laptop won't boot with HDD installed (used to)

Volpo

Estimable
Jun 27, 2015
5
0
4,510
0
I have an Asus laptop that just stopped working, won't even post. After the usual things to try - re-seat ram, make sure all connections are proper etc. I removed the HD and mounted in an enclosure to see if that's where the problem was. The HD was read in the enclosure no problem.

Just for fun I tried to start the laptop. It posted and then stopped with a no OS available message. I put an old Ubuntu CD in the optical drive (v10.10) and the laptop booted up just fine. I did a clone of the drive onto another drive in the laptop using Acronis v10 with the drive that wouldn't boot in the enclosure as the source. After the cloning ended I tried to boot the laptop. Same result!

I wiped the new drive in the enclosure replaced it into the laptop and it posted again no problem (it also did this before the cloning, obivously).

So, the original drive is ok in the enclosure but the laptop will not even post with it installed.

I'd rather not wipe it and reinstall the OS (WIn 7). The restore disks are $50.00.

Any ideas as to what to do next?

Thanks,

Volpo
 

farnell121

Estimable
May 17, 2014
24
0
4,570
3
So, just to make sure I understand this correctly..

Original HDD will not let Laptop POST. Laptop will POST with it as external. Laptop will POST with new drive. Laptop will not POST with the cloned image on the new drive.

We use Acronis at work all the time and each new version comes with different features with support for newer OS's and some newer versions will leave out features for older devices and vice versa. What year is the Acronis Disk? I know most say like Acronis 2012 or Acronis 2015 etc.'

Let me know if I got tall of that right.
 
Yeah, I'd like to make sure we're on the same page as well:

Original drive installed = no POST
Original drive in enclosure = POST
New drive installed = POST
New drive installed with image from original drive = no POST

Adding an image - even if it's of a corrupt copy - to a working drive should not hold up POST. I've heard of malware that targets key areas on a drive, but even then, they're rare (assuming they actually exist) and I haven't heard of anything that would stop the system from POSTing. This sounds more like an intermittent defect with the system.
 

Volpo

Estimable
Jun 27, 2015
5
0
4,510
0
Thanks for responding.

As I said the laptop will post without its original drive in the bay. It will post and boot from an Ubuntu 10.10 disk in the optical drive. From Ubuntu file manager I can see the drive and all contents ( the drive in an enclosure). I bought a new drive WD Blue 500gb and put it into the laptop. The Laptop posted and gave a 'cannot find OS' error. Then I used an Acronis v10 boot disk to clone the drive (in the enclosure) to the blank WD Blue in the laptop.

After the laptop would not post. I put the WD Blue into the enclosure and plugged it into my desktop and coluld read the drive no problem, the clone had worked perfectly. I repartitioned the drive and used the 'drive cleanser' utility from Acronis 2015 (on my desktop) to do one pass writing a zero to each byte of the drive. Put the blank WD Blue drive back into the latop and it posted with the no OS error.

Scanning the original laptop drive with Kaspersky It found a trojan exe: Packed.Win32.Krap.hc. I looked this up and found that it does at times hide in the boot sector.

I haven't done much more to the original drive because I would like to keep it intact if possible. I suppose the real test is to use the 'drive cleanser' on it and see if the laptop does post but if anyone knows a way to just erase the boot sector and rebuild it I'd rather not have to wipe the drive. I have tried EaseUS partition manager (free) to 'fix' the boot sector as well a a boot sector Linux based Fix Boot live CD. No luck.

That's about as clear as I can make it. In the end I guess I'll just have to do a nuke and pave but was just wondering if anyone had any ideas.

BTW the laptop is an Asus X52F from 2011 or 2012 with x64 Windows 7.

Thanks,

V
 

farnell121

Estimable
May 17, 2014
24
0
4,570
3
I would try to clone the drive using Acronis 2015 on your desktop (since your desktop can connect via SATA). Another option is to take all of your drives out of your desktop and put one of the laptop drives in there and run the Windows Installer Disk. Use the Repair option as it can fix the MBR, rollback windows to an earlier state, etc.

I agree with ProStar, there must be something else going on with the laptop as no data is loaded from the HDD until after post. Only the HDD's hardware info is read as the BIOS prepares to hand it off to the bootloader. I would see if you can clean the pins on the SATA connector on the laptops side with 91% Isopropyl Alcohol and then make sure to secure the drive in place and try again.
 

Volpo

Estimable
Jun 27, 2015
5
0
4,510
0
Thanks for your comments.

I've decided to try the nuke and pave option. I just have to know if it is hardware or software related. If I scrub the drive and the machine posts I know that it was something on the drive and not the drive itself. I suppose that it could be that something in the bios of the drive is the problem. Sometimes it doesn't matter what the problem is to fix it but this is quite a wild one.
 

farnell121

Estimable
May 17, 2014
24
0
4,570
3
You could also see if you could backup the registry and all the folders. May be the closest thing I can think of. Yeah, never heard of that issue, goodluck!
 

Volpo

Estimable
Jun 27, 2015
5
0
4,510
0
FYI, I used Easeus Partition Manager (Free) to create one NTFS partition put the original drive back into the laptop and it posted and then booted the Acronis 10 home disk in the optical. I'm 'cleansing the drive now and will do the re-install of Windows next.

I still cannot understand why it wouldn't even post with the drive in its original condition in the laptop. I guess before post the laptop enumerates all connected devices and then decides whether or not to post. What could have stopped it?

I guess we'll never know.

Thanks to all,

V
 

farnell121

Estimable
May 17, 2014
24
0
4,570
3
This is what boggles the mind, and what separates laptops from desktops. the BIOS should boot, regardless of the data on the drive, no questions asked. However, I have worked on plenty of laptops where the solution was so off the wall, or the culprit was the last thing I could think of, or a problem that had me wanting to demolish the laptop then randomly solved itself no questions asked.

I wish I could have a solid set of steps to try but the issue makes no sense, and laptops can be fineky like that. Some would say pull the battery and try again, you never know.
 

Volpo

Estimable
Jun 27, 2015
5
0
4,510
0
I formatted, repartitioned and cleaned the HD. Installed Win7 x64. Needed 193 updates. Runs like a top.

Go figure?

 
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