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Windows 7: Dell on win 7 not booting + data recovery

11 Mar 2013   #1

Windows 7 Professional x64
Dell on win 7 not booting + data recovery

Hi Everyone,

I have a rather old Dell Inspiron 1525. It's Toshiba 160gb hard drive died 9 months ago unexpectedly and suddenly running win 7 professional with 4gb of RAM. Fortunately I had all the data on an external drive. So I bought a 2.5inch WD scorpio blue 500GB 5400rpm SATA and reinstalled the win 7 professional using an external DVD reader-writer (Freecom) with no problems. I had no problem until last week when the system suddenly stopped working again. I attached the same Freecom with the win 7 DVD, and thinking it may need a repair. The DVD asks me to select language, then takes me to a window with two options. In the empty box/table, where it says OS, it does not show any OS. I can go to the next window which has several options. none of them work. and that is as far as it goes. ran a diagnostic. It gives error 2000-0146. I looked it up and it appears to mean the hard is dead again. I installed another 500gb SATA internal drive. when I re-attched the freecom with win 7 DVD, it now gives a black screen, saying that it cannot locate the boot data, despite the win DVD. Does the DVD have the boot sequence? Is it worth trying to make a bootable USB and try? or the fact that it has killed two hards in such a short time means, something is not ok with system and just get another one?

Unfortunately I have some data that have not been backed up. I put the old one in a Diggiflex caddy and attached it to another laptop via USB. it makes no unwell noise, and appears to be spinning well. It shows three out of the five partitions I made, but when I click to open any of them, nothing happens. any ideas what might help with recovering the data? shall I try recovery softwares? which one do you think is worth using?

sorry this is a rather long post!

your help is very much appreciated.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2013   #2
Saurabh A

Windows 7 64bit

Hi sh3063,

The 'error code' 2000-0146 may occur either due to 'software corruption' or due to a 'bad hard drive'. Basic diagnostics (Pre-Boot System Assessment) does not test the 'hard drive' if this error is indicated. I recommend you to run the DST-Short / Long test for more accurate diagnosis. DST-Short (or DST-Long) from '32bit Dell Diagnostics' may help us to determine if the previous error has been corrected.

You may also run the 'hardware diagnostics' again and continue testing even after you reach the 2000-0146 error message.

To run the diagnostics, please follow the steps listed below:
- Power off the notebook > Power it back on > At Dell Splash screen, repeatedly tap 'F12 key' > Use arrow keys on the keyboard to highlight 'Diagnostics' > Tap 'Enter'
- Alternatively, you may hold down the <function key> and power on the system (then release the key) > This will initiate the diagnostics automatically

You may get prompted with the following options:
- Select 'Test System'
- Select 'Custom Test'
- Drill down to the hard drive in question, select 'SMART Short Self Test'
- Click 'Run Tests'

Please refer to the following web article for detailed information on '32 bit Dell Diagnostics utility': How to Run the Dell 32-bit Diagnostics Utility
- Capture the error(s), if any and share results

You may also want to check the available 'Bootable devices'. Restart the notebook and repeatedly tap 'F12' key at 'Dell Splash Screen'. Try selecting the 'USB' as the 'bootable device' and see if that helps.

You've already tried the 'time tested approach' of using the 'drive' with a caddy. I may not be an ideal resource to help you with the data recovery if you are unable to boot to 'Windows'; may have to explore other options. Creating a 'Bootable USB drive' may take some time; but may be worth a shot, if it is a 'software corruption'.

Hope this helps. Do reply with the results; will take it forward from there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Dell on win 7 not booting + data recovery

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