Vista Home premium - "boot disk failure" nightmare

  Maughan1967 16:38 19 Sep 2008

Hello all.

I have a fairly new (3 months' old), well-spec'ed home PC, running Vista Home Premium. (I tinkered a bit too much after first receiving it
and had to do a full Vista re-install, but it has been running perfectly since then.)

A day or two ago, I found the PC with a black screen and the dreaded "Boot disk failure" message. I managed to get it restarted OK by
going into the boot menu and prompting it to boot from the main HDD.

The only change to the system in the previous day or two had been to install a (100% genuine) copy of MS Office (Home and Student
version), so I did a system restore to a point just before the install. (I think there were a few MS windows updates installed around the
same time but, again, I assumed that they cannot be the culprit. Or can they...?) I had the same "Boot disk failure" message on restarting,
but I booted from the boot menu again and all seemed OK.

Thinking that the problem surely (?) can't have been caused by genuine MS software, I tried reinstalling it. All seemed OK, until the next
re-start - same problem.

I booted from the Vista disc, tried the "Start-up problems diagnostic", which reported no problems, ran the memory diagnostic (just to be
sure), and re-started. Same problem.

I used System Restore to go back a bit further in time. Same problem.


I forget the exact sequence of subsequent events, but I have now ended up being UNABLE TO BOOT UP AT ALL, whether I choose to boot from
the HDD or the system disc. After selecting either one, the PC hangs for AGES (I have left if for close to an hour, by which time I
assumednothing was going to change): the HDD light is flickering away and it certainly sounds like the HDD is whirring, and the case fans
come on after a bit, but no progress - just a completely back screen (with a mouse cursor). (Interestingly, I get the default Vista screen
saver appearing after 10 mins or so, so obviously some windows elements have been loaded.)

PLEASE HELP!! What is the problem? How can I get back into the PC to boot up, or access the system disc? If I do manage to re-boot,
what action do you think I should then take?

All my documents are backed up onto an external HDD. They are also backed up onto an internal HDD, but my guess is that I may have
to try re-installing on that second internal HDD if the primary HDD has failed (although I am really hoping that I can avoid re-installing Vista and having to re-install ALL my applications and settings all over again).

Thank you!


  malcolme 16:53 19 Sep 2008

What PC have you got.

  Maughan1967 17:00 19 Sep 2008

Malcolme - it is a "home office"-type spec from

(Or are you asking for the exact spec?)

It is c.3 months old. No damage (shocks, drops, liquids etc), no modding or registry-hacking, not many extraneous apps or software, all running just fine until a few days ago...!

  skidzy 17:23 19 Sep 2008

certainly sounds like hardware failure.

Possibly faulty psu or hdd.

The hdd can be tested but will need to be removed and placed in a caddy and tested from another computer but you may void your warranty with pcspecialist if you open the case.

Catch twenty two as they say.

So you can boot into the bios ok ?

Do you have any Linux live cd's,you could try to boot off one of them as long as the bios boot sequence is set to boot from cd as first boot device.But my guess is this will fail also,but certainly worth a try.

  Maughan1967 17:38 19 Sep 2008

Yes, I can access the bios. I could try booting from the vista disc from in there I suppose.

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