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PC help - desktop won't start!

Discussion in 'Computer Related Help & Discussion' started by Paul_R, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Hi All

    I know its not camara related but I'm desperate!

    On booting-up my pc tonight I found it wouldn't start (I have managed to gain access to the web via a laptop!). It goes through its normal start-up procedure but then shows a screen stating that windows has not started correctly and gives the following options to start windows:

    Sfae Mode
    Safe Mode with networking
    Safe Mode with comand prompt
    Last known good configuration (your most recent settings that worked)
    Start windows normally

    I have tried all of the above but it just ends up back at the 'options' screen!

    Possible cause: Yesterday I added a new Western Digital 500GB external drive (plug and play - no software came with the drive). Later that night I backed-up my pc to the new drive using windows backup. At the end of the backup I then attempted to create a windows automated system recovery disc which failed to complete, it froze and I had to reboot the pc. Still worked ok after that.

    Tonight, I started the pc but the windows automated system recovery disc was still in the floppy drive so I am assuming this may have been the cause for the pc not starting properly?

    Can anyone advise on a possible sollution bearing in mind I'm not a pc expert? I would appreciate any help in getting my pc back online!
  2. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    I assume that the recovery CD is now removed from the drive. Have you still got the original hard drive to swap back in and boot from?
  3. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Hi David

    Thanks for the prompt reply.

    Yes, the floppy has been removed from the drive. Not quite sure what you mean re the original hard drive. The new drive is an external drive.
  4. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    Ah yes, it was an external drive and not an internal drive upgrade. Have you tried disconnecting the new disk? - the computer might be seeing that as the boot disc and trying to boot from that. The objective here is to try and get you back to where you were before you added the drive.

    Failing that, you might have to resort to an earlier working recovery disc (if you have one) or the original Windows disc (assuming your laptop came with one) to do a repair from.

    I am guessing that the faulty auto-recover disc tried to 'repair' your Windows installation when you booted with it still in the drive and you've overwritten a system file.
  5. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Hi David

    Yes, I tried disconnecting the new external drive and the other, older external drive along side it, but still nothing.

    I do have an older recovery disc but I'm not sure how to use it! I have placed it in the floppy drive but when the pc is going through its 'start-up', it doesn't seem to be trying to read from it. It doesn't seem to be giving me an option to 'tell it' to read from the floppy although I would have thought it might do it automatically on trying to start up.

    I think you might be right about the problem being caused by the auto-recovery disc being in the drive on start-up. I think it might need a visit from a PC Doctor!
  6. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    Might be best. My next approach would be to take the internal disc out, put it into a caddy, mount it as an external drive on the laptop and then see what system files are missing or corrupted and then replace them followed by reinstallation and rebooting. This is not a task for somebody who is not PC savvy. :(
  7. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    As a little side issue, I don't bother with Windows Recovery Discs since I'd rather be more in control of any recovery process and not let Windows thinks it knows best for me. I have an image of my hard disc (after a clean install and with only basic apps/setup) in case of ultimate disaster and all my data is on another drive and regularly backed up as well as my mailbox contents and favourites etc. This also gives me easy scope to upgrade and swap discs without too much worry.

    BTW, I use Acronis TrueImage to take a snapshot of disc. It can also clone a disc so upgrading a disc becomes quite easy - plug in new bigger disc as an additional drive, use Acronis to clone contents of C: to it, remove old disc and plug in new disc, boot and put old disc into a caddy for use as an external backup (or as a snapshot of a known working system in cases like this).
  8. Moos3h

    Moos3h Well-Known Member

    I'm not 100% certain as to whether you can use this option from a DOS command line, but if you can get the machine to boot to DOS (from a bootable floppy for example) then try 'SFC /scannow' (you may need to be in the C:\Windows directory) which checks for all the correct Windows System files, that they are valid and replaces those that don't work.

    If you have a Windows CD you can do it from that.

  9. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Have you tried going into the BIOS ansd checking whether the boot order is correct for the machine to look at the floppy drive first? If it looks at the hard drive (C)first, it won't recognise that the boot disk is in A and won't read it.

    On start-up, when words first appear on screen, you will see a reference to Set Up f2. Press f2 and hold it until Set Up>GO appears. This will take you to the BIOS screen. Right arrow along until "Boot" is highlighted and press Enter. Down arrow to "Boot Order" or some such phrase and press Enter. Check that the first disk the machine looks at is the Floppy Drive (A) - if it is not, you can change it to A. Press f10 to save your changes and Exit. The machine should now continue to load Windows, and should look at the boot disk first. Just follow the options. Try it, it might just work.
  10. Gordon_McGeachie

    Gordon_McGeachie In the Stop Bath

    The pc can only boot from a hard drive ( you cannot boot from an external drive)that is the `c` drive which is connected to the motherboard by the ide cable to the ide socket 1 which is normally blue on the board. If you are using a system that you have built yourself and have the original windows xp disc, insert that into the drive and restart your pc, if your pc is set to boot from a cd before the hard drive then let it (if not you will have to restart, go to the bios and select this option from advanced options). You will be given the option to a `repair installation`.Do this option and let it do the business which will replace any lost or damaged files. This should give you back your pc. If you got the 500gb drive to act as your `c` drive then you can connect it to your pc and go through the `file and settings transfer wizard` which you will find by going this way `start-all programs-accessories-system tools- file and settings tranfer wizard` and follow the instructions.

    Personally I would go for the option of swapping your drives over and reinstall from scratch, this way you will also get to clear out any junk files that any cleanup may have missed.
  11. john60wales

    john60wales Well-Known Member

    A PC normally goes into this Option Screen automatically after failing to boot!
    A BIOS on many Modern motherboards can be set to 'Boot from an external' device! Check in the BIOS that your PC isn't looking for system files from the new external hard drive?
    My 'best' guess is that there are corrupted system files preventing the PC booting. You can replace these files - but I always find it easier to just re-install Windows, after all you don't know how many files may have been corrupted.
    As long as the CD/DVD is set to boot before your hard drive then both XP & Windows2000 pretty much do it all for you..
    Good luck
  12. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Plenty to think about there, David and something I will look into once I get this sorted!
  13. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply and offer help/advice on possible solutions. It really is appreciated.

    I can't even get past the 'options' screen even trying with the f2 or f10 command. I know you wait until a certain point during startup but it still won't respond. I have searched the web (at work!) and found various sites giving step-by-step advice on how to restore/repair windows etc, but as I say, I can't get passed the options screen!

    Anyway, I know when something is beyond me and when to call in the experts so I have booked an appointment with the PC Doctor for this Saturday ;)

    Thanks again everyone and I hope to be back up and running early next week.
  14. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    Is it fixed now?

    And the result is...
  15. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Re: Is it fixed now?

    Well, I took my poorly PC to the PC Doctor on Saturday but it was so ill that it had to be admitted :(

    I am now waiting to hear from the Doctor with the diagnosis. I will let you know as soon as I hear from him but I will let the PC know you were asking after it :D
  16. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    Re: Is it fixed now?

    Oh dear. Admissions are usually accompanied by a sharp intake of breath, a new motherboard, new disc, and a new clutch plate! ;)
  17. Ian_A

    Ian_A Well-Known Member

    Re: Is it fixed now?

    Here's hoping they don't find any pictures of Gary Glitter on your hard drive ... ;)
  18. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    Re: Is it fixed now?

    [Wimbledon Umpire]
    New keyboard please.
    [/Wimbledon Umpire]
  19. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Re: Is it fixed now?

    Don't say that! Mind you, it might be an excuse to buy a new PC ;)
  20. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Re: Is it fixed now?

    :D :D Can I just say here and now (before you read about it in the press, or in the 'News-Discussion' section of this forum!), that the site I visited last week was done purely by accident.....honest officer! :eek:

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