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Solved: No boot device available


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m3jri m3jri is offline
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04-Oct-2011, 03:28 AM #1
Solved: No boot device available
Dell Inspiron 531
Windows Vista

Possible source of the problem: I had left my PC on for the last couple of days, while running this video-editing software (Sony Vegas), which was exporting a 1-hr video, which took 3-5 hours to finish. I did this 4 times, so that's 15 to 20 hours (not continuous, there were breaks in between) that I had this software running. I have noticed that every time I run this software, the computer makes a loud continuous whooshing sort of noise, which I think is because it takes up a lot of memory (I checked the task manager, and it uses up to 300,000k of memory) when I have this software exporting a video.

So, I left this software running Monday morning, and when I checked back late afternoon, my PC had frozen. So I turned it off manually, and turned it back on again.

This is the first screen that came up when I turned it on.
If I didn't press anything, this is the next screen.
If I press F2, this screen comes up, and here are the rest of the tabs. Advanced Power Boot Exit.
If I press F12, this comes up; then if I press F1 while on this screen, I am taken to this one. If I press enter on any of those, this comes up.


Update: So, as I was typing the above, I noticed that something changed.
If I no longer press anything on start up, this is the first screen that comes up. If I then press F1, this comes up. To get out of this, I press Ctrl+Alt+Del, which takes me back to the very first screen.

Anyway, I think I have included as much detail as I possibly can. The reason I mentioned that video-editing software is that after some searching on Google, I read that the hard drive could be toast. so my guess was that because I had my PC running that software for so long, maybe it overheated, and something was damaged. Hopefully, I am wrong though.

One last thing: When I turn on the PC, I hear a short whooshing noise, followed by a single beep. I am 100% sure I heard the same noises before when the PC was working fine. I have tried changing the settings on the Set Up menu, but no luck; also tried disconnecting/reconnecting the sata cables. Judging by this screen, the computer is able to read the DVD drive, but not the hard drive, so I changed the cables/ports, but all it did was read the DVD drive on the new port, and it still couldn't read the hard drive.

Thanks in advance for all the help.
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Tanis   (Shane) Tanis is offline
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04-Oct-2011, 07:28 AM #2
Hi and welcome to TSG.

Some good information in your post, nice to see, and the serious of screenshots gives great information as to what is going on at various stages.

Unfortunately I am having problems see the images, it wont bring them up half the time for some reason!

The screen you get when you press F2 is the BIOS. When you go through that you say you can see the DVD drive listed but not the hard drive? (It should be listed on the Advanced screen, the use the down arrow to select 'integrated peripherals' if I remember correctly. If thats so, then for some reason your laptop is not even detecting that the hard drive is attached which could be a failed drive.

The fact after you press F12 to continue, the list it is showing is potential boot devices, your hard drive should be listed at SATA 0, the fact it isn't means your laptop can not detect the drive itself, again could be due a failed drive.

The whooshing you heard is the fan and is fairly normal behaviour for a laptop. It would be running alot more when you are running video editing sofware is that is making the processor work hard which, in turn, will cause it to heat up alot more, so the fan kicks in to help keep it cool. If it had been running maxed out, generating alot of heat for extended periods then it is possible that that heat could of damaged something in the machine.

Having said all that, in the last bit you posted where you noticed something changed, when you press F1 and get the screen showing SATA 0: Installed, SATA 1: Installed that would indicate the PC knows there is something attached to SATA 0 (this will be your hard drive) but it can not recognise what it is.

Do you have an install CD for the machine, can you try booting from that and doing a repair install?
You may need to go into the BIOS (F2: Setup), go to the boot tab and change the boot order so it checks your CD/DVD drive first, although as long as the drive is in the list it should boot from it if it can't find the hard drive first.
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m3jri m3jri is offline
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04-Oct-2011, 10:44 AM #3
First of all, it's a desktop. No, I don't have an install CD, and I have tried changing the boot order several times with several combinations, but no luck.
Since, you can't see all the images, here's a link to download them.
http://www.multiupload.com/1UU9NRU4PW
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04-Oct-2011, 10:50 AM #4
A friend of mine suggested to put the hard drive in the freezer for about an hour, then take it out, and plug it right back in. Should I try it?
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04-Oct-2011, 11:57 AM #5
"A friend of mine suggested to put the hard drive in the freezer for about an hour, then take it out, and plug it right back in. Should I try it?"

What banned substance is your friend using?
Seriously though, that suggestion may work just sufficient to retrieve important data from it, but it won't magically make it work properly again. If it did, why would any of us spend money on a new replacement drive?

You can find out for sure if the drive has failed by testing it with the maker's diagnostic software for DOS. It's an ISO file from which you make a bootable CD using IMGBurn from here: http://filehippo.com/download_imgburn/

Links for downloading the diagnostic software are here: http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287
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05-Oct-2011, 12:34 AM #6
The hard drive is the problem. I connected another hard drive to my PC, and it boots up fine. I tried the broken hard drive in another PC, and it can't read it.
I guess I have to take it to someone who can recover the files, but I hear that can get quite expensive.
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05-Oct-2011, 02:39 AM #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by pip22 View Post
"A friend of mine suggested to put the hard drive in the freezer for about an hour, then take it out, and plug it right back in. Should I try it?"

What banned substance is your friend using?
Seriously though, that suggestion may work just sufficient to retrieve important data from it, but it won't magically make it work properly again. If it did, why would any of us spend money on a new replacement drive?

You can find out for sure if the drive has failed by testing it with the maker's diagnostic software for DOS. It's an ISO file from which you make a bootable CD using IMGBurn from here: http://filehippo.com/download_imgburn/

Links for downloading the diagnostic software are here: http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287
Generally a good way to test a drive, but the tilities are no use if the machine can not detect the drive in the first place which is the problem the OP appears to be having.

Quote:
Originally Posted by m3jri View Post
The hard drive is the problem. I connected another hard drive to my PC, and it boots up fine. I tried the broken hard drive in another PC, and it can't read it.
I guess I have to take it to someone who can recover the files, but I hear that can get quite expensive.
Personally, I was suspecting a failed drive. I had a similar problem on my sons laptop last year, nothing I did would get the machine to see the drive. I replaced it with a Western Digital one and all was good. The one thing I find wierd about my problem is that the Western Digital did the same thing last week and I simply couldn't get the laptop to see it. I had his old drive still for some reason and so I stuck that in to try a few bits and the old drive (that was apparently dead) worked fine, reinstalled windows and its been working flawlessly for days .... strange. I am beginning to suspect the machine has an intermittent fault somewhere, possibly a SATA port / cable but its a nightmare to dismantle to check!
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05-Oct-2011, 02:51 AM #8
Unfortunately you have heard right, professional data recovery can be very costly, at least you have fresolved the initial problem.

As for the HDD in the freezer idea:

Have a look here. A guy from Geeksaersexy tried it with an old Maxtor drive which was apaprently displaying the same problem as yours (i.e. not being detected by the PC). After 1 hour freeze it worked for a few minutes the Windows locked up. Froze it again the next day and got about 20 minutes of use out of the drive.

More here: http://www.datarecoverypros.com/hard...ry-freeze.html

If you google something like 'freezind hard drive' you will get loads of hits. It seems that it can be successful but is only a short term fix which may give you enough time to recover data from the drive. At the end of the day the drive is dead as it is so if you are up for it why not give it a try and see what happens?

General consensus appears to be:

1) put the drive in a ziplock bag, maybe even have it in an antistatic bag inside the ziplock one.

2) Freeze for about 1 - 2 hours

3) Some say install directly into a machine as a secondary drive, some say give it a couple of mins to acclimatise after removal from the freezer.

4) Fire up the machine and hope for the best, if it works, recover what you can as quick as you can.
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05-Oct-2011, 09:03 AM #9
I tried loading up the drive in Ubuntu, but no luck, and also tried pip22's idea booting from the CD using the maker's diagnostic software for DOS to check if the drive has failed, but it still couldn't read the drive.

I was thinking about giving the freezing method a try, until I read this:

"If the drive is spinning (you will hear it turning) this is not the method to use, this method is best suited for data recovery cases where the drive is not spinning."

I am positive that my drive is spinning. I am going to double check to make sure, but if it is spinning, what are the chances that the hard drive could actually be fixed to work again instead of just recovering files from it? Or is that not even possible, or quite rare, and it would cost more than recovering files?
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05-Oct-2011, 06:25 PM #10
So, after checking again, the drive is definitely spinning, but when I listened closely, I heard some really faint clicking for about 2-3 seconds.

Before freezing it, I thought I might give this a try:

Has anyone every replaced the circuit board on a hard drive? Is it something that's fairly simple to do or should I not attempt it at all?
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05-Oct-2011, 10:37 PM #11
FWIW: After seeing many failed drives and telling people about data recovery services, I finally had someone do it.
$897.00 for a 2.5" drive.
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Tanis   (Shane) Tanis is offline
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06-Oct-2011, 02:25 AM #12
Personally, if the drive is failing I wouldn't even bother to try and repair it. They generally aren't that expensive nowadays, when I replaced my sons 2.5" drive it cost me 60 (only 120Gb drive, but thats all he had in it and all he needed).
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06-Oct-2011, 03:21 AM #13
I only need to repair mine so I can recover less than 50% of the data from it because that's all I really need. After that, I'm gonna buy a new internal drive; something that I've been meaning to do for a while. The circuit board replacement is my last option before going to the pros. So, hopefully this works.
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