Hard Drive Does Not Boot

By: Stephen Bucaro

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Hard Drive Does Not Boot

By Stephen Bucaro

When your computer does not boot, the first thing a
technician must ask is; what do you mean by "it won't
boot"? Many times the problem is simply that the user
doesn't have their monitor turned on, or that they
received the "Invalid system disk" message because they
left a floppy in the drive. Or does the user mean WINDOWS
won't start?

A problem can occur in the boot sequence even before the
hard disk comes into play. When a computer first starts,
its Basic Input/Out System (BIOS) performs a Power On Self
Test (POST). Before the computer is ready to use the
display, it communicates using beep codes. After the
display is initialized, it sends codes to the screen.

If your computer stops with an error code on the screen,
you need to find out who made your computers BIOS and
check the website of the BIOS manufacturer for the meaning
of the error code.

When your computer boots, the BIOS reads the hard disk's
partition table in order to find the boot record.

If the
partition table is damaged, the message "Invalid drive or
drive specification" will be displayed. The partition
table does not change after the drive is partitioned and
formatted unless it has been damaged, possibly by a virus.

If the boot record is damaged, you will receive the
message "Invalid system disk". If the partition table and
boot record are good, the computer will read the hard disk's
File Allocation Table (FAT) in order to start loading
Windows operating system files. If the FAT is damaged,
you will receive the message "Sector not found reading
drive C".

If you do not receive any beeps, error codes or messages
and your computer still will not boot, then the problem is
Windows will not start. Note: the POST makes a single beep
to test the speaker; this is not an error.

If you have a damaged partition table, boot record, or FAT,
you can use Nuts & Bolts Disk Minder or Norton Disk Doctor
to make a repair. You must have the utility on a bootable
floppy disk and execute it from the floppy. Or you can
install a new hard drive and load Windows and one of the
above utility suites on the new hard drive. Then configure
the old drive as slave and repair it from the new drive.

Note: If your hard drive makes a loud whining noise when
you first start your computer, you need to run out and get
that new hard drive now.

The first step to repair a computer that won't boot is to
find out what "it won't boot" means. If during boot you
did not receive any of the errors mentioned aboveFree Reprint Articles, that
probably means Windows won't start. How to repair that
problem is covered in another article.
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