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PC won't boot, PLEASE HELP!

by bhamer54 / November 22, 2004 6:53 AM PST

Last night I was burning CD's on an older version of Nero. I would start the cd, walk away and come back to have it finished later. I came back like an hour later and the screen was in an all black screen saver mode. It took a few seconds to come back to life, and was sluggish for another few seconds. At this point I finalized the cd, and burnned several more disks. I walked away for another extended period, but this time when I came back the pc never fully responded. It started comming back up like normal, but stopped responding and went to a blue screen with a message in white font. I did not read it, because I have seen a similar screen before and the computer still worked on the next use.

Now when I turn on the computer it says: "strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility". Pressing F1 only causes the PC to beep and repeat the message, F2 doesn't seem to be any help but I don't know what I'm doing.

I am hoping to get help from a friend that does some computer IT work, but it would be great if I got some feedback from you guys.



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Re: PC won't boot, PLEASE HELP!
by bhamer54 / November 22, 2004 6:55 AM PST

I was going to try to start the computer up off of the windows setup cd, but it did not work. Is that a good idea, and what do I have to do to make it work?

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Re: PC won't boot, PLEASE HELP!
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / November 22, 2004 7:20 AM PST


The operating system for your computer would sure help....

First things first....Did you remove all floppy disks and CD's from their drives before starting the computer?

The "strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility" is an error that occurs when you have a boot drive that has a damaged boot sector or for some reason the operating system is not available to load from that drive. It can frequently mean the hard drive has died.

Why didn't the CD boot? Is it because you need to reset the boot sequence so the CD loads first? In order to do that you'll need to restart the computer, then enter the CMOS/BIOS instructions by press the correct setup key once per second. (The key varieds depending on the system...F1, F2, F10, Delete, etc.) Once you've access the BIOS, then change the boot sequence so the CD-Rom loads before the hard drive.

Hope this helps.


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Re: PC won't boot, PLEASE HELP!
by bhamer54 / November 22, 2004 7:34 AM PST

I changed the boot sequence to be cd rom first, hard drive second, disk third. Now while I'm fooling around I see that it says something like: primary hard disk drive 1 not found". I also notice that while the dell screen is up it says F2 is the setup utility, and F12 is the boot menu. I tried F12 and told it option 4 : IDE CD-ROM Device, and nothing happened. it just repeats the message: "strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility".

So it sounds like my hard drive is shot. What does that mean to me? 1) Are all the files, documents, etc. on this PC lost for good? 2) Can I still boot the computer up at all in this state?

Please respond.



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Bryan, A Few Possibilities Left...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / November 22, 2004 8:23 AM PST


The "Setup Utility" is the F2 key. Press that one. It will bring you to the BIOS/CMOS where you can change the boot sequence so the CD will boot first. AFter that is change, then place the Windows CD in the drive, then restart the machine. See what happens.

Before giving up on the hard drive, try removing the cover to the computer, then reseating the cables to the drive. (Make sure to turn off the power first.) Although not likely, the cables could have become loose.

If you still get no hard drive found, then you probably have a dead drive. If the information is extremely valuable, then you might consider looking into a hard drive recovery company. It will cost some change to get it done. They might be able to recover your data. If the hard drive is dead then you will be unable to recover any data from it except in that manner. But I assume that you have some good backups for most of your important data anyway.

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Re: Bryan, A Few Possibilities Left...
by bhamer54 / November 22, 2004 8:34 AM PST

Thanks for your input. I will try what you said, then post again.

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Hard Drive Undetected, F1 -> F2 loop, etc...
by empty_shell / January 14, 2008 3:56 AM PST

I've worked in IT for over 10 years, we've had this same problem on Dell GS260 Optiplex towers.
Replacing the bios battery w/ a new one:
No change

Going into Bios setup:
Our Dells have a 1 page/tab bios config GUI. At the top under "Primary Master", it should say "Hard Drive", hitting enter allows you to either enter cylinder etc... manually, or auto. Not a HDD Pin configuration problem, every possible permutation has been tried, the proper and the improper. We move HDD's from one machine to another a lot. This problem shows up anytime a drive is changed, or if a secondary drive is installed.

Checking/replacing cables:

Booting from disk (with boot seq. set to disk):
impossible, for any kind of disk you would consider using.

I'm thinking virus. Hides in the MBR maybe.

Any insight?

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Rather vague.
by Kees Bakker / January 14, 2008 4:05 AM PST

"the same problem": which exact problem?
"it should say 'Hard Drive'": and what does it say?
"manually or auto": manually is from some 20 years ago and you only need it on disks from that time. What did you fill in?
"HDD Pin configuration": what's that?
"This problem shows up anytime a drive is changed or if a secondary drive is installed": seems like you have some way to solve it (or all your machines should be inoperable by now)
"booting from disk impossible": what happens

I'd say that either the disk (likely) or the motherboard needs replacement. Be sure to find a qualified tech to do so!


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SATA Drive? Maybe....
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / January 14, 2008 8:35 AM PST

...If you've got a SATA hard drive and you're replacing it with a new one, the most common issue I've seen with an inability for a boot disc to recognize the drive is a "RAID/SATA Support enabled" BIOS setting. Disable the "Native SATA Support" setting and everything is recognized correctly but you'll need to install the SATA drivers during setup if you want the drive to use extra SATA functions.

Hope this helps.


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Simplest First
by nakamuradavid / January 15, 2008 8:07 AM PST

Before you do anything like changing Motherboards, Hard Drives, do the simplest first. If your Motherboard (not entire Computer) is more than a couple of years old. Change the $2.00 battery on the Motherboard with an identical one. Do this first. This is the easiest and least expensive thing to check first. Normally the battery is a CR 2032.

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