Boot failure - urgent help required

By Ben_b ยท 25 replies
Jan 5, 2006
  1. for a background to this thread, see:

    Now the situation is this:

    Computer POSTS, the lil asus woman tells me "computer now booting from operating system", then it restarts. Cant enter safe mode, cant do anything.

    I have found a post over on ASUS' forum detailing this exact same problem, but no solution. ( Deluxe).

    So, i've gone through the "repair windows" scenario. I managed to find my silicon image SATA drivers, load them up and then windows went thru the repair process fine. It restarts to carry on with the setup, but once again the problem remains.

    I cleared the CMOS (using the jumper method) but the problem remains.

    this computer is pretty damn important, i need some help!
  2. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    ok so im now of the opinion that going back from rev 1013 of the BIOS will sort my problems.

    If the HD was screwed then windows wouldnt install on it

    so, how on earth do i go back a version or two from a floppy without windows?
  3. OpTiMuSpRiMe

    OpTiMuSpRiMe TS Rookie Posts: 156

    first off do you have a raid set up and if so what config.. last know config won't work after a repair cause you have just cleared the last know good with the repair.. second off do you have another hdd that has a windows partition on it to try???let me know
  4. krzycracker

    krzycracker TS Rookie

    Most likely it's a hard drive poblem and all of your data is gone, unless you have a data recovery done, your pretty much out of luck.

    depending on your os, you normally could boot from a OS disk (windows xp cd) and run the repair console. once in the console type chkdsk /p. this will attempt to fix any disk problems. or let you know that you have a toasted drive.

    Good luck, If you get really mad you can always use a hammer, which of course wont solve the problem, but it will fix it for good >:)
  5. OpTiMuSpRiMe

    OpTiMuSpRiMe TS Rookie Posts: 156

    you will have to make a rom disk from another don't have a backup of the old bios flash rom disk or did you normally use the automatic internet flash from windows??
  6. OpTiMuSpRiMe

    OpTiMuSpRiMe TS Rookie Posts: 156

    it almost sounds like a bab MBR (masterboot record) not completely sure cause i can't see what is happening but you might want to try booting the recovery console and doing fixboot drive name:
    Use this command to write the new Windows boot sector code on the system partition. In the command syntax, drive name is the drive letter where the boot sector will be written. This command fixes damage in the Windows boot sector. This command overrides the default setting, which writes to the system boot partition. The fixboot command is supported only on x86-based computers.
    fixmbr device name
    Use this command to repair the MBR of the boot partition. In the command syntax, device name is an optional device name that specifies the device that requires a new MBR. Use this command if a virus has damaged the MBR and Windows cannot start.

    Warning This command can damage your partition tables if a virus is present or if a hardware problem exists. If you use this command, you may create inaccessible partitions. We recommend that you run antivirus software before you use this command.

    You can obtain the device name from the output of the map command. If you do not specify a device name, the MBR of the boot device is repaired, for example:
    fixmbr \device\harddisk2
    If the fixmbr command detects an invalid or non-standard partition table signature, fixmbr command prompts you for permission before rewriting the MBR. The fixmbr command is supported only on x86-based computers.
  7. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    ok thanks for your efforts (so far!) but thats a bit "high brow" for me, i dont know where to begin...

    First off, I only have a single SATA disk running, no RAID setup.

    Secondly, using ASUS' AWDFlash program and a spare computer i've now reflashed the BIOS back to a previous version (1011). This appears to of worked (in so much as, it POSTS, with that rev name). However the problem still exists.

    I simply refuse to believe my HD could of been lost in the space of a reboot.

    Now optimus, break it down some...

    Booting the recovery console - as in the recovery console on an XP disk?
  8. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    hang on, holy crap im getting somewhere

    now logged into recovery console

    its regonised my installation at C:\Windows and accepted my admin password
  9. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    now done fixboot c

    but nothing

    now going to do fixmbr
  10. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    fixmbr did indeed detect a non-standard or invalid master boot record

    master boot record successfully written...

    performed a chkdsk, came back in good condition but checked it all anyway. It has my free space as 17gb (from 78gb) which is about right from when i last checked.

    this is taking its sweet time, will inform when its done
  11. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    got to 50% then packed in.

    no difference on restart, still screwed

    currently reseating RAM
  12. OpTiMuSpRiMe

    OpTiMuSpRiMe TS Rookie Posts: 156

    hey sounds good man... let me know!!! glad to help anytime
    well crap thought would do but maybe not
  13. OpTiMuSpRiMe

    OpTiMuSpRiMe TS Rookie Posts: 156

    after you reseat the ram try one at a time... but while doing that disconnect the cdrom drives as well.
  14. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    reseated RAM in all slots (cut it down to just 512mb) and nothing.

    swopped ram with different stick, nothing.

    did it without CD drive attached, no difference.

    Swopped the SATA disk over to the other channel on the mobo (seems to regonise it at the silicon image RAID controller) and nothing.

    is there anything left to do?

    im not convinced a format is going to fix this....
  15. OpTiMuSpRiMe

    OpTiMuSpRiMe TS Rookie Posts: 156

    how is that going man??
  16. OpTiMuSpRiMe

    OpTiMuSpRiMe TS Rookie Posts: 156

    do you have another hdd that has a windows partition on it that we can try??
  17. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    i have an old IDE one, but its been sat gathering dust for a long time in a PC that no longer works. And it could of been that, that was causing it to fail.

    i'll have a go....
  18. wlknaack

    wlknaack TS Rookie Posts: 143

    HDD Signature

    In the boot sector, between the master boot record and the boot partition lies the HDD signature which, along with it's assigned drive letter, specifies where to find correct active partition. The WinXP fixmbr command, while it rebuilds the mbr does not affect the HDD signature. However, the WIN98 fdisk /mbr command will rebuild the mbr and zero out the HDD signature. Since you have already found out the there was indeed a problem in the mbr, it is possible that you also have a corruption of the HDD signature. Since your problem still exists, you might as well give this a shot.

    If you have access to another computer, go to and download and create a Windows 98 Start Up (Boot) Disk. Boot your computer to the Boot Disk and run fdisk /mbr. Do not look for an affirmative response, the command will run and you will be immediately returned to the command prompt. Remove the disk and reboot your computer. The HDD signature will be zeroed out and Windows will be forced to create a new HDD signature. Good luck.
  19. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    right well before i do that, here's some interesting news.

    my old IDE harddisk appears to still function. Gets regonised as primary and the computer starts to boot.

    But guess what

    Fails in the exact same manner, exact same place.

    Houston we have a problem

    And its not the Harddisk or the RAM
  20. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    im now reformatting this IDE drive to put a fresh XP install on it. Like to stress that there is no SATA connectivity in the machine right now.

    If this fails to work, is it worth taking the battery out over night?

    I wasnt aware this would do muc passed the jumper reset, but it might?

    Im starting to think somethings gone seriously downhill with my mainboard...
  21. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    right, things got slightly more interesting. Formatted the IDE hard disk, fresh install of windows on it, rebooted.

    It made it passed the screen on which it crashes and into windows setup!

    And then got a fatal error! damn!

    Gave the useful instruction "the parameter is not correct", only option is to click ok, then it reboots. And then it does it again for good measure.

    So now i'm stuck in a completely different loop. Albeit equally useless.

    Im not convinced there's any way to tell if its my install CD. Its never had any problems before, but they do seem to go downhill rather fast.

    Going to put the SATA back in and see whats new.
  22. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    nothing changed with the SATA.

    Made the win 98 boot disk, but it wont even regonise it (not as a floppy or CD) so thats a no go.

    Im going to remove the battery and go have a cup of tea.

    Been at this for 5 hours straight now.
  23. Ben_b

    Ben_b TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    CMOS reset did nothing.

    Changed the gfx card

    nothing - altho i did see a bit of a BSOD. couldnt read it tho, too fast.

    took out network card, all USB leads everything


    short of changing out the PSU (pretty sure it couldnt be) CPU or motherboard, everything that could of been changed has been.

    With no effect.

    Looks like i will have to reformat tomoz night - will loose last 2 weeks of data and a couple thousand emails :(

    teach me not to backup over christmas.
  24. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    even after a bios update you must go into bios and reset to factory optumum defaults
    then reset the boot order for your sata drive
    may read as scsi
    same thing happened on a update of my server
    not only did I have to reset the bios but had to reset the scsi setup utility as well
    but you have to start with the bios
    now with all the disk repairs and mbr fix
    I would make a new install somewhere else on drive this will save your data if you realy need it
    so be at peace start install like from scratch
    don't do a repair
  25. OpTiMuSpRiMe

    OpTiMuSpRiMe TS Rookie Posts: 156

    i am sorry for leaving so abruptly last night ben.. if that does not work then i thing your best bet would be to take it to a bestbuy or something so they can look at it.. but keep in mind most of their employess only have an A+ certificate for hardware...not that great...for the money they charge..anyway man good luck dude
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