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Boot problem- Hard Disk Does Not Exist error (Pavilion dm4, Windows 7)

I got a message that the boot drive does not exist.  I have run the procedureces on the website (reset bios, removing the battery, reseating the hard drive, etc.) but still get the message tha the hard drive doesn't exist.  The laptop (pavilion dm4, windows 7) was running fine last night.  Never any indication of a problem.  Any help would be appreciated.

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Boot problem- Hard Disk Does Not Exist error (Pavilion dm4, Windows 7)

Hello stevegmail. I understand that you're receiving a hard disk does not exist error. Is this correct?

Have you noticed any other problems such as blue screens in the time before this occurred? I know you state the notebook was working fine but a lot of people wouldn't connect the two events.

It sounds like the hard drive has died on you. The only other cause of this sort of error would be a bad connection between the notebook and the hard drive. However, this would've normally been resolved by reseating the hard drive.

Could you also provide me the product number of the notebook? This document can show you how to locate that.

I will await your reply; have a great day!
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stevegmail Top Student
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Boot problem- Hard Disk Does Not Exist error (Pavilion dm4, Windows 7)

Thank you so much for the response. The product number is qe374ua#aba. There weren't any other issues prior to the error message. The OC was working great the night before this happened. Does this mean the data on the hard drive is no longer retrievable?
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Boot problem- Hard Disk Does Not Exist error (Pavilion dm4, Windows 7)

You are very welcome stevegmail.

First try performing a hard reset.

  1. Shut down the notebook.
  2. Remove the battery and AC power.
  3. Hold the power button for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Replace battery and AC power.
  5. Boot notebook and verify functionality.
  6. Post the result.


If this doesn't work I'd like you to see if the BIOS is detecting an HDD at all by performing the built in hard drive test. This document covers the process. Let me know the result (if you're able to perform it) of this test.

I will await your response.

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Boot problem- Hard Disk Does Not Exist error (Pavilion dm4, Windows 7)

The BIOS does recognize the hard drive.  So, I can't run the hard drive test.  Any other suggestions?  IF I get a boot disc could I use that to get it start, and then remove my data files?

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Boot problem- Hard Disk Does Not Exist error (Pavilion dm4, Windows 7)

Hello again stevegmail. Did you mean that the BIOS does not detect a hard drive? If that is the case it is almost certainly dead. However, I personally would still try to recover my files. Depending on the exact reason for failure the files should still be there but if say, the discs don't spin, there isn't an easy way to get that information. This is what I'd suggest trying.

You'll want a boot cd, as you mentioned. I have previously used a Linux Live CD to give me a full operating system being ran by the RAM/CD-Drive. I have had good experiences with Knoppix. This article may also be helpful if you do not have any Linux experience.

Since you will likely need another hard drive I have a little more information for you related to replacing that. It is a simple repair which most people can do themselves. Here is your Maintenance and Service Guide. This covers how to disassemble the notebook and perform repairs. Replacing the hard drive is covered on page 43.
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Boot problem- Hard Disk Does Not Exist error (Pavilion dm4, Windows 7)

Thank you so much for hanging with me through this.  I will try your suggestion this evening.  Dumb question though - since the machine was operating on Windows, does booting on Linux cause any problems?  

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Boot problem- Hard Disk Does Not Exist error (Pavilion dm4, Windows 7)

You are very welcome :)

 

That is a good question! If you use the one I suggested, Knoppix, it will not be a problem. This is a "flavor" of Linux that runs by only using the CD drive and the RAM. So, unless you change/delete files or installed Knoppix to the hard drive, when you reboot and take out the Knoppix disc everything will be as it was.

 
If memory serves me correct Knoppix should "mount" any hard drives/partitions and put an icon on the desktop.  It might  be named something weird like /mnt/hd0.  If you do not see anything like this on your desktop then Knoppix didn't detect the hard drive either which means it is surely dead.

 

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Boot problem- Hard Disk Does Not Exist error (Pavilion dm4, Windows 7)

HP sent some boot disks.  So I tried those this afternoon.  Changed the bios so that it read the CD, it started windows from the CD, then it gave me a dialogue box saying "No HDD".  Then the machine shut it self down.  Based on that, I am assuming that the HDD is completely shot?  I was hoping maybe it was just an issue with the boot sector and once the machine was up an running from the boot disk, maybe I could access my data (excel, word, ppoints, etc.).  But no luck.  Any thoughts on next steps?  I am nervous about taking the drive to one of the "hard drive data recovery" services as theres a lot of financial info, and I have no idea how reputable those places are.  Maybe they are reputable, but I am always concerned about my personal info on some server somewhere.

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Boot problem- Hard Disk Does Not Exist error (Pavilion dm4, Windows 7)

That does seem to be the case. The hard drive is likely no longer spinning or the input/output port is no longer functioning. If you truly need the data off the hard drive the solution which is most likely to work is taking it to a professional as they'll probably have specialized hardware to do so.

I can understand being reluctant to put your (sensitive) data into another person's hands. I can offer you one other possibility but it is more of a possible work around than a solution. It is sometimes possible, depending on the kind of failure, to keep the hard drive alive for a bit longer or even bring it back "from the dead" by putting it into a freezer. Now, I want to note that this is NOT an official solution supported by HP.

You would need an external enclosure for your hard drive and another computer. Here are some external notebook hard drive enclosures. You would also need to read over this article (and follow it to the letter, as you don't want moisture on your hard drive).

However, I want to say this again. If you really need this data off the hard drive take it to a professional. If the hard drive were to get moisture inside of it will surely be ruined and this same moisture could ruin another computer if the hard drive was plugged up.

I hope this is helpful. If you have any more questions let me know. Have a great day!
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