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Need to wipe hard drive today... stumped!


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sweeticeblue sweeticeblue is offline
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28-Mar-2012, 08:02 AM #1
Need to wipe hard drive today... stumped!
Hi,

I was given an older HP Pavilion a1532n from a former employer during an office upgrade. I'm a Mac user (and former Windows user, of course) but I work as a transcriptionist, just started a new job, and one of the job requirements is that I have a Windows system in use. I've already missed the first two days of work because of this issue.

When I hooked up the comp the other day for the first time, XP would load to the black Windows XP screen, then restart repeatedly at the same point. I couldn't boot into safe mode.

I tried using the HP recovery console and it wouldn't run.

I tried booting from the Windows CD and no go. It would bypass the CD altogether and go directly to the HD... again, trying to load XP repeatedly. I tried another copy of XP and same thing.

After two days of troubleshooting, attempted recoveries, attempted repairs, etc., I decided to wipe the hard drive and start over. The PC had been working prior to me inheriting it, but they said it had been "giving them trouble." They are Chinese and don't speak English very well, so I couldn't quite understand what the problem was.

I started with Killdisk and after 22 hours, it was at 6%. I had borrowed a keyboard and monitor from someone else (to make sure the tower worked before I bought my own), so I couldn't let it run for days and days... if I understand correctly, it shouldn't anyway.

I tried dban but despite several downloads, it keeps telling me the iso file is not recognized, so I can't burn it. I tried HDDerase but it shows a blue screen with a long list of errors, then tells me EMM386 has halted your computer, and asks me to restart.

I have two Macbooks and an older iMac (Power PC)... if I had another Windows system at my disposal, I would probably have more options here.

What do I do at this point? I just want to wipe out the system and start fresh but I can't seem to get anything to do the job. I've wiped many PCs in the past (successfully) but I've never been stumped like this. And please go easy the techie terms.

I need the PC up and running as soon as possible so I can start the new job this evening (if it's still mine).

Thoughts?

Thanks!
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28-Mar-2012, 08:07 AM #2
sounds like the HD failed......what do you mean by 'it was having problems'? Did you ever see this thing working, and if so, did you ever see it crash on their end?

what happens when you just try to format the disk with your new OS?
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28-Mar-2012, 08:16 AM #3
Hi, valis:

Yes, I saw it working a few times. It belonged to my boss' son and I had installed a few programs for him - but it never crashed while I was using it. I found it slow, but he had a massive amount of media stored on there, so I attributed it to that.

Sorry, I forgot a step. When I first loaded the XP disc (prior to wiping anything, when XP was still attempting to load), the Windows installation started. It ran for about five minutes, then froze - I left it for a couple of hours but it never moved.

Now, when I insert the XP disc, I get a black screen with "press any key to boot from CD... Missing operating system. Press a key." When I press a key, it says press a key to reboot. When it reboots, I get a black screen with a blinking cursor.

I guess I'm partially worried about stopping killdisk at 6%. Now that only some of the data has been erased, wouldn't I need a full wipe before the OS can be reloaded?
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28-Mar-2012, 08:34 AM #4
Nope. You can just start the install process over again, it will reformat the disk automatically. That's why I'm wondering about the state of the HD.

Again, do you know what 'problems' they were having with it?
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28-Mar-2012, 08:59 AM #5
There were no major issues. I can remember them complaining about it being slow. I never thought much of it because they were quite rich and quite particular, and would just replace their equipment as soon as it did something they didn't like.
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28-Mar-2012, 09:05 AM #6
I should also note that before even attempting to set up the PC, I tried using Crossover and Wine to run the transcription (Windows) software. I figured my new employer would never know whether or not I was using a Mac, as long as the software was working and the job was done (I work from home). Crossover worked but it didn't recognize my USB foot pedal - which I obviously need for transcribing. Wine wouldn't run it.

So, in the event that the PC can't be easily saved, finding a way to run the USB foot pedal through an emulator would be another alternative. This is where my knowledge is pretty much zero... I've never worked with Windows/Mac simultaneously.
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28-Mar-2012, 09:06 AM #7
Is the XP disk a valid install disk? Is it scratched at all? When was the last time you used this install disk?

when you boot from the disk, how far do you get before it hangs? Does it let you format the HD?
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28-Mar-2012, 09:07 AM #8
Is there an os currently on the pc? It's beginning to sound like there is.
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28-Mar-2012, 09:08 AM #9
I have two valid XPs - the last time I used one of them was yesterday, when the Windows install started and then froze. Now, whenever I try either of them, I get a black screen with a blinking cursor.
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28-Mar-2012, 09:09 AM #10
I'll go out on a limb and say there is no OS .. the few times I DIDN'T get the black screen with blinking cursor, I get the "Missing Operating System. Press a key. Disk boot failure, insert system disk and press enter."
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28-Mar-2012, 09:12 AM #11
what's Crossover? Is that still working?
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28-Mar-2012, 09:52 AM #12
Crossover is a Windows emulator for Mac http://www.codeweavers.com/products/ - yes, it's still working but it's useless to me unless I can get my foot pedal to work with it.
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28-Mar-2012, 09:55 AM #13
so this is a Mac OS that you are trying to load windows on? Bit lost here, I'm afraid.
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28-Mar-2012, 10:01 AM #14
Sorry... I'm on day three of sitting in the middle of three Macs and a PC... I'm probably talking backwards.

Simply put, I have Windows software (the transcription program) that I need to get up and running today. I have a MacBook that I use on a regular basis, and the PC that I was given. I originally planned to use the Mac to run the Windows software, either through Boot Camp or an emulator. I tried Boot Camp and there wasn't enough memory on the Mac to install Windows... so I decided to use the PC.

I'd prefer to use the Windows program on the Mac but I use a USB foot pedal to do the transcription work and when I open the program on the Mac using an emulator, it doesn't recognize the foot pedal.

I need to either (1) find a way to get the PC up and running, or (2) find a way to make the foot pedal recognizable on the Mac while using a Windows emulator.

Is that better?
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28-Mar-2012, 10:15 AM #15
... and I guess what I really don't understand is why the PC will recognize killdisk, but it won't load any other programs (hdderase, etc.).
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