how to spot a bad hd?

okay i guess that wasn't phrased quite right, but here's the deal. i can't get vista to install. i have 'windows failed to load because the system registry file is missing, or corrupt'. only advice i've seen is to do a repair, but i can't get enough of it to load to get to the screen where you can ask it to do a repair.

is there a way to find out if my harddrive is bad (i don't know if that's a horribly stupid question) because i did read one post that said that was the reason. how would i tell if my brand new hard drive is dead if i can't load windows and get in to access it or save something to it etc.?


i'm sick and tired of staying up all night and still getting no where!
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  1. find out who makes the drive and head to their website. they usually have a diagnostic tools that will boot and test the drive.
  2. Agreed.

    Unfortunately you haven't given enough information to determine what your real problem is.

    This is a brand new drive that you can't install Vista from the DVD, or won't boot after the OS finishes installing.

    What exactly is the course of events.
  3. axlrose said:
    how to spot a bad hd?

    If you put data in, but then can't get the data back out -- it's probably bad.

    That's how I spot 'em. ;)


    Download the manufacturer's diagnostic program for your hard drive (Seagate Seatools, Western Digital DataLifeguard, etc.) from the hard drive manufacturer's web site. They will have it as a bootable CD-ROM which you can use on your new computer to test the hard drive without an OS installed.

    Obviously, you'll have to download the .iso file and burn it to a CD on a different computer.
  4. I know Seagate has a diagnostic tool like that.
  5. what information do you need to help me with what th real problem is? that's what i'm trying to determine. all i can say is that before the install screen for vista will show up it tells me 'windows failed to load because the system registry file is missing, or corrupt'. i can't figure out what the problem is from that. i don't think it's ram, but i'm asking here how i can figure out if it's the hard drive. i keep getting this error over and over and i don't know what to do to fix it. i'm not sure what's wrong.

    hoping someone can help me figure that out exactly. let me know what else i can provide you with to help you help me. :)
  6. you need to open up the computer and tell us who makes the drives. they should be clearly labled.
  7. If this is on the first try then you have something else going on. There is no system registry file, or any other file, on a new drive and Vista shouldn't even be looking for one.

    As said, check the drive with the drive tools and delete any partitions that may be there, then try again

    You can burn the HD diagnostic tools ISO to a CD with ISO Recorder v 2 or other ISO burning software. You need to do this to make the CD bootable.
  8. sorry. here's the drive. looks like there are other posts about it here making me wonder even more if i had a dead one and how i'd figure that out. lan party that i'm hosting on the fifth of july and i need to have this new system up and running.

  9. and it should be a brand new drive, so you are right, there shouldn't be anything for it to look for or not find and there shouldn't be anything to delete (partitions etc.).

    other thoughts then???

  10. Other thoughts are to get the drive tools and.....

    When you have ruled that out post back.
  11. Sounds like a memory problem, the only time Vista has failed to install for me is when I had 4GB of RAM and needed to remove 2GB of it for it to work.
  12. Is it just me or did he not list the drive? anyway I once had a similiar problem and it was due to a faulty I/O controller on the mobo. drove me crazy cuz i went and replaced HDD, ram, even cpu before replacing mobo. could be anything. but you need to test the drive as the first step to finding the problem.
  13. If I understand this right, you are trying to install VISTA from an install CD and you keep getting the message that the system registry file is corrupt or missing. IF you are doing this right, the only place the install software should be looking for this file is on the install CD, and it has nothing to do with your hard drive.

    FIRST ensure that you have set your BIOS to boot and run from the CD drive. If you have not done that, it may be looking on the HDD when it should not.

    If you have done that, I can think of only two other possibilities: the install CD itself has a flaw that affects its copy of basic Registry file(s); or, there is a RAM problem. Usually as the first part of an install, the system will create a "virtual hard drive" in RAM and copy lots of files to there, then use them because it is much faster than the CD drive. It could be that the copy of the Registry file(s) in RAM is corrupt becuase there is a RAM problem. See if you can download (on another computer) a free copy of Memtest 86+, then use it to create a bootable floppy disk to run on your machine and check the RAM. OOOPS! Maybe you don't have a floppy drive! See if you can do this via a USB memory stick, or borrow a floppy.
  14. or just put it on a cd :)
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