SOLVED Help diagnosing startup problem after power outage


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Any help would be appreciated! I'm out of ideas...

Dell Inspiron
Windows 7

Had a power outage while computer was running. When I restart, it hangs at the “starting windows” screen.
Startup repair usually hangs at “windows is loading files” but occasionally works, so I've been able to try a few things from the windows recovery environment.
I have a steady amber light on the motherboard.

Here is what I've tried:

1) Ran Windows startup repair. It says it cannot repair the system, and gives this error report:

Problem Signature 1: 6.1.7600.16385
Problem Signature 2: 6.1.7600.16385
Problem Signature 3: unknown
Problem Signature 4: 21200262
Problem Signature 5: Auto Failover
Problem Signature 6: 3
Problem Signature 7: BadDriver
OS Version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.256.1
LocalID: 1033

2) Ran Windows memory diagnostic tool. Completed successfully, no problems found.

3) System restore. Restored successfully, but did not solve problem.

4) Boot from factory Windows DVD (known good disc). Hangs at “windows is loading files.”

5) Boot from Dell “Drivers and Utilities” disk. It boots successfully, and I have two options: memory diagnostic, and system diagnostic.
Memory diagnostic runs and reports all tests passed.
System diagnostic hangs at “Initializing USBEHCI.MDM”, so it never gets to the menu where you can run the actual test.

6) Ran Bootrec.exe from command prompt.
Tried /Fixmbr and /Rebuildbcd. Both completed successfully but did not solve problem.
/Rebuildbcd reported number of windows installations found = 0
I haven't tried /Fixboot, because lately I haven't been able to get the recovery environment to load.

7) Removed all extra peripherals, no change.

8) Removed RAM one at a time and tried restarting, no change.

9) Removed hard drive and plugged into another machine. Was able to access it and recover all my data with no problems.
 
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Ian

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Good job on recovering the data - at least all is not lost!

Can you try running a drive diagnostic tool - perhaps even running chkdsk from the Windows boot DVD would be enough. Or, if you can put the drive back in to your other machine, try running some drive diagnostics from there.

You could also try downloading UBCD (http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/) and see if the manufacturer specific drive diagnostic tools pick up anything.
 
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Good job on recovering the data - at least all is not lost!
Yeah, I got the important stuff - work projects and my Dwarf Fortress save! ;)
Still need my Windows box back though... this is a fairly new, fairly expensive machine that's necessary for my job.


Here's what I've tried since my first post:

1) Ran HD manufacturer's diagnostic from their boot CD, no problems found
2) Discharged voltage by holding power button while unplugged, no change
3) Cleared CMOS, reset BIOS defaults, no change
4) Unplugged HD and tried to boot Windows DVD, no change

Current status is:

- Boot normally > hangs at "starting windows"
- Boot into Safe Mode > hangs at system32\DRIVERS\CLASSPNP.SYS
- Boot from Windows DVD > hangs at "starting windows"
- Run Startup Repair > hangs at "windows is loading files"

I'm also getting a single BIOS beep when I power on, which according to the Dell manual is a BIOS ROM checksum failure.
Others have suggested reflashing the BIOS, but I'm hearing conflicting opinions on whether it's possible to do that outside Windows on a Dell. Unfortunately I can't ask Dell without paying by the minute.
 
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A helpful fellow over at sevenforums.com posed a solution, and I am now back up and running. Posting it here for the benefit of others:

- Swapped out the HD for a small spare I keep around for backups
- Booted from the HD manufacturer's CD and used it to wipe the spare HD
- Booted from the Windows DVD, install ran successfully on the clean HD
- Rebooted into my new Windows install
- Reflashed the BIOS per Dell instructions
- Swapped back to my original HD, rebooted successfully
 
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Ian

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Thanks for reporting back Gryphoemia :). I'm glad to hear that you're up and running again after a re-flash :D
 

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