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[SOLVED] No boot device available

This is a discussion on [SOLVED] No boot device available within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I have an Dell Inspiron 531 2GB RAM 250 GB hard drive running Vista. Yesterday morning the power had gone


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Old 04-10-2010, 10:17 AM   #1
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I have an Dell Inspiron 531 2GB RAM 250 GB hard drive running Vista. Yesterday morning the power had gone off in the house. I don't know for how long, but it was long enough that the APC battery my desktop was plugged in to must have run out of power because my desktop was off. I turned it on and instead of booting up it gives me this message

No boot device available
SATA 0: Installed
SATA 1: Installed
SATA 2: Installed
SATA 3: None

I had to go to work so i turned it off and it sat for about 4 hours till i got home for lunch where i tried it again, still same thing. turned it off, another 4 hours later came home from work, turned it on (yes wishful thinking mostly) and to my surprise it gave me the screen that says windows didn't shut down properly etc and gives the options for safe mode and normal mode. I chose normal mode and it acted like it was booting up, but then restarted itself and it's back to the no boot device message.

On the advice of a friend I tried booting it with the windows install CD. It boots from that and takes me through the install screens, but it will not repair anything, and if i try to install windows, the only "drive" it comes up with is 7.5 GB which i think is the backup partition. It should be a 250GB harddrive.

After awhile of giving up I turned the thing on and it came to the didn't shut down properly screen this time presenting me with the option to run startup repair or run windows normally. I did the startup repair and it worked. My computer booted up, everything was there and seemed to work perfectly for about an hour i even restarted it just to be sure. Then the whole system froze and I had to do a force restart. Now Its right back to square one, where i was before with the no boot device available, install disk is no help, and i can't figure out how to get it to the screen that actually fixed it before, though i suppose it didn't really fix it since it later crashed and came right back to where it was before.

I tried again later and managed to get back to the screen that allowed me to run the startup repair. Again it worked for about an hour before freezing and back to square one again. So it seems I can get it to work for about an hour at a time, after turning it off and on a few times and letting it sit, it seems to eventually give me the screen that asks about startup repair. After maybe an hour of normal use, it just completely locks up. stops working all together, i hafta force reboot and it's back to saying no boot device. Is the problem the hard drive or is it something else like a short in the motherboard? (i have very little knowledge of how the hardware works in a computer, it just seems odd that i can get it to work fine for short periods)

Also I checked inside to make sure no wires were loose, the fans are working etc. Nothing seems physically amiss.

Any ideas or help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 04-10-2010, 10:56 AM   #2
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Have you tried clearing the CMOS to see if that gets you back to normal?

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Old 04-10-2010, 11:02 AM   #3
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It's been a while since i've had to deal with anything but windows so please bear with my ignorance here. I reset the settings in my BIOS screen to default if that's what you mean, if not can you tell me how to clear the CMOS?
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:29 AM   #4
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Simply remove the motherboard battery and make sure the computer is unplugged and you are grounded before getting in to that case. Touch the power (on) button with the battery removed and then after a couple of minutes, put the battery back in and turn on the rig. Can't harm anything and might reset it so it works....long shot, but worth a try.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:56 AM   #5
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ok followed your instructions for removing the battery and putting it back. now it beeps a bunch of times while starting up and goes to a new screen that says the battery failed and asks me to hit f1 for reboot or f2 for setup.

edit:
I let it sit a couple minutes and tried again. Now it's back to where it was before with the no boot device available.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:12 PM   #6
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Can you enter the bios setup menu and make sure in the Boot section under Hard Drive Priority, that the boot device is set FIRST in that area. Just make sure the hard drive that you need to boot from is set at the top of that list.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:20 PM   #7
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the initial configuration was First: removable, Second: Hard disk, third CDROM fourth: disabled

I changed first to hard disk, it's still giving me the same thing. no boot device available.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:49 PM   #8
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Look for something that say priority....Or maybe hard disks in that area. That is where we need the boot drive FIRST. If all else fails, send me what items are available in that boot menu.

In most bios setting, there are two items to be concerned about. First is what the computer sees first normally set at:

CDRom - 1st
floppy - 2nd (if any)
Hard Drive - 3rd

The second area tells WHAT hard drive is seen first (boot drive) in the boot up process. That is the one I want you to be concerned about now.
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:07 PM   #9
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I'm in the boot menu, there's boot device priority and hdd group boot priority

In boot device priority is the configuration I mentioned before, and i now have the hard disk listed first
in hdd group boot priority all it says is: 3rd Master: WDC ROM Model-HAWK

I'm not sure what else you might mean.
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:10 PM   #10
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OK that tells a lot there, The WD drive has sufferred a physical failure - indicated by the ID by the Rom Model Hawk - Hawk is an internal designator used for drives using that ROM/PCB combo. The drive should id in BIOS by it's correct model number WD######-####. Either corrupt firmware or head issues. It is being identified by only ROM on the PCB which means the drive is unable to read the Service area of the disk. If the data is important this disk will need professional recovery.
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:30 PM   #11
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ah lovely, so basically it's beyond repair? (note: I'm not concerned about data retrieval, my external hard drive has anything I would have worried about)

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