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Dell inspiron 530s cannot boot


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I need some help troubleshooting a boot up issue. I did not get to run a scan so I don't know if this is virus or malware related  (though it started while I was on the internet. Anyway, the computer froze and gave me a stop error (lost the error number that I wrote down) so I restarted the computer and the check disk scan came up. It also ended up freezing. This happened a couple of times so  I finally decided to just do a System Restore since I started to suspect it really  was a virus. I stepped away for a bit and saw that the comp had restarted . Some more issues with loading deskstop but after a couple of restarts the deskstop finally loaded and I recieved a message that System Restore was completed.. For about half an hour everything seemed fine then comp froze, continuous beep sounded and I turned it off. Haven't been able to boot from hard drive since then. Attempts to boot from CD give me stop error 0x0000007f. I have tried different SATA ports and drive never shows no matter where I put it. I can hear it attempt to do something so I don't know if the drive has gone bad. 


Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

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Sorry, I also noticed you had the model in the subject....

Anyway since this is a Dell computer, Turn on the computer and start hitting the F12 key. This will give you a menu where you can run either a diagnostics or a hard drive diagnostics depending on your BIOS version. Let us know if you get any errors.

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Pressing F12 takes me into the Boot Menu; I see no mention diagnostics. Is it possible the option might be in Setup somewhere? When I press F2 itbrings me into the Phoenix -AwardBIOS CMOS Setup Utility. On the left side of the screen it lists:


-System Info

-Standard Card Features

-Advanced BIOS Features

-Boot Device Configuration

-Advanced Chipset Features 

-Integrated Peripherals


Right side of the screen:


-Power Managent

-Load Defaults

-Set Supervisor Password

-Set User Password 

-Save and Exit

-Exit without Saving


Also BIOS version is 1.0.18 if that helps.

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No option for diagnosing came up. It just made an attempt to boot from the Utility Partition. It reads:


Boot from Utility Partition ...

Not Found...

No Boot Device available, press Enter key to retry

SATA -0: Installed

SATA -1: Installed 

SATA -4: None

SATA -5: None  


From the above it seems like the hard drive is registering to some extent (it's in the SATA -0 socket). However whenever I check under Standard CMOS Features in Setup that SATA is simply blank (instead of saying [None] like the other empty sockets). Not sure if that means anything to you but I thought I should mention it.

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Determine the manufacture of the hard disk in the Inspiron.  Then you can obtain the company's diagnostic software.  For example if it is an IBM/Hitachi drive you can download an ISO image for their Drive Fitness Test (DFT), create a CD and the boot off that CD and test the hard disk.


Another option is to use Dell Diagnostics (albeit it is not as extensive as the manufacturer's software).

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Drive manufacturer is Western Digital. Model no. WD3200AAKS. Exactly how would I go about making a bootable CD. Is it just a matter of copying the files to a CD and then setting comp to boot from CD? Or something more complicated? 


OS is Windows XP w service pack 3 for future reference.

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No, it is an ISO file that represents an image of a bootable CD.


Unfortunately Western Digital has made finding the ISO "difficult" and they are just supplying a DOS based program you have to create a boot disk for.


Hopefully we can dig up a URL of the WD Diagnostic ISO file.


If you have Nero, Sonic or Roxio thay can create a CD from an ISO image file.  Otherwise you would need a free software to create the CD such as ImgBurn.




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There is a DOS version for a Western Digital Drive and you can find the info here http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=601&sid=2〈=en

You can also use the tool for Seatools....

Testing the hard drive is relatively easy if you have access to another computer to burn the bootable CD. It is always best to use the hard drive manufacturer's diagnostic software, if possible . If you know the manufacturer of your hard drive, then refer to Bootable Hard Drive Diagnostics. Review the page, download the DOS version for your hard drive, burn it to create a bootable CD, and run both short and long tests.

If you don't know your hard drive manufacturer:

  • Download the Seatools for DOS version by clicking the "Downloads" tab, selecting operating system, then "Download - accept license agreement. Burn the "SeaToolsDOS223ALL.Iso" image to a CD so it is bootable.
    • If you don't have software to burn an "Iso" file to CD or don't know how:
      • Download ImgBurn from here.
      • Install the software then start ImgBurn.
      • Select "Write Image file to disk" then under "Source" click on the "folder icon" folderIcon.jpg to the right and select the "iso" file location.
      • Click on this icon to "Start." ImgBurn_s.jpg
  • Restart your computer with the Diagnostic Disk. (For how to set CDROM drive to boot first, go here)
  • Run the Short test first and then the Long test.
  • If given the option to repair the drive, allow it but ONLY if you have backed up all important data on the drive.
  • Any reported errors in either test should make you suspect a failing hard drive.
Let us know the results.
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as the OP did not mention the "flavor" of the HD ... i used the model number .

this is the page for the tools specific to the WD3200AAKS :


link to actual tool : "Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows"

please note ... these tools are specific to/for WD drives . do not use them on/with another brand of drive .


@ DHL :

sanity check on the link/tool .


ps ... good deal on running XP , a better chance than vista .

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Thanks for all the links guys. Sorry for the hold up. I'm a bit stuck on getting a CD burned (using work computer is out of the question since installations need admin approval). I'm going to try a friend's computer tomorrow. I tried a bootable usb using Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for DOS but that gave me an error (0132). Then again the usb drive seems to be sharing the same letter drive as my hard disk so l don't even know if I'm doing it right. 

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If the utility is DOS it can not see the structure of the hard disk which is NTFS.  DOS based programs can not natively read a NTFS disk.  The utility is looking at the disk from a head, sector, platter and concentric ring POV and not from an Operating System POV so it looks at the hardware and not a drive letter.

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@ DHL :

a "sanity check" involves having someone else double check ones work .

this is a prudent method of assurance .

(the broadcast engineers i knew were an example of this ... and we're about as insane as they come)



@ black_cat :

good luck on using your friend's machine .

burn the disc at the slowest speed .

you may wind up using your friends machine for "life support" and run the diagnostic hardware from/on it , hooking your HD up to his system (internally) .

i do not endorse the last option ... as we have not determined beyond a reasonable doubt that your HD is "clean" ... it may infect your friend's system .

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If this desktop does indeed have a Western Digital, WD3200AAKS SATA hard disk and the WD Diagnostics resturns "Non-WD Drive, Error/Status Code 0201" then you really have a bad drive.


Thus I request that you open the chassis and actually physically examine the drive to verify it is a WD3200AAKS and verify the power and SATA connections.

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