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Vista not loading, boot sector problem? BIOS? Multiple problems?

By O negative
Apr 3, 2012
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  1. I've been troubleshooting a laptop off and on for a while now and I hope I now have enough clues to diagnose the problem.

    Trouble first started for the owner almost a year ago when Vista stopped loading automatically. It went into "Windows error recovery" screen with the options of repair or start windows normally. When he chose start normally it would load Vista just fine. Meanwhile, he had the hard drive loaded to the brim with movies and he thinks he remembers getting at least one warning at some point that the disc was getting full. I don't know if the first warning came before Vista stopped booting or after.

    This error recovery option worked for him until this past January. Since then, when "load Windows normally" is selected it tries to, but then goes to a blue screen saying that loading has been stopped to prevent damage, suggests turning off memory caching, etc. and reports a memory dump. The latest log (1/19/2012) shows several attempts to download some Vuze plugins, recording "unknown host" errors. Vuze is a movie download service. It seems that it tried to download updates while there was no internet connection.

    1.Since then I have removed several movies and freed up about 20 Gb of space.
    2.The process log at X:\sources\recovery\tools reports:
    Function init adapter failure, failed to initialize the RAID class. etc.
    3.SFC/scannow reports no integrity problems.
    4.Chkdsk finds no bad sectors.
    5.Automatic startup repair from the "System Recovery Options" menu can't determine a cause.
    6.bootrec /scanos successfully scans and finds ZERO Windows installations
    7.Impossible to view BIOS!! (Two IT professionals tried with their own hands and I tried while on the phone with Toshiba support.)
    8.CMOS battery voltage 3.3V with motherboard removed.
    9.Bootlogging while attempting to load normally shows that driver load sequence is the same each time up to a point, but the order is different each time for a few drivers just before it gives up.

    There are no problems retrieving, copying, deleting files from the hard drive (using command prompt). USB ports work fine. DVD works fine. Can boot from USB drive with hard drive removed. Can boot from DVD if "C" is hit at the right time (or maybe "D"--I forget).

    Is bootrec/fixmbr or /fixboot worth trying? (Note: The only Vista discs I have are UPGRADE discs, 32 bit & 64 bit.)

    Specs: Toshiba L305D, AMD Turion 64, Vista 32 bit, Insyde H2O
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,243   +234

    Its got to be the motherboard. Have you checked the internal CPU heatsink for contamination from dust and other debris?
  3. O negative

    O negative TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    It was a bit clogged and I cleaned it out. I would really love to pop this hard drive into an identical machine and see how it does. Or would it have to be identical? I have an HP I could use. Would it be as simple as changing the HP's BIOS setup? Or is the Vista install machine-specific?
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,243   +234

    "Or is the Vista install machine-specific?"...
    Technically yes... It is never wise to swap boot hard drives from different motherboards and expect them to work flawlessly

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