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Gateway laptop won't boot

by pkingery-indy / July 25, 2012 11:34 PM PDT

I need help with a Gateway laptop "boot" problem - specifically, it won't (boot that is). I don't have it with me so I will be going on memory. A pastor friend's Gateway (red, MC series), ~4 years old, Vista, nice machine (well, it used to be a nice machine). When powered up, it goes to a sort-of safe mode boot screen offering to boot into "repair" mode or Vista. Regardless of which you choose, the screen goes blank, then after a moment or two, the same screen reappears. Thinking it was a boot virus, I tried booting off a USB stick (Linux OS) with AVG antivirus, and it did boot up, but could not mount the hard drive. At that point I guessed the HDD was shot. I then booted off another USB drive with a full Linux Mint OS, which booted fine (illustrating that the mobo, CPU, mem, GPU, sound, etc. were all okay), and miraculously, it could "see" the HDD and all the files. This was of great comfort to my friend in that he had many years worth of church records, sermons, Bible studies and Sunday School lessons on that machine. Finally, I tried booting off a USB drive with BartPE WinXP because I "thought" I had a little utility on it to rebuild the MBR (if that was the issue), but surprise, it would not "see" the HDD. I don't understand why Linux Mint could see the HDD and all its files, but WinXP could not. Anyway, my friend opted to borrow my Linux Mint USB drive, take it home with his laptop and back up all his files. Then sometime in the next few days, I will get his machine back to see if I can (like any decent computer tech) "resurrect" his hard drive. In my brief investigation, it does not appear that this machine has a hidden recovery partition (if there is one, Mint does not show it as a separate drive and I can't find it) so my friend will be looking to see if he can find the install CD's that came with it. Any ideas? Is it likely to be just a corrupted MBR (boot sector)? ...and if so, can I fix it with the Gateway Vista install CD? ..or is it more likely a completely bad HDD? Any suggestions welcomed. -Phil K in Indy

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I'm going with yes.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 26, 2012 1:01 AM PDT

Either the restore media will work or it won't if the HDD is bad.

Since you were able to boot the USB Stick why didn't you find a HDD TEST and run that?

Sorry if I miss something but your single paragraph post is very hard to read. Try a little formatting by breaking it up into paragraphs next time.

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Bob's suggestions to my "Gateway laptop won't boot - New! "
by pkingery-indy / July 26, 2012 3:30 AM PDT
In reply to: I'm going with yes.

Bob, thank for the comments.

I agree, "Either the restore media will work or it won't..." I will find that out when / if my friend find the disks and I get the machine back to work on it.

As far as running the HDD test, I was able to boot using Linux Mint, but that USB drive does not have any MBR utilities. However, when I tried booting using my BartPE USB stick (which has the boot sector utility), it couldn't see the HDD. New information (from another forum), I have been informed that the BartPE WinXP environment does not have the right driver for a SATA drive, so that may be why it was unable to see the HDD.

Finally, please forgive my use of one huge "single paragraph" -- I am old school and in the early days of all ASCII-based forums, any use of an <Enter> key, had a very good chance of splitting up your post into several concatenated posts which were even more confusing.

Anyway, I hope someone can suggest a little utility that I can load onto my Linux Mint USB drive that I can run to fix (or at least, check) the boot sector on a WinVista HDD. Or perhaps someone will give me a suggestion on how I might use a Win7 or XP disk to fix it, since I don't have a Vista install disk.

Anyone else have a comment or suggestion? -Phil K. in Indy

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XP and SATA drives are oil and water.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 26, 2012 3:45 AM PDT

Sorry but I'd look at one of those UBCD (Ultimate Boot CD) things next. Many have HDTEST or similar.

To fix a bad boot area (I'll skip talking about MBR and all the various boot areas as you can google that) I like this app -> EasyBCD. That's what I use.

This does not repair the usual blown OS but fixes up the area you noted.

Sorry if I miss something in your first post.

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So XP does not like SATA drives?
by pkingery-indy / July 26, 2012 3:50 AM PDT

Bob, thanks again. I just downloaded EasyBDC. Can I run that from a USB drive? Does it have to be "installed"? -Phil K in Indy

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XP knows nothing about SATA drives.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 26, 2012 4:09 AM PDT

Google "XP SATA DRIVES" to learn more. YES some machines you can change the bios to emulate IDE but doing so can cause other issues. That's why I use Linux boot CD/USB.

As to EasyBCD from a flash stick, here's my google on that.

The second hit is their site and without opening the site I read "Boot both from and into USB drives, ISO images, virtual disks, and more." The third link here is specific instructions for this.

Hope that helps,

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RESOLVED! (just not the way I was wanting.)
by pkingery-indy / July 31, 2012 12:57 AM PDT

Bob, thanks for all the help, the computer is now up and running. Once I was able to get my hands on it again, I went through all the steps trying to repair the HDD, tried to run "EasyBDC" but could not figure out a way to get it to run from a USB drive. I had downloaded the version for WinVista since that was the OS on the sick machine, but when I tried to run EasyBDC from a WinXP boot, it would not run.

I had to abandon that and went to trying all the repair options on a WinVista install DVD:
1. I tried to "repair" the OS using the Vista install disk (did not work, after several attempts),
2. Tried to run the Bootrec.exe command with all the variables (did not help, after several attempts),
3. Finally tried to just reload the OS as a new install, knowing we would lose all the data, (refused to load).
In nearly all the attempts, it was like there was no HDD there -- the Vista install disk simply could not "see" the HDD.

Out of desperation, I swapped out the SATA drive for another one I had harvested from a laptop whose mobo had died several months earlier. The new (used) HDD formatted, took the new OS load and we are up and running! The donor HDD is only a quarter of the capacity of the failed HDD, but since the owner had only used a fraction of the space available, I think this one will work for him.

It is still a mystery why the bad HDD will not "boot", yet all the files are intact and accessible. I wired up the bad HDD to a little USB converter cable and I can see all the files - there are there - it just won't boot up.

Anyway, we can close out this episode. Thanks again for the support, help and guidance. -Phil K in Indy

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When a drive doesn not boot
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 31, 2012 1:56 AM PDT

I often have to wipe the drive clean so it has no partition or formatting then try the restore media again.

Sorry to read your adventures with XP and SATA but it is normal and when you have time you can catch up on why that fails for most along with the common workarounds.

Something does seem bad about the HDD but then again it appears you didn't start with a blank drive.

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Gateway Laptop won't boot.
by Randy63Hunt / March 4, 2013 1:37 AM PST

I have a similar problem with my Gateway Laptop. It is three years old had a windows 7 operating system and worked fine until I saw I had a redirect virus. I ran a scan to get rid of it and when it restarted all that comes on is the Gateway startub and then a flashing cursor. I tried taking the battery out unplugging it restarting with just the adaptor but does the same thing. I even tried taking the memory out restarting and then puting the meomory back in and still no luck. Please help me get it back up.It is a Gateway NV53 with 320 G hd 4 G memory

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Did you try EasyBCD and rewrite the boot information?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 4, 2013 1:49 AM PST

PS. Posting in an old thread is OK but I will assume you used the information in the old discussion. That is, I won't repeat what was written above.

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