Weird Hard Drive/Computer Problems

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  Ok, I'd like to state that I have been working in the computer
industry for almost a decade now...first help desk...then computer
technician..then network Admin...finally Network Engineer.....Not that
this is important but I wanted to establish that I am at least
somewhat well versed in fixing stuff and don't need advice like (Did
you make sure it's plugged in. ;) )  I've been wrestling with this
thing for a week and have tried a lot of things.  Let me try to lay
the situation out.

  I have an Acer Aspire 5100 notebook.  I recently began to notice it
performing poorly.  I had run chkdsk before and found nothing, but I
finally saw in the Event Viewer that bad sectors were detected.

  I started backing my stuff up but the disk access is slow and I had
a lot to back up.  My intention was to try to force a Ghost image
using Symantec Ghost and the -fro switch.  Work became really busy and
I have too many programs I need on this thing to have time to reload
at the present.  A big problem arose when I started to have to keep
the unit on all the time because it was very difficult to get it to
boot again.  I would get the blue screen of death and an
"Invalid_Partition" error when I would try to boot.  If I kept at it,
eventually the thing would (And still does!) Boot.

   I eventually backed up all my data and tried to take an image of a
partition on the drive.  I could never get the entire disk.....Ghost
would fail out.  I figured that would suit me fine.  Dumped the image
down to a new laptop hard drive...

And I get NTLDR not found.  If I plug that drive with the ghosted
partition into another laptop, It begins to boot.  I booted to the
recovery console anyway and ran fixmbr, fixboot, chkdsk, bootcfg, and
checked my boot INI.  The Parameters were (0) (0) (0) (1) (1 for the
partition.  I forgot what the others are.  Rdisk...disk.....).  Since
there is only one drive on this laptop and one partition on the drive
it seemed like it should be fine.

Finally I gave up on the whole ghosting scheme.  I'd have to suck it
up and reload a ton of software.  I tossed in a different drive (Which
I formatted repeatedly and ran several chkdsk's) and started to
reinstall the Operating System.

I could never get the install to finish.  Sometime during Windows
Install the computer would simply shut down.  I never caught a glimpse
of any type of BSOD or would just go down.  I'd have to
unplug the power to get it to boot.  Tried a different drive.  Same

I assumed there must be another problem...perhaps with the
Motherboard, RAM, or CPU but here I am...typing this on the laptop
booted to Windows with the Hard Drive with bad sectors after letting
it try to boot 12 times before it came up.

Why does this computer shut down when another HDD is put in and I try
to load Windows on it?  Why will my images boot on other laptops but
not boot on this one?  Why can I boot "On Occasion" with the bad

I just have no idea what is going on at this point.  Any comments are
welcome.  I've tried a lot of different stuff and am just frustrated.
The Unit is under warranty but Acer makes ME pay the shipping and I
really can't afford to be without it for the three weeks they said I
would be.  If it's a HDD problem...I don't care I have 10 Spare Laptop
Drives.   If it is something else, I would have to suck it up.

Suggestions where I don't have to reboot the computer are most
welcome. ;)

Re: Weird Hard Drive/Computer Problems

On Sat, 06 Oct 2007 17:15:56 -0700, Andy

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No. On ACER laptops, expect 3 partitions on the drive.
Two of which are visible: C: for Windows, D: for your data.
A small third one contains the recovery data.

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In that case: read the manual :-)
As in: you can instruct Windows to create a logfile for it's
installation attempts.
It works 2 ways: Windows will use the information in a second
attempt to install, just to avoid a known pitfall.
And you can read the log yourself and see what Windows Installer
was doing when the PC crashed.

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My suggestion would be to run MEMTEST86 first. (free download !!)
Create a bootCD and boot from it.
It will tell you if the basic hardware of your laptop is sound.
If there is a problem with your Ram (timing) or CPU, it is likely
to show here.

Next thing would be to grab a 'no install OS disk' like Knoppix
( /) or BartPE ( /)

That will exercise (almost) your entire laptop, without having to
rely on either your local harddisk or your Windows files.

You could probably even use this and try to salvage whatever is
still present on your local harddisk.

Kind regards,
Gerard Bok

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