Why won’t my computer boot?

Rosanne Cleveland-King August 19, 2012
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My laptop says “Windows cannot repair this computer automatically.” I cannot boot into DOS or boot with my CD drive to repair with a CD. I am pretty computer literate and have tried everything I know. I need help!

  1. ruchir
    September 28, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    i had also gone through my bios settings.

  2. ruchir
    September 28, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    iam not able to replace my os because when i put windows cd or dvd to boot it does not get booted and windows again get started normally.but other movies cd or dvds are working weell

  3. Kannon Y
    August 20, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    There can be multiple settings in BIOS that govern DVD booting. It largely depends on your manufacturer, and age of the system. Anyway, you will want to look for at least three settings options. Keep your eyes open for anything that might deal with the DVD.

    (1) Boot order: Look for an option that allows you to change the sequence in which your system boots, with, of course, DVD/CDs coming first in the boot sequence.

    (2) DVD bootable option: Some BIOS include settings for making the DVD/CD a bootable device. It's crucial that you enable this option.

    (3) Does your BIOS recognize your DVD/CD drive? Sometimes a defective drive won't show up at all in BIOS. Check for the portion of the BIOS that recognizes bootable devices and make sure it recognizes your drive.

    (4) DVD or CD enabled? Check for an option to ENABLE the CD or DVD drive. I'm not sure why, but some BIOS make it so that you can disable the CD or DVD drive from the BIOS. Some manufacturers also have an option for turning the IDE bus on or off. You will want anything referring to the IDE turned ON.

    There's probably quite a few other things to inspect in BIOS, but this list should be good enough. Hope it helped. Good luck!

    • Rosanne Cleveland-King
      August 21, 2012 at 1:28 am

      This is a great answer and I followed the steps carefully. I made a USB boot disk, hoping that I could boot from that, but even though I chose that in the BIOS, that didn't work, even though I put it at the top of bootable devices.
      And of course, I still can't boot from the CD. I think it might be time to take it in to a repair shop. BLECH!

      • Kannon Y
        August 21, 2012 at 2:55 am

        Now that we've tried the logical steps, then that leaves the really crazy stuff. I checked around on Google for similar issues regarding boot failures. One user believed that a design fault in his Dell made it impossible to boot from disc.

        He bypassed this by using an external CD drive.

        This is a quote:

        "My 5 1/2 year old XPS 400 had the same problem. I tried everything on every forum I could find and nothing worked. After much experimenting HERE IS WHAT FINALLY WORKED FOR ME: Put the Dell OS CD into an external USB CD or DVD drive. The computer will recognize that. For some reason a lot of Dell computers won't recognize the internal IDE controlled DVD drives when the hard disk is replaced but, it will recognize an external drive. I bought a Vantec SATA/IDE to USB 2/0 Adapter for $18 plus shipping from TigerDirect and used an old extra internal DVD drive for my new external drive for the OS install. Everything worked without a hitch. I fully installed my OS yesterday from the old Dell OS Re-installation CD. Now my old Dell computer has new life and runs great! BTW, the same SATA/IDE to USB Adapter has allowed me to off load the data from the old drive onto the new (my problem was there was a hard disk error in the system file so the computer wouldn't boot up but, the data was still good)."

        However, given that you have already tried to create a bootable USB drive, that makes this scenario much less likely.

        The next step I would try is safe mode. Try tapping F8 as your computer boots up. If you manage to enter safe mode, then it's likely that a driver or software fault, as others have mentioned, caused the issue. Let us know if there's anything else we can do

        • Rosanne Cleveland-King
          August 22, 2012 at 9:58 pm

          I was able to mess around in the BIOS and make only the CD drive run. I
          put the Win 7 boot disk in and booted. I ran all of the tests I could
          possibly run, including the express test, custom text, symptom tree and
          preboot system assessment. According to those tests, there is nothing
          wrong with the computer. I returned the BIOS to normal and am still not
          able to start windows. I also followed your suggestion (after all of the previous things) of trying Safe Mode. No luck.

          I get Startup Repair 6.1.7600.16385, among other
          things, so, in other words, I am back to square 1. I can, of course, reformat
          the computer, but I want my stuff. Any suggestions?

        • Kannon Y
          August 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm

          Now that you have access to the Windows installation disc you have a huge number of recovery options.

          There are commentators who are geniuses on various recovery methods (who I hope chime in at some point here), but in their absence hopefully my paltry knowledge might provide some use.

          Out of the options available in the installation disc: Have you tried repairing the boot loader? Or restoring to an earlier backup using the installer disc's recovery feature? Read this link for more information.

          In order for Windows to even get into safe mode requires a functioning boot loader, which can become corrupted for any number of reasons. Repairing it is pretty simple. However, given that none of the diagnostics detected any fault, this seems somewhat less likely. However, in the past, Windows 7 diagnostics have failed me many times, so perhaps running the repair function might be of use to you? Give it a shot.

          The steps are quite simple. First, boot up your Windows 7 disc and, as I'm assuming you have in the past, select "repair my computer". You should see a few recovery options - the most salient should be the "use recovery tools that can help fix problems starting Windows..." which is located on a radio button.

          Once you're in there, pick Windows 7 from the list of OSes and click on next.

          Then you will have access to the system recovery options. There's a variety of methods that can be deployed from this point - out of the two articles I've shown you, there are four primary methods. I would advocate using either a command line approach or a recovery point restore approach.

          My gut is to start with the bootloader repair from the command line:

          bootrec.exe / FixBoot

          If that fails, try restoring a recovery point.

          These are actually the tip of the iceberg of the options you have available.

  4. Justin Pot
    August 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    If you're seeing an error that says "Windows cannot" do something you know for a fact that you're booting past the bios. What kind of laptop is this? Let us know and we can figure out what you need to do to boot from CD. It's different on different computers.

  5. GrrGrrr
    August 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Did you try to change the boot order in BIOS to enable you to boot from CD as first choice?

  6. Juthika Solanki
    August 20, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Do you have an alternative program for the startup menu?? I had the same problem and had to remove my vista start menu program in order for the system to boot. Try clearing your start up applications.

  7. ha14
    August 20, 2012 at 8:30 am

    is there any recovery partition on your laptop, so that you can boot on it and use restore capacity?

  8. Bruce Epper
    August 20, 2012 at 3:28 am

    What happens when you try to boot with your Win7 DVD or recovery disc? (You did create a recovery disc, right?)

    • Rosanne Cleveland-King
      August 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks! Yes, I have a recovery disk, but can't boot to the CD, even changing the bios.

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