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  1. #1
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    What is a Pen Drive, and how to remove it.

    BACKGROUND
    Each day when the PC is turned on a black screen used to appear with the following text:

    Primary drive 1 not found.
    Strike F1 to continue, F2 for Set Up utility.

    I soon learned to click F1 shortly after switching on, and start up continued without further intervention. This began a year or more ago: after replacing C with a new hard drive in order to test my first image, which it was unable to see, the original drive was restored and this message began. Being only a minor inconvenience, no attempt was made to find the cause.

    Over the last few months the monitor has taken longer to warm up, initially just over 3 minutes, now 10 – 15. Somewhat annoying, as if it takes too long I wonder whether the monitor was switched on or not, and start experimenting (monitor light stays off until start up completed). However, the machine will be replaced in a few weeks when I should have time to investigate something other than Dell or HP, so it was bearable.

    THE PROBLEM
    Thursday something unusual happened. I switched on before having a shower, etc, took a look at the PC before going downstairs for breakfast, and clicked F1 again as the screen still blank. When I returned there were the two lines quoted above. Plus a third

    Pen drive without operating system. Remove Pen drive and reboot.

    These three lines were repeated several times, and clicking F1 or Enter did nothing except add these lines again. After trying Control, Alt, Delete and physically closing down the PC a few times it suddenly started working. I decided to keep the PC and monitor running non stop and see if it will last until I have a replacement. Unfortunately, I didn’t tell my wife until too late!

    Whilst having supper that evening I was unaware that my wife was printing something on my PC and she turned off the monitor afterwards. Heaven only knows why, as she leaves hers on for hours at whatever site she happens to be viewing. Anyway, I returned to the PC, found a black screen and spent almost 90minutes trying to get it to work, before closing down for the night.

    To my disappointment, the situation had not changed Friday morning. The machine was kept running all the time, and I made regular attempts to boot it, without success. Eventually the messages about F1 and Pen drives disappeared, leaving just a black screen, when I thought the screen had died.

    During the afternoon I remembered making Acronis and Macrium rescue disks last year in my attempts to get imaging working. So I switched the monitors: mine would not work on my wife’s Vista PC, apparently confirming the belief that it was kaputt, although in retrospect I may not have given it sufficient time to warm up. The other one worked sufficiently well with XP to allow the boot order to be changed to DVD.

    Inserting the Acronis disk and choosing boot to Windows produced a ‘disk error’ message. On choosing the report option and inserting the requested flash drive, there was a count down from 13 seconds to boot up, then another ‘disk error’ message and press something to continue. This was repeated three times before I switched to the Macrium rescue disk. Initially this seemed promising, perhaps because Macrium is still installed on the PC, but the result was again failure. I think it said there was no OS, but cannot remember the exact expression now.

    Much later, when the PC was functioning again, the Acronis report was found on the flash drive. Five files, all incomprehensible to me.

    I restored the monitors to their respective desktops, as we need to have one working, and, as my old monitor was now displaying the ‘primary driver not found’ message
    made sporadic attempts to boot XP. Early evening I suddenly wondered whether I had changed the boot process back to drive 1 – I had – but shortly after this another attempt to boot up succeeded.

    Since then it has been on continuously, and the usual weekly maintenance was completed yesterday, omitting only the registry cleaner as too risky at present.

    Hopefully, it will last another three weeks of so until I have a replacement, but am still worried about this Pen drive. Presumably it isn’t essential as I’m told to delete it, but why should it have an OS, apparently independent from Windows? In order to avoid a recurrence of this problem is it advisable to remove it now, whilst I have full access to the PC? And if so, how to do it?

    The one thing I am unwilling to try if the problem returns is a full setup. Hundreds of updates and patches to install for just a couple of weeks is too much.
    Last edited by georgelee; 2013-10-06 at 06:34. Reason: Added paragraph re Acronis report

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I believe Pen drive was an early nomenclature for a Flash Drive. My belief is that your system is failing badly and you will continue to get many flaky failures. Quite often these type failures are related to the power supply failing, the CPU failing, RAM memory failing, or a combination thereof. I suppose it's also possible the failing hardware has corrupted your software. It does indeed sound as though you have wrung every useful day out of that hardware.

    Perhaps you could try to see if you can power everything down, unplug the PC, open the case and reseat all pluggable components. I would also see if there is an accumulation of dust and dirt inside the case that might be causing heat problems although your failure does not seem to be heat related. If you do attempt this, touch the case to try to ground yourself so that you do not introduce any static electricity.

    Keeping it powered on until the replacement is acquired may work, but do not be surprised if nothing gives this hardware any life support.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    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

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  4. #3
    5 Star Lounger
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    Thanks Ted, that explains the pen drive mystery.

    The increasing time required to start the monitor made me realise that this machine may not last until a replacement is found, so since backing up last Monday I’ve kept a flash drive plugged in. Everything needing to be saved is now being copied to the flash drive as well as the usual folder on the C drive, which should ensure it’s all available to be installed on the next machine.

    Should this again interfere with boot-up I will know what to do. In any case, it’s probably best to remove the flash drive each night, and probably close down.

    George

  5. #4
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    It does very much look like your boot drive has issues, either the drive itself or the controller. Your decision to backup seems correct, but do use more than one flash drive, if you can. Flash drives are not models of reliability.
    Rui
    -------
    R4

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    georgelee (2013-10-06)

  7. #5
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    My own eight year old PC is a virtual Power House, but it absolutely will not boot up with a flash drive or SD memory card plugged in, unless one of those has boot files on it.
    It will sit there forever trying to find the necessary boot files, so it can boot up off of that plug-in device.

    If I've been absent minded and left such a device plugged in, I have to remove the device, shut off the power, wait for the system to completely die and then turn the power back on, to start the normal boot up process.

    That all falls into the category of "same old crap, different day!"
    Some also would call that an "ID10T Error!"

    Good Luck,
    The Doctor
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

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