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Sorry for being a PIA, Expert help Needed!

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July 14, 2012 6:50:16 PM

Started out trying to replace my C:\ drive that contains a current copy of windows 7 ultimate retail. That drive started going bad a few months ago when I tried to run a chkdsk and it wouldn't complete then every time I rebooted or started my PC after that chkdsk wanted to run. Never fixed that problem, but all of a sudden one day it went away, i could start, or restart my system without chkdsk always wanting to run again. GThen a few weeks ago the problem started again and after running the western digital lifeguard program iit determined that my C:\ drive had a problem.

I had an old image on my external hard drive that I used for storing backups, but that was from March so i did another drive image telling it to ignore the errors then i ordered a new WD 2 TB hard drive. That drive came in, i installed it the bios recognized it but windows didn't? After posting in a few different tom's forums a guy told me that I had to format the drive and gave me a link on how to do that through windows administrator tools. I followed the instructions and did everything that was said, but when I rebooted and tried to restore the image to that new drive (with both of the other two hard drives disconnected) Windows wouldn't see the new drive?

I even tried todo backup and tried to clone the drive but it wouldn't work because I have errors on the drive and couldn't tell todo to ignore the errors?

So this morning I wake up and try again and I thought the system found the new drive and I let the restore start, then noticed that it would be overwriting the current c:\ drive which I thought I didn't want to happen so i stopped system restore and rebooted. Now that drive won;t boot the system at all and I'm stuck?

I did notice that when trying to load from a system repair disk the computer sometimes won't finish loading the files or get all the way to where I can pick which image to restore, the monitor goes dark like the system is rebooting, the blue on light on the monitor goes yellow and the system just sits there and i can't see anything? The more I try to run restore or load from the repair disk the more that happens?

Now I'm thinking I not only have the hard drive problem, but maybe a motherboard or PSU problem? But I'm not sure if one of those could be causing the problem with the system going dark on me?

Does anyone want to take a guess or does anyone know what could be causing the problem?

What are my options now? KI really don;t want to lose my information, files, documents and emails that I have on that C:\ drive?

Can i disconnect the other two hard drives (each is a 500GB WD green 3.0GBS) and leave the new wd hard drive connected then start from my windows installation disk and reinstall windows from scratch then after that is done I can restore the image from the stored image I have on the external hard drive on that drive or am I screwed and everything is now lost?

Can I install windows on the new hard drive, then restore the stored image to that drive and then if I build a new system (motherboard, CPU, Ram, PSU) and use that hard drive will that system start up using that drive or will I have to install windows once again?

As you can see I'm really lost right now and pretty much frustrated. How can something as simple as restoring a drive image cost me 15 hours and soooooo much frustration?

I'd appreciate any and all input anyone can give me. Insight, help, opinions (what would you do if you were me), I have a current budget of about $525.00

Thanks in advance for the help.

BTW I'm currently using my laptop because the PC won't boot into windows any longer :( 

More about : pia expert needed

a b B Homebuilt system
July 14, 2012 7:32:46 PM

I do think that the more you try to screw around with the backup and the system image the worse it's going to get and you will have a mess that is not going to be resolved. I know you have files that you want and don't want to lose them but you may have to concede that they could be gone.
Here is an option that you coul;d try if your desperate enough. Partition and format the new drive and load windows and make sure that everything is working properely. Then take your other drive and format it , download the program Recuva and see if you can recover files from the drive and even when formated you can recover files , the files are there and will be there untill you write over them so by loading the OS onto a new drive you can still have the possablity of recovering the other files untill they are written over.
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July 14, 2012 8:07:43 PM

Help me understand something OP - the reason you started down your path with the new drive is because you don't want to take the time to reinstall all your programs?
I'm assuming the answer is Yes.

Then, with that said, you should remove all but the new drive you purchased from the computer and start a fresh, clean install of windows, deleteing any partitions that currently exist and let windows do its thing. After its completed and you're at the desktop, shut down and install the other drive. See if your data is still there. Now that you know you have a working windows computer, install your programs and move over your data then delete the old drive and check it for errors before using it again.

Any other way and you're just wasting time.
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July 14, 2012 9:41:00 PM

dingo07 said:
Help me understand something OP - the reason you started down your path with the new drive is because you don't want to take the time to reinstall all your programs?
I'm assuming the answer is Yes.

Then, with that said, you should remove all but the new drive you purchased from the computer and start a fresh, clean install of windows, deleteing any partitions that currently exist and let windows do its thing. After its completed and you're at the desktop, shut down and install the other drive. See if your data is still there. Now that you know you have a working windows computer, install your programs and move over your data then delete the old drive and check it for errors before using it again.

Any other way and you're just wasting time.


No I didn't want to lose my files, documents and emails + a lot of folders that have different programs I wrote while in school. I do have a backup but thats from march, i just don't understand why I can't restore even that image to my new drive? Not sure if I'm doing something wrong or what?

To me it should be this simple:
have only the new formatted drive connected to the PC, start PC while I have the system repair disk in the dvd drive, select start from dvd, then i should be able to slect what image to restore from and what drive to restore it to. But when I do that it says it can't do that (forget the exact wording).

Now that the C: drive is completely screwed up now(before it used to boot up at least, I just had to sit here while it was booting so i could bypass chkdsk that always wanted to run. After that it ran fine. Guess I screwed the pooch for good now?

Now all I want is a way to get this POS PC back running again. I was thinking of doing what the person said before you replied but I don't know if that would work or not? This sucks!
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July 14, 2012 10:04:26 PM

Now I just tried to install a fresh copy of windows 7 ultimate to my new hard drive and while i was looking at it to decide which partitions to reformat the stupid POS PC crashed once again. By crash I mean the monitor goes dark, and the blue on light of the monitor goes from Blue to yellow and the PC just sits there and i cannot see a damn thing? Any idea what may be causing it to do that? I've noticed that the longer I let it sit while off the more it will allow me to try and do. But the more I do after I do start it the less time I have before it goes dark an d i can't see anything any longer? The Pc remains on but I can't see what if anything it's doing?
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 14, 2012 11:46:28 PM

Do you have the other hard drives connected or just the new one ?
I would go into the bios and select default or push the clear cmos button or shut down unplug the psu and remove the cmos battery for a few min.
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July 15, 2012 2:55:24 AM

It sounds like you have hardware issues. Could be any number of things. Do you have a video card or is it on-board video? Perhaps it's over heating. I would check inside for dust, do a good once-over for seating the memory and video card (if you have one) - all of course with the power unplugged and after pressing the on button to discharge the capacitors. Then reseat the cards and memory after dusting it out.
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July 15, 2012 5:09:53 PM

dingo07 said:
It sounds like you have hardware issues. Could be any number of things. Do you have a video card or is it on-board video? Perhaps it's over heating. I would check inside for dust, do a good once-over for seating the memory and video card (if you have one) - all of course with the power unplugged and after pressing the on button to discharge the capacitors. Then reseat the cards and memory after dusting it out.



I did what both you and Inzone said to do (other than remove the cmos battery) (Don't see a clear cmos button?) had the thing unlplugged all night and got up started the install once again, got to 3% and poof same damn thing the thing goes dark on button ton yellow and nothng, thing stays on but who knows if it's actually doing anything while sitting there like that? I'm sooo frustrated right now and sooo close to just throwing the thing against the wall?

Only the new hard drive is connected and when it goes to install it shows me all these partitions that are on that hard drive and I choose each one and tell it to format it then install starts and pooof nothing but a dark screen? What a POS i have here calling itself a PC!
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2012 5:28:06 PM

When you say that the thing stays on are you saying that the computer is on but that the monitor is off?
If you didn't take ut the cmos battery and there is no clear cmos button then did you go into the bios and set the bios at default or if the MB has a second bios chip can you switch to the second bios? Unless you clear the bios settings from what you had if the issue is coming from the bios then it will continue untill you clear the cmos. The cmos battery is a small roung silver dollar sized battery and you just pop it out and wait a minute and then push the power button a few times to let theremaining power in the capacitors be released. Then put the battery back in and connect the power and see if anything changes.
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July 15, 2012 6:02:59 PM

inzone said:
When you say that the thing stays on are you saying that the computer is on but that the monitor is off?
If you didn't take ut the cmos battery and there is no clear cmos button then did you go into the bios and set the bios at default or if the MB has a second bios chip can you switch to the second bios? Unless you clear the bios settings from what you had if the issue is coming from the bios then it will continue untill you clear the cmos. The cmos battery is a small roung silver dollar sized battery and you just pop it out and wait a minute and then push the power button a few times to let theremaining power in the capacitors be released. Then put the battery back in and connect the power and see if anything changes.


So I shut everything off once again, went through everything, took out the graphics cards and reseated it, this time I took out a little add in card i had that added on 4 usb ports, started the thing up and walla the thing started up, windows 7 ultimate installed and now i have a working PC once again. A BASIC working PC.

Neither of the other two hard drives are connected and I don;t have ANY of tghe setting or programs that I once had.

What should i do now? Should I shut it off, connect the other two hard drives, then boot it off of the system repair disk and see if the image I have is still good or? I could run it off of the image I have from March and see if that will restore?

Or should I shut it off reconnect the other two drives(3 if you count the external hard drive I have) and see if i can rescue any of the files I need?

Not sure how to proceed from here?
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July 15, 2012 6:20:12 PM

Well, assuming the data on the drive you have your files on is good, I would continue doing all the Windows Updates on the new install.
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July 15, 2012 6:23:20 PM

Once all the Windows Updtaes are downloaded and installed - roughly takes about an hour depending on download speed, and several reboots, I would install any programs you need in order to be able to open the files you want to save.

After the programs are installed, I would shut down and install the drive the files are on. See if you can copy the files onto the new install and open them without data loss.

I would not try and restore from the image.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2012 6:28:01 PM

After the Windows updates are finished you can try connecting to one of the drives to see what you have and if you can access anything on the drive. I'm not sure if you want to restore from any image at this point since you don't want to load any of the problems that you have on those drives. The important thing would be to get some of your more important files and not get too greedy and try to get everything and think you can make everything like it was before. It may be that you can but you also don't want to go back to the same problems that got you to this point again.
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July 16, 2012 6:21:00 PM

Best answer selected by alazeer.
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July 16, 2012 6:33:23 PM

TYVM to both Inzone and Dingo07, both of you were extremely helpful and patient with me when I was going through this problem yesterday and the day before! Whenever I get stuck like this I always come here to Tom's Hardware, because it's full of people like you two who hang out and help people like me!

So to finalize this thread this is what happened:

I re-seated the ram and graphics card like you guys said to do, took out the card that added 4 USB ports, then booted up with the windows 7 install disk, deleted all partitions that were on my new 2TB drive and installed windows 7 ultimate.

After windows 7 was installed and updated, I installed the programs that I needed to install and then hooked up one drive. That drive pretty much didn't have anything that I needed on it so I deleted all existing partitions and reformatted it then rebooted. When I rebooted chkdsk wanted to run on this drive just like it always did, I allowed chkdsk to run and it went alln the way through this time and booted up fine.

Then I connected my other 500GB drive and was able to save the entire desktop, all of my documents and I was even able to figure out how to get all of my older emails (up to march 2012). The only thing that was lost was email from march 2012 - june 2012. Then I deleted all of the existing partitions and reformatted that drive as well. I named the old 500Gb drives storage one and two.

After I did all of the above, i ran chkdsk on both of the old drives, it was able to complete with zero errors on both drives? No idea why it had so many problems in the past but now I have a 2TB main drive, 2 - 500GB hard drives for storage and a 1TB external drive I can use for backing everything up.

I do plan on buying the 3TB cloud storage device I saw advertised last week on Newegg and I will eventually back everything up to that drive.

Thanks again for all your help!
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July 16, 2012 6:49:45 PM

Your welcome - but you definitely Don't want to back up to "The Cloud"!!! Keep your data in your house and purchase another external HD if you must, but don't leave your data in someone else's hands - EVER.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2012 11:39:07 PM

Now that everything is back to normal if you do use the external drive for the backup then make it for that only aqnd put no storage there and you could put a system image there for in the event this ever happens again.
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July 16, 2012 11:48:56 PM

dingo07 said:
Your welcome - but you definitely Don't want to back up to "The Cloud"!!! Keep your data in your house and purchase another external HD if you must, but don't leave your data in someone else's hands - EVER.


OH sorry that Cloud is what they called it, it's a 3TB external drive that I saw advertised in one of those newegg weekly ads they send all the time. When I saw it they had it for $199.00 which I thought was a little steep but not that bad considering. Have not had time to go to newegg since I saw the add to loo it up.

I just looked it up:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Was thinking about getting this or something like it for backing everything up.
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July 16, 2012 11:53:30 PM

inzone said:
Now that everything is back to normal if you do use the external drive for the backup then make it for that only aqnd put no storage there and you could put a system image there for in the event this ever happens again.


I deleted the existing partitions, reformatted it, then I put a brand new system image on it. Now in case anything else happens I should be able to restore from that image? Course in the near future I'll probably put another partition on it so I can do a complete backup again and still have the original image on it's own partition, just in case.

Thanks again for all the help guys!
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2012 3:45:12 AM

The combination of a good complete system image and the everyday backup of your files would ensure you of a complete restore in the event of a major hard drive problem. Good luck and I hope you never ave to use that backup senario.
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