Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways...

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Emh, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    Yesterday, after coming home from work, I turned my laptop on from the sleep mode and got an error message saying "Operating system not found." However, after pressing any key, Windows properly begins the process of resuming.

    Additionally, when I rebooted my computer today, I got an error message saying "NTLDR not found" quickly followed about the OS error message. Again, pressing any key results in the resumption of the Windows.

    This is a Dell XPS 15Z running Windows 7.

    Does anyone know what the issue is and if I should be worried?
     
  2. Charlie Kelly

    Charlie Kelly Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    Sounds like your computer's trying to boot first from something other than your windows partition. Check the boot order in the bios, have you plugged in a new memory stick recently or something?
     
  3. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    Turns out having a thumb drive plugged was the issue. However, I find this to be rather peculiar considering I've had that particular thumb drive plugged in the past with no issues (as well as two other hard drives, sometimes all three at once).
     
  4. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    Yeah, it seems -as Charlie said- your boot-order got changed somehow. Go into your BIOS and change so to Windows partition/hard drive is first in the boot order.
     
  5. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    Has anyone ever figured out how these Randomly-changed-your-settings-for-no-reason errors actually happen in the first place?

    Because this has been a common problem with Windows computers as far back as I can remember: your computer behaves perfectly normally for years and then suddenly does something inexplicable; your home page has changed, your screen resolution is one setting higher or lower, your browser settings have changed, programs that used to load on startup suddenly don't, programs that never loaded before suddenly do, and default settings you've taken for granted for fourteen months suddenly change in a subtle way and now you have to go and change them all back.

    My boss calls this "the perverse behavior of inanimate objects" but it appears to be purely a windows thing (although I have noticed this happening a lot with the latest version of Safari too). WHY THE HELL DOES THIS HAPPEN?
     
  6. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    Aliens.
     
  7. Random_Spock

    Random_Spock Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    Had something like it happen recently on my laptop. Runs on Windows 7. Started crashing after a power outage... and then another one happened. Note: both of these happened on regular days, it wasn't storming or anything like that.

    This error showed up twice when I first started my computer:

    Location is not available
    C:\windows\system32\config\systemprofile\desktop refers to a location that is unavailable. It could be on a hard drive on this computer, or on a network. Check to make sure the disk is properly inserted, or that you are connected to the internet or your network, and then try again. If it still cannot be located, the information might have been moved to a different location.

    The flash drive mention makes sense. Used two of them recently after events just to save important info onto them.

    @ Evil Headhunter: Definitely. Used the older flash drive before without any problems. Same with the new one. Could the outages have scrambled my laptop bootwise?
     
  8. Santaman

    Santaman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    Windows always has a few files and parts of the registry open, if your machine crashes or when there is a power outtage windows will not have the change to write its stuff into and close the files properly which then can get corrupted.

    As for newtype_alpha's observation, I've used every Windows since version 2.1x for 286, at the moment I run Win 95, 98SE, 2000, XP and 7, some machines have been running longer than 10 years and none of them has shown that sort of problem, I guess that it comes down to maintenance, especially XP can get a litle flaky if you don't clean up the registry from time to time.
     
  9. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    Try the fix mentioned here. It appears to happen after some Windows updates.
     
  10. Random_Spock

    Random_Spock Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    I used the defragmenter not too long ago on my lap top and it noticed that there were some files that needed to be defragmented in the boot sector (iirc). Thought it fixed it up, but obviously it didn't.

    As for corruption file wise, is there anything I can do if it's been corrupted?

    @ Ghostavo Fring: Thanks :).
     
  11. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    A lot of Dells have a separate key for boot-order. F12 I think. It would allow you to check your boot-order without going in to the BIOS itself.
     
  12. Random_Spock

    Random_Spock Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    Mine's a Gateway, and it has that key. Might try that out. Thanks :).
     
  13. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    It may also be as simple as a CMOS battery issue. I've experienced similar weird things over the years with the computer forgetting the boot device, local time and other oddities. Replacing the battery generally fixes it.
     
  14. PurpleBuddha

    PurpleBuddha Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    The vast vast majority of the time it is the end user who does something to change the settings and either does not realize they did or forgets. The settings on my windows systems never change all by themselves. Many of the settings you mentioned can be changed by other programs that are installed on your system. So when something goes wrong, got to the most basics trouble shooting 101 and try to remember any changes you made or programs that were installed in the last several days and go from there.
     
  15. PurpleBuddha

    PurpleBuddha Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    That's good advice. However, the default bios setting on most machines including this Dell laptop are not set so that a usb drive will have first boot priority. If the bios lost its settings it would default to the internal hdd before the usb drive.
     
  16. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Computer problem: "Operating system not found" but works anyways..

    Yeah, I thought of that. It appears the most of those changes are related to installations of programs, but they do not seem to occur when the programs are actually installed (most only manifest days or weeks later, especially in the case of startup services). People installing things without realizing it is a common problem too (especially old people) but doesn't seem directly related to the problem.

    Actually, it seems to have more to do with system file/registry corruption, especially since I can recall this happening with drivers often enough.

    Almost makes me wonder if certain hard drives are more reliable than others?