Laptop troubleshooting forum: Gateway laptop won't boot

by: pkingery-indy July 26, 2012 6:34 AM PDT

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Gateway laptop won't boot

by pkingery-indy - 7/26/12 6:34 AM

I need help with a Gateway laptop "boot" problem - specifically, it won't (boot that is). I don't have it with me so I will be going on memory. A pastor friend's Gateway (red, MC series), ~4 years old, Vista, nice machine (well, it used to be a nice machine). When powered up, it goes to a sort-of safe mode boot screen offering to boot into "repair" mode or Vista. Regardless of which you choose, the screen goes blank, then after a moment or two, the same screen reappears. Thinking it was a boot virus, I tried booting off a USB stick (Linux OS) with AVG antivirus, and it did boot up, but could not mount the hard drive. At that point I guessed the HDD was shot. I then booted off another USB drive with a full Linux Mint OS, which booted fine (illustrating that the mobo, CPU, mem, GPU, sound, etc. were all okay), and miraculously, it could "see" the HDD and all the files. This was of great comfort to my friend in that he had many years worth of church records, sermons, Bible studies and Sunday School lessons on that machine. Finally, I tried booting off a USB drive with BartPE WinXP because I "thought" I had a little utility on it to rebuild the MBR (if that was the issue), but surprise, it would not "see" the HDD. I don't understand why Linux Mint could see the HDD and all its files, but WinXP could not. Anyway, my friend opted to borrow my Linux Mint USB drive, take it home with his laptop and back up all his files. Then sometime in the next few days, I will get his machine back to see if I can (like any decent computer tech) "resurrect" his hard drive. In my brief investigation, it does not appear that this machine has a hidden recovery partition (if there is one, Mint does not show it as a separate drive and I can't find it) so my friend will be looking to see if he can find the install CD's that came with it. Any ideas? Is it likely to be just a corrupted MBR (boot sector)? ...and if so, can I fix it with the Gateway Vista install CD? ..or is it more likely a completely bad HDD? Any suggestions welcomed. -Phil K in Indy

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