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Author Topic: Please help! PC dead  (Read 845 times)
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Vinda-Lou
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« on: June 11, 2011, 06:10:54 PM »

Computer's been a bit schizo lately, and stupidly I ignored it.  I really know how to plug it in and maybe a bit more, so I'm not too technically savvy.  I did a restore to a previous, stable date and that worked.  But then it went and died, I think. 

Here's what's happening:
-Turns on, beeps once
-Goes through Bios and quickly lists the boot up things
-When the Vista logo should appear, the computer hangs up.  Just a blinking dos-like cursor in the upper left corner
-Pressing f8 on boot up does not bring up advanced menu for safe mode or anything, just the basic boot menu.
-When I click on my hard-drive, the computer hangs up at the blinking dos cursor again.
-When I press the power button, the whole system turns off instantly instead of holding the button down for a moment.
-I've checked all components and cards for connections and all seems fine.  Bios shows the ram, etc.
-I've inserted the cd that came with the computer and on the basic boot menu tried to boot up from the cd.  It hangs on "press any button to boot from cd"
-I removed the network card and nothing changed either.
-I'm pulling my hair out.  Many family photos and important documents on this computer.
-Running latest version of Vista.

Please offer guidance or point me in the right direction online to find help.  I've done a dozen google searches, but nothing has helped.  If all else fails, I will bring the computer in to a shop nearby, but I'd rather not risk my data, and my wife will flip for spending more money on the computer.
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2011, 06:34:15 PM »

If it won't boot from the bootable cd, j00 may have a 'real' problem.

Here's a possible:

Since it seems to be having trouble booting to a drive, either hard, solid state, or optical... is there a possibility you can get a bootable flash drive, perhaps a bootable linux environment? Set the bios to boot from flash (assuming your board allows this), and see if it can boot from THAT.

when you say 'when I click on my hard drive'... to what are you referring? the basic boot menu? (aka the bios boot select, I'm assuming you mean)

your part where it hangs on 'press any button to boot from cd'... are you absolutely certain your keyboard is functioning at this point? we just had another user with a bios usb keyboard selection problem.

Don't pull your hair out, the data isn't going anywhere fast smile

Atomic

PS: When you get this 'fixed'... an 8 gig usb flash drive is extremely... and I mean EXTREMELY (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220301) cheap. Buy two, and back your data up to each one, and throw them in a drawer. (or one in the drawer, and the other in your safety deposit box at the bank) (we say two, because usb flash drives have been known to die spontaneously.. but as long as that doesnt happen, they have a better shelf life than your average optical backup, as long as you keep them safe)
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2011, 06:36:08 PM »

Also, you're posting here, so I'm assuming you have access to another comp.

Atomic
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Vinda-Lou
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« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2011, 06:51:18 PM »

Thanks for the advice, Atomic.  I am typing on my macbook air, so I can still access the internet and put things on flashdrives.  My question is where to download linux things to boot my computer from.  If I can download things like that, what would be the next step if it does boot to the flashdrive?

The keyboard does work, as I am able to move around in bios and the boot menu.  The menu where I can click on my hard-drive is the menu that shows up after pressing f8.  From memory, I believe pressing f8 brings me to the advanced boot menu where I can go into safe mode, but now it doesn't allow that. 

I am very fearful that windows is fried and I hope that hard-drive is still okay!  I do have an external hard-drive where I can take my drive from the PC and hook it up in the external drive to the mac.  I do this many times when transferring files from PC to mac.  It hooks up via usb.  Problem is, I cannot move files from the mac to the external hard-drive.  But I do have a couple flashdrives around to set up linux bios.  Just don't know how or where to find it, or what to do if it works.  I'll check google for now.  Thanks!
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2011, 07:32:25 PM »

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/

Mostly, this is just to ascertain whether the system will boot from a flash drive. It almost certainly will... I'm wondering if something happened to your drive controller (since you can't seem to boot at all from the normal drives)

The good news is, if it WILL boot from a flash drive, you could backup your data, assuming the drives are still functioning.

Atomic
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Dante Rising
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2011, 08:58:16 AM »

Good luck. The hard drive on one of my computers just went bad. The system rebooted and suddenly I got a report that 32% of my HD space was unrecoverable. I just built a new computer, so I guess that could be considered good timing...
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Vinda-Lou
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2011, 02:25:54 PM »

Yikes.  I went to that website for booting from the flashdrive, and it's a bit above my head.  I downloaded the windows installer to my mac and used crossover to run the .exe download of linux. 

What do I do?  Just put the "live-usb-install" exe file on the flashdrive, or do I need to run it first and then put it on the flashdrive?  And how do I do all of this on a mac?  Thanks.
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Vinda-Lou
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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2011, 03:26:01 PM »

Ok,  I finally got my boot cd for Vista to run in the drive, and I can "sort of" boot from the disk.  When it gave me the option to boot into safe mode, it eventually brought me to the Vista installation screen instead of running safe mode.  Now I'm trying to restore from last safe settings (or something). 

I'm guessing I'm totally fucked, and Vista is wiped.  Is there a way to try to recover data before reinstalling Vista?  I cannot get the hard-drive out of the computer, and the type (SATA?) is different than my external hard-drive enclosure.  Can I somehow hookup my mac to the PC directly or to the drive to try and recover and copy files before the re-install?  Or still try to figure out the linux boot from a usb drive first?
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2011, 08:13:54 PM »

Hmm, interesting.

Ok, skip the pendrive linux. It was only an idea, based on the idea that your drive controller might be shot. (and we can always go back to it)

From what I'm hearing, you have a sata hard drive/optical setup in the malfunctioning computer. And the external drive you have fits only pata drives.

Is anyone here more familiar with the vista install disc? I actually skipped vista itself, don't want to blow up his setup by mistake. My idea here is to either reinstall over his existing setup to get him to a bootable condition without destroying his data, or get him to a bootable environment via either bootable flash drive, or bootable optical (thinking linux environment), long enough for him to recover his data to a flash drive.

And for the record, why can't you get the drive out of the machine?

Atomic
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Dante Rising
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« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2011, 09:08:48 PM »

Quote from: TheAtomicKid on June 12, 2011, 08:13:54 PM

Hmm, interesting.

Ok, skip the pendrive linux. It was only an idea, based on the idea that your drive controller might be shot. (and we can always go back to it)

From what I'm hearing, you have a sata hard drive/optical setup in the malfunctioning computer. And the external drive you have fits only pata drives.

Is anyone here more familiar with the vista install disc? I actually skipped vista itself, don't want to blow up his setup by mistake. My idea here is to either reinstall over his existing setup to get him to a bootable condition without destroying his data, or get him to a bootable environment via either bootable flash drive, or bootable optical (thinking linux environment), long enough for him to recover his data to a flash drive.

And for the record, why can't you get the drive out of the machine?

Atomic

It has been awhile since I installed Vista, but there is definitely the option to do a clean install or the "repair" option that keeps your data and installs only necessary items that are lost or corrupted. I installed the latter way, and all my data was still intact.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 09:10:19 PM by Dante Rising » Logged
Caine
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2011, 06:28:12 AM »

i would look into creating a windows RE disk using your vista install media.  note that this was made available in windows vista sp1 and some tech sites put together a disk image to help those without the media or in your case, unable to create one internally.  use this to attempt the windows startup repair function.

Link
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Vinda-Lou
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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2011, 10:54:29 PM »

Thanks guys for the guidance so far.  And Caine, that is a great find.  As long as I can do it via a Mac, I'm all in. 

Before I do anything though, I am ordering this adapter cable to try and transfer any files that still exist from the drive to my mac via USB.  This way, if I mess something up while recovering or reinstalling, at least I have my family pictures and other documents, etc. 

I'll need to wait until Thursday or so to get the adapter first, give it a try and go from there.  I guess if I cannot access any files this way, I'm screwed.  Fingers crossed this works...
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2011, 09:24:00 PM »

Update?

Atomic
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Vinda-Lou
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2011, 09:47:03 PM »

Whew!  I was able to locate the cd boot disk that came with the computer.  I found the Vista key on the side of the computer tower, and went and reinstalled vista, with all of my files in the "old windows" folder.  I had used the adapter to transfer files anyway to the mac, but it was still very good that I was able to save the other files.  I basically then had to reinstall the latest nvidia drivers, reinstall avast, spybot, the malwarebyte's anti-malware.  I merged my program files folder from the "old" folder to the current one.

Some error messages are still popping up, and I feel like the computer is running a bit slower than I remember, but that might be in my head.  An error I got this morning was: "An unauthorized change was made to windows

You will no longer receive notifications, including those about your license or activation. Use the link below to find out how to fix your system.
Error:0xC004D401
Description: The security processor reported a system file mismatch error."

And I had one of the "video drivers failed to work," messages, but I didn't see what it was in time.  Something to do with the video card.

(Can you tell how technical I am?   Roll Eyes

Thanks again guys for helping out.  I'm going to try and get a game running later and see how it works.  Any ideas on the errors?
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MonkeyFinger
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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2011, 01:47:16 AM »

Quote from: Vinda-Lou on June 18, 2011, 09:47:03 PM

You will no longer receive notifications, including those about your license or activation. Use the link below to find out how to fix your system.
Error:0xC004D401
Description: The security processor reported a system file mismatch error."

This should walk you through the fix: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/931276
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-craig

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Punisher
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2011, 04:52:18 PM »

IF you haven't already, remember to update all of your drivers....

Also, if it's a desktop, pop the case open and blow it out with canned air (outside of course), then leave the case up and power it up and see if all your fans are working..
If it's a desktop, same thing... take the bottom covers off and blow through all the vents and exposed areas.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 04:54:16 PM by Punisher » Logged
Vinda-Lou
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« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2011, 08:33:22 PM »

Quote from: Punisher on June 19, 2011, 04:52:18 PM

IF you haven't already, remember to update all of your drivers....

Also, if it's a desktop, pop the case open and blow it out with canned air (outside of course), then leave the case up and power it up and see if all your fans are working..
If it's a desktop, same thing... take the bottom covers off and blow through all the vents and exposed areas.

 icon_biggrin

When I had first opened the case, tumbleweeds rolled out!  I vacuumed until it looked brand new. 

I've updated the drivers, Windows update has been going pretty consistently for a couple days now.  I splurged and bought Bulletstorm, as I remember seeing cool scenery and distant vistas in the videos of the game - so I thought it would be a fun game to try.  The last game I bought was... I can't even remember.  Maybe Fallout NV.  The game cruised along without a hitch, with most eye candy cranked.  (The game is corny, enemy AI has taken big steps backwards from when Unreal first came out... but it was mindless fun)

And "Error:0xC004D401" has not resurfaced yet.  I'm assuming all the Windows updates have taken care of that.  So far, so good... thumbsup
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