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I'm having a very weird issue with my gaming machine, which makes me sad.

My machine starts, posts, and initializes the Adaptec RAID card just fine. After it does that I get a string of random Unicode characters and the machine won't boot windows.

Verifying DMI Data .....................................
Boot from CD: 
<Random Unicode Chars Here - looks like Zaph Dingbats font>

So far I've removed all unnecessary components,reseated all required components, used the windows disk utilities to reset the boot sector, and even tried doing a fresh windows install.

I'm pulling down an ubuntu image to throw on the free space and see if I can boot linux (and if i can see if grub can boot the windows install)

Any other suggestions, I suspect my RAID card has gone funky but I really hope you have some other suggestion to try before I give up and get a new one.

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I don't know about the specific issue, but it does sound like a bootloader problem to me - may or may not be a hardware issue, what type of RAID are you using? –  user55325 Dec 19 '10 at 0:25
    
@user55325 It's and Adaptec 5405 SAS/SATA RAID card - I 500GB RAID0 and 1 1TB Raid 1 the important stuff is on the RAID 1 so it wouldn't be the end of the world the blow away the 500GB drive - just alot of redownloading steam games (that annoys comcast). Also when i said 'not pulling down ...' i ment 'now pulling down ...' just deleted it. –  Zypher Dec 19 '10 at 0:29
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2 Answers

It ended up being the RAID controller being in a state where it was broken, but not yet broken. So It was able to boot just fine, and see the drives and the arrays but not actually boot off of them. I ended up pulling the controller and just using the motherboard connections. I guess I need to move up my time frame for updating to SSDs and get a new RAID controller while i'm at it.

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try:

  • take the raid card out, connect all HDD & DVD to motherboard controller
  • boot from the HDD, does it work?
  • boot from the DVD, does it work?

if not, state further.

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