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I'm having a problem where my HP Envy 15 will not boot up correctly. It started when my system froze, so I held the power button to turn it off. When I attempted to turn it back on, it came to a black screen with 2 options for either starting Windows normally or running startup repair. Starting Windows normally will just return me to the screen with two options, and running System Repair leaves the computer at a blue screen with a cursor, but nothing to click on.

Running a test of the hard drive through BIOS returned nothing but a message that says "Hard disk 1 quick (303)".

Attempting to run it in Safe Mode also doesn't work.

I've read that it could be a hard drive crash. If this is true and I have to reinstall Win 7, how can I go about doing this? I don't have a recovery disc, and also haven't made any backups. The problem is, I have a paper due that's only saved on my laptop, and I can't lose it through a fresh install. So, my question is, if it comes to reinstalling Windows, how can I make sure some of my files aren't deleted first?

Thanks.

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I've had Startup Repair, especially on Vista, run two or three times before fixing everything. While this is Windows 7 instead, it might just need to go through the process a couple more times. Hennes's comment that it's not entirely dead is my assessment too. –  user3463 Oct 28 '12 at 18:26
    
See this...sevenforums.com/tutorials/… –  Moab Oct 28 '12 at 21:33
    
The actual cause could be a failing hard drive or file system corruption, run the HP diags for the hard drive from the bios, also run a "chkdsk /r" from windows elevated command prompt once you get it booting. –  Moab Oct 28 '12 at 21:36
    
I've tried Startup Repair, and when I use it, it takes about an hour to load anything besides the blue background. I then left it to work overnight, but it was still just loading. It shouldn't take hours for the System Repair, should it? And because it doesn't seem to end, I can't get to the command prompt to move through the rest of the tutorial in the link you provided. Is there an alternate way to get to the command prompt? –  Chris Oct 29 '12 at 17:08
    
Never mind, I got command prompt, but when I type C:, and then DIR, it comes back with "Volume in drive C is SYSTEM Volume Serial Number is 12ES-FF70 Directory of C:\ File Not Found –  Chris Oct 29 '12 at 17:51
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1 Answer

You seem to have access to another computer (else you could not have posted this question). Use that to download a liveCD.

Boot the liveCD and try to look at the laptops volume. If you can access that then it is likely that the windows installation is broken, but that the disk is fine.

Your first step after this should be to insert a pendrive and copy your paper to that.

Next make a backup of all the other documents you want to keep Do this before attempting to rescue the laptop. It might be extra work but you really do not want to take any risk until you have backups.

Swapping the pendrive for an external (USB) harddisk might help with this. Alternatively put the laptop drive in an external (USB) enclosure and connect it to another computer.

OK, we now have your paper rescued. And your documents. What is left is your windows installation. Repairing that depends a lot on just what is broken, and there is not enough information in your OP to determine that. However I recommend removing the harddrive from the laptop and putting it either in an external enclosure, or as a second drive in a desktop. Then run scandisk on it. That is a gamble, but I ran into several computers which refused to boot due to corrupted files c.q. a corrupted filesystem.


You might have noticed that I left out one option. That the HDD is broken. And you have no backups.

That is scary. Depending on the state of the drive some files simply might not be recoverable.

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I'm currently posting on my iPhone, but I might be able to borrow another computer later. First off, an update: In the BIOS I turned off the feature that automatically restarts the computer when the BSOD appeared (I can't recall the name). The error message displayed is: UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME. Can you explain what exactly a liveCD is? Thanks again. –  Chris Oct 28 '12 at 18:02
    
That is not in the BIOS, but it does fit with a corrupted filesystem. It also means that your laptop did access the harddisk and did load part of windows, so the disk is not completely dead. This is good news. –  Hennes Oct 28 '12 at 18:04
    
I bought a Windows 7 recovery disc online from neosmart.net, and I've tried to get the computer to boot from it, but I can't figure out how to do it. I enabled boot from the CD drive in BIOS and put the CD Drive as the first in the boot order, but it stil goes straight to the page for system repair. What am I doing wrong? –  Chris Oct 28 '12 at 20:14
    
Did the DVD try to boot and did it display a 'press space to boot from DVD' message? Some firm (including Ms's win7) thinks users are to dumb to remove the DVD after installing and require you to press a key else the DVD boot aborts. (And MS might actually be right) –  Hennes Oct 28 '12 at 20:21
    
Nope, the only thing that's come up is " Press Esc for startup menu", and even if I press it nothing happens. –  Chris Oct 28 '12 at 20:45
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