Is my PC dying? (AKA, I don't know what error messages about boot drives mean)

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Fezrock

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I was playing MagicArena on my Win10 PC this morning, not the most intensive game, and I got a blue screen crash that forced my PC to restart. However, instead of fully restarting, I got a black screen with the words:

Reboot and select proper Boot Device or Insert Boot Media in Selected Boot device

I just restarting my PC multiple times and I kept getting that message. I then left it alone for a few minutes and tried restarting again, and this time it restarted correctly; albeit after a longer loading time than usual. And now it seems to be working fine.

I assume this means something in my PC is failing though and needs to be replaced, but I've no idea what; this goes beyond my extremely limited PC knowledge. Any ideas duders?

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CreepingDeath0

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Sounds like your hard drive might be on its way out. Before anything else I'd advise backing up anything important that you don't want to lose. Funnily enough after installing and playing MTG Arena for a week recently my hard drive died too. Could be coincidence, but that game seems to have all kinds of odd problems.

Anyway, what OS are you using?

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SecurityGuruGuy

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@fezrock: Sounds lie your hard drive might be failing. I have a laptop that has an aftermaket hard drive in it that is smaller than the one it came with, so sometimes the hard drive slides out of the SATA connection on the inside of the laptop. Your computer booted to only the motherboard, which suggests that either it didn't recognize the hard drive because the boot sectors failed on it, or the hard drive is not seated all of the way to the motherboard.

I'd check the connection first, then start thinking about backing up the data on that drive and getting a new one. There are programs out there, specifically Spin Rite from Gibson Research Corporation that can prolong the life of your drive and can fix the bad sectors but usually this behavior means that the boot partition on your hard drive has become damaged.

https://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

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Fezrock

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Thanks guys. Okay, mucking about in the case to check connections is something I am comfortable doing. But if I need to replace the hard drive, is there an easy guide somehow on how to replace it? I'm fine with the physically putting it in the PC case part, I actually have a second hard drive already that I installed just to hold some of my backlog of steam games. But the part about loading the OS and getting system files from the original hard drive to a new one is where I'm totally lost.

Also, I've had that hard drive for a bit over 5 years. I've no idea what the expected lifespan of a drive is, does that sound about right for starting to get these problems or did something go wrong?

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fatalbanana

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#5  Edited By fatalbanana

@fezrock: There are guides everywhere detailing everything you need to do to install a new OS I would just google it. It's pretty easy these days though. Go to google and look for something called Windows Media Creation Tool. That will allow you to download and flash a bootable installer for windows to a flash drive. Simply create that, restart your computer, open the boot menu (Often f12 or delete), select your flash drive, and windows installer should start. It will eventually ask which hard drive you want to install windows on. Simply pick the hard drive, select "New" to make a fresh partition and the rest will be handled by the installer.

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CreepingDeath0

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@fezrock I'd expect 5 - 6 years to be the lifespan of a HDD. If you want to be 100% it's your hard drive before changing things around launch command prompt, type "wmic" and hit enter, then type "diskdrive get status" and hit enter. If it throws back anything other than "OK" it's definitely your HDD.

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Zelyre

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You could use a product like macrium reflect.

There is a home version that is free. It will clone your hard drive to another and should boot just fine.

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sw0rdfish

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I like Macrium. I'd manually grab off the stuff you don't have but really need first before you stress the drive with Macrium.

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Fezrock

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A coda, and plea for help:

I got a new 4TB HDD and a 500GB SSD and did the Windows Media Creation thing so that I could install Windows 10 from a USB drive. I disconnected the old hard drive and connected the SSD, plugged in the USB drive, and installed Windows. It seemed to work, so then I connected the new HDD and then got my back-up files from the old HDD. Still seemed to work. However, in the hours since then, as I've had to do various other restarts due to updating drivers, etc., I've noticed two problems that I don't know how to fix.

First, in the UEFI boot menu, I have to boot from 'Windows Boot Manager,' if I select the SSD, I get an error message about needing to restart and select a boot device. Second, sometimes after a restart the 'Windows Boot Manager' option is missing from the boot menu and have I no option but to restart again and hope it reappears (which it sometimes does). I don't know if these are related or separate problems but they seem like things that need to get fixed. Any suggestions? I've spent almost a day delving deeper into old forum threads and instruction guides throughout the interwebs and have no clues.

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hmoney001

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@fezrock: Have you tried checking your bios. Make sure your SSD is selected as your boot drive.

Could also try loading optmized defaults in the bios to see if that helps.

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Fezrock

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@hmoney001: I think the UEFI is the BIOS (with a 'legacy' option somewhere to launch the old version of the BIOS instead). So the thing is, when I select the SSD directly as the boot drive in the UEFI boot priority list, I just get an error message and have to restart the PC again. I have to select Windows Boot Manager as the boot drive for Windows to launch correctly. I've done a bit more research, and it seems like maybe that's fine and just the way newer versions of Windows get installed. There's still the problem though that sometimes when I restart the PC, the Windows Boot Manager is missing from the boot priority list and I have to restart the PC any number of times until it shows up. Which is making me think the problem is with the UEFI settings/the physical motherboard somehow.

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monetarydread

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Ideas:

  • What SSD do you have? I know that some cheaper SSD's do not have the ability to be a boot drive.
  • Did you clone your SSD ever? There are lots of reasons why this could be an issue, but when I messed up an cloned my HDD and used that image on my SSD it caused a GPT/MBR (edit: the Master Boot Record is like a phonebook for the location of data) error.
    • If the MBR is faulty you can just google, "fix MBR" and that will help.

Here is a video to watch on setting up an SSD.

Loading Video...

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MerxWorx01

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Have you had any iaStorA.sys issues? Do you have multiple drives in you PC and none of them are showing up at all when you are in the BIOS? It might be an issue with how the MB is loading pre existing hardware which can be caused by windows quick start. I've found that it can cause issues identifying some hardware after hard crashes.