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Gateway laptop won't boot

By pkingery-indy ·
I need help with a Gateway laptop "boot" problem - specifically, it won't (boot, that is). I don't have it with me so I will be going on memory. A pastor friend's Gateway (red, MC series), ~4 years old, Vista, nice machine (well, it used to be a nice machine). When powered up, it goes to a sort-of safe mode boot screen offering to boot into "repair" mode or Vista. Regardless of which you choose, the screen goes blank, then after a moment or two, the same screen reappears. Thinking it was a boot virus, I tried booting off a USB stick (Linux OS) with AVG antivirus, and it did boot up, but could not mount the hard drive. At that point I guessed the HDD was shot. I then booted off another USB drive with a full Linux Mint OS, which booted fine (illustrating that the mobo, CPU, mem, GPU, sound, etc. were all okay), and miraculously, it could "see" the HDD and all the files. This was of great comfort to my friend in that he had many years worth of church records, sermons, Bible studies and Sunday School lessons on that machine. Finally, I tried booting off a USB drive with BartPE WinXP because I "thought" I had a little utility on it to rebuild the MBR (if that was the issue), but surprise, it would not "see" the HDD. I don't understand why Linux Mint could see the HDD and all its files, but WinXP could not. Anyway, my friend opted to borrow my Linux Mint USB drive, take it home with his laptop and back up all his files. Then sometime in the next few days, I will get his machine back to see if I can (like any decent computer tech) "resurrect" his hard drive. In my brief investigation, it does not appear that this machine has a hidden recovery partition (if there is one, Mint does not show it as a separate drive and I can't find it) so my friend will be looking to see if he can find the install CD's that came with it. Any ideas? Is it likely to be just a corrupted MBR (boot sector)? ...and if so, can I fix it with the Gateway Vista install CD? ..or is it more likely a completely bad HDD? Any suggestions welcomed. -Phil K in Indy

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Repost your question here

by Slayer_ In reply to Gateway laptop won't boot

This is the wrong section for these types of questions.

Try reposting your question her.e


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Mea Culpa

by pkingery-indy In reply to Gateway laptop won't boot

I am so sorry, I did not realize that I had committed such a severe and cardinal sin here at Techrepublic. I praise the efforts of

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I dont actually have an answer to your question

by Slayer_ In reply to Mea Culpa

But the people that have the answers hang out in the Q&A section, where I redirected you.

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RESOLVED! (just not the way I was wanting.)

by pkingery-indy In reply to Gateway laptop won't boot

Thanks to those in another forum who were willing to help, the computer is now up and running. Once I was able to get my hands on it again, I went through all the steps trying to repair the HDD, tried to run "EasyBDC" but could not figure out a way to get it to run from a USB drive. I had downloaded the version for WinVista since that was the OS on the sick machine, but when I tried to run EasyBDC from a WinXP boot, it would not run.

I had to abandon that and went to trying all the repair options on a WinVista install DV
1. I tried to "repair" the OS using the Vista install disk (did not work, after several attempts),
2. Tried to run the Bootrec.exe command with all the variables (did not help, after several attempts),
3. Finally tried to just reload the OS as a new install, knowing we would lose all the data, (refused to load).
In nearly all the attempts, it was like there was no HDD there -- the Vista install disk simply could not "see" the HDD.

Out of desperation, I swapped out the SATA drive for another one I had harvested from a laptop whose mobo had died several months earlier. The new (used) HDD formatted, took the new OS load and we are up and running! The donor HDD is only a quarter of the capacity of the failed HDD, but since the owner had only used a fraction of the space available, I think this one will work for him.

It is still a mystery why the bad HDD will not "boot", yet all the files are intact and accessible. I wired up the bad HDD to a little USB converter cable and I can see all the files

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