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Dead computer - No idea at all - Reformat apparently impossible

By Cintas ยท 12 replies
Dec 6, 2008
  1. Hi members of techspot,

    My computer recently died on me, completly died.
    I think it got a virus, i uninstalled my anti virus because it was causing problems and i forgot to re-install (i know.. very stupid)

    Since, my computer has just died:

    -If i try to start normally it gets stuck at the boot screen with windows logo
    -If i try to start it safe mode it says safe mode is impossible, system must restart

    I have tryed using the "repair" option using the XP disk , but my computer crashed half way through and made things worse, now if i try to use this option it freezes at the point where u must chose what to repair

    now, after many crashes, i cant run the xp disk: I folloz the steps, press enter, i accept the terms and ocnditions and then It gets to the part where it is " searching for previous versions of microsoft windows" and it stops working, i dont know if it freezes or not. No red light indicating the hard drive is working.

    All possible options i can see fail, what can i do..?
    Is it a bust hard drive ?

    I have found no posts related to my problem, so i would be very gratefull if some one could help me. Can i reformat, completly wipe my hardrive without using the XP disk?

  2. Codine

    Codine TS Rookie

    Hello hopefully i can help you.

    Your not completely screwed.. well not yet anyways, you could boot your xp from a USB drive (Flash Drive) And you should be able to formatt the drive that way.

    Hope this helps for you, if it doesn't, install a 8gb hdd.. run your main one as slave.. isntall xp onto the 8gb or so one, and then formatt your slave one.

    Hope this helps :)
  3. Cintas

    Cintas TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Flash drive?


    So are you suggesting i upload the XP setupn onto a USB stick?
    How big would my usb stivk have to be?

    Anyway, then i insert the usb stick, and on boot i should be able to boot via the USB stick?

    Otherwise, i use another hard drive and set my original one as a slave drive?

    Have i fully understood?

    Thank you very much for your help, if this is correct i shall try it :)
  4. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    I doubt it is a virus. Sounds more like a corrupt OS or boot.

    Run CHKDSK C: from your windows CD to repair the boot sectors.
  5. Cintas

    Cintas TS Rookie Topic Starter


    The problem is i cant get to that bit of the CD, it just crashes. I am trying the method posted before and so far so good :)

    Thanks for the help, it would be a shame if i just lost all my files because of a boot problem.
  6. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    then you have a hardware issue, not a software issue if you cannot even boot directly off a CD.

    check your ram with memtest 86+ booted from a CD

    check your PSU with a tester tool and multimeter.

    check your cables and connections.
  7. hrlow2

    hrlow2 TS Rookie Posts: 136

    Codine. First, the USB stick has to be bootable. Second, machine has to be able to boot from USB device.
  8. ompaul

    ompaul TS Rookie

    You could get a random live GNU/linux CD and see if you can see the data on the windows partition, usually you can and if you have to "force mount" the partition windows was not going to get to it at all, then you try to copy the data to some other drive.

    knoppix, gnewsense, ubuntu being suitable for this task in my estimation

    At this point in a terminal run the following command:

    sudo cat /dev/zero > /dev/?da

    ** where ? is s or h as needed (s is sata and h is ide)

    this will nuke the drive and its partition table completely treat the machine to a fresh install of whatever you want to run on it

  9. bigspud200

    bigspud200 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    i know this is a stupid question but this happened to me b4 all i done was took everything out of my pc cleaned it with a clean paint brush put all the components back in and it was fine i think my primary hdd was fuked but it worked for me i hope u get it working
  10. tw0rld

    tw0rld TS Maniac Posts: 572   +6

    Are you getting any beep codes at start up?
  11. Cintas

    Cintas TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It works


    Thank you all for your replys, i took into account all of your solutions and took apart my computer, checked everything was working, cleaned it all and put it all back together.

    It partially worked, i was able to boot from CD...
    But, at formatting, alot of files were "unable to copy" so i had to skip these files (by pessing escape)

    This was my only option, only problem is, i now have 37 files missing ^^
    For the problem all seems fine, but computer jumps a bit now and then, are there any scans which can check ones operating system and replace missing files?

    Thank you all for your help


  12. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523


    Start->Run-> sfc /scannow

    Please copy and paste that command in the run field
    By the way, if you have any 3rd party resident protecting programs running (like Spybots S&D or even a personal firewall), you are best to un-install these first


    well if you can get to where the windows install is searching for previous versions of windows then it could be a lot of things. the quickest way to get around this is formatting the drive with a bootable utility found on UBCD4Win (google it), DBAN (google it), or paragon partition manager. after deleting the partition (and optionally creating a new one) you should be able to boot off your xp disk and re-install. If you continue to have missing files you need to get a different OS disk.
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