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Someone gave me a computer and asked me to look at it, they told me they couldn't load Windows. I have the computer, and this is what it's doing:

-HP splash screen comes up
-The very next screen is the screen for Windows Safe Mode (with the only options being Safe Mode, SM w/Networking, SM w/Command Prompt, Start Windows Normally
-no matter what option I use, the computer restarts and will loop like that if left unattended (after the 30 second default time expires, it just restarts)

I put in a Windows XP disc, and it loads into that, I select the recovery console option, and it gets hung up on examining the hard drive (there is only one). I have done this before and I don't seem to remember it taking very long to get past this screen. I will give it longer before I actually give up on it this time. I tried Memtest86 just to make sure it wasn't the RAM, and it passed.

Unless someone here knows a different way to get it to work, I cannot run a CHKDSK because I can't get to a command prompt of any sort. My thoughts are this is either dead, badly corrupted, or needs the boot files reinstalled, but I don't know of any way to do that. Any thoughts? Does anyone else have another suggestion as to what could be causing the failure?

SPECS:
HP Pavilion 304
AMD Athlon (1800+, I think)
384MB RAM

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Last Post by gerbil
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You are doing the same thing I would do except, have you gone into bios setup to see If it sees your hard drive? Restore should not take that long to start re-writting files so you may have a virus. You may have to format your "C" drive If you can't get restore to work. Good luck!

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You need a bootable medium with chkdsk. One such simple self-installer to floppy is NTFS4DOS. It's originally an Avira utility. Search for it; the original [vsn 1.8 or 1.9] will install to a sys, and when run will create a bootable floppy with chkdsk.exe on it. Other reworked free offerings on the web will create a cd iso or USB flashdrive bootable version. You choose. Boot from the created medium and run chkdsk.
Oh, what the heck, here [both are good, create a floppy]:
http://download.fyxm.net/Avira-NTFS4DOS-78905.html
http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=180

Edited by gerbil: n/a

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check this Hard Disk by removing it from this PC & Connecting this HDD with some other PC.

If the Hard Disk Loads Properly, then this error goes on the side of Motherboard.

If the problem persists, Contact with some technical Hardware Engineer for resolve of this problem.

In that case, i think it's time to change the HDD.

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Thanks for your replies, I tried a few different things at first, like trying it on the secondary IDE controller, trying a different IDE cable, I eventually took it out and tried another hard drive, only to later discover that the OTHER hard drive wasn't working (this computer let me get further but kept giving me a S.M.A.R.T. error at boot and in another computer I got an error saying the drive was performing outside of it's capabilities and failure may be imminent. I was able to load Windows XP onto THAT drive but kept getting BSOD and failure to start errors. I finally took the hard drive out of my older Dell that I know worked, loaded XP on that, and voila, it is working like a charm. Every computer I try to put this bad drive into immediately fails out, so I am wondering if it's a virus. I'll do a boot disc virus scan on it, but I honestly believe this drive is just toast. Thanks for your replies and help!

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A new hdd is quite cheap, your friend is lucky... try to get any precious data off the dud drive now.

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