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"Error loading operating system" - I think I tried everything, anyone can help?

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May 1, 2013 9:24:41 AM

So, I encountered this little problem soon after figuring out that 2 out of my 3 hard drives are basically filled with bad sectors. I knew about one of them, but the other was working flawlessly up to that point, where now half of it is magically broken. I tried upping an XP Pro SP3 installation on the remaining one hard drive, which is an old Maxtor IDE one, sporting about 42 GBs of space. Then this message appeared out of nowhere after the first reboot, and after I tried everything, it still does the same. To make this more comprehensive, I will list what I tried so far:

-Setting the access mode to Large
-Setting the access mode to LBS
-Flashing the BIOS, which was unnecessary to begin with because I had the latest version already [ABIT NF8, version 1.9, correct me if I am wrong about this. Yeah, old PC is old]
-Zero filling the hard drive from an Ubuntu Live CD [pretty much the only thing working on this PC] - not a thing changed afterwards
-Changing the jumpers around
-disconnecting and re-adding all the other hard drives, every combination
-messing around with options in BIOS, I can't even remember what, but none of them even produced different error messages.
-Installing Ubuntu on it. That time it gave me a simple "Read Error" line and then left it at that.
-Installing Ubuntu on one of the other faulty drives, trying to start this one up from the boot menu [sorry, I'm new to linux, I'm talking about the screen where you can choose recovery mode and memtest], which threw me into a black screen with a command line and nothing else.
-Trying Seatools for DOS to zero fill it - now this was funny. This piece of misery won't let me do any kind of erase on either this, or another Maxtor drive, the options are simply not there. I've read about this on the Seagate forums, and seen like a dozen people having this problem, and noone cared to answer them. I ran all kinds of tests on it though, and it says the driver is all fine and dandy
-Setting the capacity to 32 GBs from Seatools DOS, since it was the only option available under the "advanced" tab. This caused the BIOS to not even try to boot up from the drive, asking me to insert a boot disk.
-Trying Seatools from Ubuntu... oh wait, I can't since it's not supported.
-Trying to install Win XP on the faulty drives to have it there as a temporary solution, or to use Seatools from there, but the installer flat out refuses to start an installation on any of those drives.
-Offering sacrifices to the all the evil gods that might help me... you get the idea.

So basically, the most I can do on this machine right now is run Ubuntu Live from a DVD I burned some years ago, and install it on a faulty drive where it will last for a good 1-2 days before going HURR and eventually reaching a stage where you can't even boot it. I just got a job, and I won't have the funds to buy a new hard drive, let alone another PC until mid-June, so it would be nice to have at least something for that one and a half month to watch movies/play games on, etc after I come home from work.

Anyone has any other ideas to try? I'll be off trying to install XP on an 8 GB USB stick, but in the meantime, any kind of help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
a b G Storage
May 1, 2013 11:32:11 AM

It's a good thing you have that Ubuntu live DVD.
a c 748 G Storage
May 1, 2013 3:48:04 PM

The only sacrifices us evil ghods take are virgins and I don't think theres any left in the world. LOL


seriously though, boot from a hirens boot disk and use one of the hdd test programs on there. HD Tune, HDD Repair, various manufacturers diagnostics tools are on there including seatools for seagate & maxtor drives...

http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd
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May 2, 2013 1:51:35 AM

popatim said:
The only sacrifices us evil ghods take are virgins and I don't think theres any left in the world. LOL


seriously though, boot from a hirens boot disk and use one of the hdd test programs on there. HD Tune, HDD Repair, various manufacturers diagnostics tools are on there including seatools for seagate & maxtor drives...

http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd


Thanks for the link! It looks like an interesting little tool to use in the future. This time however, it didn't help, but at least I think I know more symptoms to the original problem. Here's what happened:

Yesterday I managed to install XP on the other Maxtor drive that has bad sectors. Wouldn't let me format using NTFS, full or quick, saying that the drive is corrupted. Fair enough, although it had no problem doing that before... So what I did was, I deleted all partitions on it, and made a 10GB one for system purposes, which I formatted with FAT32 [quick], and voila, it worked. Granted, it's a faulty drive and won't live for too long, but at least it will work until I fix the other one.

Then I tried the Hiren boot disk [USB in this case, I just about ran out of all disks I can burn]. First thing to go for was the Seagate DiscWizard, which loaded up to some point, then when it booted out of the DOS part of the program, it says something like "To use this program, you need at least one Seagate or Maxtor drive on your computer". For repetition's sake, I have 2. After that error message it froze and refused to do anything. So, since I tried running it from within XP, I knew it said something like "this program runs only under Mini-XP, so I gave that a try. Mini XP booted all up, and in the startup console it said that it placed all the shortcuts to the desktop successfully, but in actuality the desktop was empty, and I could't do anything from there. Bummer.

Then I tried that other eraser program, which gave me a blank blue screen, saying that it found a floppy drive and it tries to read a floppy disk. I don't know what kind of timelord technology this is, because I didn't have a floppy drive for the last 6 years. Anyway, it once again hanged there, but at least let me type some commands, which didn't do any good, so I abandoned ship once again. Then I tried booting up the DOS programs from the disc, and it froze right upon starting that menu up. Just my kind of luck.

Then after all that, my XP installation keeps saying that it is unable to read the System folder, saying it's corrupted. It actually happened during installation too, if I had the 42GB drive connected. In other cases it simply says "Error Loading Operating System" [even if it's empty and the OS is installed totally elsewhere], but this time it corrupts my installment for good. Neat. So that being said, my options here are limited to anything outside programs that run under Windows or Ubuntu in an installed form ["Read Error" appeared in the same fashion there in the past], but I can do stuff from an Ubuntu Live disc or anything that boots itself from CD or USB.

As a sidenote, I'm done with all nVidia hardware. Both my motherboard and graphics card managed to get otherwise "popular" errors to which no fix ever worked so far [motherboard doing this, graphics card having an unfixable nv4-disp.dll BSOD problem, stuff like that], which is really freaking impressive. I'm not giving another cent to this company from now on, that one's for sure.
a c 748 G Storage
May 2, 2013 6:48:37 PM

Did you ever try the drives ina computer that actually works? bad capacitors ont he motherbd can easily corrupt data too and you may be experience multiple problem to which you need to begin with know working parts.
May 3, 2013 3:51:47 AM

popatim said:
Did you ever try the drives ina computer that actually works? bad capacitors ont he motherbd can easily corrupt data too and you may be experience multiple problem to which you need to begin with know working parts.


I'm afraid I can't do that, since I don't have another PC at hand. Is there a way to check if the motherboard has that problem from this PC?
!