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Vista Laptop boot issues

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3 replies to this topic

#1
mikep56

mikep56

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Hi All,
I bought this laptop, an HP Pavilion dv6700, at a flea market. The owner told me that it has a boot problem. He had brought it to The Geek Squad and they diagnosed a bad BIOS. The previous owner decided to pursue this no further.
Upon powering up, after the boot messages, the laptop displays a flashing cursor in the upper left hand corner for a few minutes and then displays a message stating that the OS is not present. The F11 key is for restoring the factory image, the F10 key is for entering the BIOS, and the F9 key is the boot menu.
These 3 F keys are not very responsive; sometimes they respond and sometimes they do not. They physically feel fine; they do not stick and they are not mushy.
The original BIOS was version F.30, and I flashed it to F.34 with no change in symptoms.
This laptop has a recovery partition on it and the previous owner made a restore disk set.
I did an F11 restore and the problem persists.
Eventually pressing the F9 key will bring up the boot menu; I can boot off of the hard drive this way and Vista loads and performs normally.
From doing some research and reading, I feel that this may be a FAT or MBR problem.
Is there a way to fix a corrupt MBR or FAT if this is the problem?
Does anyone have any other ideas?
Regards,
Mike


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#2
jaclaz

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He had brought it to The Geek Squad and they diagnosed a bad BIOS.

Personally I rate the reliability of a "Geek Squad" Diagnosis to be very, and I mean very near to 0 (in a scale from 0 to three and a half zillions ;))


The previous owner decided to pursue this no further.
Upon powering up, after the boot messages, the laptop displays a flashing cursor in the upper left hand corner for a few minutes and then displays a message stating that the OS is not present. The F11 key is for restoring the factory image, the F10 key is for entering the BIOS, and the F9 key is the boot menu.
These 3 F keys are not very responsive; sometimes they respond and sometimes they do not. They physically feel fine; they do not stick and they are not mushy.
The original BIOS was version F.30, and I flashed it to F.34 with no change in symptoms.
This laptop has a recovery partition on it and the previous owner made a restore disk set.
I did an F11 restore and the problem persists.
Eventually pressing the F9 key will bring up the boot menu; I can boot off of the hard drive this way and Vista loads and performs normally.

Which sounds a lot more like some hardware related problem, I would first thing verify THOROUGHFULLY that the hard disk (and it's cable and contacts) are "clean & sound".

From doing some research and reading, I feel that this may be a FAT or MBR problem.

Let me disagree, a problem with either FAT or MBR (and I do doubt that that hard disk has any partition FAT formatted) tend to be (please read as "are") binary, 0/1 or Off/On, no way that sometimes it boots and sometimes it doesn't.

Is there a way to fix a corrupt MBR or FAT if this is the problem?

Yes, actually more than one.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

Yes.
http://homepage.ntlw...no-answers.html

Once said that "intermittent" problems are the most difficult to troubleshoot :ph34r: , first things to try are:
  • boot from another media (CD or DVD)
    and/or
  • boot from another media (USB)
  • run appropriate diagnostics on the system, as said expecially to hard disk, but I would chek also RAM with memtest+ or the like.
    and/or
  • check the hard disk on another system through an USB adapter or similar
To get the HD out of the laptop, if needed, see here:
http://www.insidemyl...6800-notebooks/

From your report I don't get if the "normal" access to BIOS during bootup is fully operational (the F10 :unsure:))

Just for the record, updating the BIOS was not the smartest move you could have made, the general rule is to NEVER update a BIOS or more generally a firmware on a machine/device that does not already work "perfectly", unless expressly instructed to do so by someone that knows where his/her towel is and in any case ONLY after the issue has been properly diagnosed AND the update is known to represent a solution to the issue.

Particularly, if I get that model right and AFAICR, it uses a particular kind of BIOS and BIOS update utility that has been reknown to be - to say the least - very UNreliable.

Can you post the EXACT model #?


jaclaz

#3
mikep56

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Hi jaclaz,
The laptop is a dv6915nr.
The hard drive cable and contacts are clean and OK.
I have booted live CDs from the optical drive, and they run normally.
I will run memtest+ within the next week.
"Normal" access to the BIOS is not working correctly. Most times I need to boot several times before the F10 key will get me to the BIOS. The other times the bootup messages just stay on the screen.
I hope this helps.
Regards,
Mike

#4
jaclaz

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The hard drive cable and contacts are clean and OK.

BOTH sides of the cable? :unsure:

I have booted live CDs from the optical drive, and they run normally.

Have you run from CD the appropriate HD manufacturer test utility?
Have you tried a boot CD with grub4dos and attempted loading the Vista by passing the MBR and bootsector CODE by directly chainloading the C:\BOOTMGR (or - better- (hd0,x)/bootmgr)?
Have you tried making a "Vista boot floppy" image and load it through grub4dos from CD?
http://www.multiboot....uk/floppy.html

I will run memtest+ within the next week.

Good, but if when booted from CD everything is fine, RAM should not be connected with the issue at hand.

"Normal" access to the BIOS is not working correctly. Most times I need to boot several times before the F10 key will get me to the BIOS. The other times the bootup messages just stay on the screen.

Due to the intermittent nature of this issue, next step I would take (AFTER all the previously listed tests will be carried satisfactorily) would be disassembling the stoopid thingy and visually inspect for any cold solder joint, something more common than one might expect, but that will take lots of time and attention to be carried out properly :ph34r:

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz, 18 March 2012 - 12:09 PM.





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