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Error loading OS / Missing HDs / Windows failed to start / 0xc000000f

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February 10, 2012 2:11:39 AM

Hey guys. Yesterday I came home from work to a black screen that said "Error Loading OS". Not sure how this happened, so I restarted it and it came right back to that. Spent a few minutes digging around and found out that my hard drive was not set in the BIOS as a boot drive (although no idea how that changed), so I switched it back and the computer booted fine.

Today, I come home from work and again, I see the black screen that says "Error Loading OS". I restarted, went in the BIOS, and saw that of 4 hard drives in the system, only 1 (non boot) showed up. This is weird. I shut down for a few minutes, booted it back up to the BIOS, and my primary hard drive was listed again. Selected that, and Windows booted up fine.

Was using the computer for about an hour when everything just froze. The mouse still worked and moved, but nothing else at all was working. So I restarted again, and I got to a "Windows failed to start" / 0xc000000f error. Off to the BIOS again, where again, only 2 or 3 of my 4 hard drives were listed. I shut down, left it for a few minutes, rebooted back, and selected my primary drive again. Then I went ahead and created an image of my primary drive just in case.

I have no idea what this is and could use some help figuring it out. I thought it might be a hard drive failure, or it could be something messed up in my motherboard. I have a 64GB Crucial M4 SSD drive that is less than a year old, along with an ASRock Z68 PRO3 motherboard that was bought at the same time.

Any ideas?
a b G Storage
February 10, 2012 3:18:22 AM

A failing PSU or a failing Mobo, I say that because the chance of 4 Failing HDDs in one shot is pretty far fetched since there were no sparks flying before the incident.
If you have a spare PSU, try that one on and see what happenes.
Also to be on the safe side just get a new CMOS battery and change the one on the Mobo. This is to be on the safe side that the BIOS doesn't keep changing value due to a loss of power .
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February 11, 2012 2:28:20 PM

The BIOS eventually sees them all, I just have to shut the computer off for a minute instead of just hitting the reset button. The problem is still happening and just happened a few minutes ago. Everything freezes but I can still move the mouse and see the mouse moving. I wonder what that means. I don't have a spare power supply around to check if its that, but the power supply is only about 8 months old along with everything else in this system.
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Related resources
a b G Storage
February 11, 2012 2:45:44 PM

Download a utility called CrystalDiskInfo from
http://crystalmark.info/?lang=en
Check the status of each and every drive in your system, give us a feedback.
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a b G Storage
February 11, 2012 2:52:47 PM

Power supplies can fail in 8 months if you're operating them at or near the peak output. They also don't need to fail completely to start causing problems, since their output declines as they age, and you can suddenly be exceeding their maximum output.

This usually isn't manifested in the hard drives, though. Your motherboard isn't going to pick and choose what to power, it's just going to power everything. Because there isn't enough power, nothing gets the power it needs and the system becomes incredibly unstable and more often than not, fails to even attempt to boot.

With the info you've given me, it sounds more like a motherboard issue. Since it's just the hard drives effected, it could be a problem in the SATA controller. I'd normally recommend flashing the latest bios, but if it is a PSU problem and your computer crashes during the flash, you just killed your motherboard.
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February 11, 2012 3:00:42 PM

alyoshka said:
Download a utility called CrystalDiskInfo from
http://crystalmark.info/?lang=en
Check the status of each and every drive in your system, give us a feedback.


All 4 drives report back as Good, the one SSD drive I have the OS on reports back as Good / 98%.
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February 11, 2012 3:13:02 PM

willard said:
Power supplies can fail in 8 months if you're operating them at or near the peak output. They also don't need to fail completely to start causing problems, since their output declines as they age, and you can suddenly be exceeding their maximum output.

This usually isn't manifested in the hard drives, though. Your motherboard isn't going to pick and choose what to power, it's just going to power everything. Because there isn't enough power, nothing gets the power it needs and the system becomes incredibly unstable and more often than not, fails to even attempt to boot.

With the info you've given me, it sounds more like a motherboard issue. Since it's just the hard drives effected, it could be a problem in the SATA controller. I'd normally recommend flashing the latest bios, but if it is a PSU problem and your computer crashes during the flash, you just killed your motherboard.


Yea - I'm not really thinking it is the PS since the system stays on and the mouse still works and shows it moving on the screen, plus any estimates of a required PSU for my current system are in the 300-400 watt range, and I'm using a 600W corsair, so I doubt it is ever very stressed in the day to day usage. Is there any way to test a hard drive controller?

I think I have the latest BIOS but I just downloaded it again and will try to flash it through DOS after a clean restart. Be right back with those results.
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February 11, 2012 5:46:53 PM

I had the latest bios but I updated it anyway. but it didn't help and it crashed again eventually. The only consistent thing is that every time it restarts after a crash, my primary C: drive (The Crucial M4 SSD) is the one that the BIOS does not see until i shut the system off for a few seconds and restart, which sort of makes me think that the SSD could be the problem. Is there any way to test in order to figure out if the problem is with the hard drive controller on the motherboard, or if it is the SSD ?
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February 11, 2012 10:21:02 PM

Looks like it was a bug in the Crucial M4 SSD firmware!


Version Compatible Models Download 0309 Crucial m4 2.5-inch (9.5mm) SSD guide — download firmware Release Date: 01/13/2012
Change Log:

Changes made in version 0009 (m4 can be updated to revision 0309 directly from either revision 0001, 0002, or 0009)
Correct a condition where an incorrect response to a SMART counter will cause the m4 drive to become unresponsive after 5184 hours of Power-on time. The drive will recover after a power cycle, however, this failure will repeat once per hour after reaching this point. The condition will allow the end user to successfully update firmware, and poses no risk to user or system data stored on the drive.

This firmware update is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for drives in the field. Although the failure mode due to the SMART Power On Hours counter poses no risk to saved user data, the failure mode can become repetitive, and pose a nuisance to the end user. If the end user has not yet observed this failure mode, this update is required to prevent it from happening. If you are using a SAS Expander please do not download this Firmware. As soon as we have a Firmware Update that will work in these applications we will release it.
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a b G Storage
February 12, 2012 2:36:30 AM

Good it turned out to be just the SSD and you were able to solve the issue...
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!