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WolfpackRon
05-27-2010, 11:44 AM
When I start this Dell Dimension 2400 the blue Dell start-up screen appears. Then I am asked to "Please select the operating system to start.
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition. When I select Win XP, the screen goes blank.

When I try to use Safe Mode, it reads 14 lines, then freezes.

Later I received the message: Could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.

Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware.

Please check windows documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware feference manual for additional information.

Not sure where to go next. Please advise, WolfpackRon.

jlreich
05-27-2010, 11:52 AM
Sounds like the hard drive is going bad. Run hard drive diagnostics either by running Dell's diagnostics disk, or downloading them from Dell's website, or you can use the drives manufacturers diagnostics, or if not sure who the drive manufacturer is Seagate's diagnostics will work on all drives.

WolfpackRon
05-27-2010, 12:48 PM
I used the "Boot Device Menu's IDE Drive Diagnostics" with these results:
Primary IDE
Drive 0: ST380011a - Pass
Drive 1: No IDE Device

Secondary IDE
Drive 0: Samsung CDROM - Diagnostics not supported
Drive 1: Memorex DVD+-Ram - Diagnostics not supported

jlreich
05-27-2010, 04:14 PM
If there is an option run the full test. I can't remember if Dell diags have those options or not. Though even passing a quick test is hopeful that the drive is fine. If the drive is fine I would run Memtest (http://www.memtest86.com/). If that checks out OK it is likely you will need to do a repair install (http://michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm) of windows (keep data, though always a risk, and will need to reinstall service packs and other updates) or a full fresh install (lose all data and start fresh).

Before reinstalling it would be worth trying a Live CD/DVD. If it can boot to that and run fine you can feel pretty good the hardware is fine and just something corrupted windows. Here is a list of Live CD/DVD's (http://www.livecdlist.com/?pick=All&showonly=Firewall&sort=&sm=1), I would recommend Ubuntu, Knoppix, Puppy, or DSL. Actually Ubuntu had a memory test built into the boot menu, so you could kill two birds with one disk.

WolfpackRon
06-03-2010, 04:41 PM
I ran the Memtest you linked and everything passed.

I tried the Repair of the Windows XP without success. Still had the blank screen at the end.

I then used the Ubuntu Desktop Edition. It loaded fine and I was able to see the files on this computer. I am not sure exactly what Ubuntu is. I read that it is an operating system, but can it replace Windows running programs, etc.?
I did not see a memtest when I started Ubuntu. Is it transparent? I will check it out some more. I guess the next step is to possibly format the computer if my wife's school secretary is OK with that. This is a kid's computer, so no telling where he has been. Does my accessment sound true to your post? Thanks, WolfpackRon.

jlreich
06-04-2010, 09:35 AM
I am not sure exactly what Ubuntu is. I read that it is an operating system, but can it replace Windows running programs, etc.?
In short yes. It is an OS like windows but different, firstly in that it is free and open source. There are ways to get many actual windows programs to work in Linux but for the average user there are Linux counterparts that work just as well or better that are all free. The bane of Linux is that popular games are made for windows and getting them to run in Linux is a challenge at best. But if you don't game Linux can do pretty much whatever you need it to all for free. And as a huge bonus it is much less prone to viruses ad other types of malware.


I guess the next step is to possibly format the computer if my wife's school secretary is OK with that. This is a kid's computer, so no telling where he has been. Does my accessment sound true to your post?

If the tests have all completed without error and a repair install did not work then yes formatting is probably the next step. You can wait around to see if anyone else has any ideas, but that is probably where this is leading. I still find the hard drive suspect, but hopefully formatting will take care of it.

Sylvander
06-04-2010, 12:45 PM
Things I would try in these circumstances:
1. Try to load Windows directly...
i.e. By-pass the HDD boot arrangements as follows:
(a) If the PC includes a FDD...
Make and boot this "Windows NT 4.0, 2000, XP or Server 2003 boot floppy disk" (http://www.nu2.nu/bootdisk/ntboot/).
As the floppy boots, you will be presented with a menu of 8 choices...
4 partitions on each of 2 physical HDD's.
Normally your "Windows" partition is on the 1st partition on the 1st physical HDD, so make that your 1st choice.

(b) If you don't have a FDD, but do have an optical [reader?] in which to boot a CD...
Use instead this ISO file (http://www.paulski.com/bootcds/bootxp.iso) to burn a bootable CD[-RW?] version of the above bootable floppy, and boot this instead.

(c) If this succeeds in taking you into Windows, then you know the problem is with the boot arrangements.
Doesn't appear to be so, but worth trying so as to confirm.
If this displays the same problem as before, that would confirm the problem is with the portion of the load that comes after Windows takes over [not the MBR & boot.ini portion].

(d) If the above produces no fix...
Scan the partition-file-system, and fix any errors.
I would normally use Puppy_Linux->GParted to scan/fix, but you might prefer to use the "Recovery Console" chkdsk command...
[external to Windows=doesn't rely on (a faulty?) Windows to fix itself]
...To scan for errors and fix.

(e) I once used the TestDisk program (http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk) [on bootable DOS floppy or from within a Puppy_Linux] to recover a WinXP partition that had been corrupted and wouldn't boot, even when using the floppy in (a) above.

WolfpackRon
06-04-2010, 01:46 PM
Slyvander,
I used the bootable iso file with the same results as a normal startup. The screen goes blank withing a few seconds. I am on hold as to whether to format or not. Not sure about your (d) suggestion as to what it means. How do I do that?
WolfpackRon

Sylvander
06-04-2010, 04:22 PM
1. "Not sure about your (d) suggestion as to what it means. How do I do that?"
(a) My choice would be to boot into Puppy Linux and run either GParted (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GParted.png) or Pdrive, and use one or other to scan/fix [="check"] the partition-file-system of the [unmounted] Windows partition.
To me it seems really EASY to get a Puppy running.
e.g.
Thread:
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=53897
ISO:
http://www.diddywahdiddy.net/Puppy500/lupu-501.iso
md5sum = 0847331e9cdcb55eaae238924d131a24 lupu-501.iso
You burn this ISO as an image to a CD[-RW], and boot that "live" CD to be taken into Lupu, then just "follow your nose".
GParted is at "Menu->System->GParted...
Just click the link, and choose to display drive sda [your internal HDD], then highlight the sda1 [=Windows] partition, and right-click it and choose [=click on] "check" on the context menu.

2. Others may be able to tell you how to use the Windows CD "Recovery Console".
I've never had to use it [always have partition image backups and partition folder/file content backups].
How To Locate and Recover Data From Bad Sectors Within Recovery Console in Windows XP (http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ht/locate-recover-bad-sectors-recovery-console.htm).

PhilXP
06-04-2010, 05:28 PM
For formatting/Testing/Partitioning an hd I would use Parted magic (http://partedmagic.com/). Its a Linux live CD especially made for partitioning. It also includes Google chrome for a web browser. Gparted is included.

Sylvander
06-05-2010, 04:37 AM
Should have reminded you to make an image backup of the Windows partition before messing with it.
This so that if anything you do has undesired consequences, you can get back to the way things were, and begin again from that point.

Puppy_Linux->Menu->Utility->Pudd makes and restores image backups.
Xfe [easy to install] (http://www.pcguide.com/vb/showpost.php?p=412611&postcount=24) copies/restores folder/file contents of whatever [partitions?]

WolfpackRon
06-13-2010, 09:28 AM
Thanks for your replys. I was able to use ububtu to transfer files to a thumb drive. I then formatted the computer with Windows XP and everything is good. This forum and the people posting info are the greatest. Thanks again, Wolfpack Ron.