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I sure hope I'm posting this in the right place ! If not, someone let me know please.
Compaq Presario S4020WM, Windows XP HOME . Young teenager messed around with this computer and has really done some damage !
When I turn on the computer, all I get is a message that says.....
Invalid system disk. Replace the disk and then press any key"
I made a boot disk from Bootdisc .com. When I put the boot disk in and start the machine, I get the same error message.
Any and ALL help is much appreciated !

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Last Post by Tumbleweedracef
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Maybe if you boot from an xp installaton disk and do a repair install that might solve the problem you are having.

Raj

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Actually, I think the first thing you should do is to check in BIOS what the boot order is set to. This is probably an instance where something is in the optical drive or that the boot order has been changed.

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whilest in the BIOS check to see if the hard drive is detected by your system if it is than look in the BOOT order and set it to the BOOT up device first.if that fails than do a hard drive format in another machine(slave your drive) put it back in the original machine and install the new OS
!Backup while it is set as slave in another machine
??

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Reply #1 I don't have the original XP recovery disc for this machine but I do have a Windows XP Pro disc , that I could put in it
Reply #2 I can't seem to be able to get into BIOS. I've tried F2,Del., Shift,F10,F8, at first and only screen and all I get is the error mesasage that I listed in the first thread.
Reply #3 If I do get into BIOS, you'll have to walk me through all those instructions that you listed.

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if you can't get into bios then you would better off get your data backed up and then do a repair install from the xp pro disk. should not be a big problem. If you want to know about backing up the hard disk then give us a shout.

Raj

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if you can't get into bios then you would better off get your data backed up and then do a repair install from the xp pro disk. should not be a big problem. If you want to know about backing up the hard disk then give us a shout.

Raj

I'm shouting ! Yes please, let me know how to back my data up. So you think there is no way to retrieve whats lost ? I have no hope of retrieving whats lost, just asking. I'm all for putting XP Pro on this machine ! I have to go to work , so I won't be back on here till tomorrow. Thanks a million for your help !!!

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When the machine first starts up you should try the various common keys for entering BIOS even before you see anything, especially if you have an LCD monitor as these often don't show the initial BIOS screen f12 and space bar are two other less common selections for BIOS as well.

As for data backup you can install the hard drive into a different computer as a secondary drive and be able to retrieve everything that is on it if the drive is still good

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When the machine first starts up you should try the various common keys for entering BIOS even before you see anything, especially if you have an LCD monitor as these often don't show the initial BIOS screen f12 and space bar are two other less common selections for BIOS as well.

As for data backup you can install the hard drive into a different computer as a secondary drive and be able to retrieve everything that is on it if the drive is still good

HEY !!!!! I used F1 and got into BIOS !!! I have to go into work so I will have to do the next step, whatever that may be, when I get home tonite or tomorrow. Thanks for all y'alls help !!!
Whats next since I can get into BIOS ?

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Next step should be to go look and see if it detects the hard drives, and make sure the boot order has the hard drive at the top. Generally this is in one of the following generally: system configuration, advanced options, startup configuration, or boot setup menu.

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Next step should be to go look and see if it detects the hard drives, and make sure the boot order has the hard drive at the top. Generally this is in one of the following generally: system configuration, advanced options, startup configuration, or boot setup menu.

~
Under boot Device Priority it had...
1rst Boot Device - floppy
2nd - CDROM
3rd - hard disk
4rth - LAN
~
Under Hard Disk Boot Priority it has.....
1. Pri.M WDC WD400EB-11CPFO
2. Bootable ADD-in Cards
~
I changed the Boot order to where the Hard disk booted up first and got the same results.
Please let me know what else I need to do, THANKS !!!

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~
Under boot Device Priority it had...
1rst Boot Device - floppy
2nd - CDROM
3rd - hard disk
4rth - LAN
~
Under Hard Disk Boot Priority it has.....
1. Pri.M WDC WD400EB-11CPFO
2. Bootable ADD-in Cards
~
I changed the Boot order to where the Hard disk booted up first and got the same results.
Please let me know what else I need to do, THANKS !!!

Something happened when I tried to send the last reply and it erased some of it. Here is the rest of what I had typed.....
Under the Main menue it has this under it....
Primary Master - [WDC WD400EB-11CP]
Primary Slave - [None]
Secondary MAster - [CW058D ATAPI CD-]
Secondary Slave - [None]

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in the BIOS run a Hard drive detection: press enter when the highlight is on primary master if save BIOS settings.what is the error that you get??when you tap f8 continuesly after exiting BIOS to get the safe mode option what happens?can you go into safe mode?
we'll get it fixed

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~
Under boot Device Priority it had...
1rst Boot Device - floppy
2nd - CDROM
3rd - hard disk
4rth - LAN
~

This is what the problem is, you should have 1st device as the hard disk as thats where you want the system to boot up from. Change it to that and see if it works for you. I think we are getting close to solving your issue now.

Raj

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OK, since you have changed boot priority and it isn't seeing the Hard drive - which is otherwise detected in BIOS, you likely have a problem with a cable, a controller or the hard drive. The cable is unlikely but will be easy to test right now as you will also test the controller.

Remove the data cable from the optical drive and attach it to the hard drive (with system power removed) then attempt a reboot. By switching to the other IDE controller and the cable that is on it we may be able to get some results, if you get no change you likely have a bad HD or one with corruption in the boot area of the OS or drive itself.

One last but rare possibility is if the jumper is set to cable select on the hard drive, you can try switching it to master but this isn't normally what you see for a failure in this part of the electronics.

If this is the case and you want to have a chance to save the data you will probably be best off by buying a new hard drive and installing it then doing a clean load of Windows to that drive. Once that is done you can change the jumper settings on your old drive and place it in line as slave to attempt to access data off of it and retrieve data from it and then reformat it if you want to use it as a secondary drive.

In the event you opt to use your old drive again you will want to run some type of diagnostics tool on the drive to make certain it is still good.

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in the BIOS run a Hard drive detection: press enter when the highlight is on primary master if save BIOS settings.what is the error that you get??when you tap f8 continuesly after exiting BIOS to get the safe mode option what happens?can you go into safe mode?
we'll get it fixed

I pressed "enter, for AUTO-Detection. It says..." Detecting hard drive", for a second then the words disapear. The settings below it says this....
IDE Primary Master - AUTO
Access Mode - AUTO
Capacity - 40022 MB
Cylinder - 19158
Head - 16
Precomp - 0
Landing Zone - 19157
Sector - 255
Transfer Mode - UDMA 5
--------------------------------------------------------
When I try to enter SAFE MODE, I get the original error message, INVALID SYSTEM DISK..., I can't get into SAFE MODE

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I don't know all these terms. I'm VERY new at hardware and even though I know some basics, I don't know what these terms are.....:
Data CAble, Optical Drive, Jumper, Cable Select, Master.
Please simplify these terms because I'm a rookie at this hard drive , BIOS stuff. Thanks !

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Data cable - the wide cable that connects between the drive and the motherboard

Optical Drive - CD or DVD drive using a laser and lens to read data

Jumper - a small block that spans 2 or more pins used to manually configure hardware settings (on hard drive at the back)

Cable Select, Master and Slave are the most common settings for the jumper(s) on a hard drive or optical drive on an IDE ribbon cable (the data cable) These settings are shown on the top of the drive or etched on the area around the jumper using MA = Master, SL or SV = Slave, CS = Cable Select. Master is the position on the end of a data cable farthest away from the connector to the motherboard, Slave is the one in the middle.

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Here is what I did. I switched the data cable from the optical drive and attached it to the hard drive. I got the same results, error message. Then , with that still changed I rebooted and went into BIOS to check settings. Here is one change I found .....:
Under the Main menue it has this under it....
Primary Master - [NONE]
Primary Slave - [None]
Secondary MAster - [WDC WD400EB-11CP]
Secondary Slave - [None]

The boot order is still trying to load the hard drive first, floppy second,CDROM third, LAN fourth
I switched the cable select to MASTER, after I put the data cables back where they belonged. Turned it on and the Compaq screen came on and stayed on for a minute, thats new, and then it went to a black screen with a blinking dash in the upper left corner, blinked fast........that was different also. Then it went back to the same ole' error message......Disk boot failure...
Now what ? Put it all back the way it was and load my gun ? Get a different hard drive ? Or, try to load a Windows XP Pro disc in it ? Maybe something different ? Let me know, please.

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Well at this point it is most likely that you a bad hard drive, we can try a recovery of the drive but I don't think it will work at all. After that the choices you have are is you want to first try and reinstall onto that drive and wipe the Data off it or if you want to get a new drive do a clean install onto it and try to then recover the data off the old one.

No matter what choice you make you will need to set the optical drive to first boot device and insert the windows disk for your machine (or recovery disk).

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I will try to put the XP Pro on it tomorrow. I have to get ready for work. I'll let ya know what happends. Thanks to you and everyone else who has walked with me through this !!!!!

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well looking at what u posted it seems like the only way out of your problems at present. Well any other problems then you know where to look for help man. good Luck

Raj

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OK we'll be around to help, post us on if it fixes it or not and be sure to mark thread solved at the end - it helps other people in similar circumstances to sometime be able to see a completed sequence.

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I honestly appreciate y'alls attention to my problem !!!! Thanks again for all advice given !!! I will try the recovery CD tomorrow.

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Ive been really busy lately but youve been a gr8 sport to work with.see ya around
cheers for now

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To my Brothers in arms,( Coolraj003, EMCCleveland, and Sittas87), I really appreciate ALL your unselfish help that you've sent my way !!!! I have taken a Windows XP Pro disc and successfully installed it on this troubled machine !! It took a couple attempts to get it to take but I am now installing all the Microsoft updates on it as I type . I hope one day to be able to help folks as you have helped me ! Thanks a million !!
If ya have any advice on how I can get to the level that y'all are at , please let me know !
Thanks again !
I'm learning all this stuff at home, in my spare time, and using it to help folks at the factory where I work, FREE, just as you have helped me !!!

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Before you go much farther you might consider testing the hard drive using Seatools or the like, I'd hate for you to get everything up and going only to find the hard drive is failing. As for advice on how to get to where we are - make alot of mistakes on your own machines and then don't do them on other people's.

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I have downloaded Seagate SeaTools and will run it today, thanks !
I do make many mistakes on my computers ! Thats how I got invoved with DaniWeb :D . I also work on folks computers at work for free, as a hobby, and hope one day to make a living at it!
I will post my results from the hard drive tests later today or tomorrow.
Thanks again !

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well keep at it and you ll be where you wanna be mate. Just surf through the posts here on daniweb. a lot of things could be learnt from here man. I wish you all the best for the future.

Raj

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I ran Seagate , Seatools for Windows. I ran 4 tests :
S.M.A.R.T Check, Short drive Self Test , Long Drive Self Test, and the Short Generic test. All 4 tests turned out to be perfect ! I think this drive will be ok ! Thanks again my Dani Web Brothers for all your help !
If any of you ever help in the " Motherboards, CPU and RAM, threads, I'd appreciate if ya looked at my thread over there that I've started and nobody has offered any help yet. Its located at http://www.daniweb.com/forums/post640860.html#post640860
Thanks again and I'll go ahead and close this thread, HAPPY !

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