Hello. I have tried for 2 weeks to get my Parents computer up and running again. It died several years back, but I cannot for the life of me figure it out. I have tried burning recovery disks that I've downloaded online, along with Driver dvds, tried boot from USB.. At one point it says No hard drive detected.. I cannot install Windows Vista again, as there nothing listed to install it on. How do I get this computer fixed? Please let me know any information that you need.. I have the Windows Upgrade Cd but cannot get anywhere with that either.. I put Ubuntu on a USB drive and boot into that, but because there is no Hard drive detected, I cannot do anything. I even connected the desktop to the internet but cannot get Ubuntu to download and run anything.

Desktop Computer
Acer Aspire X1200
Running Windows Vista Home Premium
AMD Athalon 64

Can you get into the BIOS? If not, then the computer likely has a physical defect and needs professional care, or replacement. However, since you say you can boot into Ubuntu from a USB drive, then the system is still alive. Have you tried replacing the hard drive? Can you boot from CD/DVD?

Thank you SO much for the reply. I am beyond frustrated with this as I cannot seem to figure this out!!

Yes, I can get into bios by pressing delete upon restart. I can also get into boot order by pressing F12 (can also access boot order in bios), and I can get into SafeMode by pressing F8 upon startup.

I can run Ubuntu off my usb drive, but because I have no "hard drive" I can't download it to my computer. I also cannot download, save and open any drivers I download while being in Ubuntu.

I also just loaded Hiren's Boot CD onto my flash drive and can run that fine, yet still no hard drive.

I have tried downloading all the drivers (and bios update) from the acer website, and loaded them to the flash drive and also dvds, but can't open and install them. I can connect to the internet successfully in Ubuntu and Hiren's Boot CD.

I do not know anything about computers, everything I've tried has been from searching the web. I have downloaded vista recovery discs and burned them in isoimage, and also Rufus to the flash drive.
I also downloaded Acer drivers and again burnt them to disk and also to the USB drive.

When inserting the recovery dics or usb, I get hung up at startup where it says "Windows Corporation" and the loading bar keeps going... For hours and does nothing.

Also when I load into safemode by Pressing F8 upon startup.. I have tried loading SafeMode, SafeMode with Networking and SafeMode with dos commands.. All of which load drivers and get hung up on drivers/system32 I can't remember exactly which one it was. I can try again if you need it?! It hangs on the exact same one everytime..

The computer is very old, from 2008/2009 but there's no reason it can't work, right? I just need to get it working enough with no issues to give back to my mom so she can continue working from home with the use of a computer instead of her iPhone. The desktop worked fine until it died (probably from viruses in about 2010) and has sat since then.

I have the Windows Upgrade Anytime disc that came with the computer, and I can get into recovery, but fails, I try to resinstall vista but it has no hard drive to install on. When I enter the product key for windows vista (which the sticker is on the side of the tower) it says invalid.

I tried to loading windows in Hiren's and it said.. "Windows could not start because the following is missing or corrupt : <windows root>\system32\hal.dll. Please re-install a copy of the above file."

I have taken the battery out of the tower several times and held power down to "clear" it out, went back into bios and reset the date and time. Nothing different. I haven't changed the hard drive as I don't know how, and don't have the money quite yet to replace it. I'd like to see if it really even needs to be replaced, or just update/reinstall drivers etc..

Thank you in advance. -Danii

\windows\system32\drivers\disk.sys is what it hangs on.

Given the age, story it sure sounds like a failed HDD.

Since the other OSes run from CD and USB, that adds to the story the old HDD may be gone.

If you can supply the make and model of the HDD maybe we can find a CD/USB based HDD test?

And yes, some run Windows off USB but most folk gasp for air as they read http://www.rmprepusb.com/tutorials/win7onusb

I managed to get some info from the HDH. It is located directly behind the optical drive, so I had to remove that. I did not remove the hard drive itself as I did not want to go through all that hassel, if I didn't really need to. From what I can see the Hard Drive is: Western Digital WD3200AAJS 22B4A0, 320GB. Other numbers/info I saw were: WD Caviar SE, WCAT12599718.

Thank you SO much!!!! You are awesome. Do you think a bigger hard drive would be better? Maybe the next size up? If the computer could handle it, which one do you think would be okay to upgrade to? Also would that be the only thing I needed to buy and replace, was the hard drive itself?
I've never replaced a hard drive, and I'd have to do it myself, so I hope it's easy! I got the optical drive out earlier so I could get to the hard drive into and got it back together and it's working fine, so that was good! Hahaha

I tried the Lifeguard diagnostic testing and Under Physical drive I got
SanDisk Cruzer (USB) which is what I've been loading everything onto
And Generic Multi-Card (USB)

And under Logical drive
File system: NTFS
Total Space 813MB
Free Space 770MB

File System: NTFS
Total Space: 248MB
Free Space: 245MB

Because those drives are under Logical, and not Physical, I can't run the diagnostic tests on them.. I can only run it on the USB drives, which are working perfectly fine so there is no need to.

Also, when I run the Windows Anytime Upgrade cd that came with the machine, and I enter the key for Windows Vista that is on the side of the tower, it comes up invalid. Will that key work on the new hard drive?

As to the key for Windows, it's likely the old story about OEM keys are not valid for Windows Anytime Upgrade.

Maybe you should go for Windows 10 as it will be free for now.

As to the next size up HDD I got the impression cost was an issue so I looked up the same size HDD and found it under 30 bucks in my part of the world.

I was just curious as to the price difference in the upgraded hard drive, that was all. Cause if it's not much difference for the next size up.. I could surprise my Mom.

Thank you so much for all of your help.

I am signed up to get Windows 10 on my laptop and my desktop. Will it be free To put on the new hard drive if I don't have an OS installed? Or will I have to install Windows Vista, and then upgrade to 10 for free?

My email for reserving Windows 10 for my laptop/desktop states that Windows 10 is only available for free when upgrading from 7 or 8.1..

(Microsoft) "Wink wink, nod nod, have a copy on us."

This news is all over the web but there are folk that can't believe it. Here's part of the reason they are doing this. Microsofties feel a little burned as Android OS installs passed 1 billion recently. So the only way to get there is by taking a page from drug dealing. Forgive me for being so blunt.

As to the cost of a 500GB HDD, you could check it out so I didn't.

Awesome thank you very much. The reason I asked about the next size up hard drive is that I don't know which ones will fit into this system.


I found this one.. 1T is obviously the best you can get, and it's only $50.. will this work in a Acer Aspire X1200? Will I need any cables or anything? Or will the ones I have now work for the new hard drive? Even if I get a different size?

Thank you again. And sorry to be a pain!! I have no idea about any of this stuff.

That 1TB is the same mechanical size and connections as the 320GB original as far as I can tell.

Now will it work? I'm encountering folk that can't install an OS so for them no. All skill levels are out there. It should work but then again.

Quick update:

I oerdered the 1T hard drive a couple of days ago and recieved it this morning. I actually installed it with no problems. I installed the Windows Vista cd and have that loaded to the computer now. Everything is working perfectly. Can't believe that I got it working!! Thank you for all of your help. I am typing this from the Acer computer :) My mom is elated. She had this computer in storage for many years thinking it was trash. Everything works perfect now!! I will update memory cards later on. And I just installed a Virus protector for her too!! I have read that I cannot update to the free Windows 10 from Vista. I have Windows 10 reserved on my laptop and desktop but they are running Windows 7 and Windows 8. How do you think I can get it on this desktop?

Thank you again for all of your help!