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Windows 7: Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be

1 Week Ago   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be

the cause. If windows files have been damaged or or configured incorrectly, Startup repair can help diagnose and fix the problem. If power was interrupted during startup, choose Start Windows normally.

That's the message I get. Not sure if this was the right section to post it in.

I own a refurbished Dell Latitude E6420 laptop running Windows 7 pro. Been using it without any significant issues for the past year. I have no idea what might have caused this to happen. It happened completely out of the blue with no warning signs. The only possible thing that I can think off the top of my head was installing windows updates several days earlier. This is the first time I've ever had this happen.

Starting windows normally doesn't work, Startup repair just initiates.

I let Startup repair run. It ran for 2 hours without any visible progress so I just turned off the computer at that point. I don't know if running it for any longer would do any good.

I turned on the computer again, pressed F8 to get the "Advanced Boot Options", tried "Last known good configuration" option. Nothing happened, just Startup repair initializing again.

I tried the safe mode options (safe mode, safe mode with command prompt) same thing happened.

I then tried the "Repair your computer option", after selecting language and keyboard input method, I was left with a blank screen. There were no options for System Restore, Command prompt, etc.

I turned it on again, pressed F12, and ran "Diagnostics". I got error code 2000-0142 and validation 97051. It seems to suggest something wrong with the hard drive.

I tried removing the hard drive and putting it back in again. But nothing changed.

I'm at a loss at what to do now. Is it possible to create a recovery USB drive (no optical drive)? Should I unplugging/replugging in any cables to the hard drive? Is there anything else I can do? Please let me know if you need any further information. Thanks.

I can post/link pictures I took with my phone if anyone wants to see.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
1 Week Ago   #2

Windows 10 Pro

My System SpecsSystem Spec
5 Days Ago   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Hi there, thanks for the reply. I downloaded the Seagate tool to a usb and booted the affected computer with it. Although I guess they've updated the UI as it looked a bit different than the screenshots.

I ran the basic tests (SMART Check, Short Drive Self Test, Short Generic Test, Long Generic Test). I had the option of running a Spin Down test but didn't run that as it was an advanced test. I'm not sure if the basic tests fully completed as the "Test Progress" bar was incomplete, showing FAIL #%. It seems errors were detected in the "Test Information and Results" page. But I couldn't find an option to fix them, not sure if that's because the tests didn't complete or because I don't have a Seagate drive. I think one of the tests said something like 50 errors

Is there anything I can do in this case to repair these bad sectors?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

4 Days Ago   #4

Windows 10 Pro

Bad sectors cannot be repaired, because a bad sector is a bad part on the physical drive. The best that can be done is tell the system to try and move any of the data in the sectors to a spare sector and then mark the bad sector as bad so it won't be used. Whether this is possible or not, however, depends on how many spare sectors your drive has available.

Unfortunately, the amount of spare sectors is rarely over a dozen sectors, I really doubt your drive has enough spare sectors and thus I recommend to replace the drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be

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