Mother: "Hey, my computer stopped working the other day, could you fix it?
Me: "Of course."
It is a base HP Pavillion a4302f
Original problem was "BOOTMGR Missing"
Easy enough, was able to fix that through an installation disc using Startup Repair. The PC then rebooted into the same screen. So I tried Startup Repair again, but now it doesn't see any Windows installations. I even tried to reinstall Windows to see if it would see the drive, and it does not see any drive to install to.
Then something along the lines of, "DISK BOOT ERROR, Please insert bootable disk and try again."
decided to pop up during one of my reboots. I checked BIOS. BIOS doesn't see the hard drive anymore.
After resetting BIOS to defaults, and doing the SAVE and EXIT, the computer restarted and it hung on the HP screen before BIOS. The screen that shows ESC to Boot Menu, F10 to Setup, etc.
Somehow along the way I did a power cycle of unplugging the cord and holding the power button for 60 seconds. After doing that I was able to get back to a functional BIOS or Boot Menu etc., where before it was as if it didn't recognize me hitting the keys.
After checking connections and reconnecting the hard drive, the computer was seeing the hard drive again. So I began Bootamania. Side note: whenever the computer restarts itself via a Disc or through Exiting BIOS, it returns to the frozen HP screen. So whenever I need to try something again I HAVE to unplug power cord for 30+ seconds to move forward.
At this point I began trying XP, Vista, Windows 7, Ubuntu, all on DVDs, and a couple even on USB. They all hang at numerous locations. I would give error codes, but the codes were different at different times, and I googled them, and they are mostly generic.
Windows 7 usually stalls at Expanding Files 0%
, if it even allows me to install to the disk. Usually it says this disk can't be used, or the 'Next' option is gone, or I try to Delete, Format, or Partition and it fails to do so and the Drive disappears. Ubuntu got the farthest, until something with the graphics card I assume made it crash too.
I ran some SMART tests on the disk within BIOS and an older message I ignored came up, "HARD DISK FAILURE IMMINENT, REPLACE HARD DRIVE.
OK, after all of this, you don't have to tell me again.
I came home earlier with the new hard drive. Popped it in, and mostly the same stuff, except this new drive sounds much better and is always recognized, where the other one was recognized 2/3 times.
I took the original drive and stuck it into an older desktop I had, and was able to install Ubuntu on it completely and successfully. That bothered me because I considered it dead. That aside, I tried installing Windows 7 to the drive on that older computer, and it failed numerous times, and then finally worked. I tried to take the drive from older computer into the original computer and it booted to it, then froze at the Starting Windows.
If you skipped most of the above, the short version is this: I assumed the hard drive was dead and got a new one. Now even the new one won't work in the problem PC. I even replaced the PSU to a spare just incase everything wasn't getting enough power.
Is it the motherboard? The CPU? The Graphics Card? The SATA ports?
I have literally tried everything and more than I have already shared. This is the first time I have become stumped with this sort of thing, because as soon as I have the answers - the computer changes the questions. HELP! Please.