General discussion

Disk boot failure: What is it and what can I do to resolve it

Question:

I'm receiving a "disk boot failure" error each day when I try to boot up my desktop. What does this mean exactly? It appears, with rare exceptions, only when the PC is started each morning. Once or twice in the six weeks since I purchased the computer, the error did not appear. If I shut the PC down and restart it, everything appears to run OK. I've run diagnostics on all the hardware, followed the recommendations on the HP site to correct this error, run chkdsk and talked to the HP tech support. The only thing left is to wipe my hard drive and do a system recovery. Before doing that, I need to know if there is anything else I can try.

Submitted by: Marlene O.


This answer was voted most helpful by our community members

Answer:

Disk Boot Failure - Some Things To Try


Marlene,

The disk boot failure could come from a number of sources. As an ex-HP tech, I can offer some solutions one or a combination of which will hopefully correct the error.

First, check your BIOS settings to see if S.M.A.R.T drive reporting is enabled. If it is, disable it and give it a test run of 2-3 days under a regular rebooting cycle to see if the error persists. S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology)is a somewhat outdated standard developed as an "early warning" system to detect hard disk issues. If your desktop is newer, it may not even be available as an option as it is not widely used these days. The SMART technology while useful under certain circumstances had an extremely wide margin of error and would throw errors on boot occasionally when there would be nothing from either a physical or configuration standpoint failing or pending failing in the drive.

While we're in the BIOS, I'd recommend that you ensure that it is recognizing the drive correctly on each startup. The easiest way to ensure this is to reset your BIOS default settings. While on the BIOS screen, look for an indication either along the top or bottom designated by one of the function keys (I believe it used to be F10 to restore defaults). Be sure to save your changes and exit. Again, where you did not get the error every time, you may need to monitor it's progress to see if the error returns.

Second, physically check all cabling. A loose or in some cases failing IDE cable (assuming it is an IDE and not SATA connection) will produce these errors in the Pavilion line (and most others I would well imagine). Power everything completely down, remove the side of the case to give access to the drives and start with reseating the cable both at the drive end and the controller (where they plug into the motherboard) ends. Ultimately, if you were to pick up (or could somehow borrow) a different IDE cable to test for a short time it may also call out a failed or failing cable as well.

Third, we can't overlook the possibility of a failed drive itself. Formatting and/or recovering the drive will most likely not correct an error of this type. If any of the steps on the HP forums resemble those suggested above and have already been attempted, the issue may well point to the disk itself. How old is your system out of curiosity. HP had a now-infamous recall issue back at the early part of 2001-2002 with a batch of Fujitsu brand hard disks. Although I am skeptical that there are still some of those offending drives floating around (and if so that you are only receiving errors 6 years later Happy), the company *are* still obligated to replace should the drive be determined to be part of this recall. I realize this option is quite a stretch given the timeframe.

Keeping with issues with the drive itself however, if all steps listed above don't correct the errors, there could be a strong possibility of a failing disk. Since you say it will boot on occasion the failure may not be severe enough at this stage to completely fail, but a total inability to boot may be looming on the horizon. If the system is still within the warranty, HP will replace the drive for you (you will most likely have to ship the tower to them in a postage-paid box they will send you if you are unfamiliar with the repair process).

Should the system be outside of any manufacturer or extended warranty you may have purchased additionally, you will need to purchase and have a new hard drive installed. Some facilities may be able to salvage information off your original disk for transfer (although where you are still at a point where your OS boots occasionaly, backing up data important to you is something I would go about starting ASAP) before installing the new one.

I hope one or a combination of the recommendations I've made correct your issue. Keep me posted if possible.

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-10149_102-0.html?forumID=7&threadID=257993&messageID=2552073#2552073

Submitted by: H41N

Please see below for additional advice from our members. If you have any additional recommendations for Marlene, let's hear them! Click on the "Reply" link to post. Please be detailed as possible in your answer. Thanks!
Discussion is locked
Follow
Reply to: Disk boot failure: What is it and what can I do to resolve it
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: Disk boot failure: What is it and what can I do to resolve it
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Comments
- Collapse -
Understandable

As would I. For many individual offerings are just that. Individual, and may not correct the situation. Truly the best I agree with is take it back while it's under warranty. What I had disagreed with was your notion that the person wasn't trying to help. None of these solutions should be considered etched in stone for every make and model. Most accurate diagnosis are made when actually looking at it, like I believe he suggested. To which at that point would say to me take it back, if the length of his prose did not. Maybe I misunderstand you, but do you still suffer this issue with the boot disk?

- Collapse -
Hmmm

No offense but....go back to American Chopper forum.

- Collapse -
disk boot failure

The same problem happend to me.The IDE connection from the mainboard to the harddisk (C)was not fasten correctly. I spent a lot of time with this probleme. Than I changed the connection ribbon and it was away.
The same problem is if your PC says: "No operating system found", this happens mostly with laptops.
So " Check the connections ! "

richard from Austria

- Collapse -
Disk not recognized

From the intermittent failure to recognize the disk, I would think that there is a timing problem in the CMOS auto setting of the disk parameters. So I would go to CMOS setup and use the disk detection function to set the actual disk parameters.

Of course, if this is the real problem, recovery will not help you.

- Collapse -
6 weeks of this.......

Personally, I'd start by checking two things:
a - by temporarily using a different power supply - it may be dodgy and not supplying sufficient volts during cold boots.
b - disconnecting the hardrive, and plugging in another drive if you can - you may have a soon to be dead hard drive.
If both of these end up checking out OK, then the motherboard is probably faulty.

That said, you have mentioned that the system is about 2 months old and been like this most of it's life with you - so my advice is to either return the PC to the place of purchase for exchange/refund OR get HP on the line and DEMAND a replacement PC - this has all the hallmarks of an intermittent hardware fault.

Best Of Luck - Daniel

- Collapse -
Disk Boot Error

Only six weeks old - Take it back and exchange it for a new one. No excuse for this type of error on a new computer and possibly an indicator of many other problems waiting in the wings... (I would of returned it at the first indication of the problem).

- Collapse -
Disk boot failure could be a cinch

Marlene, do you have a CD, DVD, or floppy (remember those?) in any drive when you boot up your computer? Sometimes that's all it takes to trigger the ominous-sounding boot disk failure error. Most home computers are set up to scan removable drives - the CD/DVD drive and floppy drive - for boot-up files before checking the C: drive, where these files are normally found. This is a safety feature that lets technicians and savvy users start up a computer with a CD or floppy disk when the files on the C: drive get corrupted.

The solution? Remove any removable disks before shutting down your computer. Or, if you don't have any nosy roommates, you could just leave it on 24-7. Most studies show little or no difference in electricity use or computer wear and tear when you do that, as long as you turn off your monitor.

Of course, the problem could be more serious. But this is a good place to start.

- Collapse -
The second scariest message other than a BSOD

Essentially this would probably mean one of two things: either the drive controller/interface on the motherboard is faulty (least worrisome if you haven't backed up your data lately) or the drive itself is failing. The first thing to do is check that all the power and interface cables to the drive are seated correctly and firmly. Sometimes you can get a little bit of contact resistance through corrosion or deposits on the connector pins or sockets (gold contacts won't corrode but deposits will cause a problem). Try replacing the cable as a "dry" joint on any of the connectors can cause a problem.

When you start up the pc after checking the cables, listen carefully to it and if you hear a repeated series of chattering sounds then the drive is failing and it is struggling to find the boot sector data. If there is no noise then it might be the motherboard but is still more likely to be the drive itself. If you have vital data on it, then get it backed up asap before it fails totally, and save new stuff to an external device for now, such as a flash drive.

Intermittent faults are hard to track down until they happen consistently, but some diagnostic software will identify common problems.

- Collapse -
Demand a new computer now

If you've only had this machine for six weeks, you need to have HP replace it - assuming you purchased it new or there weren't some restrictions on returns. At a minimum, you need a new hard drive.

If this occurs only on cold start up, meaning the computer has been turned off for more than a few hours and is being started up for the day. A poorly performing disk that is not running at full speed when cold can misread data and give you the error message you showed. When you restart the computer from a warm boot, meaning that it has now been on for more than a few minutes, you don't get the error message because the disk drive is now warmed up and working as it should.

So, if you can't get a new computer, you should at least be able to replace the hard drive. If you continue to work with your computer as it is, one day the drive will fail completely.

- Collapse -
Disk Boot Failure

If it is a new computer let HP solve it. However, some questions and suggestions. Do you have a floppy drive and CD drive, if so they may be set to boot prior to the hard drive and it is one of those drives the message is referring to. Open the computer setup, (the initial screen will tell you what keys to press) and check the boot order, make sure the hard drive is first. This may stop the message, if not I suggest backing everything up to a thumbdrive and, if a new computer, having HP replace the hard drive. Even if you reformat and reload the drive it still may fail, it is now giving you warnings, heed them!

- Collapse -
disk boot failure

If you ever use your floppy disk drive, make sure you take out the floppy disk before shutting down your computer. Also you may have a bad hard drive, have it checked out.

- Collapse -
HP tech support and frustration

Marlene, I feel for you. I bought an HP laptop 2 years ago and have had tons of problems with it. I spent 40 to 60 hours with HP tech support and my own time trying to figure out crashing problems. I've had lots of crashing problems and HP finally replaced or repaired the hard drive, memory, processor board, DVD burner, battery and even the AC to DC converter. The crash problems went away but my HP DVD burners broke twice. Luckily, I had bought one of those 3 year warranties.

Eventually, HP tech support will have you reload the OS and start from scratch. You might have to do that. If you do reload the OS (inculding erasing the hard drive before reloading) and if you still have the problems then there are three major areas that HP techs will look at: hard drive, memory and mother board.

HP has a great on-line tech support. Try them, too.

I wish you well.

- Collapse -
Disk Boot failure

Before taking any drastic action I would first make sure there is no media in either the floppy, CD-ROM/DVD drives or any USB Devices. Next I would remove all devices except the HDD from the boot up routine. If you boot up without the error message. add each device back one at at time to the boot until you discover the one giving you an error.

- Collapse -
Replace?

Marlene, one last thought.

During the first few months after purchasing my new HP laptop, the laptop had been in the shop 3 times plus I had spent many, many hours on the phone with HP tech support. After the third time in the shop, I was protected by the Lemon Law to have a replacement. In my haste of going on the road, I decided not to ask HP for a replacement because the laptop was behaving itself most of the time. Big mistake by me. I should've aksed for a new laptop because the laptop eventually broke down again. If your problem persists, check the Lemon Laws or Lemon policy and demand a new computer. You shouldn't have to be an HP test technician. It's HP's job to build, test and sell a working machine.

Hope it all works out for you.

- Collapse -
"disk boot failure"

Receiving a "disk boot failure" message when starting up but being able to restart successfully is usually a sign that your hard disk is not quite ready to work when the PC first checks the hardware. This can be the result of an older drive with aging bearings that doesn't start up as fast as it once did. Another possibility is mechanical wear that allows the disk drive head to be slightly misaligned to the data when the drive is cold.

What to do? First thing, make sure you have a good, complete backup of your drive. Do this whether you do the next steps or not.

Second, check the options in your system BIOS. Sometimes there is a hard drive startup delay to allow the hard drive just a bit more time to get ready.

Third, be prepared to replace the drive. Decent sized hard drives are available for $100 or less. It is frequently easier to replace a working drive than to start over with the added benefit that the down time happens when you decide, not some weekend when you really need the PC. If you decide to continue using the drive, consider a drive testing program such as Steve Gibson's SpinRite.

- Collapse -
Second, check the options in your system BIOS.Quote!

NEED Help On Plz :-
What to do?
First thing, make sure you have a good, complete backup of your drive. Do this whether you do the next steps or not.

Second,check the options in your system BIOS.
Sometimes there is a hard drive startup delay to allow the hard drive just a bit more time to get ready.

Third,be prepared to replace the drive.
Decent sized hard drives are available for $100 or less.

It is frequently easier to replace a working drive than to start over with the added benefit that the down time happens when you decide, not some weekend when you really need the PC.

If you decide to continue using the drive,consider a drive testing program such as Steve Gibson's SpinRite.
Is SpinRite a Link?
THX 4 Any Help or Advice you post me XD.

- Collapse -
Disk Boot Failure - Some Things To Try

Marlene,

The disk boot failure could come from a number of sources. As an ex-HP tech, I can offer some solutions one or a combination of which will hopefully correct the error.

First, check your BIOS settings to see if S.M.A.R.T drive reporting is enabled. If it is, disable it and give it a test run of 2-3 days under a regular rebooting cycle to see if the error persists. S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology)is a somewhat outdated standard developed as an "early warning" system to detect hard disk issues. If your desktop is newer, it may not even be available as an option as it is not widely used these days. The SMART technology while useful under certain circumstances had an extremely wide margin of error and would throw errors on boot occasionally when there would be nothing from either a physical or configuration standpoint failing or pending failing in the drive.

While we're in the BIOS, I'd recommend that you ensure that it is recognizing the drive correctly on each startup. The easiest way to ensure this is to reset your BIOS default settings. While on the BIOS screen, look for an indication either along the top or bottom designated by one of the function keys (I believe it used to be F10 to restore defaults). Be sure to save your changes and exit. Again, where you did not get the error every time, you may need to monitor it's progress to see if the error returns.

Second, physically check all cabling. A loose or in some cases failing IDE cable (assuming it is an IDE and not SATA connection) will produce these errors in the Pavilion line (and most others I would well imagine). Power everything completely down, remove the side of the case to give access to the drives and start with reseating the cable both at the drive end and the controller (where they plug into the motherboard) ends. Ultimately, if you were to pick up (or could somehow borrow) a different IDE cable to test for a short time it may also call out a failed or failing cable as well.

Third, we can't overlook the possibility of a failed drive itself. Formatting and/or recovering the drive will most likely not correct an error of this type. If any of the steps on the HP forums resemble those suggested above and have already been attempted, the issue may well point to the disk itself. How old is your system out of curiosity. HP had a now-infamous recall issue back at the early part of 2001-2002 with a batch of Fujitsu brand hard disks. Although I am skeptical that there are still some of those offending drives floating around (and if so that you are only receiving errors 6 years later Happy), the company *are* still obligated to replace should the drive be determined to be part of this recall. I realize this option is quite a stretch given the timeframe.

Keeping with issues with the drive itself however, if all steps listed above don't correct the errors, there could be a strong possibility of a failing disk. Since you say it will boot on occasion the failure may not be severe enough at this stage to completely fail, but a total inability to boot may be looming on the horizon. If the system is still within the warranty, HP will replace the drive for you (you will most likely have to ship the tower to them in a postage-paid box they will send you if you are unfamiliar with the repair process).

Should the system be outside of any manufacturer or extended warranty you may have purchased additionally, you will need to purchase and have a new hard drive installed. Some facilities may be able to salvage information off your original disk for transfer (although where you are still at a point where your OS boots occasionaly, backing up data important to you is something I would go about starting ASAP) before installing the new one.

I hope one or a combination of the recommendations I've made correct your issue. Keep me posted if possible.

- Collapse -
Format a faulty drive

Why do all manufactureres insist on re-formating drives in the PC? In my many years of experience I have NEVER found re-formating to be helpful - all it does is removes (or at least, makes more difficult)any chance of recovering any data from the drive.
I sent a lap-top back to HP with a fault in its graphic card - they did a system restore on it! Back to Compaq with a broken display cable - they restored it!
I dread anything failling under warrenty as I know I can kiss any data goodbye.
The last lap-top I had to return (no track-pad) - I swapped in a "new" disc and did a restore to get it up and running. Even it came back having been "restored" by Dell (and yes - it was the same lap-top) but at least I still had the original disc and all its data safe!
If a disc fails - it needs to be replaced.
If an unrelated component fails - leave the disc alone!
To get back to the original problem - this is not going to be resolved by re-formatting so why even suggest it? Your suggestions about checking the cables is good, the reset to defaults of the BIOS is a bit suspect but the suggestion that a re-format and restore might help is so wide of the mark that it makes me wonder how long you need to have been clear of a tec. support unit before common sense returns.
Next you'll be suggesting a scan with Norton AV might help

Happy

- Collapse -
intermittent problem when booting, HD is not recognized

Dear All,

I'm having an intermittent problem when booting my laptop (acer aspire 5100, windows XP) and this is the closest forum on my problem that I found on the net.

Sometimes it does not recognise the hard disk, which is confirmed when I enter the BIOS settings (F2). But, while in the BIOS, I realised that if I restore the default settings it magically works again.. then, after some days or (I BELIEVE) a strong movement (I travel a lot) it happens again.

I'm no longer covered by the warranty so I'm not against open the darn thing, but I'm no computer wizz and I'm abroad, so I wanted to know if you would have any useful suggestions before I proceed...

Thanks a lot

- Collapse -
Try chkdsk f4rom boot disk

If you're running chkdsk from the command console it doesn't always find every problem because windows is partially loaded. If you are running it from the command console insert the disk you would use to restart windows. Once everything has loadeed hit r follow the questions till it says 1:c:windows then type chkdsk /r

- Collapse -
One Solution - Nothing Else!

Since you just had this computer for 6 weeks, the best solution is to just perform a System Recovery. Choose the destructive one through Advance Option. If after doing this and the problem still persists, then you better return or exchange this to where you purchase it. Some stores will accept defective computer returns for up to 30 days, others 45 days. You better check it out. Don't wait until you can no longer return it. There are a lot of scenarios but why try to figure it out the hard way and do trial and error when you don't have that much time on your hand anyway. If you have spoken with the HP Tech Support, you make sure that you have the case number or reference number, who you spoke with and the time and date that you called. Sometimes having this info on hand makes it easier to return the computer.

- Collapse -
Don't Waste Time Recovering...

System Recovery, destructive or non, isn't going to fix a DBF error on boot.

It's hardware related. The only thing recoveries are good for on Pavilions is a reimage. And the NDR usually won't even correct that.

Recovering the system won't correct anything hardware related on the machine. They're designed as I said to reimage, and will correct things like driver issues, corrupt installs out of the box, etc.

Trust me, I did probably 20-25 a day with customers for 3 years when I did Pavilion support.

- Collapse -
Disk boot Failure

Try replacing your power supply first, maybe it is defective, power loss to a hard disk also displays disk boot failure and system hangs from time to time. even if you reformat again and again, the same problem will appear if your power supply is defective.

- Collapse -
disk boot failure

I have talked with a couple of computer techs. I have been advise to leave my computer on when I am not using it. Cold starting your computer every day can do more harm to the hardware, software and drivers than leaving it on 24 hours a day. It takes a great amount of resources to cold start a computer. It is true that the hard drive may not be ready when the mother board is after a cold start. If you leave the computer on and have to do a warm start then the hard drive is already warmed up and ready to go. If you are worried about the components overheating then make sure the vents are clear of any lent and dust and there are no other obstructions in the way of the vents that could prevent air from circulating into the tower. Also the advice I have read about you power supply is also true. You may have to call HP and have them send you a power supply that rated to 400 watts. I have a HP computer and ran into similar problems and had to have a new power supply. But keep your computer on, keep the vents clear and do as few cold starts as you possibly can.

- Collapse -
System Recovery

Marlene,

You should not have to delete the information already on you hard drive. HP has a great system recovery program on there system. I would yet be a little skeptical about what you have bought from HP. I know with a computer I had bought a few years back the same thing happend to myself. One of the things that I had found out after this problem was that I had a bad stick of RAM. This caused the same type of issues at first it was not able to start properly like your own. Then I was not able to burn or install programs to my system. The diagnostic tools I had were top of the line a the time. Nothing showed the RAM to be bad yet once I had replaced it all my problems stopped. Second was that I found was this happend more and more when I had set the system to shut down automatically after not being used for a period of time or to go into sleep mode. One other thing that you might need to check is do you have a Virus scanner on the computer and is this virus scanner working properly.

Unfortunately I now use a MAC and do not follow much of the system tools out there for PC's although Norton Utilities has always been a great program to use and I do believe they have a free software for such diagnostics. I hope this will work.

- Collapse -
Boot Disk error

Hiya,
This error usually appears when you have a dvd or cd in your machine when you start.
Basically your computer is set to look for a boot disk each time it starts in case of sytem breakdown. If the disk in the machine isn't a windows start up disk it will show system boot disk error and then boot from the hard drive.
It should be nothing at all to worry about as long as your windows loads ok from the hd.
Rest assured that if you do have to boot from a cd sometime your machine is set up to go straight to it to find it.
I hope this helps.
Carol

- Collapse -
Right on

I have sometimes had boot problems where the fix was to remove the CD or DVD from the tray.

And the problem was caused by exactly what you say, my boot sequence [as I had set up in my BIOS instructions] was to go to the DVD drive first, then the floppy, then the hard disk. .

Failing to set it back to boot up to C first, I would get a boot error or an eternal flashing cursor. Once I removed the disc, like magic, PC would boot up.

Great tip that you posted.

- Collapse -
Floppy disk

Check if you have a floppy disk in the floppy drive. If you have one, remove it and turn on the computer.

- Collapse -
Potential winning answers

Here are the selected submissions grouped in one post. Read through them and place your votes in the newsletter poll.

Answer:


Disk Boot Failure on initial startup.


Marlene,

I've seen this bit of weirdness in the past. The issue is actually fairly simple to diagnose.

What seems to be happening in this situation is as follows:

The computer starts off in a "cold" state - meaning it's been off for some time.

1.) You hit the power button
2.) The power supply engages, starts feeding power to the peripherals and the motherboard.
3.) The motherboard "wakes up" and begins it's POST (Power On Self Test) sequence.
4.) Peripherals (hard and optical drives) being their POST sequences as well.

Now then, the POST for the motherboard finishes before the hard drive finishes spinning up and POSTing itself. Therefore, when the motherboard's finished, the hard drive is still not ready for action. The motherboard decides it's not going to wait for the hard drive to finish and the motherboard fails the drive.

Now, if you hit the reset switch, the next time the computer boots, it recognizes the hard drive as it's already had a chance to power up at least partially.

So... What's the cause? When you power up a computer, all of the devices that are connected to it are activated at the same time so they can, if nothing else, be at the ready when the system comes online. So, if you've got a LOT of devices - two hard drives, two optical drives, multiple USB devices that draw power from the USB port, etc..., then it may be the power supply is inadequate for the task at hand. Additionally, things like video cards/chipsets can be quite power hungry.

Having a weak power supply can be the problem. Unfortunately, vendors these days tend to be as cheap as possible with their hardware. After all, they do want to make a profit. The problem lies, however, when the system and the components in it require say, 350 watts and the power supply installed is only rated at 300 or even 250 watts MAX. The word "MAX" appears on many power supplies these days - and means the power supply can deliver a maximum of it's rated wattage for a short period of time. It doesn't mean it can deliver that for an extended period of time.

However, it can also be the hard drive itself. Some drives tend to be "lazy" and not come up to their "ready" state fast enough.

Either way, wiping the hard drive and starting over isn't going to be a solution.

So...what to do about this... Given your post, it would seem you've only had the system for a couple of months and that means it should still be under warranty. The obvious fix would be to power it off, crack open the case and look at the power supply. If it's fairly small - say a 250 or 300 watt PSU, a replacement with a 400 or 450 watt PSU would be the quick fix - however, replacing it yourself could possibly void your warranty. Contact HP for assistance.

If the power supply is rated to be a reasonable amount, it could be faulty. It happens. Contact HP for a replacement.

The first thing I would suggest would be to have the computer checked out by someone who's got a larger power supply handy. If it seems to solve the problem, take the results of the test and going to HP and insisting (politely, of course) that they do something about it.


http://forums.cnet.com/5208-10149_102-0.html?forumID=7&threadID=257993&messageID=2550499#2550499

Submitted by Wolfie2k5

***********************************************************************

Answer:

Houston, we have a hardware problem


Hi Marlene,

This is indeed a frustrating problem. Without having access to your PC to test it, it's hard to say for certain what it is, but I think I can give you some idea what may be happening. My thought is that you have a hardware problem, and you need a new motherboard, or possibly hard drive. Maybe even power supply. I'll explain why.

First, 'boot disk' is (almost certainly) your C drive - the disk Windows usually lives on. The failure means that for some reason, while trying to boot, there was a problem reading the hard drive. You probably know this.

Now there are two different places this (or similar) error can occur, and as you didn't say exactly when it happens, I'll cover both.

The first is during POST when the hardware is getting itself ready to load. It's checked out basic processor and memory function (and a whole lot else), initialized the hardware, and then it tries to find the operating system. If at this point it can't find a disk with windows - it will complain...

Now since HP suggested running CHKDSK, I suspect it gets started and fails during boot. After all, a fragmented disk doesn't matter if you can't even start booting!

Now I have had disk boot errors when I've tried to put a hard drive onto a different motherboard. The reason here is that the drivers set up in Windows for the old motherboard would not work for the new motherboard and everything falls apart. However, this always happens - just rebooting won't fix it. This isn't your problem.

However, if you have a Windows (software) problem, you can expect it to do the same thing every time during boot. Yes I know Windows has ... idiosyncrasies? but the odd happenings usually occur after it's been running a while.

But your problem happens some times and not others. It happens when the computer is cold (just switched on), and then when you try again it works. The thing about software is that (fundamentally) the same code with the same data does thing every time. But hardware... When hardware is acting up all sorts of strange and inconsistent things can happen. Sometimes.

Now what can happen that makes a boot fail - and then succeed at the next try?

One thing is temperature. It is possible that something, perhaps a solder joint or other connection, doesn't make good contact when cold, but does when warm. Perhaps a component changes characteristics with temperature, and only works properly (or well enough) when warm. This applies to any chips, including the processor.

Another possibility is the simple fact that the machine is switched on and the power supply is present. It's just possible an electrolytic condenser is defective and causes a malfunction, but after it's been on a while, the fact that the voltage is present allows it to heal itself and work well enough.. until it's switched off again...

Now HP has had you run diagnostics and turned up nothing wrong. I'd say of course not - you can only run diagnostics after booting - and by the time you can boot, the problem has gone away.

one thing you can try - as soon as you switch on, press f1 to enter the BIOS to stop it booting. Wait a few minutes and then exit the BIOS and let it boot. If it does, it sounds a lot like warm-up problems.

So my strong suspicion is you have a hardware problem. If it's under warranty - get it fixed or replaced. Right now it is an irritation, but, whenever hardware is messing up, it's only likely to get worse. And you'd be really upset if it limped along just long enough for the warranty to expire.

If it's out of warranty it's a case of can you live with the inconvenience .. and remember to take frequent backups.

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-10149_102-0.html?forumID=7&threadID=257993&messageID=2551129#2551129


Submitted by redking44

***********************************************************************

Answer:

Disk Boot Failure - Some Things To Try


Marlene,

The disk boot failure could come from a number of sources. As an ex-HP tech, I can offer some solutions one or a combination of which will hopefully correct the error.

First, check your BIOS settings to see if S.M.A.R.T drive reporting is enabled. If it is, disable it and give it a test run of 2-3 days under a regular rebooting cycle to see if the error persists. S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology)is a somewhat outdated standard developed as an "early warning" system to detect hard disk issues. If your desktop is newer, it may not even be available as an option as it is not widely used these days. The SMART technology while useful under certain circumstances had an extremely wide margin of error and would throw errors on boot occasionally when there would be nothing from either a physical or configuration standpoint failing or pending failing in the drive.

While we're in the BIOS, I'd recommend that you ensure that it is recognizing the drive correctly on each startup. The easiest way to ensure this is to reset your BIOS default settings. While on the BIOS screen, look for an indication either along the top or bottom designated by one of the function keys (I believe it used to be F10 to restore defaults). Be sure to save your changes and exit. Again, where you did not get the error every time, you may need to monitor it's progress to see if the error returns.

Second, physically check all cabling. A loose or in some cases failing IDE cable (assuming it is an IDE and not SATA connection) will produce these errors in the Pavilion line (and most others I would well imagine). Power everything completely down, remove the side of the case to give access to the drives and start with reseating the cable both at the drive end and the controller (where they plug into the motherboard) ends. Ultimately, if you were to pick up (or could somehow borrow) a different IDE cable to test for a short time it may also call out a failed or failing cable as well.

Third, we can't overlook the possibility of a failed drive itself. Formatting and/or recovering the drive will most likely not correct an error of this type. If any of the steps on the HP forums resemble those suggested above and have already been attempted, the issue may well point to the disk itself. How old is your system out of curiosity. HP had a now-infamous recall issue back at the early part of 2001-2002 with a batch of Fujitsu brand hard disks. Although I am skeptical that there are still some of those offending drives floating around (and if so that you are only receiving errors 6 years later Happy), the company *are* still obligated to replace should the drive be determined to be part of this recall. I realize this option is quite a stretch given the timeframe.

Keeping with issues with the drive itself however, if all steps listed above don't correct the errors, there could be a strong possibility of a failing disk. Since you say it will boot on occasion the failure may not be severe enough at this stage to completely fail, but a total inability to boot may be looming on the horizon. If the system is still within the warranty, HP will replace the drive for you (you will most likely have to ship the tower to them in a postage-paid box they will send you if you are unfamiliar with the repair process).

Should the system be outside of any manufacturer or extended warranty you may have purchased additionally, you will need to purchase and have a new hard drive installed. Some facilities may be able to salvage information off your original disk for transfer (although where you are still at a point where your OS boots occasionaly, backing up data important to you is something I would go about starting ASAP) before installing the new one.

I hope one or a combination of the recommendations I've made correct your issue. Keep me posted if possible.

http://forums.cnet.com/5208-10149_102-0.html?forumID=7&threadID=257993&messageID=2552073#2552073

Submitted by H41N

***********************************************************************
Answer:

Disk boot failure


I have had this message a number of times. There were different explanations on different occasions.

Before you do anything else, back up your computer. The time it takes to back up is much less than the time it takes to recover from a disk failure (if you can). I've been there. At the very least, back up your documents, pictures, music files, and data files.

Two possibilities you need to consider: your system is attempting to boot from a disk/drive/card without a system file, or your Master Boot Record (MBR) is faulty, a sign your hard disk may be about to fail.

The first possibility occurred to me: my computer (a Gateway Core 2 Duo) was giving me the message 'Unable to find DOS.' It turned out that it was trying to boot from a memory card in my USB-connected photo printer. When you boot/reboot, you may see a (sometimes brief) message "Press <Del> to setup BIOS options" or similar message. The keys are usually <Del>, <F2>, <F10>, or <F12>. When you are brought into your Setup screen, go to Boot Options. The most frequent sequence for boot is <Floppy> (if you have one), Optical Drive (CD/DVD drive) and HD0, your main hard drive. Unless you have a boot system on a USB flash drive, you do not want your machine to attempt to boot to a USB. This was the cause of my difficulty. I had to disable 'Boot USB First', an option I hadn't seen when I set up the machine.

If this does not work, you need to try to refresh your Master Boot Record. I have a program from GRC associates (www.grc.com) called SpinRite, which refreshes the signals on the tracks on your drives. It has save a failing drive long enough to allow me to copy it over to another drive. There are other programs, including free ones, that will refresh your MBR. A copy of your MBR is kept in the early tracks on the hard drive, and various programs will 'refresh' your MBR.

If you succeed in getting your computer to boot, I suggest you think about a new hard drive. The 'failure to boot' is often the early death call of a failing hard drive.
If your drive fails to boot, not all is lost. Borrow a hard drive from a friend who has the same OS as your computer. Use the other hard drive to back up your hard disk. Once a drive has failed to boot, I replace it and use it as auxiliary storage for non-critical data (e.g., music and video files I can replace).

I hope this is helpful.

Whatever the outcome of your situation, I cannot emphasize enough backing up your hard drives periodically (e.g., once a month) and your data files frequently (daily). Been there. Done that. Saved my skin more than once.


http://forums.cnet.com/5208-10149_102-0.html?forumID=7&threadID=257993&messageID=2550279#2550279

Submitted by: qdon

- Collapse -
I disagree with all 4 of the selected answers

It sounds to me more like a hardware setting rather than a hardware failure. Check the drive jumper settings on all drives connected to the motherboard. One may be set to Master drive and one to Cable select. Or even the cable may be making a bad connection. Everybody wants to make a big deal out of a "No Operating system" error or no hardrive available error. When the MB posts the first thing it does after checking the memory is check the drives available, and lists them in order. If the CMOS is listing the correct drives at Posts, then the drives are spun up and ready to read. The only thing that would cause them to mis read is a bad cable or a mis set jumper on the drive. First thing I would do is replace the cable and chedk the jumper settings. Or if it is set to Cable Select, switch it to Master drive. Make sure you are using an 80 wire cable if you are using Cable Select jumper on the drive. Cable select doesn't work well with 40 wire cables. And I've seen a lot of new computers that still have 40 wire cables on a mother board and harddrive that supports UDMA 133 which requires an 80 wire cable. Also if the CD is also connected to the same cable as the harddrive, you need to check the jumper on it to be sure it is compatable with that of the harddrive, i.e. Master and Slave, or both set to Cable select.
Sometimes new computers don't have all the connections fully pushed on or have wiggled loose in transit so check that and Make sure all drive cables are fully set into the connections.
Been my experience that most errors from failure to find operating system is either a bad cable or a mis set jumper.

That is from tech experience in the field, not from a support tech.

CNET Forums