Computer Boot Troubleshooting

What are the common problems related to computer booting and how to troubleshoot these problems?

Booting is the process of starting a computer to load the operating system. The process involves a series of procedures from POST to the time the desktop is loaded. However, if there is a problem i.e. missing boot-up system files, boot sector infection of hard disk failure, the PC may fail to boot.

Discussed herein are some of the common reasons that may cause a PC not to be able to boot and tips to avoid them.

  • Common booting problem

  • Solving Boot failure problems

  • Tips to avoid boot failures

Common Booting Problems

There are instances where the users like visiting the BIOS for no apparent reason. The BIOS- basic input output system, stores all the booting instructions for the PC. If a user makes changes to the BIOS without knowing, they can affect the booting process whereby the operating system does not know how and where to boot from. A boot failure can also be caused by the failure of the operating system to detect the storage media that has been used to store the system files or failure to read the boot files. This failure can be as a result of virus infection that affects the boot sector of the disk. There are cases where a user installs more than one hard disk in the system and fails to specify the drive with the operating system files as the primary drive. Hard drive crash can also be a reason for the system not to boot up. Multiple operating systems installed on the same drive partition can cause an error at boot up as both the operating system tries to load their individual system files.

Solving boot failure problems

The first step is to check the BIOS settings to confirm the booting instructions. The user will be able to know from which drive to specify to get the operating system files and the order in which the operating system will search for the system files i.e. starting with the floppy, then the hard drive and eventually the CD Drive. In a case where there is a boot sector infection, the user should use the operating system CD software in the CD-ROM to boot and rectify the boot sector files.

In cases where there are multiple hard drives used, the user should check the jumper settings of the hard drives and make the drive with the operating system as the primary drive and not secondary drive. To detect a case of a crashed hard drive, the user can try and use the hard drive on a different machine and see how it works. In cases where the user suddenly realizes that the system cannot boot due to previously installed programs or hardware, they can boot in safe mode and remove the last installed programs or hardware that could be causing the issue.

Tips to avoid boot failures

Opening the BIOS should not be done, unless there is a pressing matter that forces the user to change some BIOS settings. In cases where one would like to install multiple operating systems, they should first partition the hard drive to various logical drives and use different partitions for different operating systems.

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