other thing I can think of is that there is a hardware problem with the system board, or that somehow you've got a BIOS setting that has locked out the hard drive.
 
Old 04-30-2013, 04:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guyonearth View Post
I'm suspicious that there is a fault in the hard drive of some kind. It's possible for a drive to show in the BIOS but not be accessible to an operating system. Even if it lost it's partition table or was formatted in some different system, it should still show up. You should run a diagnostic on the drive from a boot CD and see if it is accessible and responds properly, and do a SMART check. If you're running the Windows installer and it says there's no drive, that's not a good sign. The only other thing I can think of is that there is a hardware problem with the system board, or that somehow you've got a BIOS setting that has locked out the hard drive.
I'm sorry but I think this is counter-productive.
I suppose I ought not to comment if I have nothing constructive to say but I can't help thinking that this needs to be done:
Quote:
Originally Posted by AceofSpades19 View Post
It sounds like you overwrote the bootloader for windows. Can you boot into freespire right now? And does that BIOS support booting off of an external HDD? If you have a windows xp disk you can boot into recovery mode and do a fixmbr or fixboot and it might be able to fix it. (Also according to distrowatch, freespire hasn't been updated since 2007 so I wouldn't use it if I were you)
Then, if there is a hardware problem emerging it can be looked at.
 
Old 04-30-2013, 07:16 PM   #18
arranskye
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Thanks Ace, guyonearth & 273. I really appreciate your interest. As of my last posting I was up to having successfully used FIXBOOT & FIXMBR. Before these fixes the HDD showed in the bios normally. After the fixes the HDD still appeared in the bios but was ticked Disabled with no option to change.
A week before my attempt to install Freespire I had done a HDD check using Sentinal & a Mem test 86. (HDD Healthy) Both the internal & external drives showed up in the partition section of freespire when I was formatting the external disk and both were shown as healthy.

I agree I do not think that it is a BIOS problem simply because the bios only permits: Time & date to be set, USB mass boot,& Hard disk boot sector protection, to be ticked, and the boot order to be set. These are the only changes this bios allows. I have not yet even found a way to access recovery, safe mode, or last good config. I did manage to pause one of the bios screens and obtained the following information: Bios Insyde Software Moblie Pro; Bios version 4.20.10 version R.1.02. Primary IDE Disabled. I think I also caught a glimpse Disk metadata repair, but not too sure about this.

Now things have now gone from bad to worse. The laptop will not boot from the CD. It continually tries to boot from PXE receiving a Media Test failure. check cable. Checked it out on the internet and now know that it refers to an internet boot up so of course it doesn't work. (No Internet)
I have reset the Bios to 1st Boot CD on at least 5 occasions but no joy, still tries to boot PXE. Even tried 1st floppy 2nd CD but nothing works.
I would gladly take your advice 273 and run tests on the HDD but until we can stop the laptop trying to boot from PXE I cant run any tests.

273 Thanks I have already tried reseating the HDD twice, but again no joy. Freespire could not find the HDD either but cannot run it at all now unless we can get the bios to boot from the CD, but before the booting from CD issue occurred I was using a Hiren's live boot CD. It has a mini Xp that allows access to a limited Win XP on your own system, plus lots & lots of live applications to fix problems by accessing the DOS/cmd menus. There is an app for "force HDD boot" Did not use that, plus fixboot & fixmrb etc. A disk really worth having for £3.00 on Ebay. It even has a full Linux emergency recovery.

The MRB check carried out via the Hiren's CD stated Physical Drive 1 at off set. Do you think this means that its not seated correctly. Perhaps jumper pins or something. I think that Ace is correct. I overwrote the MRB and the corrections would have worked but didn't because the HD drive is not seated correctly. I look forward to your replys. Its not just the help that dumbos like me get from you, but the support & confidence that you inspire. Thank you all so very very much.
 
Old 04-30-2013, 07:24 PM   #19
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It sounds like you have changed the boot order to boot from PXE first. You should go into the BIOS and carefully look at every option available but not change anything unless you find the option for boot order which includes PXE and then you should put the hard drives before that. You could even just keep on looking until you find an option to disable PXE boot.
Often to boot from USB you need to tell the BIOS to boot from hard drive and change the order of the hard drives to point to the USB drive first so to undo this you would need to do the opposite.
 
Old 04-30-2013, 11:34 PM   #20
guyonearth
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I have a great deal of experience dealing with computer hardware. First, overwriting the MBR would have no effect on a Windows install seeing the hard drive or not. The Windows installer doesn't care if the hard drive is even formatted. If the Windows installer can't even SEE a hard drive, that indicates a hardware issue, either a bad drive, or a bad controller, cable, etc. Nothing he could have done to this drive with Gparted would have any effect on it's being able to be seen by the BIOS or available to the system. Either he's changed a BIOS setting rendering it offline somehow, or the drive, it's controller, or connector are faulty. The fact the CDROM suddenly doesn't work is revealing as well, either he's totally messed up the boot order, or his drive controller has failed. At this point I would suggest resetting the BIOS to defaults and see what happens.
 
Old 05-02-2013, 08:26 PM   #21
arranskye
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Red face

hi all. Sorry for the delay. Good news & not so good news: here is where I am at.

turned off router to stop PWE trying to boot. finally realised that highlighting the boot option was not enough. To hold the integrity of the command it was necessary to use the page up/down keys. BootS ok from CD now:

HDD Drive incorrectly seated. Re-seated now showing correctly in bios. checked the integrity of the HD Drive using S.M.A.R.T : Windows CHKDSK, A benchmark utility and also did a quick defrag. All showed disk healthy. Disk now appearing in My Computer and I can access the C: files & programmes,

I also used the windows installation disk to redo MBRfix Fixboot and also to establish that C: directories were in the correct location.
All had positive and successful results.

I have done a lot of reading and it seems that it may be the Boot.ini files are either corrupted or missing. Would it be possible to get step by step instructions to edit the registry files? How would I go about finding any missing files. Please.

Its also nice to see that you were all correct. hardware, software and user input were the problems but at least we know where we are going now.

Thank you all for your invaluable help. I would not have got this far without you and I have learned so much along the way. BIG BIG THANKS.

OH Just thought I had better mention laptop running XP Home but Im using XP Pro installation disk to access cmd. I have not got an XP home disk but could probably get one if absolutely necessary, however if I have to do a re-install I will use the XP Pro.disk
 
Old 05-02-2013, 08:57 PM   #22
yancek
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You indicate you have run fixmbr on your xp and you can see your 'second' drive? in My Computer. That's when you are booting xp? You are able to boot xp now, correct? Or not? Why do you think your boot.ini file is corrupt? I guess we need to know if you can boot xp and if so, what else you need? It's possible to boot a Linux install from xp if that's what you want but it is much easier to use the Linux Grub bootloader. Perhaps you could clarify exactly what the problem is, trying to dual-boot Freespire or Ubuntu with xp?
 
Old 05-03-2013, 07:17 AM   #23
arranskye
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Hi Yancek,

Told you Im a dumbo. So sorry should have explained: Right!! No laptop cannot boot from HDD. I can access the hard drive via booting up a live Hiren's Bootcd. This downloads a miniXP which permits a limited access to your own system. For example I can click "My Computer" and open files.
There is internet access with built in drivers. In many ways similar to a Linux distro. However it contains up to 100 utilities to check, amend, edit, and repair your system. For example MBRfix, Fixboot, plus full cmd access, ccleaner, hard disks checks, memtest, various antivirus utilities can be run from it to name just a few. There is also a Linux section.

At the moment we are back where we started but without the CD boot & unseated HDD complications. In other words when I boot up the original message appears, " Windows cannot start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem. Could not read from selected disk. Check boot path & selected hardware.

We now know that the hardware (HD Drive) is ok: We assume that the MBR is OK. We have established that the C: directories are in the correct location. If these parameters are correct then we need to tell windows the pathway to the HDD, which is exactly what the error message states (Check boot path) and I thought this was done by editing the boot.ini files, but I might be entirely wrong. I can now boot Freespire from the CD drive or possibly any other linux live CD. I have several. There is and always has been only XP home installed on this laptop HD drive. I tried to download Freespire onto a USB external HD Drive thinking that if I made any errors only the USB HD Drive would be affected. After installing Freespire on the USB Drive, I removed the disk. shut down, and when I started up windows could not boot up and I received the message detailed above.
I hope this gives you all the info you need but please feel free to ask for anything you need. Thanks for your time & help.
 
Old 05-03-2013, 07:20 AM   #24
273
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Did you boot from the XP CD and try to recover from there? That would be the next logical step -- getting your Windows install repaired.
 
Old 05-03-2013, 08:03 AM   #25
arranskye
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Hi 273,

The laptop is XP Home. The disk that I have is XP PRO. but it is also a Microsoft genuine advantage CD so it should not be a problem as I have never used it. It was purchased directly from Microsoft for £90. Yes I have booted from the MS Disk but it asks for an administrators password that I don't have. (I inherited the laptop with XP preinstalled when my sister passed away.) I have tried all the passwords that my sister usually used but no luck. I tried using the Hiren's CD to change the administrators password, which it did but the disk refused to recognise them. I can get access to command prompt but that's about it. I have been using the laptop for about 3 months but it has never requested a password.

I could try clicking the set up on the disk instead of the Recovery.

Do you think it would be best to do a clean re-install with the Xp disk or I can get a re-install disk from ebay for about £3.00

Thanks
 
Old 05-03-2013, 08:07 AM   #26
273
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If you don't know the admin password it could be difficult. I'm afraid it's been so long since I worked on an XP machine I've forgotten how the recovery options work. I thought you may be able to recover the MBR and boot loader form the CD without having to know the admin password of the install.
 
Old 05-03-2013, 09:48 AM   #27
arranskye
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Thumbs up SOLVED up and running

Hi All,

Just wanted to say a big thank you: laptop up and running and booting from the HDD. Brilliant. I used the Windows XP disk and cmd bootcfg.

Input bootcfg / scan : list : rebuild : add, in that order. exited, removed disk, rebooted straight into windows.

not only have I got my laptop up and running but it has also been an excellent learning curve. Thank you. I hope you will all still be around to answer my 100's of Linux questions when I get started. I will probable continue to try to gain some knowledge on Ubuntu before moving onto a more demanding distro but any advice on this will be gratefully received.

Also I really enjoy my Puppy distro and I have got Damm small puppy to try as well. hey!! for Linux guys you were considerable more help than the windows forums that I posted to prior to Linux questions. much appreciated

Thanks again Aceofspades, 273, guyonearth, & yancek.

Cheers
 
Old 05-03-2013, 09:51 AM   #28
273
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Glad you got it solved, now you have learned a little more and know how to recover should things go wrong you should be able to install Linux more easily too. Have fun playing with Linux .
Oh, and remember to mark the thread "Solved" (It's a link at the top of the thread that you can click).
 
Old 05-03-2013, 09:58 AM   #29
arranskye
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whoops!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't know where my final 2/3 posts/ responses have gone. Submitted a post detailing how I got the laptop booting from the HDD. Any idea where they have gone. Spiky post or at least part of it appears to have got a bit mixed up with mine.
 
Old 05-03-2013, 10:05 AM   #30
273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arranskye View Post
Hi All,

Just wanted to say a big thank you: laptop up and running and booting from the HDD. Brilliant. I used the Windows XP disk and cmd bootcfg.

Input bootcfg / scan : list : rebuild : add, in that order. exited, removed disk, rebooted straight into windows.

not only have I got my laptop up and running but it has also been an excellent learning curve. Thank you. I hope you will all still be around to answer my 100's of Linux questions when I get started. I will probable continue to try to gain some knowledge on Ubuntu before moving onto a more demanding distro but any advice on this will be gratefully received.

Also I really enjoy my Puppy distro and I have got Damm small puppy to try as well. hey!! for Linux guys you were considerable more help than the windows forums that I posted to prior to Linux questions. much appreciated

Thanks again Aceofspades, 273, guyonearth, & yancek.

Cheers
I see this as your last but one post -- is that correct?
 
  


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