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Windows 7: HDD Failure- No Recovery Disks, BIOS not recognizing HDD? Next step?

11 Mar 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, WinXP Pro laptop
HDD Failure- No Recovery Disks, BIOS not recognizing HDD? Next step?

Computer Model: HP P6510F
OS: Windows 7 Home Pro 64 bit

Suddenly yesterday afternoon, I get a quick BSOD and then a fuzzy fast fade out. On restart, I get something along the lines of:

"PXE-E61 Media Test Failure...Check Cable" and it mentioned to reboot and select proper boot?

Never had an issue before with this PC except this happened about a month ago, I ran a recovery, and it started back up. At any rate, it seems my HDD has failed. I can not recognize it anywhere in the BIOS. The only thing I can get to is the HP startup screen to access Boot Order, BIOS, System Recovery, and some kind of Analysis.

As I said, BIOS will not display my HDD anywhere. Boot order only shows my DVD drive and LAN drive. System Recovery option (F11) does nothing but continue to standard boot until it gives original error. Analysis will run but it checks motherboard, memory, and DVD drive and says all are 100%. It never displays my HDD.

Facts of situation:

- I didn't backup (I know, lesson learned now)
- I have no recovery disks after a move from SC to FL (they were misplaced)
- I do own a separate laptop
- I have multiple USB flash drives & DVDs for burning, if needed

So my questions:

- if I do need a new and install a hard drive, do I have to purchase a totally new copy of Windows 7 to install on it? I have been doing some research and wondering if I can possibly download an ISO and use the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool to boot the ISO from my USB flash drive? will it recognize my user license and such?

- if the above IS possible, does it sound as though there is any chance I can add my old HD as a slave drive to access old files? It is basically 3 years worth of data on the computer plus 5 years or so from the previous computer I transferred to it. Hate to lose it all, but I am prepared to accept that.

I will stop there since I don't want to scare anyone off from assisting! Thanks a lot!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Mar 2013   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, WinXP Pro laptop

FYI, I am now burning a bootable SeaTools CD to test the hard drive...although I am not very confident in it working since the BIOS isn't even showing a hard drive attached.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Mar 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Hello SeaSpur and welcome to the forums. If the test gives positive results, I would connect the old HDD as a slave to see if you can get anything off of it. However, it really does sounds like a new drive is needed.

If all else fails, I'd put the drive in the freezer for a couple of hours, pull it out and plug it into your laptop using a USB conversion kit. You may be able to pull some data off of the drive and save you some headache. However, please understand that I would only do this as a last resort.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Mar 2013   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


information   Information
We always assume you have made your Recovery Disks using the OEM manufacturer's Recovery Media Creator app the first day you had your new PC.
& made the Startup Repair CD.
startup repair disc-create

Did you make the OEM manufacturer's Recovery Disks?

How to make HP Recovery DVD disks:
Performing an HP System Recovery (Windows Vista) | HP® Support

You can Order HP Recovery Disks from here:
Country-Language Selector | HP® Support
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Mar 2013   #5

W7 Home Premium 32bit

You do not need to purchase a new W7 if you have your license (key) number.

Your pc is OEM (HP) and should have come with a COA sticker somewhere on the machine.
Is this right?

If so, you can indeed download the iso for Home Pro 64bit (Digital River) and do a clean install on your new hard drive. Burn the iso using ImgBurn at 4x speed. You'll need dvd discs (not cd's). I always recommend JVC (Taiyo Yuden) or Verbatim (Mitsubishi) media. Always buy from an established house like NewEgg, Amazon, or SuperMediaStore. Never buy from discount walk-in houses. Their discs are mostly inexpensively made or counterfeit.

I would not hook up the 3yr old drive until the fresh install is complete.
If that drive is sata, slave mode does not factor in. If its an IDE, you need to check (I didn't for you) if you have an IDE channel in your system. If you do, its on its own, and should be jumpered as master.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2013   #6
Microsoft MVP


Everything needed is here to Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 including how to rescue files using a boot disk. I'd at least try that to see if the files are seen. If so you might be able to repair the HD and start Win7 using Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Start
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Mar 2013   #7

Windows 7 64

I would do as others have stated connect the hard drive to another computer and see if you can access the drive. If you can then recover your files. If you are not able to see your files you can purchase software to retrieve your data. If the drive will not spin up you are not going to get your data back unless you pay big $$$$$....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2013   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, WinXP Pro laptop

Okay folks, been busy at work and just getting a chance to sign back on for an update.

Thanks for all of the responses.

First off, the SeaTools scan on my hard drive ending up an extent. After the scan, it found sectors and other issues that needed to be seemed to do that but then also mentioned a few failures. After that, I was able to boot Windows for the first time again, but it ended up failing and sending me to the HP Recovery system- which gave me options to do a Recovery, Repair, Backup, etc. The backup I attempted seemed to work until it was about 75% of the way in transferring to an external HD I have. I stopped at that point as not to possibly "overwork" the hard drive anymore.

So...from the suggestions here, I want to be clear on what I should do next:

- buy new HDD and install
- Windows 7 can be re-installed from the ISO I downloaded and burn onto DVD, they will work fine- correct?
- where do I get the key that it will eventually ask me? or does it recognize the machine is a OEM and automatically continue? Nevermind, read post above and found my label with key.
- once I have completely installed Win7, I can then install my former HDD into the PC on a second SATA port to see if Windows recognizes it and allows me to transfer files off.

Is that correct?

Thanks for all of the help so far, great resource you have here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2013   #9
Microsoft MVP


If you'd read Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 it answers all of your questions including where to find the Product Key used to activate a Clean Reinstall.

I'd run Sea Tools extended scan followed by Disk Check again to see if you can complete rescuiing your data.

You can copy out your data to external from boot disk using Step 3 in the tutorial.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Mar 2013   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, WinXP Pro laptop

I have a Tiger Direct around the corner from my house, and found this HDD on their website:

Seagate ST500DM002 Barracuda 3.5 Internal Hard Drive - 500GB, SATA-6G, 7200, 16MB at

Seems like a good value for $50, no? I don't want to spend a lot (because I was planning on upgrading from 4gb RAM to 8gb soon) and although I had 750GB before, 500GB seems like plenty to me when I only save files, surf the web, and do freelance design work from time to time. I have an external HD that I keep movies and music on. Besides, I remember when 80GB seemed like it was just fine!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 HDD Failure- No Recovery Disks, BIOS not recognizing HDD? Next step?

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