Vista crashed, tried to do 7, hard drive bad?

Hewlett-packard Compaq presario cq60-422...
May 2, 2010 at 07:51:07
Specs: Windows Vista, Celeron / 2gb
I hope the 422dx model is correct, regardless it's a Compaq CQ60 preloaded with Vista, I believe 160 GB Hard drive.

It's my girlfriends laptop, and she called me saying that Vista could not load due to a LoadKey error, I tried to do recovery, restore, repair, nothing worked...we managed to back her files up using a thumb driver and MS-Dos (Brought back memories)

I read that it could be a bad drive or just a common Vista glitch...

I re-installed using windows 7, and it went all the way to completing installation, and paused...for over 4 hours... I restarted and tried once more, 20% into copying files, it stops and gives me an error during installation that it could not find the installation device and could not find installation files...

When I restarted from that, the windows 7 setup listed no hard drives to install on *before it would list C: and the recovery partition*

I rebooted once more and did a hard drive diagnostic from bios which came back saying hard drive disk error, no hard drive installed basically...

After 2 more restarts and playing in bios, they came back?! so once more I tried doing 7 and same thing, 20-21% stop, no hard drives..

I'm just going to assume that when I asked her if she had done a defrag and she replied, what is a defrag? that the hard drive has been going down hill since she got it and it's practically going bad... yes?

So my question is, should I do anything to save it? ie: Hard drive drivers, tips/tricks? or just replace it

Also, i believe from best buy website it is a SATA drive, is there something special I need to get to replace it? or just a SATA laptop drive? and can anyone recommend a good brand for a laptop? she doesn't game, mostly just email, web, etc... so it doesn't have to be anything special... I'm out of date on a good HD, but I've always been a fan of Western Digitals

and finally...

How do I replace a laptop hard drive? (Hoping for a good tutorial website, i'm somewhat savvy on desktops but laptops scare me)

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May 2, 2010 at 08:23:13

Reading from your post, the reason the computer did not recognise the hard drive after you were tampering in the BIOS is that you most likely changed the AHCI mode, as far as I know this is the way that the computer tries to mount a hard drive.

I would do a drive diagnostics on the hard drive, if you get a SMART failure, back up the data immediately and buy a new hard drive.

Replacing a laptop hard drive is easily done these days, you will need to purchase a 2.5" SATA hard drive, they are cheap these days.

Look up on your manufacturers website for a reference manual, they usually list procedures for disassembling laptops.

Are you installing from a legitimate Windows disk and not a copy? has the CD drive had any problems reading disks in the past?

Sounds like the hard drive but obviously it's hard to give an exact answer over the internet.

I hope I have helped you.

Lee Cook

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May 2, 2010 at 09:06:00
"Compaq Presario CQ60-422DX Notebook"
"hope the 422dx model is's a Compaq CQ60 preloaded with Vista"

Compaq Presario CQ60-422DX Notebook PC (support)

According to the product specs for that, 422dx comes with Windows 7 64 bit .
You've probably gotten the model number wrong.

There is no Maintenance manual listed for that model.

Locate the Notebook Product Number or Model Number

Tell us what you find.

Searching the HP site using the product number - the part before the # - yields you the most specific support .

You're wasting your efforts if the hard drive is failing.

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibility, on another computer if you need to.

If the hard drive brand is Toshiba, they have no hard drive diagnostics available.
Seagate's SeaTools will test any brand, but can only attempt to fix Seagate or Maxtor drives.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.

When you install Windows from a regular Windows CD or DVD, if the hard drive is SATA, after the initial files are loaded from the disk (which are loaded into a ram drive - virtual drive) , Setup WILL NOT find a SATA hard drive, unless.....

- the easy way - the mboard's bios has the SATA controller(s) in an IDE compatible mode
a.k.a. EIDE, ATA, PATA, Compatibility, or similar, mode.
If you can set the bios so the SATA controller(s) is/are in an IDE comptible mode, Setup detects the SATA drive as an IDE compatible drive.
We almost always can't tell you anything more specific, because usually there is nowhere where what you see in a brand name bios version's screens can be found on the web for us to examine. (If you had a generic desktop system, that info is usually in the mboard manual.)
Look for some changable setting that is now set to SATA or AHCI, and change that to some IDE compatible mode (NOT RAID), save bios settings.

After Setup has finished, and after the specific drivers for your system including the SATA controller drivers for the mboard have been installed, then you can set the bios so the SATA controllers are in SATA or AHCI mode, save settings.

- the more involved ways - you leave the bios set so the SATA controller(s) is(are) in SATA mode (a.k.a. AHCI mode),

- and you must load drivers for the SATA controller(s) built into the mboard by pressing a specific key while loading the initial files from the disk (in XP and 2000 you press F6 - I'm not sure what key you press for Vista or Windows 7), then later during loading those initial files, you will be prompted to provide the drivers on something, e.g. a USB flash drive for Vista and Windows 7.

- or - you make yourself a "slipstreamed" disk (in this case, a DVD-R is the best choice ) that has the contents of the Windows disk with the SATA controller drivers integrated into it, and use that disk to install Windows.

The Recovery disk or disk set for the specific brand name model has the right SATA controller drivers for the mboard built in, but a regular Windows CD or DVD does not.

Two friends of mine have a Compaq and a HP laptop respectively, about 5 years old - both came with Recovery disks.
If her model did not come with a Recovery disk or disk set, she was supposed to use a program already there in her Programs that was provided by HP to make such a Recovery disk or disk set, while Windows was still working properly.

HP does not list the option to obtain Recovery media (or similar) in the Software and Drivers downloads for the CQ60-422DX model - I don't know if that applies to her specific model - if (a) Recovery disk(s) is(are) available, that's where that option is listed - in the Software and Drivers downloads.
If a Recovery disk or disk set is available, it's usually relatively cheap, including shipping - e.g. less than half what it costs to buy an OEM Vista or Windows 7 Basic disk, the cheapest version.

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May 2, 2010 at 10:41:20
I never tampered within the bios on the hard drive settings, when windows ran the error, and the computer restarted, it had no hard drives listed to install 7 on

It's a legit windows 7 and it got past the part it failed on the second time, it almost finished the first time but just paused for hours, then went down hill

It read the hard drive at one point, and then didn't at another

I think it's safe for me to say that it needs a new hard drive.... due to the fact the diagnostic said no hard drive found and i'm not sure about the SMART feature on this. and it just randomly failed on vista on a "load key error"

the data has been backed up, and when I went to install 7 the first time, it said it was going to put the files in windows.old, but then when it messed up, I formatted the hard drive anyways so, no worries on data recovery

Bestbuy has a 250gb hd for $49,

will this one work? says width 2.75 and depth 3.9" and i see people in reviews saying they installed in their laptop (hp)

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May 2, 2010 at 12:09:08
"I never tampered within the bios..."

Sometimes you NEED to change the default SATA controller settings. If the bios has the SATA controllers in SATA mode, which is most often the default these days, when you boot from a regular Windows CD or DVD it will NOT find SATA drives. The files initially loaded from the disk are not loaded to the hard drive, they're loaded to memory (the ram). Files are not loaded to the hard drive until after the actual Setup starts, which isn't until all the initial files have been loaded to memory.

"the diagnostic said no hard drive found "

Then either the hard drive is malfunctioning, or the laptop is damaged.
Did she drop the laptop, or spill any liquid on it (the most common causes of damage), since it last worked properly ?
If no, then the hard drive is probably malfunctioning.
If yes, the hard drive can be tested with the same bootable diagnostics by connecting it internally to a desktop computer by using an inexpensive adapter, or by installing it in another laptop but don't attempt to boot from it - it's normal for Windows to not load all the way if the hardware of the two laptops is more than a little different. (According to my experiences, you can't run hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics on a drive when it's in an external enclosure.)

All laptop hard drives are the same physical size; the only difference is either it's IDE (EIDE) or SATA connected.

There are zillions of possible models in the CQ60 series - find out and tell us which exact one she has. It probably has a SATA drive, but it MAY have an IDE drive.
You can install any capacity of new SATA drive - whatever she can afford.
I don't think you can buy laptop IDE drives larger than 250gb anymore - last time I checked they're no longer making 500gb ones, which were available a few years ago.

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May 4, 2010 at 06:12:26
you were was not 422dx, believe it was 211dx. I got that western digital from bbuy, install was easy. took windows with no problems.. shes up and curious if her hd is bad after all..but for fifty bucks, im just gonna trash her old drive, enough troubleshooting
it was a sata seagate by the way
I thank you for help ;)

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May 4, 2010 at 07:26:55
we managed to back her files up using a thumb driver and MS-Dos

Please explain "how" you managed to back up a protected NTFS partition using "MS-DOS" on a thumb drive. I don't think you are going to be happy with what you find on your "back-up"

PowerMac 9600(1 ghz G4)
512mb RAM
50gb SCSI
ATi 9200 PCI

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May 4, 2010 at 07:58:08

Compaq Presario CQ60-211DX Notebook PC (support)

Product Specs

Hard Drive 160GB (5400RPM)

Genuine Windows Vista Home Basic with Service Pack 1

Software and Driver downloads for Vista (32 bit)

CD-ROM order page - Recovery Discs

Recovery disk(s) is(are) available

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