Recently I came across someone who wanted to repair a worn down MSI Wind Top computer. This is the type of computer that has the motherboard built right on top, or behind, the monitor to make it all one unit. What I loved about it was that it had a touchscreen. I haven’t had much experience with this layout so I thought it would be interesting to crack in to. I’m a poor soul though. Had I known what I was really getting myself in to…
I ran a little Google search to see what I would come across, and found on the MSI website that this Wind Top uses “MSI Military Class II” that “features military class components”. This means nothing to anyone who has served in the military, except that you might end up having to repair a lot of crap, while ripping out your hair in the process. Upon first inspection I could see that with all the cuts, scratches, and bruises, this thing had been through the wringer, or a minor battlefield. This model was a little older because it had the OEM sticker on the back with the Windows 7 Home Edition operating system. These days I think it is rare to find systems preloaded with Windows 8.1 because Microsoft forces you to have Windows 10. This made me happy because I hate both Windows 8 and 10. Although none of this mattered anyway because when I first booted it up I was gifted with a beautiful message telling me that the Windows operating system files were corrupt. Just… lovely. After a few more cold restarts it would skip the corrupt Windows message, but instead the system would continuously reboot itself before the Windows splash screen would show.
Reinstalling the operating system would have been a quick fix at this point but this was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. So the first thing I tried was an attempt to get in to the recovery partition on the hard drive. Usually upon installing Windows, it will make a small partition for the recovery files. Unfortunately I was unable to access the recovery partition due to BIOS ignoring my key strokes. The good thing is I just happened to have a Windows CD with Home Edition! Although this step took me a little further, in the end I got nowhere. It took… forever… to do… anything! Once the system was able to reach a Windows backdrop with recovery options, it would literally stop responding, or take a ridiculous amount of time to complete a single task. The only option that did not battle with my patience was the Command Prompt recovery option, which was great! From here I tried SFC, /fixboot and /fixmbr. SFC checks all common Windows boot files and checks to see if they are original. If not then it replaces them with the original files. /fixboot replaces the windows boot files while /fixmbr replaces the master boot record. For me, none of these helped. At this point, restarting would give me error messages about the Windows BCD files being corrupt. So, I went back to the Command Prompt in the recovery options to try and reinstall the BCD Store files automatically and manually. This also got me nowhere, and left me with the same error upon bootup.
Eventually, I ended up running CHKDSK with /f and /r switches. CHKDSK checks all the sectors on the hard drive to determine if they are corrupt. I believe if you run CHKDSK by itself it would be the same as if you added the /f switch, which checks the disk and gives you a summary – but does not repair sectors. The /r switch needs to be added to repair bad/corrupt sectors. This is where things became interesting.
CHKDSK ran for two days. TWO DAYS – finding bad sector after bad sector at an extremely slow pace as before. I was certain that once finished I would be able to get in to Windows, but I was unfortunate. After two days of building hope and then a slap to the face, I decided to do a clean install. I decided to install Windows 7 Professional because I love it and it has always been my go-to operating system. And the customer would prefer that over any other Windows 7 OS. Once Windows 7 was installed, it seemed like everything was going smoothly. But unfortunately… once again, the hard drive reared its ugly head and things began to fall apart. Sometimes the OS would not start. Sometimes it would start and continue to run fine. Then it would freeze, or run extremely slow. It was very inconsistent and unreliable. I was also unable to install updates, which left me with poor security and some basic drivers.
In the end, I came to the decision that the hard drive was failing miserably and needed to be replaced. It came stocked with a Western Digital 1TB SATA drive (10EZEX) – Caviar Blue! I personally think these are incredible hard drives and was surprised that it hit the bucket. I chose to stick the same type of drive inside with double the amount of space. I also doubled the RAM (from 4 to 8GB).
The 2TB drive is working just fine, and I even installed Ubuntu on the system as well (dual-boot, per the customer). The moral of this post is… never give up. Don’t let the stress get to you! Keep trying until you have exhausted all your options. I may have had a couple more options but that piece of– son-of a puss-bucket hard drive was pissing me the fu—
Until next time! Hope you all enjoyed the read and hope to see you back for the next one!
(I torched the original hard-drive and sent it back to hell where it came from.)