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Windows 7: Windows failed to start and can't find operating system


30 Nov 2011   #61

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by silvergreen View Post
Nope, still won't boot. I haven't touched my computer since last week and have been waiting for my Windows 7 reinstallation disc to arrive.

On Thanksgiving I tried running my recovery disc again. Didn't work. I burned a fresh copy of the disc. I was hopeful because it loaded the blue Windows background screen more quickly than the old disc, but it ended up stalling there for an hour before I turned the PC off. Then I asked a friend to try burning the recovery disc to a USB stick. Not sure what he tried, but he knows his stuff and couldn't get it to work. He was able to get Ubuntu to run from a USB, and I accessed my hard drive from there and copied all my files to an external drive. So thankfully I rescued my files, but since I couldn't get the Windows 7 disc (any of them!) to work, I felt like I had hit a wall.

I wanted to try the advice in your last post, but I had a question: with "remove the battery," were you referring to the CMOS battery? I looked at the Dell manual for instructions, and there were literally 12 components I had to remove (none of which I could identify on sight) before removing the CMOS battery. I looked on YouTube for instructional videos, but there weren't any for my make and model, and I decided against it. If you're referring to the primary battery, though (I wasn't sure), I'll definitely try it.
I was referring to the primary battery. It turns out I had been misinformed by some other sources as to what this does. I have since done research and discovered the true outcome.

If you turn off the computer, remove all power sources (AC Adapter then primary battery), hold down the power button for 30 seconds, plug all power sources back in (primary battery then AC Adapter), and turn the computer back on, you accomplish two things:
1. You clear your temporary memory of any corruptions
2. You reset the software connections between the BIOS and hardware which can reset many hardware related issues that prevent the computer from properly executing the boot sequence.

Edit: If hardware seems to be malfunctioning in Windows, the above may also fix these types of hardware problems. For instance, I have a problem on my laptop where my USB ports will stop working and recover, and then any USB device I plug in returns the error that the device is not recognized regardless of which port I use. Resetting the software connections between the BIOS and hardware, as described above, fixes my issue.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Dec 2011   #62

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

Tried resetting the BIOS...thanks for the suggestion, but nothing changed.

Now I'm back with another problem: finally received my Windows 7 reinstallation DVD from Microsoft. I put the DVD in, it loaded just fine, and I got to the screen with two options: Install or Repair Your Computer. I figured I'd give the options from Repair Your Computer one more shot since I never actually ended up running the final two rounds of Startup Repair before my recovery DVD stopped working. Only I chose Repair and ended up with a black screen.

Okay, well...forget that, I'll give up on repairing and just install Windows. Only ever since then, when I've put in the DVD...it doesn't load. It finishes loading the "Starting Windows..." screen with the four-colored Windows logo and then hangs on a black screen with a cursor. I haven't seen the blue Windows wallpaper or the "choose your language" or the Install/Repair screen since that first try. This is exactly the same thing that happened to my recovery DVDs. They worked initially and then mysteriously stalled on a black screen after attempting repairs. I haven't mishandled the discs, and they don't have any scratches. I'd understand there might be some kind of hardware problem if the discs never worked at all, but what on earth is happening that could make them all stop working?! Reinstalling Windows 7 was pretty much my last resort, so if this DVD has stopped working I don't know what to do. Is this in contention for the longest thread with no resolution ever?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Dec 2011   #63

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by silvergreen View Post
Tried resetting the BIOS...thanks for the suggestion, but nothing changed.

Now I'm back with another problem: finally received my Windows 7 reinstallation DVD from Microsoft. I put the DVD in, it loaded just fine, and I got to the screen with two options: Install or Repair Your Computer. I figured I'd give the options from Repair Your Computer one more shot since I never actually ended up running the final two rounds of Startup Repair before my recovery DVD stopped working. Only I chose Repair and ended up with a black screen.

Okay, well...forget that, I'll give up on repairing and just install Windows. Only ever since then, when I've put in the DVD...it doesn't load. It finishes loading the "Starting Windows..." screen with the four-colored Windows logo and then hangs on a black screen with a cursor. I haven't seen the blue Windows wallpaper or the "choose your language" or the Install/Repair screen since that first try. This is exactly the same thing that happened to my recovery DVDs. They worked initially and then mysteriously stalled on a black screen after attempting repairs. I haven't mishandled the discs, and they don't have any scratches. I'd understand there might be some kind of hardware problem if the discs never worked at all, but what on earth is happening that could make them all stop working?! Reinstalling Windows 7 was pretty much my last resort, so if this DVD has stopped working I don't know what to do. Is this in contention for the longest thread with no resolution ever?
You're definitely getting up there in length. Go into your BIOS and select the Default settings option. Then try what I suggested about resetting the software connections between the BIOS and hardware again. This will reset the CMOS, then reset the software connections, and it will clear your temporary memory. That may allow you to boot the DVD. Let me know if you still have issues.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Dec 2011   #64

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

What happens when I reset the BIOS back to the default settings? Will I notice any changes to my computer, and are there any important settings I should take note of (if by some miracle my computer actually comes back and I want to restore my customized settings) before I do it? Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Dec 2011   #65

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by silvergreen View Post
What happens when I reset the BIOS back to the default settings? Will I notice any changes to my computer, and are there any important settings I should take note of (if by some miracle my computer actually comes back and I want to restore my customized settings) before I do it? Thanks.
All running the selection to reset the BIOS back to defaults really does is reset the CMOS and reconfigure the BIOS to its original settings. I say all, but that is actually a pretty significant thing. Your CMOS is basically a memory chip with all the BIOS information on it. It can become corrupt (settings in the BIOS change without you meaning for them to), and you have to reset it. See What is CMOS. You may also be interested in Bios (What it is and how to use it)

Edit: Changed my explanation of the CMOS to reflect actual functionality...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2011   #66

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

Update: after resetting the BIOS again with no changes and giving my computer up for dead, I popped in the Dell Windows Vista reinstallation DVD that came with my computer and....it worked. Granted, I have no idea how it worked, but the DVD loaded at a normal speed and prompted me to repair my computer. Afterwards, it said the repairs had been successful and prompted me to reboot and login. Hopefully this can help someone else!

After doing more research and running a Western Digital diagnostic, I think what happened was a hard drive problem. I replaced my hard drive in March and had no reason to believe it had gone bad already, but it failed both the quick and extended tests. Also, I loaded the Event Viewer and found a ton of "shadow copies were aborted because of IO failure on volume C:" errors, and even though I turned on System Restore it keeps turning itself off and saying there aren't any old restore points. Not sure how all of this relates to the boot manager going bad, but I'm thankful my computer is back for the time being. Guess I'm buying a new hard drive.

Thanks to everyone who helped, and big thanks to writhziden for offering so many suggestions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2011   #67

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by silvergreen View Post
Update: after resetting the BIOS again with no changes and giving my computer up for dead, I popped in the Dell Windows Vista reinstallation DVD that came with my computer and....it worked. Granted, I have no idea how it worked, but the DVD loaded at a normal speed and prompted me to repair my computer. Afterwards, it said the repairs had been successful and prompted me to reboot and login. Hopefully this can help someone else!

After doing more research and running a Western Digital diagnostic, I think what happened was a hard drive problem. I replaced my hard drive in March and had no reason to believe it had gone bad already, but it failed both the quick and extended tests. Also, I loaded the Event Viewer and found a ton of "shadow copies were aborted because of IO failure on volume C:" errors, and even though I turned on System Restore it keeps turning itself off and saying there aren't any old restore points. Not sure how all of this relates to the boot manager going bad, but I'm thankful my computer is back for the time being. Guess I'm buying a new hard drive.

Thanks to everyone who helped, and big thanks to writhziden for offering so many suggestions.
If your hard drive is that new, it is likely under warranty. They usually have a 2-3 year warranty attached to them. I would recommend contacting the manufacturer and having them supply you with a new one. Depending on the company, you may have one shipped to you for free and just have to return the new one in the box the new one shipped in, or it may cost 20-30 in currency to have one shipped and send yours back in the same box.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Jan 2012   #68

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Was a new hard drive able to resolve your issue?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows failed to start and can't find operating system




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