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DDustin
05-04-2013, 03:01 AM
Well yesterday when I got up nice an early to start my finals, I opened my computer to see this message-- "Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media". I managed to get it started up in safe mode so I could back up my school and media files onto an external hard drive. After that the tech support for my warranty told me to go ahead and try to restart it to see if it would boot up. It did so then I scanned both hard drives which took around 7 hours. I also bought a 500gb WD internal HDD and an external case for it so I can finally back everything up. I also downloaded the Acronis cloning software from WD's site.

Bear with me I'm just learning most of this stuff as I go so my questions might be stupid or obvious. I have 2 drives, the primary is my 256GB SSD that holds my OS and essential programs; The second drive is a 750GB HDD that's split into 2 partitions; 498GB for my media, documents and programs and 199GB for backing up the SSD which is empty.

Now here's where I'm confused. When cloning my drives onto the external do I partition the external to match the computers drives and clone each drive into its own partition? Or can I only clone one drive or do I clone all the drives and partitions and the program mirrors it on its own? Anthything else I should know before starting this?

Also some other basic questions I have... How do I go about updating the external back up? Should I/ can I also clone the OS on the SSD onto the 199gb partition as an additional back up? Also how does rebooting windows and removing all the bloatware factor in to all of this? I've been told that my original problem is likely the OS not the drives, plus I've been needing to do it to resolve other issues as well. How do I actually remove the bloatware?

Another error I get every time I boot up recently also is this...

http://i1137.photobucket.com/albums/n506/DDustin5/error_zps7832e5a8.png (http://s1137.photobucket.com/user/DDustin5/media/error_zps7832e5a8.png.html)

Do these have anything to do with my issues?

Thanks for your patience with all my questions.

Dustin

Muratus
05-04-2013, 12:42 PM
I'm really not a fan of cloning a Windows partition. I'd much rather take the oppertunity to do a clean install of Windows. I don't even use the factory recovery on the HD. There is so much crap/bloat ware it's terrible.

I'd say back up all your data, browser bookmarks/favorates, game progresses, etc. Download a "Master" Windows 7 Home Premium ISO

http://api.viglink.com/api/click?format=go&key=984ed3ed6aa9a69986f88d56d10e7616&loc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tomshardware.com%2Fforum%2F61 115-63-need-clean-install-windows-home-premium&v=1&libId=4360d40f-8185-4d26-8a73-bbf9d9e46df8&out=http%3A%2F%2Fmsft.digitalrivercontent.net%2Fwi n%2FX17-58997.iso&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&title=Need%20a%20Clean%20Install%20of%20Windows%20 7%20Home%20Premium%20-%20Laptops%20-%20Windows%207&txt=http%3A%2F%2Fmsft.digitalrivercontent.net%2Fwi n%2FX17-58997.iso&jsonp=vglnk_jsonp_136767092188510

That ISO will accept any manufactoriers COA key code from the bottom of your laptop. Some times you have to call in for the activation. What I have found is if you just click next with out entering the Key durning installation, you can activate online after Windows is installed. It will ask for your COA Key then activate.

You'll also need to get or use your Asus driver disk. Just installed drivers, avoid all that bloat ware on there. Once everything is all done and installed, copy your data back in to it.

I know it sounds like allot but it's actually easier then screwing around with cloning disks/partitions. Plus you know you are at square one, and all your past Windows sins have been washed away. lol

Myk SilentShadow
05-04-2013, 02:14 PM
Hold everything!!! you do not have to back anything up and start again, your problem is really easily fixed. Reboot your system, go into BIOS and look for your Boot Tab, down the list look for Hard Drive BBS Properties, click it and force select your SSD as your Priority drive....for some reason or another, it seems every now and again, boot order goes haywire.

DDustin
05-05-2013, 01:32 AM
Hold everything!!! you do not have to back anything up and start again, your problem is really easily fixed. Reboot your system, go into BIOS and look for your Boot Tab, down the list look for Hard Drive BBS Properties, click it and force select your SSD as your Priority drive....for some reason or another, it seems every now and again, boot order goes haywire.

Well that's not my only problem, I'm having others so I do want to redo windows and get rid of all the bloatware

DDustin
05-05-2013, 01:59 AM
I'm really not a fan of cloning a Windows partition. I'd much rather take the oppertunity to do a clean install of Windows. I don't even use the factory recovery on the HD. There is so much crap/bloat ware it's terrible.

I'd say back up all your data, browser bookmarks/favorates, game progresses, etc. Download a "Master" Windows 7 Home Premium ISO

http://api.viglink.com/api/click?format=go&key=984ed3ed6aa9a69986f88d56d10e7616&loc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tomshardware.com%2Fforum%2F61 115-63-need-clean-install-windows-home-premium&v=1&libId=4360d40f-8185-4d26-8a73-bbf9d9e46df8&out=http%3A%2F%2Fmsft.digitalrivercontent.net%2Fwi n%2FX17-58997.iso&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&title=Need%20a%20Clean%20Install%20of%20Windows%20 7%20Home%20Premium%20-%20Laptops%20-%20Windows%207&txt=http%3A%2F%2Fmsft.digitalrivercontent.net%2Fwi n%2FX17-58997.iso&jsonp=vglnk_jsonp_136767092188510

That ISO will accept any manufactoriers COA key code from the bottom of your laptop. Some times you have to call in for the activation. What I have found is if you just click next with out entering the Key durning installation, you can activate online after Windows is installed. It will ask for your COA Key then activate.

You'll also need to get or use your Asus driver disk. Just installed drivers, avoid all that bloat ware on there. Once everything is all done and installed, copy your data back in to it.

I know it sounds like allot but it's actually easier then screwing around with cloning disks/partitions. Plus you know you are at square one, and all your past Windows sins have been washed away. lol

I'm a little lost about some of this lol.

1st, either way I have to back it up so I'm still wondering should I partition the external for the 2 separate hard drives? And are you saying I shouldn't clone anything? How do I back it all up without cloning it? The only other thing I know of is to drag and drop which it doesn't give me an option to do with the internal drive installed into the external case. It actually only shows up with the cloning software not in My Computer. and should I clone the HDD that contains all the media, documents and programs and then ignore the SSD with the OS on it?

How do I keep the programs, settings, bookmarks, favorites and game stuff on the SSD that I do want and clean out the OS and bloat ware that I don't?

And same questions with the drivers disk; How do I download what I want and not the extra crap?

So if I just install the windows boot disk I'll still get all the bloat ware? The link you gave me just starts trying to download; what is it exactly and what do I do with it? Should I save it to the system or onto an external drive?

Oh and does anyone know what those errors are I posted about?

ETA- Now that I think about it, I'm assuming the reason I can't see the drive is because its technically an internal drive and I haven't formatted and partitioned it. So scratch that question.

DDustin
05-07-2013, 02:22 AM
Bump.


Are there any tutorials on how to reinstall windows without the bloatware? And are there any tutorials on exactly how to clone or back-up my computer?

billyray520
05-07-2013, 12:36 PM
Bump.


Are there any tutorials on how to reinstall windows without the bloatware? And are there any tutorials on exactly how to clone or back-up my computer?

Here's a link to a similar request: http://rog.asus.com/forum/showthread.php?31874-Very-confused-with-imaging-ONLY-primary-partition-on-same-physical-drive!-G53JW&country=&status=

You can have the best of Both Worlds, your backup idea and Muratus' fresh installation of Windows.

1. Re-install Windows and all of the necessary drivers and updates.
2. Then do a backup. Since you are using a secondary drive partition for your backup location, create a disk or partition image to that location. (Cloning the drive is only good where you want to exactly duplicate one drive to another drive.) But by creating a partition image (or disk image) you may save a lot of space with compression, and because only the data itself is backed up, not all of the empty space.
3. Save this initial system image as it is a clean state image. Actually, I would keep it on an external hdd not internal. But subsequent images, I would put on the internal hdd.

Then whenever you want to return your system to a clean fresh install state, you can just restore that first image.

As a matter of policy, I always create an initial state image which I save on an external hdd.

More fun and games with images:

I have an Acer (oops!) netbook which came with Windows 7 starter edition. :p I backed up that image (after doing all updates and installing whatever I normally use software-wise.) Then I installed Ubuntu 12.04 which is what I actually use, because it runs way better than Windows on a netbook. BUT, whenever I want I can re-convert the netbook to a Windows netbook simply by restoring the image. No need to re-install Windows, or authenticate, or activate blah blah blah. So I can easily alternate the netbook between Windows or Linux, depending on my mood! :cool:

DDustin
06-05-2013, 11:57 AM
I still haven't had a chance to do the clean install since I've been really busy and everything seemed to be working fine. But today I got this message. Does it definitely mean my hard drive is bad and I should send it back? Anything I can do?

http://i1137.photobucket.com/albums/n506/DDustin5/HDD_zps8e6858e4.jpg

I just started summer classes, if I have to send it to the manufacturer I'll likely fail and lose my student aid for good. So I need to avoid that.

Please help me out asap.

billyray520
06-06-2013, 07:27 PM
So I am assuming you haven't done anything so far other than backup some important files to your external hdd, right?

I am also assuming your Windows message is about your 750 GB hdd, not your C: System drive SSD, right?

You also have said you have a 500 GB external hdd, as well as a copy of Acronis, right?

How much data space is used on the SSD? Fill in the blank: __________ of 256 GB is used
How much data space is used on the hdd? Fill in the blank: __________ of 750 GB is used

Now you need to understand these terms:

Clone a drive means to make an exact duplicate of it. That means all of your data, free space, partitions etc are copied exactly. That means a clone of a 256 GB drive will use 256 GB of space.

Image a drive (or partition) is different. That is a file or files that software creates (like Acronis) that copies all of the data on the drive, including the partition tables, boot sectors etc. The file is OFTEN compressed to save even more space.

Example: C: drive of 256 GB has 76 GB of space in use, and has two partitions, along with the boot sector. An Image file(s) will record all of this info so it can be replicated on another drive or even a larger drive (sometimes a smaller drive too.) The benefit of the Image is that your 76 GB of data will be compressed to say 60 GB file(s) which will store easily on your external hdd. When you go to restore the image it will RECREATE everything exactly as you had it, like a snapshot.

does that help?

Your error messages might not be fatal YET. I would try to image the drive to your external hdd, then put a new blank hdd in the laptop and restore the image. See if that works ok then. Follow the Acronis instructions. Try to run the backup image under cool conditions in case excessive heat is causing the hdd failure.

Zygomorphic
06-06-2013, 08:46 PM
If you can fit all your data on it, try removing the 750 GB drive and putting the new 500 GB drive in its place. If this solves the problem, you can hold off on sending your laptop in until a better time. This thread will provide proof of the date of issue, and your notes about schoolwork can provide reason for ASUS to service your notebook even if it were to go out of warranty. If replacing the HDD is the only issue, then you might be able to talk them into trying to hurry your notebook through the service process, since you need it for school.

DDustin
06-23-2013, 02:35 PM
So I am assuming you haven't done anything so far other than backup some important files to your external hdd, right?

I am also assuming your Windows message is about your 750 GB hdd, not your C: System drive SSD, right?

You also have said you have a 500 GB external hdd, as well as a copy of Acronis, right?

How much data space is used on the SSD? Fill in the blank: __________ of 256 GB is used
How much data space is used on the hdd? Fill in the blank: __________ of 750 GB is used

Now you need to understand these terms:

Clone a drive means to make an exact duplicate of it. That means all of your data, free space, partitions etc are copied exactly. That means a
clone of a 256 GB drive will use 256 GB of space.

Image a drive (or partition) is different. That is a file or files that software creates (like Acronis) that copies all of the data on the drive,
including the partition tables, boot sectors etc. The file is OFTEN compressed to save even more space.

Example: C: drive of 256 GB has 76 GB of space in use, and has two partitions, along with the boot sector. An Image file(s) will record all of
this info so it can be replicated on another drive or even a larger drive (sometimes a smaller drive too.) The benefit of the Image is that your
76 GB of data will be compressed to say 60 GB file(s) which will store easily on your external hdd. When you go to restore the image it will
RECREATE everything exactly as you had it, like a snapshot.

does that help?

Your error messages might not be fatal YET. I would try to image the drive to your external hdd, then put a new blank hdd in the laptop and
restore the image. See if that works ok then. Follow the Acronis instructions. Try to run the backup image under cool conditions in case
excessive heat is causing the hdd failure.

Thanks for the reply. The computer has been crashing too much to allow me to respond. Usually when it crashes everything just freezes. A couple of times my desktop icons all disappeared with a warning that Windows has stopped responding, sometimes it all goes black with just the cursor and no matter what, I don't have use of ctrl/alt/delete or the restart function in the start menu.

I created a system image of my data drive (750gb), which is the drive that's failing, onto the 500gb external and again onto a 300gb USB drive (WD Passport). The 256gb SSD (OS) has 88.8gb used space. The 750gb HHD has 2 partitions. One ,199gb meant as a backup for the OS, has nothing on it at all and the other 498gb, meant for just data/ media and non-essential programs, which has 83.3gb used space.

When I boot up the laptop gives me a S.M.A.R.T. warning telling me the 750gb drive has failed and I need to backup and replace it. My laptop can't usually seem to make it through responding to a post like this one without freezing and/or crashing a few times and requires a hard restart.

I did a whole lot of sweeps for malware and virus's and found a ton plus I ran Windows repair and some other stuff... that's outlined in this thread>> http://www.techspot.com/community/topics/virus-malware-maybe-more.193307/ That seemed to help a decent amount but I still can't make it through too much internet use (like this reply) or even a video clip without the computer crashing. The company that built the computer suggested I run the computer without the 750gb data drive installed at all. I did that and I lost all of the hard drive failure warnings but the freezing, crashing and running dirt slow was unchanged.

So here are my questions for now...

Do you think that doing a clean install of Window's will fix my issues or does it sound like it's another hardware problem? Is there a program I can run to test the SSD that’s actually effective?

How do I use the ISO file I was linked to? Should I save it to a thumb drive? I saved it to my desktop for now.

My computer came with 2 disks; An Asus G74 recovery disk image (assuming it's Windows) and the Asus driver and utility 3.0. Which disk does the bloatware and crap I don't need come on? The recovery disk or the Asus driver disk? Is it better to use the file download that was linked to me or the recovery disk? Also how do I backup and save my internet favorites and the programs saved on my OS hard drive?

How long might doing a clean install take?

billyray520
06-23-2013, 04:29 PM
Sorry to hear about all of the problems DD. Saving your data from the system drive is a good first step, but be suspicious that it may be infected with virus or other malware. What I would do is boot the computer off of a CD to examine the system disk. You bought something I think, that may let you do that. Or you can get a Linux distro (like Ubuntu) which will boot from CD. Then you can scan the files you want to save while they are still on the SSD, using a web based virus detection (or even a Linux one if it is included) I like this one. (http://virusscan.jotti.org/en) If the files you are checking are clean, then you can copy them over to your usb drive or whatever. Get your bookmarks, emails and all other user files you need. As far as programs go, you can only reinstall those. So if you have downloaded install files saved somewhere, save those. If you have install CDs you can use those. Once you have all this done, you will be ready to re-install Windows.

DDustin
06-23-2013, 05:51 PM
Sorry to hear about all of the problems DD. Saving your data from the system drive is a good first step, but be suspicious that it may be infected with virus or other malware. What I would do is boot the computer off of a CD to examine the system disk. You bought something I think, that may let you do that. Or you can get a Linux distro (like Ubuntu) which will boot from CD. Then you can scan the files you want to save while they are still on the SSD, using a web based virus detection (or even a Linux one if it is included) I like this one. (http://virusscan.jotti.org/en) If the files you are checking are clean, then you can copy them over to your usb drive or whatever. Get your bookmarks, emails and all other user files you need. As far as programs go, you can only reinstall those. So if you have downloaded install files saved somewhere, save those. If you have install CDs you can use those. Once you have all this done, you will be ready to re-install Windows.

Yes the recovery disk says that I can boot off of it. How would I examine the SSD for errors like that?

Would this disk take the place of the Windows ISO file that Muratus linked to earlier in the thread? Or would it have bloatware and stuff I don't need on it? Which disk usually has the bloatware? The recovery disk or the drivers disk?

Do you mean that I may have saved infected files onto the external drive? If I save a new image onto the External drive, will it overwrite and delete any virus's and malware? Or do I have to do all of the sweeps I performed in that thread to the external drive? Or would it be better to reformat it and start over?

Where can all my favorites be found for me to save them?

billyray520
06-23-2013, 11:21 PM
The recovery disk should restore your system to the way it was when it was first purchased. I don't think it will let you do anything other than that.

Whether it works or not is the question. You can try to restore everything using it though.

Doing that should wipe your system drive (but I'm not sure since I never used the Asus recovery disk.)

If it restores everything back to like new, great.

You mentioned you had viruses. So maybe you saved some infected files. Better scan them to be sure.

DDustin
06-24-2013, 02:10 AM
I running all the sweeps on my external drives now.

If I reinstall windows I really want to make sure I do it without the bloatware. How exactly do I go about doing that?

billyray520
06-24-2013, 12:41 PM
Check this bloatware guide (http://forum.notebookreview.com/asus/380681-asus-utility-bloatware-guide.html). You can also read through this thread (http://forum.notebookreview.com/asus-reviews-owners-lounges/591329-asus-g74sx-owners-lounge.html).

DDustin
07-02-2013, 12:12 AM
I did a clean install of Window's sans bloatware and swept the entire system for errors. I did all of this without the bad harddrive in so it shouldn't affect anything.

The computer froze twice during the windows install but seemed to be ok for a day. Once the Windows updates were finished though it's back to freezing up and crashing about every hour. It's also really slow.

Any ideas?

I'm pretty sure this has cost me my financial aid and therefore school all together. The company that built it said they'll look at it but it'll take a month or more. They can send me just the harddrive but it's clear that's not the only problem since this is all happening without it installed. I'm pretty desperate.

Zygomorphic
07-02-2013, 01:36 AM
It is possible that you have a failing motherboard. Is there any way that the company can rush the system because of your situation? The SSD can also be failing, and they do have a limited number of writes. Do you have any old SATA hard drives that you could try installing to for checking purposes? If they work fine, then likely you have a bad drive. If they don't, you have a bad mobo (or something else). Try running a memory tester and checking for errors while you are at it.

DDustin
07-02-2013, 06:32 PM
Is there a way I can test the mother board? Also is there a free program that can test the ssd?

Shawnnepc
07-02-2013, 07:02 PM
Is there a way I can test the mother board? Also is there a free program that can test the ssd?

From your thread on techspot it looks like you've still got a rootkit on your primary drive and the 750GB drive.

Some rootkits will flag S.M.A.R.T and show signs of failure. (Usually intentional in order to scare you into purchase whatever crapware they are scamming.at the time, this includes the FBI thing, System Security Pro..etc)

The FBi infection usually carries with it TDL3/TDL '4'. I currently have 4 computers in the office with with a rootkit called 'harbinger' that was installed with the latest FBI infection.

I'm a little busy right now and I don't have the time to post a guide on removal.

Your best bet is to email me or Skype me later this evening if you're in a hurry.


Also, with these recent rootkits it's likely the infections will still be there after reinstall.

DDustin
07-02-2013, 07:59 PM
Email sent, thanks.


Are there any ways to test the mother board?

Shawnnepc
07-02-2013, 08:07 PM
Email sent, thanks.


Are there any ways to test the mother board?

yes, but S.M.A.R.T won't flag a hard drive on controller failure

DDustin
07-02-2013, 08:11 PM
yes, but S.M.A.R.T won't flag a hard drive on controller failure

Well I'm not getting the SMART warning now since the drive is out but I still have all the problems. It does seem unlikely to me that I would have an HDD and a mother board go bad on a decently new'ish computer.

So you don't think it's the motherboard at all?

DDustin
07-03-2013, 05:10 AM
Just got a blue screen and then this again. It's probably the 3rd or 4th time since reinstalling Windows.

http://i1137.photobucket.com/albums/n506/DDustin5/IMG_20130702_235745_679_zps26327e8e.jpg




ETA:
Since posting this I just got the blue screen followed by that screen again. It's getting more frequent.

Zygomorphic
07-03-2013, 10:12 AM
Rootkits and malware can do that. They sometimes wipe out the bootloader and boot sector, which will cause the BIOS not to be able to find a bootable media. Depending on what programs you are using, you could install LINUX alongside your Windows installation, since that runs its own bootloader (which plays nice with Windows). It also is not affected by Windows viruses (and there are very few LINUX malware threats, due to the security of the operating system).

Shawnnepc
07-03-2013, 03:07 PM
Just got a blue screen and then this again. It's probably the 3rd or 4th time since reinstalling Windows.

http://i1137.photobucket.com/albums/n506/DDustin5/IMG_20130702_235745_679_zps26327e8e.jpg

I never got your e-mail.

I just sent you a PM with my email address and an ALT email in case my exchange server hates your email address for some reason.




ETA:
Since posting this I just got the blue screen followed by that screen again. It's getting more frequent.


Rootkits and malware can do that. They sometimes wipe out the bootloader and boot sector, which will cause the BIOS not to be able to find a bootable media. Depending on what programs you are using, you could install LINUX alongside your Windows installation, since that runs its own bootloader (which plays nice with Windows). It also is not affected by Windows viruses (and there are very few LINUX malware threats, due to the security of the operating system).

That might be a little more advanced than the typical enduser can handle ;)