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Windows 7: Missing Operating System - Booting from installation disc doesn't work

06 May 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium
Missing Operating System - Booting from installation disc doesn't work


Firstly I should say that I am primarily a mac user, and it is not my laptop I am posting about. Although I am reasonably knowledgable about Windows, I haven't used it since XP, about four years ago, and so am pretty rusty.

Basically, my girlfriends computer randomly turned off about a week ago, she assumed it was a dead battery, plugged it in, and then when it turned back on it wouldn't boot displaying error message: missing operating system.

As it is a Dell laptop it didn't come with any installation discs, and I totally forgot to even make a repair disc when we got the laptop. I managed to get hold of a Windows 7 Installation Disc and license key for Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit through my university. I think the laptop was previously running Windows 7 Home Premium, but that's all I know, and I'm not entirely sure of that fact.

Anyway, burnt the .iso to disc and have tried to boot several times from DVD Drive. The laptop loads the files from the DVD fine, and gets as far as the "Starting Windows" screen, where it seems to get stuck for a few minutes, until it becomes a black screen with just a cursor (the cursor still moves). This also happens with an 64 bit repair DVD I also managed to get hold of.

Any ideas on what I should or can do next?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

Welcome To Windows Seven Forums.

Please have a look at this excellent tutorial.

Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Boot
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2012   #3
Microsoft MVP


Enter BIOS setup to see if the HD is still recognized. If not it may need replacing if it cannot repair.

Reboot and run Dell Diagnostics using the hotkey given on the first boot screen. If this fails download and run it from stick or CD: Dell DIagnostics downoad .

Next try running Dell factory recovery: Dell Restoring Your Computer´s Software to the Factory Settings.

If this fails run the hardware tests given at the beginning of Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Boot then if hardware checks out OK you can continue with the steps to try to save the old installation, or proceed to Clean Reinstall.

If reinstall fails again, try wiping the HD first with Diskpart Clean Command using the installation DVD by accessing DISKPART At PC Startup .

Next check for newer BIOS update. If none then reset BIOS to defaults, set SATA controller to AHCI to try install: Clear CMOS - 3 Ways to Clear the CMOS - Reset BIOS

You do not need to buy a new copy of Win7 to clean reinstall as it wastes the $100+ license which comes with the computer and is good for the life of the machine. Everything you need is here to Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 including the latest official installer ISO with SP1 and tool to write to flash stick or burn to DVD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 May 2012   #4

7 x64

Hard drive has failed. Replace it. Contact Dell and get them to send out a replacement DVD for your specific Windows OS. That may cost you a few bucks.

Or use the Win 7 DVD you have.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium

Hi guys,

Thanks for the pointers.

After running a diagnostics test, I got the following errors:

Error Code: 0146
Error Code: 2000-0146
Harddrive 0 - Self Test Log indicates previous errors

Error Code: 0147
Error Code: 2000-0147
Optical Drive 0 - self test - OPU test failed

Error Code: 0F00:1332
Disk - Block 205833:IRQ did not set in time.

Do these errors indicate that both the harddrive and the DVD drive have failed? Will they therefore both need replacing, or does it mean that the motherboard has failed?

If it is the harddrive, is there anyway of retrieving the files since last back up, or are they now essentially lost forever?

Since I have very little hardware experience and am worried about trying to replace the drives myself, I will probably send the laptop to either Dell or PC World (where the laptop was bought) to be fixed. Or is it simple for me to replace these drives myself?

Sorry for all the questions, hope you can help!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

It does look as though both drives have failed.

If you're really worried about replacing hardware then it's best to let either Dell or your local repair shop do the job.

However, replacing the hard drive and/or the DVD drive is not difficult and as an older computer user I've done both successfully.

Have a look at these tutorials.

To replace a hard drive: SATA Hard Drive - How to Install and Setup

To replace a DVD drive: SATA DVD CD Drive - How to Install
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium

Okay - thanks for your help!

any idea if I will be able to retrieve any of the files from the failed harddrive? And I don't suppose you happen to know any reason why they might both have failed, at the same time, especially given the laptop is only just over a year old, doesn't have heavy use and there have been no other problems with it?

When replacing the hard drive and disk drive, should I replace them with the same models, or is it okay to go for something better?

Again - apologies for the questions! These should be the last questions!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

You should investigate a program called Recuva (and similar programs) that may help you retrieve data from failed drives.

But I have no idea what those test results mean.

You could download the hard drive tools from the hard drive manufacturer's web site and see if they say you have a failed drive.

Drives can fail for no apparent reason regardless of age.

For a replacement, you need to get a compatible drive, but not an identical drive. Get the same interface (SATA most likely) and the same form factor (so it will fit properly in the drive bay).

Get an SSD if you want to impress girlfriend.

I would not yet assume the drive is bad since I don't know what those errors mean and you have only run 1 test as far as I know.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

Providing there is a spare bay, you could leave the old hard drive connected and use a free program like Recuva to retrieve your personal data.

Recuva - Undelete, Unerase, File and Disk Recovery - Free Download

Unfortunately, hardware can fail at any time although heavy use and age can increase the chance of it happening.

It's worth checking to see whether your computer is still under warranty. If it is, contact Dell for an RMA number to return and repair the machine.

If you do go ahead and replace the hardware yourself, there's nothing to stop you upgrading to something better.

If there's anything you're not sure of, keep asking questions as it helps us to help you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
I would not yet assume the drive is bad since I don't know what those errors mean and you have only run 1 test as far as I know.

I have run the diagnostics test three times (i think) now, and also run the hardware test where I get several errors: 0f00:0632, 0F00:1332, 0F00:1232 each saying : IRQ did not set in time.

If you have any suggestions of other tests to run to double check that the drives have definitely failed then I will happily run them.

Seavixen - thanks so much for all your help - if I find I have any more questions I am sure I will be back on here asking them!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Missing Operating System - Booting from installation disc doesn't work

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