HP Laptop win 7 start up issues


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Hi guys.
I have an old 2001 HP laptop that came with vista. I've made recovery discs.

I installed windows 7 home premium. Worked ok for day and a half. Then it wouldn't start. It just said its being prevented from starting. Goes into text boot with option to try to fix windows boot or run memory test or start normally. I do memory test. Both normal default option and advanced that takes longer. Memory test is ok. No errors. I do start windows normal and it goes back to same cant start screen. I enter into recovery. It says its trying to fix boot issues. Just scrolls for very very long time. Says cant fix. Boot to last known working doesn't work either.

Then I ran reinstall from DVD and it finds no drive. No hardware drivers etc. reboot again and it sees the HD. Install. After a bit of time the same cant boot happens. I don't install software.

I don't get it.
Anyone have any idea?

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The symptoms you describe sound like the hard disk might be failing, but the timing sounds suspiciously like a bad Windows install (or both--Windows is being installed with the boot area using a failing portion of the hard disk). Try running chkdsk. I forget whether 2001 predates smart drives, but if it is one, run the smart test. This probably would not explain the boot problem, but did you verify that there was adequate space available on the hard disk for what Win 7 needs? Aside from the boot problem, a 2001 Vista laptop might be underpowered for Win 7 to perform well.


Well-Known Member
Hi. Thanks.
I forget the year the laptop is. 2001 may be wrong. It did come with vista though. Maybe it's 2003. Ok. It's HP DV2500. DV2550se. Pavilion.

Even in vista there's been issues. Software I think. Forget what kind of issues.

The hdd is 160gb. Core 2 duo 1.5 ghz. I forget ram. 4gb I think. 13-14" screen.

When installing vista using recovery it makes an 8gb or so hidden recovery partition and the windows partition. Came with way too much junk on it. Would rather just windows.

Windows 7 runs much better then Vista on this machine. I used it for a couple days and it performed much better. Faster boot and everything. But then the start up issue.

How can I run a disk check when it won't boot?

Thanks so much.

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Oh ya. I do have a hard drive from my ps3 I can install in the laptop. It's 2.5" and 320gb or something. I forget. It's not in the ps3 since I put in my ps3 an SSD drive.

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It sounds like you get it to boot intermittently. Run chkdsk on one of those times. If you're other disk can be installed in the laptop, swap it. Get an inexpensive USB adapter cable that lets you connect the original hard disk as an external. You won't be affected by the boot problem in that configuration and will be able to thoroughly test the drive. The specs you described for the laptop look like it should support Win 7 well, although 160gb is a bit small for a Win 7 hard disk if you expect to put a lot of your own software and files on it. Did you install Win 7 as a dual boot or replace Vista?

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Well-Known Member
Chkdsk found no problems it said.

I deleted all partitions and installed windows 7.
The other drive is also 160gb. I was wrong. Not 320gb.

A clean chkdsk means that the platters and their contents are ok (i.e., not mechanically failing or corrupted), but if the problem is related to the drive and it is intermittent, the electronics could be failing. The only way to diagnose that would be an extended test, preferably when it is not the boot drive, which goes back to swapping drives. If the electronics are ok, it would point to a problem with the Win 7 install. If you are able to use the other drive, a problem with the Win 7 install could potentially be superfluous. If the original drive is connected externally and operates without a problem for an extended time, that will serve as a test. If it is successful, you can just use the drive as a secondary hard disk and the Win 7 boot problem won't make any difference. That will also buy you more space and speed. Putting the user and scratch files on a separate drive from the software can speed things up.


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Thanks. The chkdsk was done in command prompt run as admin. While in windows.

Then I went to hdd icon and went to properties and tools. Then error checking. I also said to check. Clusters. Bad blocks right? It said I had to reboot. So I did. It's been running a while. It didn't load windows. Started the check. First part went ok which is chkdsk. I'm looking at it now and it says, Windows replaced bad clusters in file then gives a number and file name. It's got many of these bad clusters.

Does this mean bad hard drive? Should I toss it and put in the other? And in vista as that's the recovery and official system, would a new hard drive cause any issues?

I still prefer windows 7 but am curious how a new hard drive may affect things.

Thanks a lot.

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If the bad clusters are in the boot area, that could be the cause of the problem.

If defects are found during this scanning process, those areas get "locked" so they are not used again. One way a hard disk fails is to start developing defects in the platters at an accelerating rate. I would recommend running chkdsk often, at least for awhile. If you run it every few days and each time, it finds more actual defects, it is time to replace the drive before it becomes non-operational.

The bad clusters are not necessarily defects. They could be corrupted contents, typically cause by writing operations that are stopped prematurely. Depending on the type and extent of the problems, specific files may or may not be able to be restored. Depending on which files are involved, it may or may not make a difference.

As far as a new drive, I believe your laptop (pre-2011 motherboard) can take up to a 2 TB drive if you can find one that will fit. With a new drive, you're starting from scratch--formatting, installing the operating system, reinstalling your software, reinstalling peripherals (drivers), transferring old files, setting all of the configurations and customizations, setting up your network/email/internet, etc. You may have to deal with transferring licenses (Windows and some software). With Vista, if you don't have the original disks, you may not be able to use the recovery partition (or a copy of it), to install Vista on a new drive (or the old one after wiping Vista). However, if you are able to, consider putting both operating systems on the drive in a dual-boot setup. That will give you the ability to run anything you previously could with no compatibility issues. If you can't, don't sweat it. Compatibility going from Vista to Win 7 is pretty good and you will benefit from not losing a big chunk of disk capacity for a second OS.


Well-Known Member
Thank you.
The laptop was on last night and I closed the lid. That's putting it to sleep of course. I just now lifted the lid. It took a while for the screen to show anything and its at the startup repair started again. This time it fixed something I guess. It says to restart, if repair was successful something. Now booting.

Makes me think the drive is not worth keeping. What do you think now?

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If the repair fixed it and it does not keep accumulating areas that are actually defective, I would keep it. If you don't trust it as the primary hard disk, it is inexpensive to keep it as an external one (with an adapter cable or tiny enclosure that is readily available). I would toss it only if it is actually failing (as opposed to suffering corruption due to software issues, which likely would not be a problem if you are not using it as the primary).

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