hard drive - Windows 7 stopped booting

  • Jonas Stawski

    I have a laptop which after shutdown it stopped booting. I tried repair, safe mode, and even start with Windows 7 Installation. The screen just goes blank with a mouse pointer that I can move around.

    I removed the harddrive from the laptop and connected it to my desktop using an External HD casing. The computer recognizes the disk, but it seems like it can't read it. If I go to My Computer it shows up, but it doesn't display usage information. When I double click on the drive it sits there as if it was loading something and eventually shows "G:\ is not accessible. The parameter is incorrect."

    Disk Management and Diskpart also take forever to load and when it does it shows the drive.

    My question, do you think this is a hardware problem or some corrupted sector? How can I try to fix the drive without formatting it?


  • Answers
  • Kyle

    Run error checking on the drive. Right click the drive in my computer, select properties, tools, then error checking. That should find any bad sectors, however it sounds like a bad drive.

  • Jay_Booney

    That sounds like a data corruption problem or hard disk firmware corruption. If you plug the drive in using your external enclosure under windows and right click on it, select properties, tools and go to error-checking, will windows allow you to run an error check on the disk? If the system cannot perform any interaction with the drive, it may just be that it's broken and it needs replacing.

    One thing I have tried before which gave me a more conclusive answer was to run an Ubuntu live cd on your computer and then plug the hard disk in using your external case. Sometimes Ubuntu will even tell you if the drive is corrupted. If you need to create a live CD, the image is downloadable from http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download Good luck, hope this helps.

  • Umber Ferrule

    By the sounds of it, you may not be able to fix the drive. I recommend running this and if it fails take the opportunity to get a brand new, quicker disk:


    I'd download a CD ISO of it from here.

    Good Luck!

  • Related Question

    hard drive - Is it possible to copy all Windows 7 files from one HD to another and boot from the new HD?
  • Kairu

    Well, the hard-drive on my laptop died (it was displaying "SMART failure prediction -- Hard-disk Drive dailure might be imminant).

    So I took it out and hooked it up to an external enclosure and copied all the files (system files and personal files, hidden and visible) off of it to another computer.

    After that, I went and bought a new hard-drive. My previous hard-drive was a 250-GB 5400-RPM Western Digital. The new hard-drive is a 500-GB 7200-RPM Western Digital.

    So I placed the new harddrive in the external enclosure and copied all the files I had copied off my dying harddrive on to it (my new harddrive). I placed it back into my laptop and booted it up.

    I was expecting it to work when it said, "operating system not found". I rebooted again and brought up the Bootable-Devices menu and sure enough my new harddrive isn't even listed on there. Although, it doesn't detect it as a bootable device, the BIOS does detect the new harddrive (as I am running the BIOS' drive-diagnostics-program on it now which is almost complete). So I'm not sure what is going on.

    I should mention that while backing up my files, I had no trouble getting all the files off my dying harddrive with the exception of a few (non-system) files associated with a Virtual Machine I had.

    So I suppose my question is: Is it possible to boot from the new Harddrive? Or will I have to reinstall Windows 7 all over again?

    Too long; Didn't Read...

    I copied all my system-files (hidden and visible) from my old, dying hard-drive (250-GB 5400-RPM ) to a new harddrive (500-GB 7200-RPM). Is it possible to get Windows 7 to boot from the new harddrive?

    Anotation 1

    I copied the contents of the old drive over to the new harddrive using CloneZilla and CloneZilla inidcated a successful process. I plugged the new hardrive into my laptop and I am still getting the "Operating System not found" error. Did I forget to do something? Do I have to fix the Master Boot Record or Boot Sector?


    I have to thank everyone's answer to this question as they were all prompt, courteous, and informative. Thank you! I have solved this seemingly huge problem of mine and I will know how to do it in the future should it ever happen again! Not only is my operating system completely intact but because of your contributions and time, I did not have to resort to buying a copy of Windows 7 to reinstall it. Thank you very much! I am very grateful.

  • Related Answers
  • TheCompWiz

    There is a lot more to booting an operating system than simply having a bunch of files on the disk. There's a reserved bunch of blocks at the start of the disk that contain some special boot instructions which tell the computer how to boot.

    If your old hard drive isn't dead yet... I would highly recommend you look at a tool like clonezilla or Symantec Ghost to clone your hard drive. It will correctly copy the special bits of the drive that are needed to boot, as well as resizing the volume to fill the entire disk.

  • Majenko

    There is an awful lot more to booting a disk than just having some files on it.

    The disk must be prepared properly. It requires certain data to exist in certain places of the drive. Namely, the boot sector and boot loader.

    The computer by itself is incapable of loading windows. All it is capable of loading is 512 bytes from the very beginning (block 0) of the hard drive.

    This is called the "boot sector". This data is read and then executed as a small program. It is then up to this program to then load the "boot loader" - more advanced than the boot sector, but still along way from windows.

    It is then the job of this boot loader to start booting windows.

    When you install windows all these things are put in place automatically. They do not get copied over with the files when you copy them from one disk to another.

    You will need to reinstall windows afresh on the new drive, and then copy your data across from the old drive. Just copy the data - not windows or your programs (they will need reinstalling from scratch again).

  • Mehrdad

    It's possible, but like the others have said, it involves more work. You need to set up a master boot record (MBR) to boot the disk, and set up the Windows boot loader to boot from that disk, using BCDEdit. It's by no means difficult, but you need to know what you're doing.

    If you want to try it, follow these steps:

    1. Set up the partition scheme you want. (Edit: Don't forget to mark the boot partition as active!)

    2. Run BootSect.exe on the new hard disk. I think the program can be found in C:\Boot\BootSect.exe. Let's say your new drive (as an external drive at the moment) shows up as E: on your computer; type this into the command prompt:

      C:\Boot\BootSect.exe /nt60 /mbr E:

      Be especially careful to not accidentally do this to other drives!

    3. Now copy all the files over to the new drive (E:), ensuring that you also copy hidden and system files.

    4. Now use BCDEdit to fix the device and osdevice members of the E:\Boot\BCD file. You need to type in something like:

      BCDEdit /store E:\Boot\BCD
      Echo  Your boot entries are now printed. Copy the correct GUID.
      BCDEdit /store E:\Boot\BCD /set {YOUR-GUID}   device partition=E:
      BCDEdit /store E:\Boot\BCD /set {YOUR-GUID} osdevice partition=E:

    Your volume should now be bootable.

  • Moab

    You are best to "clone" the old hard drive to the new one, then all you may need to do once the new Drive is installed is to do a startup repair to get it booting again.

    Use this Free Software to clone the Western Digital drive

  • jose

    would this help, is vista and 7 based on the same? asuming your drive is setup correctly boot secter. heres how to tie in the bootloader.
    neosmart easy bcd says


    Step Four: Nuclear Holocaust

  • Ben Preston

    You can use a Linux liveCD and use the dd command (or ddrescue) and make a bit-for-bit copy. Not terribly complex, just be sure you don't mix your drives up. :)

  • kaykay

    if you want to find the product key of your windows 7 installation you can install the everest software and in the operating system section it will tell you product key and product id both.

    if you can boot from your old hard drive only once and able to install everest then you can get your product key.

  • HaydnWVN

    You can't find the licence on a label on the bottom of the laptop... Because it's hidden under the Battery!

    It's not uncommon for Lenovo's to have the licence there, i've also seen licences under the hard drive enclosure (requiring taking the HDD out to view) but that wasn't a Lenovo :)