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    Unhappy Laptop on fritz, suspect HDD or controller

    I've had computers broken many times in the past but always been able to revive them unless it's hardware. I think the problem here may still be just software, maybe not. Basically, I put my computer on stand by and ever since I've been unable to boot the computer. Basically after the splash screen there is a blank screen with the mouse working and that's it. I am typing this from my company laptop.

    Computer uses Windows 7. I have tried the Windows 7 repair disk, no luck. Windows 7 installation disk, ditto. Only the Vista repair disk has done anything, only way I can get a command prompt going. I am not sure if this has anything to do with the fact that the computer came with Vista. Unable to use the repair utilities that came with the hard drive, I have exhausted all those options.

    When I bring up the command prompt, it is clear the C: drive is toast, I am unable to access it. Basically it hangs whenever I try to access it. All the other partitions, including the rescue partition are intact.

    Only basic drivers appear to be working, like for the optical drive, mouse, etc. but not USB.

    I was able to get it to recognize the Windows 7 installation disk when I got the command prompt going then swapped the Vista repair disk for the Windows 7 installation disk, but the installer trips on 'A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing. If you have a driver floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive, please insert it now.' I tried loading the CD/DVD drive device drivers from the rescue partition without success.

    I managed to print out a system summary before it died:
    OS Name=Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
    Version=6.1.7600 Build 7600
    Other OS Description=Not Available
    OS Manufacturer=Microsoft Corporation
    System Manufacturer=Gateway
    System Model=MD7818U
    System Type=x64-based PC
    Processor=Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T6400 @ 2.00GHz, 2000 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)
    BIOS Version/Date=Phoenix Technologies LTD 99.07, 1/14/2009
    SMBIOS Version=2.5
    Windows Directory=C:\Windows
    System Directory=C:\Windows\system32
    Boot Device=\Device\HarddiskVolume2
    Hardware Abstraction Layer=Version = "6.1.7600.16385"
    Installed Physical Memory (RAM)=4.00 GB
    Total Physical Memory=3.87 GB
    Total Virtual Memory=7.73 GB
    Page File Space=3.87 GB
    Page File=C:\pagefile.sys

    I bought it a few years ago off Tigerdirect, you can find over there by searching Gateway MD7818U Refurbished Notebook PC.

    Additionally, HDD is a ST9500325AS Seagate Momentus 5400.6 SATA 3Gb/s 500-GB Hard Drive, for more info search it on the Seagate website.

    I have a brand new computer on its way (was planning on getting one anyway), but I would still like to salvage this laptop.

    Help appreciated!
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    Grumpier old Moderator
    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    If you have important data on that computer that's not backed up you might want to pull the hard drive, put it in an external dock/enclosure and connect it to a working computer to salvage whatever data you can. I would do this first, before trying to further troubleshoot by running repair installs, etc.

    Or, boot a linux live CD that you can use to see if the hard disk contents are intact. I'm making an image of a client's laptop that way as I'm writing this.
    Doug G
    I've never been able to appreciate the sublime arrogance of folks who feel they were put on earth just to save other folks from themselves .." - Donald Hamilton
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    Contributing User
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    try to check the harddisk SMART attributes, this will give you an exact idea about the health of the harddrive

    you can use some linux live cd to do this (google to know how)

    or you can use a dedicated recover disk like hiren boot cd or ultimate boot cd

    also try to do a memtest, available on all linux live cd's boot menu which will not success if there is anything wrong with ram/processor/ram controller ..

    make sure to remove any usb or extra devices while testing

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