Operating system not found on laptop

By Hodsocks
Aug 2, 2007
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  1. I have a Sony laptop, I formatted and reloaded Windows XP onto it without a problem, turned it off and when I came back to it and turned it on it came up with the above message. I then carried out a repair install of windows, which again went OK, then I loaded SP2, which again went OK, but when I restarted the pc it came up with the same error again.
    I am a little confused as it happily booted onto the desktop after loading windows but as soon as I turn it off and back on again it throws up the message. If it was a hard drive problem I would expect problems with loading windows but that goes OK.
    Any suggestions from you guys?
  2. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Usually, this is a hard drive error, where one or more of the first four boot sectors has its magnetic media peeling up. Thus it will load OK, but cannot read the boot sectors to start up, due to the tiny error set. It doesn't take much.
    This happens on laptops more frequently than desktops. I suspect this is because the Sony laptops, and others in which it happens are too thin, and air cooling channels are too narrow. The hard drive just gets too hot and the extremely thin magnetic coating fluffs off.
    Best test is to try another hard drive now. You can get refurb Seagates at www.tigerdirect.com and others... or new WD and Seagates at a low price and with a long warranty at www.zipzoomfly.com or www.directron.com

    Be sure to use canned air to clean our your Sony air channels about once a month..
  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

    laptop hard drives have a higher failure rate than desktops due to the mobile nature of latops and heat issues.

    You have classic symptoms of a failed drive. Replace it.
  4. Hodsocks

    Hodsocks TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 526

    Thanks for the comments lads, I did eventually get to the bottom of the problem, it was due to the hard drive being disabled as a boot up device in the BIOS.
    Ray,I did blow out the fan housing as it did seem to be running hot and cleared out quite a lot of dust and fluff, its a good tip for most laptops though.
  5. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Interesting. Any idea how that BIOS change happened. We have seen several problems traced to a BIOS change recently. I am wondering if this is a user change, or is there some infestation that is causing it.
  6. Hodsocks

    Hodsocks TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 526

    Not sure really I received the laptop because the owner was having problems loading windows, but I suspect it may be a user change as you suggested but can't say for sure.
  7. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Thanks for taking the time to update us.
  8. just4fun1

    just4fun1 Newcomer, in training

    area 51-m

    have alien laptop 5620d came in operating system not found so assumed hard drive bought new one try to load windows goes thru motions of copying files then still says os not found put hd in other laptop works fine shows in bios in alien use partition expert off bootable cd no prob cant load windows please help
  9. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    A good first step, if you can access it, is to verify that the hard drive is activated, or is set at first boot, in the BIOS. You should still be able to see a guide for access to the BIOS when you first press the On or Start button.

    If no work, check your hard drive cables and connectors carefully.

    There have been amazing numbers of Alienware laptop failures in various models. I do not know if your Alien is one of those. If still under warranty, immediately contact Alienware to establish date of report.
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