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Thread: pc stuck at initializing Intel boot agent

  1. #1
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    pc stuck at initializing Intel boot agent

    i had an old Dell 4500S desktop running XP Sp3 i gave a friend to use years ago. it worked fine and then she said there was a storm that caused a power failure & she thinks the computer was on and now it doesn't work.

    When i turn it on, it gets past the Dell logo screen and i see these 2 sentences:

    Initializing Intel Boot Agent Version 4.1.04
    PXE 2.1 Build 083 (WfH 2.0), RPL V2.74

    It just sits there. i entered setup and changed the boot sequence to HDD, but that didn't help either. I did Ctrl S to enter Boot Program, but only thing i changed was Prompt Time and Message (so it would display the Ctrl S prompt). Before i changed the boot sequence to HDD, i tried to boot the pc off the DELL recovery cd, but that didn't work either. I tried F8 to enter Safe Mode, but that didn't work (probably cause the boot doesn't complete?).

    anyway, i thought i'd better ask someone before i really screwed things up..not sure if the HDD got fried and i shd just forget it, or if it's something i can fix and she can continue to use the pc (as old as it is).

    thanks for any help,
    vivien

  2. #2
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    Can be both PSU and the HDD fried.

  3. #3
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    hmmm, so will my pc turn on if PSU is fried? i thought i wouldn't have any power to it all in that case. but, would i be able to see physical damage by looking at PSU? also...is there anyway to tell if the hdd is fried? can you tell me what's happening with the 2 lines i'm getting when pc tries to boot...i mean, it's after the Dell logo, so is there someway to tell what boot line it stops on??? like, is there someway to invoke a command that "shows" me the boot process line by line??
    thanks again, vivien

  4. #4
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    Power supplies provide several different voltages and can, to varying degrees, work if one of those lines is dead or damaged. More than likely, in a case like this, though, is that the power supply isn't 'dead' so much as severely damaged, to the point that it isn't supplying enough power to fully power everything in the computer.

    In most cases, at that particular point, in a Dell, it is indicative of a hard drive problem. Usually, this means the hard drive is damaged or dead, but it could also mean that the hard drive is not receiving enough power to actually boot.

    One way to check...

    Disconnect the hard drive, both data and power and try to boot to a CD/DVD...a Linux LiveCD would work, but so would a Windows install disk. If it successfully boots, then chances are it's just the drive has gone bad.
    AV, Anti-Trojan List;Browser and Email client List;Popup Killer List;Portable Apps
    “When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.” - Thomas Paine
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  5. #5
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    1. Assuming the possibility that the "Improper power-off" has caused corruption of the XP Windows_partition_filesystem [NTFS?]...
    (a) Best fix:
    Restore a recent good [sector-for-sector image] backup of the Windows partition [plus MBR].
    If you don't have this...
    (b) Scan and fix the Windows_partition_filesystem.
    You might use the "Check disk" [chkdisk?] program of the "Recovery Console" on the Windows XP installation CD.
    Or..
    The "Disk check" program in the menu of the mini-XP OS included on "FalcoFour's UBCD".
    Or...
    "Puppy_Linux->GParted->choose the drive and partition->check".

  6. #6
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    alrighty then...To MJC: with hdd (data & power) disconnected, input windows xp DELL disc and powered up. Got prompt to enter setup and update time/date. (my friend tells me that the time/date was never correct on this pc and she always had to update it whenever she powered up after not using pc for several days). Also, prompt stating configuration was incorrect. (not sure what configuration...i had gone into BIOS and everything SEEMED ok, except time/date). After that, prompt stating Windows setup was loading files. But, to what? my hdd was unhooked? pc booted to prompts to "Enter for load, "R" for recovery, etc. did "R" & response was "no hdd". Tried "Enter" too but same. Removed windows xp DELL disc and rebooted (just curious) and response was "Strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup program".
    ok, so then, i reconnected hdd and powered on, got response "Strike F1 to retry boot, F2....". so, i guess the hdd is gone, then right?

    to Sylvander: i understood Item #1. after that, everything sounded like R2D2 from Starwars. sorry..you're like WAY over my head.

  7. #7
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    ah-ha! ok Sylvander: ok, i reread and reread your instructions...if pc not seeing a hdd at all, then i can't really do any of that, right? can't scan to fix the NTFS, can't get to "Recovery Console" to use chkdsk, i went to site of Falco's Four, but i don't know that site well enough to download something from there, read about Puppy and since i can download to flashdrive & try to use on pc that's not working anyway...i'm willing to give 'er a go, but, i'm thinking a new hdd anyway, right?

  8. #8
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    Well...with this info

    The CMOS battery needs to be replaced. It's a small, coin shaped (US quarter) battery on the motherboard. This is what keeps the time/date and BIOS settings when the computer is powered down.

    As for the other...

    It was just for testing purposes. Since it did boot to the CD and want to install, then it is very likely that the ultimate problem is a bad hard drive.
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    “When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.” - Thomas Paine
    Remember: Amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titantic."

  9. #9
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    ok, thanks MJC. i will locate the batter and replace, then replace with new hdd and hope nothing else got blitzed in the surge! i think we can close this out, unless i run into something else.

    my thanks to PrntRhd and Sylvander as well.

  10. #10
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    1. "it worked fine and then she said there was a storm that caused a power failure & she thinks the computer was on and now it doesn't work"
    This was what made me think the partition_filesystem may have been corrupted...
    But that assumption may be wrong.
    That's why I suggested things that would test that assumption.
    Later more complete info may make that pointless.

    2. "i entered setup"
    Good that you were able to enter the BIOS Setup.

    3. "Before i changed the boot sequence to HDD, i tried to boot the pc off the DELL recovery cd, but that didn't work"
    In what way didn't it work?
    Did the bootable CD fail to boot? Or what?
    Try to be specific about things.

    4. "I tried F8 to enter Safe Mode, but that didn't work"
    Either because the HDD is faulty, or because the WPFS [Windows Partition File System] was corrupted?

    5. "can you tell me what's happening with the 2 lines i'm getting when pc tries to boot...i mean, it's after the Dell logo"
    I'm no expert, but it seems to me that the HDD boot arrangements are working, and there is a beginning made to loading Windows, but that attempt fails...
    Due to a corrupted WPFS?

    6. "with hdd (data & power) disconnected...and powered up. Got prompt to enter setup and update time/date"
    And you never previously got this prompt from the BIOS?
    That suggests that the HDD is indeed faulty, and its removal somehow produced this [new?] response from the BIOS.
    Hence, the HDD has a hardware fault? Hmmm, perhaps.

    7. "(my friend tells me that the time/date was never correct on this pc and she always had to update it whenever she powered up after not using pc for several days). Also, prompt stating configuration was incorrec"
    Indicates the CMOS battery is faulty, and needs replaced [as MJC has said].

    8. "After that, prompt stating Windows setup was loading files. But, to what? my hdd was unhooked?"
    I think it is just going through the motions...
    It is assuming an internal HDD is connected.

    9. "pc booted to prompts to "Enter for load, "R" for recovery, etc. did "R" & response was "no hdd""
    So it IS able to detect that there is no internal HDD to be seen.
    Or possibly no useable PARTITION to be seen.

    10. "Removed windows xp DELL disc and rebooted (just curious) and response was "Strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup program""
    Only to be expected; after all, there is no bootable device available.

    11. "ok, so then, i reconnected hdd and powered on, got response "Strike F1 to retry boot, F2....". so, i guess the hdd is gone, then right?"
    Either that, or...
    The internal HDD is no longer bootable [MBR not seen; MBR error not displayed, BIOS error displayed instead].
    It had been imperfectly bootable previously, when it at least got to the beginning of loading Windows.
    Perhaps the BIOS Setup settings had changed between these 2 points in time, and are responsible for the new inability to see...[the HDD or it's MBR].

    12. My thoughts/conclusions:
    (a) MJC is more knowledgeable and expert than I.

    (b) But, I would be reluctant to write off a HDD...I'd begin testing and studying it.
    Does the BIOS Setup [with a new CMOS battery fitted] see the HDD?

    (c) Does any software run from a bootable optical disk see the HDD?

    (d) Test the HDD with the HDD manufacturers utility.

    (e) To easily get a functioning OS while you work on the HDD and Windows...
    You could run Puppy Linux from a CD or DVD, with no need for an internal HDD to be fitted [the personal pupsave file could be held on a Flash Drive][0r else the internal HDD could be fitted, but not used, just studied using Puppy].
    You could use Puppy->GParted to look at the partitions and their formatting, and use a file browser to [attempt to?] look at the folder/file contents on the Windows partition.

    (f) You could use the "Windows XP DELL disk" to attempt to repair the Windows installation [with the internal HDD properly fitted, and its properties properly configured in the BIOS Setup ("Auto" detected and configured in the BIOS Setup)].
    Last edited by Sylvander; 07-12-2012 at 04:33 PM.

  11. #11
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    hi, Sylvander. i'll try the CMOS battery, but here's some info from your questions:

    3. "Before i changed the boot sequence to HDD, i tried to boot the pc off the DELL recovery cd, but that didn't work"
    In what way didn't it work?
    Did the bootable CD fail to boot? Or what?
    Try to be specific about things.

    I tried 'Recover' from the DELL windows XP recovery disc (came with the pc years ago). also, tried to 'Load' complete XP from that disc. kept saying 'No HDD'. Did not boot to HDD.

    6. "with hdd (data & power) disconnected...and powered up. Got prompt to enter setup and update time/date"
    And you never previously got this prompt from the BIOS?
    That suggests that the HDD is indeed faulty, and its removal somehow produced this [new?] response from the BIOS.
    Hence, the HDD has a hardware fault? Hmmm, perhaps.

    No, i never saw that prompt before.

    so, i will do the things you suggested in Item 12..and go from there!
    thank you, again.
    my friend just told me that it's ok if the HDD is gone & doesn't want me to go to all this trouble, BUT...she does have old pictures on there of her son, who is now deceased, so i'd really like to see if i can retrieve those. if not, then ok. thanks for hanging in there with me...i will try to be more specific and detailed in the steps i take!
    vivien

  12. #12
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    Everything points to two basic problems. A dead CMOS battery and a hard drive not "seen" by the system; both need replacing.

    When you start the Windows installation CD, files are first copied to memory (RAM) but thereafter the installation fails because the system/BIOS cannot find and identify a functional hard drive.

    It is almost impossible to recover data from a hard drive not recognised by the BIOS setup but it is worth trying the hard drive in another PC either directly or by a HDD to USB adapter just in case the drive is simply not detected because of cabling or other issues. If a new/replacement HDD is also not seen by the BIOS setup then this might well be the issue - and could still be due to faulty power from the PSU.
    Take nice care of yourselves - Paul - ♪ -
    Help to start using BiNG. Some stuff about Boot CDs & Data Recovery Basics & Back-up using Knoppix.

  13. #13
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    1. Puppy Multi-session DVD-RW, saving sessions back to the DVD-RW, with no need for ANY other storage media like internal HDD.

    It's a very secure way to work, and all you need is a DVD-RW drive and disk.
    You need more RAM to work this way than when you have a pupsave somewhere.
    How much? Just try it and see if it works.

    Read also the posts preceding and following the post linked above.

  14. #14
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    If you or your friend just want to get XP running again you can ignore most of what Sylvander/R2D2 has posted about.
    Take nice care of yourselves - Paul - ♪ -
    Help to start using BiNG. Some stuff about Boot CDs & Data Recovery Basics & Back-up using Knoppix.

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