"Operating System not Found"

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Jetfire

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Feb 4, 2006
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Yep, it's the big one. Either my hard drive is dead, or something major has been screwed up. A family member had been browsing the web when a blue error screen popped up, and since then I've been getting the "Operating System not Found" messag whenever I attempt to restart.

So I have two goals- recover some files if possible (needed for work/school), and get the computer functional again. I'm not hopeful that I'll get either. I found this while researching methods:

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

But while reading through the included tools and abilities, I realized I'm way in over my head here. I know nothing about copying files, recovering files or hard drives, or anything of that nature.

Most of the files I want to recover are just Microsoft Word files. The computer has a floppy drive, a CD-RW drive, and a USB port for a thumb drive I own. It used to run Windows 98SE, but was running Windows 2000 just before this crash.

Any help that could be provied would be very much appreciated. I thank you for your time and assistance.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
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It sounds like a bad situation, but may not be that bad. I would suggest first trying to use your Windows XP CD and boot from it and choose the repair option. It could find and correct the problems. In the event it doesn't, you need to find someone who can help you take the hard drive out, back up your data, and more than likely have to reinstall Windows and your programs and of course your security software.

Here's a link to complete instructions on using the Windows repair option.

Good luck.
 

Jetfire

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Feb 4, 2006
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Thanks, helpmerick! It's been a while since I had a chance to look at this again, but I'm finally back in the saddle.

I originally installed Win2k on the machine back in college; I downloaded the installation files from a Microsoft service website my university subscribed to. Thus, the only CD's I have for the OS are a group of 4 boot disks.

I tried putting them in the offending computer today, and I was on Disk 4/4 in the sequence when I got a blue screen of death and the following error message:

***STOP: 0x0000007B (0x858CC350,OxC0000013,0x00000000,0x00000000)
INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE

If this is the first time you've seen this stop error screen,
restart your computer. If this screen appears again, follow
these steps:

Check for viruses on your computer. Remove any newly installed
hard drives or hard drive controllers. Check your hard drive
to make sure it is properly configured and terminated.
Run CHKDSK /F to check for hard drive corruption, and then
restart your computer.

Refer to your Getting Started manual for mor information on
troubleshooting Stop errors.
So it looks to me like the hard drive is dead as a doornail, but I'd love to be proven wrong.

Thanks for the help!
 
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If you can get your hands on a Linux Live CD try booting with it - If it boots you can access your data and burn it to a CDR, or copy to a pen drive. Worse case (if the HD spins) would be to put it into another computer as a slave and retrieve your data that way.
 

Jetfire

Thread Starter
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Feb 4, 2006
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Do you recommend a particular Linux CD? I can download and burn one, but hopefully a forgiving version, because it's been a while since I used Unix and command line interface.
 
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Does the drive appear in BIOS setup? If the drive is not there, you won't be able to access it.

Do you recall if the file system was FAT32 or NTFS?
 

Jetfire

Thread Starter
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Feb 4, 2006
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When I first had the problem I tried booting into the BIOS setup. There were multiple "tabs", but none of them listed any info on the hard drive. I take it there should have been some kind of entry, then, if the hard drive was in any way accessible?
 
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It really depends on your BIOS since they vary a lot. What make/model of machine? Do you have a manual?

Yes, the drive most probably should be seen in BIOS, especially if an IDE drive. If not there, the machine does not even know it exists.
 
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As far as a Linux live CD goes, if you want to try I'd suggest PC Linux or Ubuntu, both should boot right up without you doing anything and auto mount the hard drive - provided the HD is not fried...
 
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Knoppix would be my suggestion if you go that route. But you'd be better off with a bootable version of XP since it has more compatible NTFS drivers. But again, if not detected by the system, you won't see it from any running OS, either.

Do you see anything about drives in the BIOS? If there is a place to set the boot order, and the HD is not listed, that would be a major clue.

Check your connections and power wires if there is any possibility that they came loose. Be sure your graphics card is in its slot--that can lead to other problems on the bus, including the drives not being detected.
 

Jetfire

Thread Starter
Joined
Feb 4, 2006
Messages
24
Thank you, Elvandil and CouchMaster, for your help with this, and for bearing with me and my limitations.

Elvandil said:
Do you see anything about drives in the BIOS? If there is a place to set the boot order, and the HD is not listed, that would be a major clue.
There was a section for boot order, and it offered me CD, floppy, and USB.

Elvandil said:
Check your connections and power wires if there is any possibility that they came loose. Be sure your graphics card is in its slot--that can lead to other problems on the bus, including the drives not being detected.
I've never opened my computer before. Is there a visual guide to what I should be looking for?
 
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Well, there is a little method to my madness - last time I looked Knoppix came on a DVD, the other two on a CD; which would make it a little more simple - besides being the two most popular distros at the moment. And once you run them you just might decide to keep them - one click of the button and they install - you can't do that with Knoppix.
 
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Knoppix comes on CD, too (1 CD). It automatically mounts NTFS partitions and puts an icon on the desktop for each drive, and it can be installed to the hard drive with a click if you want. All that is very easy with Knoppix. It is a bit more user-friendly for Windows users, and is one of the most downloaded Linux "live" CD's.

JetFire:

Find your hard drive and see if it is connected OK. It will be on the end of a flat ribbon-cable. Just look in general for connections and be sure they are all tight. Push your video card into its slot if it looks loose. Try all the cards and make sure they are seated.

Your hard drive will have a small, white plastic power connector and there will be others that are not used. If you can, try to connect it to a different connector that is on a different cable from the power supply. It may be hard to tell, but see if you can hear or feel the drive moving or powering up.
 
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CouchMaster said:
Hey, it's no big deal. I just happen to like Knoppix and used it the other night to move some files in XP to an external USB. I like the way it mounts the NTFS drives without an user action for those who don't know how. I'm sure many other distros work just as well. Fact is, there's not much difference except for the very early stages where Windows users may have some problems. Command lines disappeared with DOS and most modern OS's dispense with them. People just prefer what they can see.

And installing to HD is in the menus or a simple terminal command, though I only did it once and then went with Ubuntu since upadating was so easy.
 
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