Should I wipe my hard drive or attempt to fix issues with Windows 8’s Secure Boot?

Lawforlaw May 16, 2014
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I bought a new computer with 8.1, for use by my secretary. I installed all the updates (finding a way to install them immediately was difficult). Then I loaded the software we use. Then I loaded our confidential data for hundreds of clients.

Three weeks later, it started giving error messages and was spontaneously rebooting. I tried every option offered by Windows 8.1 with no success. The messages I was receiving made it impossible for me to determine if I had a software problem or a hardware problem.

I decided to at least try to examine and repair the hard drive. But when I tried to run SpinRite, the secure boot would not allow it.

The problem might have an easy fix, but I have no way of knowing (I also tried resetting the memory sticks). So I now have a nearly new computer that I am going to have to return to the manufacturer. Before I do that, I have to clean all of my client data off the hard drive. I cannot do that because the computer will not run for more than a couple of minutes without rebooting (the fan is working).

Apparently I will have to remove the hard drive, connect it to another machine, wipe the data, put it back in the defective machine and hope that I have not voided the warranty. Secure boot sounds like a great idea. It would be more helpful if Microsoft would trust its customers enough to give them a choice. I have spent hours of time on this problem, after spending hours learning to use 8.1.

My other plan is to remove the hard drive, trash the computer, and go back to a machine with Windows 7. I understand it may be less secure, but it is a lot better than XP. I cannot afford the time and trouble it is costing me for 8.1. I need to work and may have to take my chances with my firewalls and security software.

Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.

  1. Oron J
    May 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    First of all, let me say I feel for you! One of my client's is suffering from similar problems and apart from the cost of getting it sorted, it is incredibly disruptive to his business. Unfortunately, SpinRite only checks the hard drive, and only for certain types of problems. Unless it finds a very obvious problem, it will not provide you with an actual answer about what went wrong, even if it does find a few bad sectors or lost clusters.

    I would suggest doing a system refresh and seeing if that allows you to start up the machine for long enough to back up your data (perhaps even in multiple goes).
    Other than that, using a bootable CD/USB drive with a bootable "rescue kit" such as Trinity Rescue Kit, Hiren's Boot Disk or even Knoppix or Ubuntu Linux (which are not rescue kits as such) will allow you to:

    • Boot up the computer and see if it works for more than a couple of minutes at a time. If it does, the problem is unlikely to be a pure-hardware one.
    • Run hardware diagnostics (that's the main purpose of Trinity and Hiren's, the Linux distributions have a smaller number of diagnostic tests available).
    • Copy the data off the drive and erase the free space.
    • You should then be able to return the laptop to the manufacturer.
  2. Susendeep D
    May 17, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Firstly,try refresh or resetting(if you've windows 8.1 disc) your PC.

    If the problem still exists,then you can try contacting the OEM from whom you purchased the PC.

    Secure boot is intended to fend off bad OS execution.If you trust SpinRite,then it's no harm in temporarily disabling Secure boot and trying it out to check your HDD state.

  3. Hovsep A
    May 17, 2014 at 10:57 am

    is it the same reboot problem when you use live cd like hirens boot cd? if not you can use it to backup files

    did you try refresh option
    How to refresh, reset, or restore your PC
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/restore-refresh-reset-pc