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Windows 7: SMART disk drive error-can't access Advanced Boot Options repair mode

10 Oct 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit ACPI
 
 
SMART disk drive error-can't access Advanced Boot Options repair mode

My system is showing an internal hard drive error and F8 advanced boot options page doesn't appear to exist anymore (lost recovery via F8). That limits my troubleshooting.

The system is a Dell Inspiron 560 desktop with core 2 quad Q8300 CPU at 2.5 ghz. 6.144 GB of RAM with DDR3 SDRAM. It's 3 years old with Windows 7 Home Premium. The computer is basically used only for surfing the web and has 98% of the RAM free. When the system was purchased 3 years ago it came with no recovery disks or any b/u software. I'm not really worried about losing the data on it as other than the Windows Operating system, there's not much that couldn't be resurrected from the web. This chain of events started 2 weeks ago when I received a windows "Boot Configuration data file is missing required info error." A system restore solved most of that issue and allowed access to Windows but I was still left with numerous script errors that locked me out of some frequently used web sites/pages. At that point I followed an on-line solution to properly repartition the boot config. Upon doing that and restarting, I lost the system Boot Manager and could not start the computer at all ("no boot device available"). I had hosed myself as no doubt my tinkering in the boot config mode wiped out the needed boot management for a proper reboot.

At that point I took it to a local repair tech who brought the computer back to factory condition, fixed the boot config, reloaded all software, updated windows w/ current updates, and loaded an American Megatrends Bios page that I had never used before. After 3 years of degrade the system probably needed to be scrubbed clean. Following the work the system ran flawlessly and better than I can ever recall....for about 24 hours. I could finally run Utube videos w/o lockups after 10-15 minutes and things like spell checker magically appeared again on numerous sites. But, then while reading a common website page I've accessed every day for 2 years, I received a SMART warning saying that windows detected a hard disk problem and it could fail at any time (ie back up your data). I get is warning about 15-30 min now. I ran some diagnostics through the AMI startup BIOS page and it identified Sata Port 0 as being "SMART capable and Status Bad." Also "AHCI Port 0 device error." I ran check disk repair via Windows and it found some clusters bad in 4 of 5 (file data - file 82565). Windows replaced those bad cluster. Everything else was reported as clean.

My next step was to run diagnostics via the advanced boot options page (ie computer repair) but it is apparently inaccessible via F8 or F5. My computer tech didn't know why that feature was not available to me. I've yet to bring the computer back to them figuring I don't want to double up my $175 cost w/o exhausting things I can do from home. I'm thinking the advanced boot options page was lost in the reloading and addition of the American Megatrends Bios page. That's the only real program change on this reload. My computer has always run straight to windows login page automatically. Now it stops at the AMI BIOS page and you have to hit F1 to continue the startup (or select F2, F3, F12 for other choices). But, regardless of where I hit the F8 key (or F5) during the S/U process I cannot get an advanced boot options page to troubleshoot further (before AMI loads, after AMI loads, before or after the Dell splash screen, before-after-during the Windows icon shows up, etc.). I've done that quite often in the past and never had a problem using it....until this new AMI startup feature was added. I tried some work arounds listed on the net to no avail. I'm not a computer guy by any means, but I can follow a script when presented.

Based on the error code I received Tuesday it probably is true I have a hard drive with limited life left. Could be days or weeks. With only surfing use maybe it's years? I tried loading HD Sentinel to find the exact cause of the SMART error but that didn't load properly and I canceled it. Today I backed up my minimal files and documents that I have on to Mozy free (<2GB). I have a ton of web page shortcuts that I didn't want to lose, especially hundreds of financial charts from trading sites I frequent. 40 MB total in shortcuts, photos, and a documents. Next step is to pick up a backup external hard drive (300-500 GB) so I can put my whole system in backup. That's something I never did before. I have a 720 GB hard drive but only about 50 GB is being used. After already paying a tech $170 to fully reload my system last week it looks like I have to do that again soon once the internal hard drive is replaced with a new one. Probably should have just bought a new computer. The tech said they did about 40 reboots to restore my system to normal. Maybe all the slamming it received since the original boot config error just did the disk in? There were no recent power surges but I don't have the best electric reliability around here and my system has crashed on loss of power dozens of times over the past 3 years (no battery b/u). My previous Windows 98 computer on "dial up" with 1.1 GB ran for 8 year without any disk problems on the same unreliable power.

My basic questions now are:

1. Is there a workaround for my F8 issue or do I need to get rid of the AMI BIOS page? The recovery partition that runs this may be gone. It stinks not having this feature available for troubleshooting. It probably wouldn't help me any even if I could access it but I'd like to try. Found one work around in an older post but you need to enter the windows\system32> command prompt which I can't do. My system only accepts command prompts for individual users from the "start" button.

2. Is there a decent free on line disk sentinel I can load that could isolate my disk problem further? It might just be a less critical problem such as "overheating" or? I did clean out the computer thoroughly of all dust. Fans are all working fine.

3. Should I just forget all the above and simply put in a new internal drive? Or am I missing something that could make this all go away with a little more troubleshooting/software repair? In googling similar problems some people seemed able to walk away from a similar disk error w/o replacing it. Other than this disk error popping up every 15-30 min my system has no other degrade issues that I can see such as lock ups, forced shutdowns, blue or black screens, slowdowns, etc. Just the F8 problem. And that could have been there since the recovery since I didn't need to go and use it. The system doesn't have any real load on it from gaming, tons of movies/music/videos, big spread sheets or files, etc. It's basically opening up fresh web pages each day and they closing them out each day.

I've come here a few times before in the past and ended up being able to fix the problem with the help received (BSOD, ram failure, etc.). Maybe I can get lucky again. Thanks.

Brian


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

10 Oct 2013   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit ACPI
 
 

While trying to load a HD sentinel from CNET I picked up a malware/spyware search engine called "Sweetpacks" that has become my new default search engine! It won't go away by selecting a new default browser either. A search of the forum for this bug suggests loading a particular cleaner program. Tried that and the links are no longer any good.

Decided to do a system restore back to early this morning when I first loaded the Mozy "free" backup program. That got rid of the Sweetpacks malware/search engine as well. One less problem. But now I'm afraid to load any HDD sentinel from the internet.

Note that I never received a system recovery disk with this Dell system package. So running a recovery CD is not an option for me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2013   #3

Vista Ultimate X64/ Windows 7 Dual-boot
 
 

It's time to replace the HDD...what do you have for backups ? ?
If nothing start immediately backing up...you may have 3 days...or 3 minutes...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


11 Oct 2013   #4

Winndows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brian Keefe View Post
While trying to load a HD sentinel from CNET I picked up a malware/spyware search engine called "Sweetpacks" that has become my new default search engine! It won't go away by selecting a new default browser either. A search of the forum for this bug suggests loading a particular cleaner program. Tried that and the links are no longer any good.

Decided to do a system restore back to early this morning when I first loaded the Mozy "free" backup program. That got rid of the Sweetpacks malware/search engine as well. One less problem. But now I'm afraid to load any HDD sentinel from the internet.

Note that I never received a system recovery disk with this Dell system package. So running a recovery CD is not an option for me.
Hi Brian,

Welcome to Seven forums.

I would like to inform you that it seems to be an issue with the harddrive of the system and it would require replacement.

However, to confirm the same you can follow this video below to run the diagnostics on the system:

http://dell.to/18xQpRy

Also, if you wish you can request the backup discs for your system from the link below:

Request Backup Disks

If the system is under warranty then please contact me through a private message by clicking on my name highlighted in blue. On the next page, click the envelope icon and provide your service tag and contact information so I may access your system records.

And, if the system is out of warranty then you contact our Expired Warranty Support at the link below:

http://dell.to/12LmNBq

If you have any further queries please feel free to contact us.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Oct 2013   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit ACPI
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SandeepP View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brian Keefe View Post
While trying to load a HD sentinel from CNET I picked up a malware/spyware search engine called "Sweetpacks" that has become my new default search engine! It won't go away by selecting a new default browser either. A search of the forum for this bug suggests loading a particular cleaner program. Tried that and the links are no longer any good.

Decided to do a system restore back to early this morning when I first loaded the Mozy "free" backup program. That got rid of the Sweetpacks malware/search engine as well. One less problem. But now I'm afraid to load any HDD sentinel from the internet.

Note that I never received a system recovery disk with this Dell system package. So running a recovery CD is not an option for me.
Hi Brian,

Welcome to Seven forums.

I would like to inform you that it seems to be an issue with the harddrive of the system and it would require replacement.

However, to confirm the same you can follow this video below to run the diagnostics on the system:

http://dell.to/18xQpRy

Also, if you wish you can request the backup discs for your system from the link below:

Request Backup Disks

If the system is under warranty then please contact me through a private message by clicking on my name highlighted in blue. On the next page, click the envelope icon and provide your service tag and contact information so I may access your system records.

And, if the system is out of warranty then you contact our Expired Warranty Support at the link below:

http://dell.to/12LmNBq

If you have any further queries please feel free to contact us.

Thanks for that information SandeepP. I have requested recovery disks from DELL. Note that I cannot access the DELL troubleshooting page on my computer via the F8 or F12 keys. Therefore I can not run the test you suggest above. The only troubleshooting I can do is via the AMI Bios page. And it doesn't offer very much. The system is 2 years out of Warranty. It's unlikely I'll ever get another DELL product again once this computer is done. It's almost cheaper to toss it out right now and just buy another product that is 100% new and under a full warranty.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2013   #6

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1
 
 

A good program to view your drive's SMART data and run SMART tests is GSmartControl. It's a free download without all the crapware.

If you can install GSmartControl on your system, you will get detailed SMART information.

GSmartControl is a GUI for smartmontools. There is an updated version of smartmontools and GSmartControl will use that version of the smartctl if you install the latest version of smartmontools as well. If you do install smartmontools, don't install with the 64-bit option, because GSmartControl may have a run conflict at the moment. The issue is being addressed.

The SMART data will give you information that a disk utility like Seagate Seatools for DOS or Windows won't.

If your hard drive has begun to fail by the SMART indications, then just replace the hard disk, reinstall the software with your newly ordered recovery disks and you'll be good to go. I had to replace my Dell laptop hard disk.

Regards
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2013   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit ACPI
 
 

Thanks for the help guys. I ordered those recovery disks on Thursday just before I crashed my system again after backing up to an external Toshiba hard drive I just purchased. While checking the external hard drive for any errors transferred I received a BSOD - windows critical error - emergency shutdown. And once again my boot configuration has disappeared, just like last week.

Went out to Staples and bought a replacement 500 GB Seagate hard drive for my computer. Next step will be to find someone who can load Windows 7 and my backed files back on my computer. The repair tech I used last week told me to buy a new computer (what a jerk). Then they would reload everything again like they did last week for the same $175! Fat chance. They were potentially the cause of some of this problem. I'm not counting on DELL to send me any recovery disks. They have not responded by email in 3 days to say they received my request for recovery disk(s). Maybe it is simpler to spend $400 or so and just get another tower.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Oct 2013   #8

Winndows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brian Keefe View Post
Thanks for the help guys. I ordered those recovery disks on Thursday just before I crashed my system again after backing up to an external Toshiba hard drive I just purchased. While checking the external hard drive for any errors transferred I received a BSOD - windows critical error - emergency shutdown. And once again my boot configuration has disappeared, just like last week.

Went out to Staples and bought a replacement 500 GB Seagate hard drive for my computer. Next step will be to find someone who can load Windows 7 and my backed files back on my computer. The repair tech I used last week told me to buy a new computer (what a jerk). Then they would reload everything again like they did last week for the same $175! Fat chance. They were potentially the cause of some of this problem. I'm not counting on DELL to send me any recovery disks. They have not responded by email in 3 days to say they received my request for recovery disk(s). Maybe it is simpler to spend $400 or so and just get another tower.
Hi Brian Keefe,

I understand that you have raised the request for the recovery disks and you still waiting for the same.

We truly regret for the inconvenience that has been caused to you. It takes 3-5 days to get the disks free of charge for our customers whereas with most manufacturers it is chargeable service.

Please send me the service tag of the system in a private message along with the owners name and address and I would try and arrange for the disks to be sent out as quickly as possible for you.

You could easily install windows on the system by following this tutorial here:

Clean Install Windows 7

Once installed then you can install the drivers by following this video here:

Updating Dell Drivers

Keep us posted with the results so we can advise you further.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2013   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit ACPI
 
 

Thanks SandeepP for that detailed reply. I dropped my computer off at a repair shop yesterday with the new hard disk drive I purchased. They are going to reload my operating system.

What's unfortunate again is that I tried calling up the DELL customer service numbers and got nowhere. Then I went to the Library to research new desk top towers. I ended up doing a DELL chat with a customer service rep who said they would help me. In fact they didn't really. When I asked them to price a new Inspiron 660 Tower (less the DELL monitor, keyboard, mouse I already have) it was $11 less than the $529 special already being offered on their own web site for a complete system. Some savings! I also explained my lack of response to my earlier request. I asked them to call me be back at home Sunday night to discuss a new system (specs/cost with someone who could make a decision and a reasonable deal). They said they would do that. Well, they didn't. I do see that they contacted me by email yesterday (just read it) promising to send those service disks. Well, that at least is a step in the right direction. I think buying a new tower in the $400-$475 range would have been a viable option...but DELL missed that opportunity.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2013   #10

Winndows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brian Keefe View Post
Thanks SandeepP for that detailed reply. I dropped my computer off at a repair shop yesterday with the new hard disk drive I purchased. They are going to reload my operating system.

What's unfortunate again is that I tried calling up the DELL customer service numbers and got nowhere. Then I went to the Library to research new desk top towers. I ended up doing a DELL chat with a customer service rep who said they would help me. In fact they didn't really. When I asked them to price a new Inspiron 660 Tower (less the DELL monitor, keyboard, mouse I already have) it was $11 less than the $529 special already being offered on their own web site for a complete system. Some savings! I also explained my lack of response to my earlier request. I asked them to call me be back at home Sunday night to discuss a new system (specs/cost with someone who could make a decision and a reasonable deal). They said they would do that. Well, they didn't. I do see that they contacted me by email yesterday (just read it) promising to send those service disks. Well, that at least is a step in the right direction. I think buying a new tower in the $400-$475 range would have been a viable option...but DELL missed that opportunity.
Hi Brian Keefe,

Its great to hear that system would be repaired and I am sure it should work fine after the repairs.

I am happy to know about your interest in the new system with us. We truly regret for the inconvenience that has been caused to you regarding the support.

Please let me know your contact information on a private message and I can arrange a callback for you whether for support or sales.

We would be more than happy to assist you and would be obliged to provide you any product or services from us.

If you have any issues with your DELL system in future as well feel free to reach out to us as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 SMART disk drive error-can't access Advanced Boot Options repair mode




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