Windows 7 / Getting Started

How to Diagnose Disk-Related Problems

Disk-related problems typically occur before Windows starts or shortly afterward. Refer to Table-3 for a list of symptoms, possible causes, and sources of information about diskrelated startup problems.

Table-3 Diagnosing Disk-Related Startup Problems

Symptom, Message, or ProblemPossible CauseFor More Information
The POST routine displays messages similar to the following.
Hard disk error.
Hard disk absent/failed.
The system self-test routines halt because of improperly installed devices.Verify that hardware is connected properly, as described earlier in this section.
The system displays MBR-related or boot sector-related messages similar to the following.
Missing operating system.
Insert a system diskette and restart the system.
The Master Boot Record (MBR) or partition boot sector is corrupt because of problems with hardware or viruses.Run Startup Repair.
The system displays messages about the partition table similar to the following.
Invalid partition table.
A disk-read error occurred.
The partition table is invalid because of incorrect configuration of newly added disks. Run Startup Repair. If Windows still fails to start, use the System Recovery command prompt to configure your disks.
You cannot access Windows after installing another operating system.The boot sector is overwritten by another operating system's setup program.Run Startup Repair.
System files are missing.Required startup files are missing or damaged, or entries in the BCD registry file are pointing to the wrong partition.Run Startup Repair.
The EFI boot manager or Windows Boot Manager displays messages similar to the following.
Couldn't find loader.
Please insert another disk.
System files are missing.Run Startup Repair.
CMOS or NVRAM disk configuration settings are not retained.The CMOS memory or NVRAM is faulty, data is corrupted, or the battery that retains these settings needs replacing.Follow the manufacturer's instructions for replacing or recharging the system battery.

Infrequently, disk-related issues such as corrupted files, file system problems, or insufficient free space might cause Stop messages to appear.

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In this tutorial:

  1. Troubleshooting Hardware, Driver, and Disk Issues
  2. Windows 7 Improvements for Hardware and Driver Troubleshooting
  3. Windows Troubleshooting Platform
  4. Built-in Troubleshooting Packs
  5. Windows Troubleshooting Platform Components
  6. Creating Custom Troubleshooting Packs
  7. Running Troubleshooting Packs Remotely
  8. Windows 7 Reliability Monitor
  9. Windows 7 Resource Monitor
  10. Windows Memory Diagnostics
  11. Disk Failure Diagnostics
  12. Self-Healing NTFS
  13. Improved Driver Reliability
  14. Improved Error Reporting
  15. The Process of Troubleshooting Hardware Issues
  16. How to Troubleshoot Problems That Prevent Windows from Starting
  17. How to Troubleshoot Problems Installing New Hardware
  18. How to Troubleshoot Problems with Existing Hardware
  19. How to Troubleshoot Unpredictable Symptoms
  20. How to Diagnose Hardware Problems
  21. How to Use Device Manager to Identify Failed Devices
  22. How to Check the Physical Setup of Your Computer
  23. How to Check the Configuration of Your Hardware
  24. How to Verify That System Firmware and Peripheral Firmware Are Up to Date
  25. How to Test Your Hardware by Running Diagnostic Tools
  26. How to Simplify Your Hardware Configuration
  27. How to Diagnose Disk-Related Problems
  28. How to Use Built-In Diagnostics
  29. How to Use Reliability Monitor
  30. How to Use Event Viewer
  31. How to Use Data Collector Sets
  32. How to Use Windows Memory Diagnostics
  33. Memory Failures
  34. How Windows Automatically Detects Memory Problems
  35. How to Schedule Windows Memory Diagnostics
  36. How to Start Windows Memory Diagnostics When Windows Is Installed
  37. How to Start Windows Memory Diagnostics from the Windows DVD
  38. How to Configure Windows Memory Diagnostics
  39. How to Troubleshoot Disk Problems
  40. How to Prepare for Disk Failures
  41. How to Use ChkDsk
  42. ChkDsk Examples
  43. ChkDsk Syntax
  44. How to Use the Graphical ChkDsk Interface
  45. How to Determine Whether ChkDsk Is Scheduled to Run
  46. ChkDsk Process on NTFS Volumes
  47. How to Use the Disk Cleanup Wizard
  48. How to Disable Nonvolatile Caching
  49. How to Troubleshoot Driver Problems
  50. How to Find Updated Drivers
  51. How to Roll Back Drivers in Windows 7
  52. How to Use Driver Verifier
  53. How to Use the File Signature Verification
  54. How to Use Device Manager to View and Change Resource Usage
  55. How to Use Windows 7 System Restore
  56. How to Troubleshoot USB Problems
  57. How to Solve USB Driver and Hardware Problems
  58. Understanding USB Limitations
  59. How to Identify USB Problems Using Performance Monitor
  60. How to Examine USB Hubs
  61. How to Troubleshoot Bluetooth Problems
  62. Troubleshooting Tools
  63. DiskView
  64. Handle
  65. Process Monitor