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HP Desktop PCs - Windows 7 Does Not Start

This document applies to all HP and Compaq desktop computers that came with Windows 7.

This document provides possible solutions to many common computer startup issues. Select the closest match from the following list of symptoms to find a solution to the problem. If a symptom does not match the condition of the computer, see Standard steps to resolve most startup problems .

Step 1: View a video on what to do when your computer does not start

Step 2: Find the symptom that matches your computer's symptom

Read the following list of symptoms. If you find a symptom that matches your computer's symptom, click the corresponding link. This link will take you to a support document that contains troubleshooting steps that are more specific to your computer issue than the general troubleshooting steps provided in Step 3. If you cannot find a symptom that matches your computer's symptom, then use the general troubleshooting steps provided in Step 3.

NOTE: Remove any media from the floppy drives, CD/DVD drives, USB ports, and memory card reader slots, and disconnect all non-essential devices (printers, scanners, external hard drives, and similar). Leave only the keyboard, mouse, and monitor connected to the computer.

Step 3: Use standard steps to resolve most startup problems

Perform the following steps to determine if the hard drive is being detected in the BIOS:

  1. Remove any media from the floppy drives, CD/DVD drives, USB ports, and memory card reader slots, and disconnect all non-essential devices (printers, scanners, external hard drives, and similar). Leave only the keyboard, mouse, and monitor connected to the computer.

  2. Turn on the computer, and then press the F10 key repeatedly at the first screen to open the BIOS Setup tool.

  3. Verify that a hard drive name is listed from the main screen.

    Figure 1: Example of a hard drive name listed in the BIOS (Western Digital)

    • If the hard drive name is listed, exit the BIOS without saving any changes, and then continue with the steps in the Hard drive detected section.

    • If the hard drive name is missing, or the text Auto or None is listed, exit the BIOS without saving any changes, and then continue with the steps in the Hard Drive is not detected section.

Hard drive is detected

Use the following procedure to repair the file system on the hard drive:

  1. Turn off the computer and wait at least 5 seconds with the computer in a full off state.

  2. Turn on the computer and press the F8 key repeatedly as the computer starts.

    An "Advanced Boot Options" screen opens if the system partition on the hard drive is still good.

    NOTE: If the "Advanced Boot Options" screen does not open, use a recovery disc. Insert the first recovery disc into the drive and turn on the computer. From the Recovery Manager main screen, select Advanced Options , and select Microsoft Startup Repair , and click Next . Skip to step 8.
  3. Select Repair Your Computer and press Enter .

  4. Select a keyboard layout that matches your country/region and click Next .

  5. When the login prompt appears, select the user name with Administrator rights (not Administrator) from the User Name drop down. The user name with Administrator rights is most likely the first user name that was entered during the initial computer setup.

  6. Type the logon password into the Password field and then click OK .

    NOTE: If you do not know the password, leave the Password field blank and click OK . If you are unable to get past the password window, notify the system administrator for the password or perform a system recovery to restore the system to its previous state.

    A System Recovery Options window opens.

    Figure 2: System Recovery Options

  7. Click Startup Repair .

    A Startup Repair window opens and automatically scans for startup problems.

    Figure 3: Startup Repair

  8. Perform the actions suggested by Startup Repair: system restore, correct damaged or missing files, or other action.

    NOTE: A window may appear stating that Startup Repair cannot repair this computer automatically. If an Internet connection is active, click Send information about this problem to help Microsoft better understand and react to these issues. Otherwise, continue to the next step.
  9. After Startup Repair has been used, try to open Windows.

    • If Windows 7 opens, you are done.

    • If Windows 7 does not open, perform the first portion of this section again to open the Startup Recovery Options window and continue.

  10. From the Startup Recovery Options window, click Command Prompt .

    NOTE: If you had to use recovery discs to run Startup repair, press ALT + D at the Advanced Recovery Options screen to open a command prompt.
  11. Enter the following at the command prompt:

    bootrec /fixboot

  12. Enter the following at the command prompt:

    bootrec /fixmbr

    Figure 4: Command console

  13. After the bootrec tool has been used, close all open Windows to restart the computer and open Windows.

    • If Windows 7 opens, you are done.

    • If Windows 7 does not open, continue using these steps.

  14. Perform a full system recovery using recovery discs. For more information refer to the HP support document Performing an HP System Recovery in Windows 7 .

  15. If the recovery cannot be completed from recovery discs, replace the hard drive

Hard drive is not detected

Perform the following steps when the hard drive is not detected in the BIOS:

Step 1: Reset the BIOS

Reset the BIOS to make sure the BIOS settings are correct:

  1. Turn on the computer, and then press the F10 key repeatedly to open the BIOS setup screen.

  2. Press the F5 key to reset the default BIOS settings. Use the arrow keys to select Yes or OK , and then press Enter .

  3. Press the F10 key to save settings and exit. Use the arrow keys to select Yes or OK , and press Enter .

  4. Turn off the computer.

  5. Remove the power cord.

  6. Press and hold the power button for five seconds.

  7. Reconnect the power cord, and then turn on the computer.

  8. If the startup problem is gone, troubleshooting is complete.

    If the startup problem still exists, continue to the next section.

Step 2: Disconnect and reconnect the hard drive cable

Use the following steps to remove and reseat the hard drive cables:

WARNING: The edges of metal panels can cut skin. Be careful not to slide skin along any interior metal edge of the computer.
CAUTION: This product contains components that can be damaged by electrostatic discharge (ESD). To reduce the chance of ESD damage, work over a noncarpeted floor, use a static dissipative work surface (such as a conductive foam pad), and wear an ESD wrist strap connected to a grounded surface.
  1. Remove the side panel by loosening the side panel screws and sliding the panel to the back of the computer.

    Figure 5: Example of one type of side panel. Your computer might be different.

  2. Find the power cable connected to the hard drive. Disconnect and reconnect the power cable.

    IDE power and data cable location
    Serial ATA (SATA) power and data cable location
  3. Find the IDE or SATA data cable connection to the hard drive. Disconnect and reconnect the IDE or SATA data cable from the hard drive.

  4. Find the IDE or SATA data cable connection on the motherboard. Disconnect and reconnect the IDE or SATA data cable from the socket on the motherboard.

  5. Replace the side panel.

  6. Plug the power cable back into the computer.

  7. Turn on the computer and wait to see if the startup problem still exists:

Step 3: Replace the hard drive

If the startup problem still exists, replace the hard drive.

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