Just before I spend time/money...

  Ian in Northampton 15:01 06 Jan 2015
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Answered

My daughter's Dell E4300 has died. No surprise there, given the abuse she dishes out to it. It boots into BIOS, the disk light flickers briefly then stays on - and then nothing. No error message at all - and no Windows. I'm guessing/assuming that the hard drive has died.

I tried to load XP (only because it was the nearest OS to hand...) I was surprised it got as far as it did - it seemed to load all the necessary files - but then I got a BSoD with error messages that seemed to focus on the hard drive. I wondered if, as the laptop was never supposed to run XP, tat might be an issue - So, I found a copy of W7, and booted from that. Again, to my surprise, it loaded all the files and entered startup ("to my surprise" because I'd have thought, if the hard drive was bad, it wouldn't even complete the initial file load).

However, it's now been stuck in 'Setup is starting' for a couple of hours. Given the greater sophistication of W7, I'm surprised it hasn't returned an error message.

So, to my questions:

  1. Is there anything else I should be trying?
  2. Does it sound like a bad hard drive - or could it be something else?

I'm trying to avoid the hassle and expense of replacing the had drive if possible, so I'm trying to exhaust all other possibilities first.

  Ian in Northampton 15:36 06 Jan 2015

Interesting idea - thanks.

  onthelimit1 15:39 06 Jan 2015

Have you got a caddy? Could always stick the HDD in there and run some tests from a good PC (Seagate have some free ones). If not the HDD, I'd suspect the mobo.

  Bris 17:08 06 Jan 2015

You could try downloading Gparted from here. It comes as an ISO image so its a case of burning to CD then booting from it you can then check the status of the HDD.

1]: [click here

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:30 06 Jan 2015

disk light flickers briefly then stays on good sign of a corrupt drive

did you attempt to get the old data off it before it died?

did xp or 7 format the drive before installing.

  Ian in Northampton 20:14 06 Jan 2015

Thanks guys.

onthelimit1: nope, no caddy

Bris: I'll give that a try

Fruit Bat /\0/\: no, didn't get the data off. No problem - my daughter rarely has anything she needs to keep. I didn't notice XP or W7 format the drive, but I may have been away from the laptop at the time.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 20:29 06 Jan 2015

will it reset to factory condition?

  Ian in Northampton 08:14 07 Jan 2015

Fruit Bat /\0/\: no, unfortunately - there's no option to do that.

  Ian in Northampton 09:59 07 Jan 2015

So: I ran Gparted. It all seemed to load fine, but then when it started its scan, it gave an error "Input/output error during read on /dev/sda". Is this conclusive proof that a) the mobo is probably OK (because Gparted ran OK), and b) it is indeed the hard drive that's knackered (technical term...)?

  Ian in Northampton 12:54 07 Jan 2015

Thanks X7-250.

  Ian in Northampton 12:55 07 Jan 2015

Given that we seem to be homing in on the need for a replacement hard drive, could anyone link me - on e.g. Amazon, eBay, ebuyer etc. - to a low cost (doesn't have to be more than 250GB, if that), decent manufacturer hard drive that would fit?

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