First off, the hardware:
Toshiba Portege R835-P56X
4GB DDR3 (upgraded to 8GB)
500GB HDD (upgraded to 128GB Kingston V100 SSD)
Running W7 Pro 64 bit
I shut down my laptop earlier today (something rare for me) and just got back today and it fails to boot up properly. Here's the timeline of events:
1. Powered on PC
2. "Starting Windows" logo pops up and runs
3. Screen pops up saying that it is "strongly recommended to check the hard disk for errors" - skipped
4. I get a black screen that only shows a cursor.
5. Manual shut down and reboot
6. Attempt to load safe mode - computer freezes and manually reboot
7. Computer tries to boot like it did the first time, except I choose to scan the disk
8. Scan runs, deletes and corrects some files and reboots
9. Attempts to load Windows, boot to black screen with cursor only and then just reboots automatically in a cycle
Is this just a standard hard drive failure or is there a bigger issue? I've never had a drive fail (and hopefully no more do), so I'm just wondering. Hopefully it's only a dead drive because I'd like to get it up and running soon for school.
This is all I get each time it tries to boot (either regular or safe mode):
It could be a corrupt Windows OS or a problem with the MBR on the SSD.
Could also be indicator of a SSD failure.
You can make yourself a bootable Rescue CD / LiveCD. Use that to see if you can reach the HDD SSD and maybe backup/rescue any personal data and files you don't already have backed up.
Ubuntu Desktop it's not windows, but it's free. And you can download and burn a complete operating system onto a CD or USB thumb drive.
Use F12 at power on to choose the boot drive (CD/DVD or USB) and use the Try It option (not the Install option). You can use a USB thumb drive or external HDD to copy off your personal files and data.
Things should look fairly familar. The windows controls (close minimze, etc) are on the left side.
Here is Ubuntu file managers looking at a Win7 HDD file system and a USB thumb drive file window open. Drag/Drop works the same way.
That FreeAgent drive you see is a USB external hard drive which also works well.
I used a new copy of W7 to install (use a few features not available in the included W7 Home Premium) so I could try a rescue disk once I get back to school (next Sunday). I just need to find out if it's a drive failure so I can RMA if necessary (don't want to if I don't have to).
This 'new copy of W7' ... speak more about that. The laptop was running fine on the OLD W7, including the SSD?
Find out if the MFGR of the SSD has any bootable utility programs that will test that SSD.
And you might stop by the Storage section of the forums and ask there.
I predict they'll want to know more about this new W7 as well.
I've had this running since Sept. The laptop came with a preinstalled OEM version of W7 Home Premium 64 bit on the 500GB. I purchased the W7 Pro 64 bit upgrade from theultimatesteal.com using my student account and installed it on the HDD.
The next week I bought the SSD from Anandtech forums and did a clean install with the W7 Pro. It's been running fine up to this point, and today was the first time I had any sort of indicators of an issue.
I'll check into the bootable test programs even from other manufacturers. Dunno if they work but worth a shot. Luckily I use Dropbox to sync all of my important files
My next suggestion would have been to run the problem by the guys in the Storage section of the forums. Which I see you've already done.
My next thought is that the available space on the SDD shown isn't close to what you'd expect to see from a 128GB Kingston V100 SSD!
And I'm guessing that there are no tools or utility programs on the Kingston website for just such a problem? It's probably worth your time to track down the actual MFGR of the drive or it's firmware and see if they have anything on their site that would help. Kingston SSDNow V100 128GB SSD Review
I'm pretty sure there are no Win7 drivers you need to successfully complete the recovery or restore installation.
Odds are you had set the sata port into ahci mode and therefor need to load the intel rst drivers to get w7 install to work. If you planned on reformatting the drive anyways you can change to IDE mode in the bios and install will run without the need for drivers and then you can switch back to ahci mode once you verify everything is fine if you wanted to.
So Kingston tech support told me to use HDDErase to securely erase the drive and reinstall Windows. Not particularly helpful since I was going to have to do a reformat/reinstall anyway, but whatever.
that's sure to quickly shorten the ssd's lifespan... :-( defragging and full formats on ssd's are also a no-no. flash has a limit per block as to the number of writes per block. this is helped by wear leveling algorithms, but still...