09-18-2016 04:56 AM - edited 09-18-2016 05:23 AM
I am really tearing my hair out with this.
I apologise in advance for the length of this post.
I am trying to recommission an Office workstation which I mothballed 2 years ago with no joy.
I decided to perform a clean install of Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 which Microsoft kindly let me have because HP were unable to provide original Windows Vista Business OEM discs. Microsoft provided me with a product key on the basis of having upgraded using Windows 7 Home Premium and an Anytime Upgrade Key and because of the sheer frustration I was going through.
Being a bit OCD though, I haven't used the key they provided. Instead, I chose to go the double install method and use the Anytime Upgrade Key I had previously purchased. We own two Keys for 2 Workstations. The other workstation is running 100% fine.
I have gone through the stress of getting the updates on the troublesome PC and it is now running up-to-date on both recommended and optional updates (less the language packs which I don't need).
After making a few changes, the system managed to stay alive for approx. 6 hours before I came back to it and it was a black screen with Bootmgr is missing. I think that suggests a hard drive issue.
The system has a 500Gb Western Digital WDC-WD5000AAKS primary drive and a Hitachi HDS723020BLA642 secondary backup drive attached.
The WD HD is attached to SATA0 on the motherboard. The CD to SATA1 and the secondary HD to SATA2.
I ran the Western Digital diagnostics software on the hard drive and it confirms the drive as sound. Its SMART status is fine too. Despite this, I spoke with Western Digital and they advised me to Write Zeros to the drive and clean install the OS again which is where I am at currently.
I have read so many forums until I am blue in the face and no further on hence why I am here as I think it is perhaps a BIOS setting that may be wrong as the battery was running 0.7V. That has now been changed for a new battery and the BIOS reset.
I have even set the Fan Idle at MAX to rule out any temperature issues. I still receive the Bootmgr is missing message. It is now set to 1 again (the slowest).
I have blown the system out with compressed air also to remove any dust.
I have tested the 8Gb using Memtestx86 v4.3.7 with 4 passes over 10 hours and no errors were found.
The system has only two dumps:-
MEMORY.DMP 16/09/2016 11:14:52 CRITICAL_OBJECT_TERMINATION 0x000000f4 00000000`00000003 fffffa80`0a1b2b30 fffffa80`0a1b2e10 fffff800`02dd4db0 x64 C:\Windows\MEMORY.DMP 4 15 7601 303,105,124 16/09/2016 11:21:02
091616-22401-01.dmp 16/09/2016 11:14:52 CRITICAL_OBJECT_TERMINATION 0x000000f4 00000000`00000003 fffffa80`0a1b2b30 fffffa80`0a1b2e10 fffff800`02dd4db0 ntoskrnl.exe ntoskrnl.exe+80640 x64 ntoskrnl.exe+80640 C:\Users\Grumpy Roger\Desktop\091616-22401-01.dmp 4 15 7601 271,544 16/09/2016 11:21:08
which appears to be the same as the first dump.
I am at a total loss which is why I have come here for assistance / advice / ideas.
I have to be honest. I cannot take much more of this. I am getting very frustrated with this. I've probably wasted a good week nearly full time on this.
My problem is the HP xw4600 is such a great piece of kit I would be loathed to get rid of it.
09-18-2016 11:24 AM - edited 09-19-2016 04:39 AM
Sorry you're having the troubles.
1. It's essential that BIOS is the latest version. Clear CMOS, then download the new BIOS on the working system to a flash drive and install on the problem system. Try running Windows again.
2. Take the HD from this system and try in the working system- not in SATA0 but the next open connection-SATA2 or whichever. If Windows Explorer can see the files, the problem is in the software, possibly a corrupted system reserved partition. This is a resaonable possible explanation as that is the partition that contains Boot Manager.
Wild speculation: I'm wondering if the boot partition is still set to the orignal Vista size, but Win Ultimate uses a much larger one- (1GB now I think). The installation worked at first but then the boot partition became filled to overflowing.
If the working system can't read the files, based on the Boot Manager missing error, it may be that the HD has bad sectors. Take the HD from the working system system and try in the problem system. If the copy of Windows is OEM, it may well just work and that wouold help isolate the problem.
3. The second session might be to try a repair install on the problem system drive. Insert the disk or drive used to install and select repair. That however, can take as long as a clean installation.
4. Try reformatting the problem drive. Install a free version of EaseUs Partition Master in the working system. Install the problem disk in the working system and run a test on the disk for bad sectors Reformat the problem disk twice. [BTW, in Partition Magic, you select the task and then "Apply"]
Run a test on the disk for bad sectors. Use Partition Master to clone the working drive to the problem drive and activate using the key provided. If the systems are using an OEM OS, they may activate automatically.
4. Format the problem disk in place using a command prompt and reinstall Windows using the product key.
Let us know what happens!
z420 > Xeon E5- 1660 v2 / 32GB / Quadro K4200 / Samsung SM951 (256GB) + Intel 730 (480GB) + WD Black 1TB
z420 > Xeon E5-1620 / 24GB / Quadro 4000 / Samsung 840 250GB + WD RE 1TB
z620 > 2 X Xeon E5-2690 / 40GB / Quadro K2200 / HP Z Turbo Drive (256GB) + Seagate Constellation ES.3 1TB
09-18-2016 12:44 PM
Thanks for the thorough reply.
When I did Write Zeros, Western Digital advised that this would overwrite all data and exclude any bad sectors from the disk. There were no bad sectors.
Not sure I can stomach another reinstall. It's really that bad. I've spent SO much time on it that I fear if I spend another day and end up at the same stage I will smash the PC up. I am normally calm but this has driven me to serious levels of anger.
By by the way, there is no need to apologise. None of this is anyone's fault.
I've spent a good hour or so today just looking for information on now to correctly set the BIOS for the best. All I can find is the xw4600 manual (176 pages) which doesn't really tell you what is right or wrong.
One thing I did read was changing the Sata Emulation from IDE, SATA or Raid after the OS has been installed can wreak havoc. Not sure why or whether I did change this because I probably changed it by resetting BIOS to default after I changed the CMOS battery. BIOS never used to affect things as bad as that from what I can remember. It's not as if it's and old IDE system with hard drives on the same cable!
One thing you've said strikes a chord. When starting install on clean drive, it automatically reserved a 100Mb partition called Disk0 Partion 1. OS was then installed to Disk 0 Partition 2.
None of the installations are OEM anymore because HP no longer have any genuine installations discs they can send because they have ran out because Vista is so old.
09-18-2016 09:29 PM - edited 09-19-2016 04:51 AM
You've been patient and methodical. So much of fixing computer problems seems to rely on finding the one magic button out of all the possibilities.
My thinking is more towards the undersized "System Reserved" partition, the little system partition in front of the C: partition. That partition contains the Boot Manager, and the error message that BM is missing ( or "system constipation") means that the original 100MB partition may have been overfilled as the system was configured and updated. On my z620, using Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, the System Reserved partition, labeled "H", is 1GB.
The first action I think is to run a Repair Install which can be quickly started off the installation media with a few clicks and that will then work on it's own- possibly for quite awhile. If sucessful, all the other work- updates, configurations, and program installation should be preserved.
If you have the other, same model system running properly, you can make notes on the BIOS settings and replicate them on the problem system. If the working system is running Ultimate, you could first try cloning the C: to the problem system drive- which will automatically delete the undersized System partition - plus load all the programmes and settings from the other machine. Then, activate Windows using the individual key provided. That is suprisingly fast as you only need to plug the problem system drive into the working system and make a few clicks to copy which it does at system file transfer speed.
Otherwise, I think formatting and clean reinstall is the best approach. I might mention that I spent hours loading and updating Windows on my recently acquried z620 and then bought an HP Z Turbo Drive with Windows in a recovery partition. Magically when I plugged it in (PCIe x4), a screen appeared "Preparing your computer for it's first use". I didn't do a thing and Windows started in just sceonds and automatically activated. I was pleased to see that it uses GPT partitions, interesting in this context as there is no Boot Manager to corrupt. Each partition has it's one replicated stucture and the number of partition is unlimited- they can be as small as 2MB I think.
Again, I am not 100% confident and don't want to put you to additonal work after so much effort already, so I hope others will comment on this idea.
09-18-2016 11:03 PM - edited 09-18-2016 11:11 PM
I can tell you that it is not worth the trouble.
I have installed, clean with perfect technique, W7Pro64 several hundreds of times on the xw6400, xw6600, xw8400, xw8600, xw4600, Z400, Z600, and the Z620 workstations for our business and friends. I had a spare souped up xw8400 that I wanted to gift to a friend of our son.... and had a spare unused Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit license and installer DVD.
For the life of me I could not get that **bleep** OS to install and be stable. After lots of wasted hours I switched over to a W7Pro64 System Builder DVD and a spare license and it installed and ran perfectly the first time, same exact hardware. And, that xw8400 is still running strong over a year later....
Dump that OS.... you time is too valuable to waste on it.
EDIT..... the near-instant "bleep" above started with a d and ended with a n, and had an a and m between the two. Sorry for any offense to the forum's automatic filters.
09-19-2016 04:34 AM
My experiences with Windows 7 Ultimate have been quite different. In 2011, I found a very good price on a set of three unused copies of Ultimate and installed them on: an HP Elite m9426f (Q6600), a 2004 Dell Dimension 8400 (P4 630) and later in that year on a Dell Precision T5400 ( 2X X5460) which like the subject system of this thread, used Vista Business new. All of these installed on a reformatted drive without any problems and all three are still running on those installations, including AutoCad, Adobe CS. The HP m9426f is the dedicated sound recording / editing system and has been 100% reliable over 100's of hours of long, continuous use.
Regarding the current situation with Rhothgar, as that Win 7 Ultimate installation was working at first, what is your opinion that the problem is a corruption of the system reserved partition- possibly the Vista 100MB partition being full, outdated BIOS, or incorrect boot sequence?
09-19-2016 07:09 AM - edited 09-19-2016 07:25 AM
All you mention are possibilities, and reasonable.
However, I'd first go to my solution and try that. Who knows? Maybe I got a defective installer DVD, but I doubt it. That same installer did have trouble loading Ultimate to a xw8600 earlier (which is why I had its COA as a spare unused license).
That xw8600 currently is working just fine with a subsequent easy install using W7Pro64 System Builder DVD at our data center. So, now that I think of it that was two separate workstation fails for the Ultimate install (each one tried multiple times). I follow all the same methods of doing a clean install, doing a full low level reformat on a drive (SSD or HDD), then long type NTFS format, then same steps of installing to ensure proper System Reserved partition gets created by the installer, then install and updates, etc.
Perhaps there is an update that MS Updates installs that works for W7Pro64 but causes trouble for W7Ultimate64 in these HP workstations?
I'm pretty experienced and tenacious, and this is one experience I have no desire to repeat again.
09-19-2016 10:46 AM
An interesting set of events / conditions. As I had had good results with Ultimate on a Pentium 4 630 which was in the first batch of 64-bit Xeons, it seemed that the two or three generation more advanced xw8600 should not be troublesome.
Having upgraded several worstations from XP and Vista, my prefernce has been fro Professional also as I didn't really use the security, capacities, and network enhancement of Ultimate anyway. However, if MS felt that the Windows 7 equivlaent of Vista Business is Ultimate, they should know.
For our friend Rhothgar, who has a case of Windows fatigue - haven't we all at some pont- it seems the easiest first solution would be to try a repair install of Ultimate. That might quickly restore Boot Manager and thereby forestall having to obtain another copy of Windows. Because the installation was not tried after a reformatting, that, plus an upgrade of BIOS would be next easiest as, again, it doesn'r involve negotiating a new version of Windows.