Need some diagnostic help with hard drive(s), CD problems, CD reader problems, etc..


The particulars are regarding a 32 bit version of Vista Home Basic Edition on an Everex laptop. It began giving startup error messages about an imminent hard drive failure months ago, requesting F1 to continue. Eventually the messages began to appear while the PC was running. The user disabled the msgs and the laptop continued to function for months, without any apparent problem beyond the boot msg.

I ran chkdsk 3 times in a row and saw the exact same named cluster errors every time, although the utility said after each pass that they'd been repaired. Then I ran the HDAT2 utility. It ran for about 7 hours, and it also said that it had repaired clusters. Subsequent boots however. always gave the same imminent HDD failure msg, press F1, etc....

Although it's an Everex laptop, I have no Everex CD, so I tried to boot using a 32 bit Dell Vista Home disk. I hear a lot of noises. But I never get a thing to pop up on the screen. Same non-result with a Spotmau Bootsuite CD. The only thing I got to work on a disk was the one with the HDAT2 utility. So I put the Vista disk in a disk reader which plugs into a USB port. (It's a Targas DVD-ROM reader). I wasn't sure just how to change the boot order in setup to access the disk in the reader so I simply put the hard drive last. Didn't do a thing - it just attempted to boot from the HDD. By this time it was blue screening with an unmountable boot volume, so I put another hard drive in the laptop. It won't boot from it - although I am offered to 'repair the computer' on startup.. Doing that repair, It says it can't identify the startup problem. Advanced options give me a command prompt where I performed a fixboot and a fixmbr successfully. I also performed a chkdsk /r, which found no errors (remember this is not the original HDD). I still can't get it to do anything from a disk in the optical drive, and I still can't get it to do anything through my disk reader.

I made no changes to the BIOS (I wouldn't know what TO change), although I do see that the BIOS screen recognizes that this HDD is a Hitachi, and I actually don't remember what machine the hard drive came from. Since Launch Repair brought up the Vista repair screens, doesn't that mean that this drive came from a Vista laptop?
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