Win7 startup issues

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Not sure exactly what happened a few days ago. I went and started my PC, when I got a message the device could not be found. I thought at first it might be a boot sequence that was corrrupted, now I'm not so sure.
It does it sometimes and sometimes its fine, and boots up normally.
At this point I don't know how many good bootups I have. I don't want to lose all my data. I do have a second drive attached for my photos.
What should be my first steps. I did try and repair the boot startup using bootrec/fixmbr, but I've still had the problem since. I'm not sure at this point whether its the startup boot corrupted or the system is not finding the drive I have windows on.
 

TrainableMan

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I suggest you put in a W7 Installation DVD and try "startup repair" from the Installation menu. If you have recovery disks you could try those instead.

If you can get the system to boot there are then several things...

First, if you do not have your W7 Product key written down, such as on a sticker or with the W7 DVD, then I suggest you extract it while the system is working because you will need it if you ever have to reinstall. Freeware like SIW can list many of your Software > Licenses including the W7 Product key (do not accidentally write down the W7 Default product key). Write them down and store them in a safe place; never post them online.

Since this has happened several times there is a good chance your hard drive is failing and needs replaced. You might try Passmark DiskCheckup to see what it says. Consider replacing the hard drive.

Are your backups on a separate physical disk? Not just another partition on the same physical hard drive? I would encourage you to make backups of all your data to a separate hard drive, soon and then frequently.
 
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Backups are on a seperate disk. Now a question, If I put in a solid state drive and put Win7 on it, can I still use the programs on my old diskdrive? What I don't understand is If its just the boot sector thats messed up isn't there a way to fix it. I'm thinking it might just be the boot sector. I can get it to work ,but its iffy, sometime it works sometime not.
As far as the product key for Win7 I wrote it down right on the box my Win7 disc is in, its 25 characters long and has various letters and numbers.
As far as all my settings for Photoshop and other software, will I have to write all those down ?
 

Shintaro

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What happens if the external USB? drive is not connected on boot?
 

TrainableMan

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Running "Start-up repair" WILL attempt to fix the boot sector.

And if you install W7 on a SSD then you will have to reinstall all your programs as well.

As for your settings, it will depend on the software. As long as you can boot to your old hard drive you can run Windows Easy Transfer and create a .MIG Migration file on your back-up drive. Then once you install a new HD, install W7, and install your programs, then you restore your userids and "some" settings from the .MIG file. But some software may store the settings in the registry or in locations Windows Easy transfer doesn't look; those things you would have to restore on your own.
 
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I did run the repair and it said it fixed it, but yet the problem remains. thats the thing the PC once started runs fine for hours without a hitch. I ran that program Passmark diskcheckup and did the extended check, and everything was fine. Its almost like the PC can't find my drive sometime. Is there a way to fix that somehow?
Could it work fine and still fail. I just don't want to go through all the work If the drive is fine. I just want to try all my options before I replace the drive.
BTW thanks for the help.
 

TrainableMan

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Could you answer Shintaro's question ... is there any difference if your external drive is not connected?

What is the make/model of your PC? What is the size of your PSU (Power Supply)? How long have you had the computer?

Have you opened up the case to see if maybe the cables are loose?
 
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I didn't answer Shintaro's question because I didn't understand it. The drive I have for my backup photos is an internal not an external drive. The PC is homebuilt, had it for about 4 or 5 years so far. Its an 850 watt power supply I think, have to check.
Thats a good idea about the cables I'll check them. It did happen after my PC was hut down accidently. someone shut off the surge protector I had it plugged into.
 

TrainableMan

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OK, your backup drive is internal.

It's an old build so unless you recently added dual video cards or Velociraptor Hard drives, 850 Watts should be plenty of power. There is always a chance lightning or a power surge damaged it but, as long as it is turning on, I don't suspect the PSU.

I'm not sure I understand the whole picture. You said you ran the passmark check and everything showed up fine, so that would seem to indicate the drive is working again? Did it boot again or not? If not then how did you run the passmark scan?
There are no guarantees in computer repair, it is mostly trial-and-error. If a computer won't turn on at all or if you added new internal hardware then you look at the PSU, but if the system hasn't changed and you hear the unit turn on then power is not likely the issue. This leaves the motherboard and hard drive. The cables are usually the easiest to move and cheapest to replace. So you look for loose connections and you try different slots or cables. You could put this hard drive in another computer and see if it boots fine. You can try a new hard drive in this computer. Or you can try a new motherboard.
 
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I also have the option of buying a new drive and reinstalling windows, however then I lose all my data on the drive. I was also told from my IT person at work, I could do a mirror copy of my old drive onto a new one, but I wonder If this might also copy the error as well from the old drive onto the new one.
Could you tell me step by step howto create a new boot sequence, instead of trying to repair the old one which could be corrupted .
 

TrainableMan

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To me "the boot sequence" is an order set up in the BIOS of devices to be looked at. For example mine checks the DVD-Rom drive first, then the hard drive. If there is a bootable DVD in the drive then my computer boots from the DVD, otherwise it goes on to check the Hard Drive. What makes something "bootable" is the MBR (Master Boot Record) which is normally stored on the first sector of the drive. The MBR uses the partition table to locate the partition containing the system files and then transfers control to the system.

So the steps are to create the MBR and ensure the system files are on the drive. That is what "system repair" does. But if you want to try the bootrec commands yourself see How-to-Geek.

Cloning the hard drive is a good idea. If the error is just your boot sector not holding a charge then a new hard drive wouldn't have that problem.
 

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