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I have an amazingly confounding problem.

A friend has an HP Pavilion P6000 series computer circa 2010. Recently, a storm came through and flickered the power a few times in rapid succession. After this happened, the computer seemingly would not boot from the hard disk - the BIOS would report it could find no boot media after trying to network boot, etc.

However.

Windows will boot just fine if I do one of two things:

  1. Enter the BIOS and exit (I don't have to make any changes or even save and exit)
  2. Boot with a bootable CD or USB stick attached.

For the BIOS trick, it just works. For the CD trick, I just don't hit a key at "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD".

I have tried the following things to resolve the issue:

  1. run startup repair 3 times
  2. Rebuilt the BCD by hand using the Nuclear Holocaust instructions here: http://neosmart.net/wiki/recovering-windows-bootloader/#Attempt_Three_Nuclear_Holocaust
  3. Replaced the SATA cable
  4. Tried booting on every SATA port on the motherboard (there are four of them), without the DVD drive attached (hard drive is the only SATA device)
  5. Powered off, removed power, removed CMOS battery, and jumpered CMOS to discharge for ten minutes
  6. Reset BIOS to factory default

The BIOS does not have a "startup delay" setting, otherwise I would have tried that too.

The only remaining things to try are a complete OS rebuild (which I don't want to do if I can avoid it, I hate OEM restores and my friend can't find his discs) or clone the OS to a new hard drive. My hypothesis is that the power surges damaged either the hard drive or the SATA controller.

Is there anything else I can try?

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If you rebuilt the BCD correctly The only thing I can think of is that the BIOS is somehow the BIOS has a wrong boot order... In the BIOS setup, does it recognize the existence of a harddrive? –  Doktoro Reichard Dec 1 '13 at 22:53
    
Yes. It recognizes the hard drive on all four ports. Regardless of where the drive is in the boot order, however, this behavior is consistent. Like I said, it's super frustrating. I've had similar problems with my own machine in the past, but they've been easily fixed with bootrec and bootsect. Most all of the things I've read online usually do come back to boot order as the solution after BCD repair and the like. –  Formica Dec 2 '13 at 16:17

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