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System crash - "preparing to repair" then black screen

by pal5510 / January 1, 2014 10:54 AM PST

I have an Acer Aspire 5742 - Windows 7 with Windows 8 partition. I'm not entirely tech savvy but I understand or at least know how to look up what I don't understand and can follow directions.
I use W7 and all files are saved on that partition. I figured I'd gottten a virus on 7 because programs were crashing and I was getting error messages getting progressively worse. I tried to back up the W7 files but the dvd program wouldn't recognize any discs I used. When I attempted to copy the files to a flash drive it would copy a few files then freeze. I was in safe mode in the middle of slowly getting the files on the flash drive with the intention of moving them to W8. I have a back up copy of W7 from June which I thought I could use when I needed it. I was afraid files after that date might be lost and I didn't want to take a chance since I've never restored from a back up before. W8 including the dvd writer and discs worked fine. On a side note, I updated W8 to 8.1 and installed a licensed version of Avast Internet Security to replace a trial that was expiring prior to starting this process. I don't know this might be important.

I was shutting down W7 each time it froze by pressing the on switch until it shut off then turning back on in W7. This last time instead of booting up I got the screen that said preparing to repair. Never having seen that before I now know it's a W8 screen. The dots circled but nothing happened and it eventually went to a black screen and stayed there up to the point I realized nothing more would happen.

Is there anything I can do to fix it? I can hit F2 and get set up on start up. I have discs for both programs. If I use one is there a repair option without wiping the hard drive? There are still files I wouldn't want to lose on W7.

Thanks so much for any help. Happy new year!

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All Answers

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Before you do that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 1, 2014 10:57 AM PST

Before you do that, did you perform you canned air cleaning earlier than you schedule?

In case you don't use canned air, google "How to clean laptop vents with canned air?"

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Acer 7642 still down - a couple more questions
by pal5510 / January 13, 2014 3:37 AM PST
In reply to: Before you do that.

I cleaned out the dust - wasn't all that dusty. I asked a computer savvy family member to look at it. He tried to slave the hard drive to his computer and didn't get anywhere if I understood him correctly. I didn't get the details of exactly what happened other than him saying it almost got up and running but crashed just short of getting there. He thought I should just buy a new hard drive.

First question. I looked at the web site. My aspire is a 5742 7620 refurb. For that model they showed multiple hard drives for replacement or upgrade including SS and hybrid. Another discussion mentioned getting a SS hard drive for fast performance but it has poor write speed. How about a hybrid? I use my laptop for uploading and editing photos, accessing the internet and writing. What's the best to get?

In addition to getting the new hard drive my son had a suggestion. If I removed the old hard drive and bought an external case he thought I could access the files in that old hard drive because I'm not using the OS. I looked up how to remove data from a dead laptop and found the same idea and that made sense. Is that the same concept as the slaving idea? Thanks for the input. Your opinion and expertise is much appreciated.

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Good info.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 13, 2014 3:49 AM PST

OK, a few tests I do BEFORE I replace the HDD.

1. I boot up any Live CD. There are hundreds out there and what I use does not have to be what you use. I wrote about it a few years back at

2. Best may be very expensive. Few really meant that when they asked so why not a nice drive like:
There's a 500GB too. Yes, we have both models in various laptops around the office.

3. Put the old drive in a new case.
Well done, well discussed, always a good idea.

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Bought Seagate SSHD more questions
by pal5510 / January 23, 2014 11:58 PM PST
In reply to: Good info.

I did the three things you suggested. A knoppix CD didn't work. I put the old drive in a new case and hooked it up to our old desktop just to see what showed up. No files were listed, just a message that asked me if I wanted to format the HD. I just unhooked it from the desktop and left it alone for another day.

I bought the Seagate HD and that's where it got curious. Once the new drive was installed, I tried a recovery disk I'd made and nothing happened so I figured that might be bad. I transferred onto the new hard drive what my external hard drive said were back up files from June. I didn't take the time to look through the files, they were zip files. I booted up the laptop with the new drive in place and it appeared to be working. I went through various messages saying it found system image back up and to select one of two. I selected the most recent version. Long story short is that I guess there was a back up to not only that laptop but an older HP mixed in the files, I have no idea why.. The system went into repair mode again but at least a few messages came up as if the system was attempting to repair but nothing went further, or I should say I assumed nothing would repair since 20 or more minutes went by without any change. Where it gets confusing is that when I removed the drive to format it (I decided to just order new recovery disks) it showed two drives. I assumed that was the W8 partition I'd made on the old hard drive . I formatted both to wipe the drive hoping it would return it to it's original state of one drive. It didn't. What's unusual however is that when I looked at the properties to check the free space, the first drive only showed 265 gb and the other 25 gb (but little used space). It's a 500 gb drive. I know you lose gb but more than 200? I've obviously done something wrong and I'm hoping you can tell me how to get the drive back to it's new state. Thanks again for the assistance.

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First. Must we recover files?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 24, 2014 12:04 AM PST
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are you getting short on drive space?
by James Denison / January 24, 2014 7:42 AM PST

Maybe have less than 10% available? Strange things like you describe begin to happen then, mostly due to uncounted space devoted to meta data files.

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