10-11-2009 05:37 PM
Since I installed a new Seagate Barracuda 1.5Tb hard drive I've been experiencing a curious problem. When I do a cold boot, I'm getting an error that says "Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. If Windows files have damaged or configured incorrectly startup repair can help diagnose and fix the problem. If power was interrupted during startup, chose start Windows normally."
The first time I saw this I tried the diagnose option and let it run. It didn't find anything it would or can fix. But it did start the computer at that point. Each time after that I've highlighted and chosen the option to just start normally and not bother with the diagnosis routine. Up to the time I'm writing this on Sunday (3 days later) it's started each time. I have no idea if doing that is going to continue to work. The error message isn't exactly confidence inspiring.
Here's what I did to get to this point:
I bought a brand new in box Seagate Barracuda 1.5Tb drive ST31500341AS P/N 9JU138-568 Date Code is 10041 and it says the firmware is CC71
I ran the software that came with the drive to set it up. Curiously, no formatting required (not the usual Format command I've run on every drive I've ever bought) This, I thought was welcome, I've seen more than 4 hours needed to format 1Tb, I thought it'd take even longer with this one. But the software didn't do that, and I chose the option to clone my existing boot drive and then did some manual partitioning to set the partitions on it a little different from the proportional way automatic would have done. So far so good.
The instructions said to have my OS disk (Windows Vista) ready. So, after setting the partitions the way I wanted, I started the clone. At no time did it ask to see that Windows OS disk, it simply did whatever it does for the cloning process and completed just over 2 hours later.
Then it rebooted, I went to the bios to make the new disk the one the PC would start from. Save the changes and away we go. Or so I thought.
But now this error. Does anyone know what's wrong? Any ideas on how to fix it?
10-12-2009 04:05 AM
10-12-2009 04:42 AM
That may be so, and if true, this is going to be a disaster. I imagine that there's a real chance of losing all my data (pix, music, ect.)
Then why would the drive work at all if formatting is needed? What you're saying is that with no format, there are no tracks laid down for the drive to organize itself. Why is it working at all?
The problem then is that Seagate's software lied. I followed the instructions. I was ready for a format to start with, I started it with the expectation that I'd just let the thing format overnight then get into the rest of it the next morning.
For a long time, I've been wondering how drive manufacturer's were going to handle the ever bigger drives with ever longer format times. If it took a bit over 4 hours for a 1 Tb, then formatting 1.5 Tb should be over 6 hours, and a 2 Tb close to 9. That's a lot of time. And will only get worse, much worse, as bigger and bigger drives are made and sold. Imagine a time when 10 Tb disks are built and sold. Wanna spend 45 hours formatting?
So, imagine my pleasure at Seagate's software simply getting down to business, partitioning and cloning my new drive in around 2.5 hours. FWIW, the PC I use is a Core 2 quad Q9300 2.5 Ghz. The original drive is a Seagate SATA 750 Gb. Which should still be bootable, but I've already gone onto it, uninstalled a few programs and deleted the whole Users directory. Oops.
While my procedure may be faulty, Seagate's instructions then are sorely lacking. This is nowhere near the first time i've setup a hard drive (more like the 20th), but it *IS* the first time I chose to use the drive manufacturer's software instead of following the long arduous OS process of partitioning/formatting/reinstalling all programs. Going the long way of course is very very time consuming, in fact, if I had chosen that route, I'd still be at it. Seagate's software offered a way around, quite frankly, a distasteful amount of format time.
So, since the instructions advised that I have my OS's install disk ready, but didn't ask for me to put it in the CD drive, that perhaps there's some Microsoft way of fixing what's wrong with the boot process.
Here's what the error looks like - the BIOS does it's thing, recognizes both drives at the correct capacity, then goes to a screen with the bar on the bottom with the green leds that trace from left to right. Then, when it should go the next screen with the big blue dot and the Microsoft flag in the middle of that dot, it instead reboots, does the BIOS again then pops up with a black screen and that message. At that point, if I tell it to go ahead and boot normally, this time it does so. But for how long? I'm gonna have to fix this one way or the other.
I was hoping someone here had already experienced this and had a solution. Seldom have I been on the "bleeding edge", usually someone else has been there, done that and got the t-shirt.
10-12-2009 07:51 PM
I was right - I double checked the instructions when I got home. They clearly say that I'm to physically install the drive in the case, connect the cables and make sure the BIOS recognized it and it's full capacity. So far so good.
The PC is a Dell XPS 420 Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 Running Windows Vista
So, after the install, since I'm going to use it as a boot drive, I start the DiskWizard software and begin the process of partitioning and cloning. There is clearly no formatting anywhere in those instructions. When it's done, I physically disconnect the SATA cable and power from the old drive, restart the computer to let it boot into the new drive. And set the boot order in the BIOS so the new one starts the computer now.
There is something else curious too - the SeaTools software for checking the drive, the top two options on the list don't run on it. It says unsupported. But the generic ones do. I ran the shorter one of the two and it didn't find any problems.
So, that's what's curious - why the boot problem?
10-12-2009 10:26 PM
10-13-2009 04:17 AM
Thanks for those URLs!
I'll read those and consider my own situation. Error or not, right now at least the cloned drive lets me in at the moment.
Yes, the old drive still boots, unfortunately my haste to delete files has resulted in destroying my own login on the old drive. Fortunately the other login works, albeit with no icons other than the wastebasket on the screen. That's what I get for being in a rush. I just didn't let the new one "prove" itself before making big important changes.
So, onto the always painful process of learning.
Also, I tried running SeaTools for Windows. The top three items, the SMART test and the two drive self tests don't run. They come back with a "not supported" error (or somesuch, I may be paraphrasing). That includes the other HD, which itself is a Seagate 750 Gb drive which is the one that came with the machine and has been working, and still works, just fine.
10-13-2009 02:14 PM
10-13-2009 02:28 PM
Again, thanks for the links. My computer isn't laptop and neither the instructions nor the advertising hype when I bought it said anything about it having MediaDirect. I suppose logically they would assume that a desktop would simply be booted fully everytime it's turned on. Plus, the page seems to suggest that this something that happens on a machine with XP. I have Vista. (for better or worse)
I'll look at that a little later when I'm in front of it again.