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  1. #1
    iNET Interactive
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    Two different Windows 7 boot problems




    LANGALIST PLUS

    Two different Windows 7 boot problems


    By Fred Langa

    Readers' PCs suffer "Invalid System Disk" errors and a doubled boot time.

    From XP onward, Windows rarely suffers serious boot problems. But when they do happen, help is close at hand.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2011/05/05 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Tracey Capen; 2011-05-04 at 19:27.

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    In the "Unhappy with currenthardware offerings" part of Fred's column, he recommends building your own PC as an alternative to dealing with the limitations of system vendors' offerings.

    A middle-ground which I recommend to people is to build a relationship with a local small computer shop. Someone who will listen and advise can easily be worth the extra dollars to build you the PC you want, with further benefits down the line.

  3. #3
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    Invalid System Disk

    Good Morning:
    I too have had the "Invalid System Disk" message after I installed SP1 on Win7. Discovered that my boot sequence was looking for a floppy disk drive, which I do not have. Once I eliminated the "Drive A" from CMOS the system boot OK.
    Hope this helps someone.
    Jon C. Krueger

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    I agree with Mike Feury. I build a small number of PCs for my customers. Local computer shops will build to your specs, and let them know you want quality not price. My hints would be
    1. Always get brand name components from the larger manufacturers (Gigabyte, Asus, Intel, Pioneer, Thermaltake, Logitech etc..) - they cost a little more for a reason!. Specifications arent everything. The PC component market is extremely competitivel. If there is a significant price difference then there will be a feature difference or a quality difference. A video card might perform better than another in the test reviews but if the budget fan on the video card dies in 12 months time then it was a bad investment.
    2. never buy a PC with a motherboard that has onboard video - they are built for budget PCs and perform like a budget PC, and in my experience are more prone to dying at an earlier age.
    3. Dont buy at the bottom end of the CPU range, or the top end - you are throwing away money in both cases.
    4.The most critical part of the PC (apart from data - which you back up regularly - correct ...?) is the motherboard. All other components can be upgraded for a long time after the PC is built but motherboards are typically superceded in 12 - 18 months. If your motherboard dies at 2 yo you may have to replace motherboard CPU and RAM to get it running again, which is a very expensive exercise. Getting a quality power supply will reduce the chance of a dying power supply killing the motherboard also.
    5. Buy quality RAM. Bad RAM often causes strange hard to track down issues and Blue Screens. It might be good for the first year then the troubles begin
    6. A comment on brand name PCs (eg HP Acer etc..) - they may be good or bad but it is often hard to judge as they only give specs and not the brands of the components. Price is your best indicator for them, at least until you get to the premium price range.
    Last edited by Petergr; 2011-05-05 at 10:10.

  5. #5
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    Fred, thanks for your response about boot problems, as this was most providential as I have had something similar for the past week, so your reference to the Microsoft article was most helpful - I found it both interesting and useful ... and it provided me the vocabulary for defining what for me is a brand new problem.

    I have had boot problems in the past but nothing like what I am experiencing in the past, so I have no personal experience to draw upon. I have had POST problems (with the diagnostic beeps) and also have had my WinXP fail to load, but this is happening in between! (???) I mean that the computer does POST [at least no beeps!] and then hunts for hard-ware [or so I surmise since the lights on both my CD drives blink] and then the process just stops ... ???

    Well, that is what happens often but several times the BOOT up goes past that and the screen shows the usual and expected BIOS information at which point I could enter BIOS except that again the process just stops without any "bells or whistles" or "error messages" (???). In fact, no error messages at all at any point!

    So the MS article told me lots of things that is not the cause of my problem but I still have no idea now as to what it might be (???). Any comment or suggestion from anyone would be most welcome, for I have run out of ideas! Still, I do appreciate the recent "Windows Secrets" for it did provide me very useful background!

    Thanks, again.

  6. #6
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    Be careful about the off the shelf systems

    I recently had the opportunity to replace a failed power supply on a manufactured "small form factor" system. To replace it, I had to remove not just the side of the machine, but both the hard drive and optical drive, and the framework they attached to, and the one expansion card, and the motherboard(!). Several of these were complicated by barely long enough cables. One of the power supply cables to the motherboard was in the "not quite long enough" category. The manufacturer had instructions for removing/replacing everything BUT the power supply, and I found out why by the time I was done.

    Opting for more standard hardware certainly makes hardware support easier later.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by expcman View Post
    Fred, thanks for your response about boot problems, as this was most providential as I have had something similar for the past week, so your reference to the Microsoft article was most helpful - I found it both interesting and useful ... and it provided me the vocabulary for defining what for me is a brand new problem.

    I have had boot problems in the past but nothing like what I am experiencing in the past, so I have no personal experience to draw upon. I have had POST problems (with the diagnostic beeps) and also have had my WinXP fail to load, but this is happening in between! (???) I mean that the computer does POST [at least no beeps!] and then hunts for hard-ware [or so I surmise since the lights on both my CD drives blink] and then the process just stops ... ???

    Well, that is what happens often but several times the BOOT up goes past that and the screen shows the usual and expected BIOS information at which point I could enter BIOS except that again the process just stops without any "bells or whistles" or "error messages" (???). In fact, no error messages at all at any point!

    So the MS article told me lots of things that is not the cause of my problem but I still have no idea now as to what it might be (???). Any comment or suggestion from anyone would be most welcome, for I have run out of ideas! Still, I do appreciate the recent "Windows Secrets" for it did provide me very useful background!

    Thanks, again.
    This points to a lot of different possibilities - the worst being motherboard failure. The only way of tracking this down is by minimising and replacing with known good parts. Start by removing DVD cables, front USB ports, and any unnecessary cards eg old modems from the system, and remove everything plugged into USB - especially poratble drives, then run the PC for a while. If your problem still shows then you need to eliminate power supply, RAM, and Video Card. If your power supply is getting old then it is a quick cheap and easy one to replace yourself. With RAM you can do a "sort of" test by taking out one stick at a time (it doesnt eliminate two faulty sticks bit that probability is low). This sort of diagnosis is slow and needs access to lots of parts so it is often better to get a repairer to look at it if you dont have parts you can loan.
    If your problem is still happening after you have further eliminated the other components then you are left with motherboard failure.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to Petergr For This Useful Post:

    expcman (2011-05-09)

  9. #8
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    Thanks for all this, for it is most reassuring as this is pretty much what I am already in the process of doing, or perhaps I should say "trying to do, for the issue of swapping out the parts with known working parts is being a bit of a challenge. Happily, I do have a trustworthy technician as my ultimate fall back, who is the one from whom I purchased the mobo in the first place, which in fact was a replacement for the previous one which most unhappily I did manage to fry. So I already do have in mind that after all my "checking out components" that I may well have to replace, which I would not prefer ... except for the fact that it would let me upgrade my system. All of which is to explain why I do appreciate what you had to say! Frank

  10. #9
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    For Jim McIntosh -- buy a Mac!

    Why put up with all those objections when you could buy a new iMac and solve your problems immediately?

  11. #10
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hbrawley View Post
    For Jim McIntosh -- buy a Mac!

    Why put up with all those objections when you could buy a new iMac and solve your problems immediately?
    Many people simply do not want to spend the money on buying a new PC, that also has it's own set of problems, and generally is considerably more expensive, when they are very happy with Windows and their present PC. Since these are the Windows Secrets forums, I believe it is more appropriate to discuss solutions to Windows problems rather than suggesting switching to a different OS altogether.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  12. #11
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    A follow-up and a happy one, for I am happily able to add this foot-note from the desktop in question! It turned out to be simple, once I found that the old power unit needed replacing, even though it was still putting out enough juice to run the fan and to flash the lights on the CD drives and the HD drives! So I learned something. The only complication proved to be that my motherboard had a power connection with 24 places whereas my power unit has a plug with only 20! That puzzled me but happily Wikipedia had a well illustrated (and lengthy) article about ATX motherboards which provided me the necessary information (even including a diagram in color of both the motherboard connection
    and the power unit's plug!), so my repeated thanks for your help! Frank

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