Motherboard or HDD problem?

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  1. Posts : 231

    Motherboard or HDD problem?

    Hello -
    I had a system restore fail in win10 (latest version) and it has left the system unbootable,
    recovery attempts using WinRE have failed.
    I do have a Macrium Reflect full partition backup from a few days earlier,
    and I have the bootable version of MR on a CD

    Here's where it gets weird, the CD doesn't load completely it gets stuck and goes no further (see image included).
    Similarly, the windows 10 install USB also does not load properly, it gets stuck and puts up a blank screen
    right where the first set of options should be.

    I have noticed that if I disconnect this HDD the two operations above succeed and they load.Motherboard or HDD  problem?-mr_fail.jpg

    But this drive is partially working, I can boot the old XP system that is on this same disk.
    Also, an XP BART PE Cd also boots OK.

    I also do have a spare Sata drive sitting around, so a clone may be possible.

    Any thoughts on how to proceed?
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 43,506
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    Hi, it sounds as if there may indeed be a problem with what is presumably your system HDD.

    As your PC has problems booting with it in, try putting it in a caddy/ connecting it via USB and see if you can read the SMART parameters using e.g. Crystal Diskinfo (free) - portable version available.

    If you have another PC available, that's easy to try.

    Until you know the disk is good, it is almost pointless to try to clone or repair it, especially as you say you have an image of all the partitions on it.

    If you have other disks in the problem PC, you should also check those at an appropriate point.
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 231
    Thread Starter

    HI dalchina thanks for responding.
    I can boot with this sata drive in the PC, but only certain things. I can boot XP and look at it and access it
    seemingly, normally
    I ran WD dataguard which said it passed.
    Can you advise anything further which will run in XP that might be useful?

    Unfortunately the MR image I have is the Windows 10 parition only.
    This drive also has XP and Linux in separate paritions
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 432
    W10 22H2 19045.4355

    From personal experience throughout the years and as recent as last week, 99% of all system problems are software & config related; the real "hardware"....
    Software is what the name implies; "soft" as as in mushy, fluffy and finicky.
    Fluffyware. when it works, great! When it is not
    Firmware (BIOS) is the attitude "wannabe calling the rules" main entry door pass issuer.
    UEFI the wedlock biatch who does change its mind from time to time.
    The holy grail of Windows 10 booting is the BCD god and about 1/2 a dozen files. A bit like a drunk Irish gang...

    Be aware:
    "Restore system" blue screen is the most useless of all uselessness.
    The most useless tech support websites are to often with the word "Microsoft" in the domain name...
    Most error code messages as irrelevant as the cost of the taxes on a train ticket for your mother-in-law about 5 years ago...
    I'm talking from plentiful experience!

    Trust me, I've been there, as recent as last week with classic SNAFUs and believing all is lost until I managed to change one bit or byte, when suddenly thereafter the [M$] heavens parted, a beam of light shone upon all, and all rebooted and worked like it never had ever a problem before... WTF? What just happened now?
    This tends to happen when all the ducks are lined up in a row and in the correct sequence... quack, quack, quack... tada!

    Now, seriously:
    Try this: (I call it Successive sequential approximation through variables elimination)
    1. Remove any and all peripherals.
    2. Reset [jumper] the bios and reset also to default settings.
    3. Run a drive integrity check, at least a "chkdsk /f /r" (Yes, W10 has it) and also check the SMART status of your HDD or SSD
    4. Also check the USB stick for full integrity.
    5. Assuming all is OK, make and boot from a Windows PE USB stick, such as Hiren or Strelec (Preferred)
    Select your system to boot from the USB containing the Windows PE
    Does it boot? Run fine?
    99% it will, I'm willing to bet.
    = Not a hardware problem, but the other 99% the "Fluffyware".
    You will find several apps with which you can check the integrity of your boot drive.
    If all comes back clean we're back to the 99% of the fluffyware being the problem.

    Enter the Windows 7,8,10 & 11 boot god : El BCD* puta!
    That however, is a whole other PhD chapter.

    Get back to me when you arrive at that level so we can check and set the next steps erecting your OS so it can continue again to pretend that nothing ever happened in the first place.


    *"Boot Configuration Data": This boot process is kind of having your keys locked inside the house which you need to get into the house but you're not allowed to climb in through any Windows as you will set off the alarm which will cause the keys in the house to be destroyed.... DUH...

    PS Stay away from the vast and endless pseudo-advisory & marketing ploys you find on the World Wide Web of Mis- and Disinformation that usually go through [the too often irrelevant] usual six or seven steps:
    (another way of writing a long meaningless sermon about that they have no clue in the first place but need the clicks... or sell you their product!)

    All ending with the solution: re-formating and reinstall of Windows "recommendations".... (recommendations that are equivalent to tearing down your house and rebuilding it because the front door jams a little bit... or a window is drafty...)

    If I was of help already, please leave me a "thank you".[button]
    Last edited by 3Bit; 04 Aug 2023 at 15:31.
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 43,506
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    If you care to look at Crystal Diskinfo's site
    CrystalDiskInfo - Crystal Dew World [en]
    you will find it is said to be XP compatible:
    System Requirements
    OS Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10/11
    Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019/2022
    You could use the portable version on a flash drive, for example.
    Also Option 1 here
    How to Check Drive Health and SMART Status in Windows 10

    appears to be available if you boot your PC from a Win 10 installation disk, and thence to a command prompt.

    (Blue links in the tutorial are clickable).

    I have heard that that check on SMART is not as reliable as using one of the usual programs. I have no personal viewpoint on this.

    Or, you could create a Win 10 bootable disk e.g. Bob Omb's, Hiren's... - boot your PC from that. Very often Crystal Diskinfo is included on those.

    I have also suggested you remove the disk and check it as an external disk on another PC.
      My Computers

  6. Posts : 231
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for responding.
    First of all, I installed Seagate tools (SeaTools) in XP, both HDD's (There is an older IDE (PATA) drive plugged in also)
    passed Smart and short drive fitness tests.

    I have a USB with the 10 install created by rufus from the Microsoft media creation ISO download.

    Also have two Hirens disks, one XP and one newer (I think it's 10, maybe 8.1).
    Only the XP optical media will successfully boot.

    System is legacy Bios/MBR

    IT seems I can not load Windows 10 from any media at the moment, only XP -
    but I have a feeling if I were to get Macrium to work and restore that partition, Windows 10 would boot

    I read some of 3bit's suggestions above - I don't want to run XP chkdsk on the 10 partition.
    The motherboard has been CMOS cleared and the battery in and out.

    I think whatever is causing the situation depicted in the image above is the real problem.
    I had some unexpected system crashes in the last two weeks, one was a power cut and the second the PC
    overheated while encoding some videos. I may be jumping ahead but I'm wondering if the drives firmware
    got corrupted
    Last edited by davexnet; 04 Aug 2023 at 13:56. Reason: typo
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 43,506
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    I have a USB with the 10 install created by rufus from the Microsoft media creation ISO download.
    The reliable way to create a Win 10 install disk is to do that directly - using the media creation tool.
      My Computers

  8. Posts : 432
    W10 22H2 19045.4355

    davexnet said:
    "...left the system unbootable,.."
    "...But this drive is partially working, I can boot the old XP system that is on this same disk..."
    I just reread your post.
    So you have a dual-boot system, 2 OS on 1 disk? Right?
    From all else you describe, such as the blank screen on boot, points to definitely BCD problem.
    I dealt with a similar issue last week.

    If you boot from a PE, as mentioned in my previous reply, can you see your regular drives, check them?
    I bet you can.

    Your problem is likely the BCD which is and can be a "biatch" as mentioned before.
    Especially if you dual-boot, it can become nightmarish when mis-configured.
    It is the holy Grail and God of booting windows. (See illustration)

    I've got some time Free the next five hours to help you.

    - - - Updated - - -

    davexnet said:
    I read some of 3bit's suggestions above - I don't want to run XP chkdsk on the 10 partition...
    I'm concerned you have begun to mess things up by trial and error a.k.a. mixing apples and oranges. XP and Windows 10 are quite different from the NTFS file system on up. Especially when it comes to booting!

    There is really no need for a dual boot, as apps installed in a XP partition run just fine when access to Windows 10. At least so my experience.

    Tabula rasa:
    1. check your hard disk to be intact. SMART and chkdsk /f /r (yes it is the same for Windows 10 as it is for XP)
    To eliminate variables run the Windows 10 version of chkdsk.

    2. Make a Strelec USB Windows PE boot stick.

    3. Boot with the Windows PE stick and see if you can access your drives on the disk (not run apps though). Run the available tests.
    If all is okay, it is practically guaranteed your BCD!

    There are specific and distinct different steps of the boot process for XP then Vista, then W 7. after Windows 7 is the same for 8, 10 and 11 however, the boot process and data location is different between a MBR or GPT partitions!


    The OS (BCD) Boot circus (General Windows 10/11. Exclude data location & access differences MBR or GPT)
    Motherboard or HDD  problem?-windows-10-boot-sequence.jpg

    - - - Updated - - -

    Just for an example, this is the BCD record (BTW. a binary file) of my laptop of which I'm currently writing this.
    It's UEFI boot for just one singe OS: Windows 10
    All has to be exact and correct or it's a no-go.

    Before I can help you any further, we need to eliminate a few variables as I have mentioned earlier.
    Do the steps I recommended you first to assure data integrity on your storage device.
    With that we can go to the next steps.

    Motherboard or HDD  problem?-zenbook-bcdedit_1.jpg
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 231
    Thread Starter

    dalchina, yes I understand about the rufus USB.
    However, I think it's OK. I just unplugged the troublesome 250GB sata drive and plugged in
    the off-the-shelf 500GB sata drive and now, everything is looking good -
    the Macrium Reflect bootable CD finishes it's loading and the rufus USB loads also properly.

    I am now installing a test version of w10 using said USB onto the new drive.
    If this is successful, i guess we can say that the motherboard, the new drive and the USB stick is good.

    3Bit, just by having the 250GB drive plugged into the motherboard, none of the bootable media (CD Macrium and USB W10)
    will not load they hang. As soon as the drive is unplugged they all work again.

    EDIT I got to the point where W10 installed and asked me to create a Microsoft account - I abandoned it there.
    The PC just does not behave right with that 250GB drive plugged in, whether you're accessing or not

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have installed a temporary copy of Windows 10 on my new Hdd,
    and by all appearances, the pc is behaving normally

    I could not proceed with much of the earlier suggestions as none of the bootable recovery
    tools would boot with that drive attached to the pc

    The only one that booted was an XP-based Bart PE disk

    Since there appears to be something wrong with the Hdd at the physical level, and
    since it's is accessible from the Bart PE disk, I would like to from that environment, clone the whole HDD
    to a second drive.

    The Windows 10 installation will still need some work, but at least I'll have a chance to fix it - it's. Inaccessible now
    Last edited by davexnet; 04 Aug 2023 at 15:56.
      My Computer

  10. Posts : 231
    Thread Starter

    Update 2
    I realize it's not a Windows 10 problem but I have a working drive again,
    the boot from the Macrium CD media now worked,
    and I was able to restore the Windows 10 from a full partition backup made a few days previously

    I suspect old computer hardware (10 years MB, RAM and CPU) over time just needs some TLC.
    I had a situation where two 4gb memory sticks were reported in Windows 10 as 8 gb present,
    but only 4gb available. Looking in the BIos confirms it's in single channel mode, not dual channel.

    After taking out the motherboard, reseating the CPU and RAM, the problem persisted. I found a post
    in a forum somewhere that said to loosen the screws holding the MB in a little - sure enough, this worked.
    But it's just odd - there are no case standoffs where they shouldn't be, how could screws moderately tightened
    cause this issue? Almost as if it caused a short somewhere.
    But now I have 8gb working properly.

    I suspected a hardware issue with the HDD, this evening I unscrewed the controller board, carefully cleaned the contacts
    and put it back together. This drive is 20 years old, I bought it new from CompUSA in Culver City, CA

    The Macrium CD that previously hung while detecting HW now booted up quickly and correctly.
    This was my first clue things were looking up

    Anyway, enough rambling, system up and running again
      My Computer


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