Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Fixing boot errors–“There is no disk in the drive”

It is a very frustrating thing: you go and turn on your PC and instead of hearing the Window’s ‘welcome bells’ and seeing a Login screen or Desktop, you see instead a black (or blue) screen and an Error message. So, you try again…
Suddenly, shockingly, your computer refuses to work. You cannot read your email or play Solitaire. What’s worse, there’s a message for you.. which seems to offer an explanation, and a sense of hope — namely, the option to “Continue”. But “Continue” only brings up the message again. Your computer has become what we geeks call a “brick”.

For many, this is the time to call upon a Tech (such as myself). For others, this is the time to do some troubleshooting. (A good place to start is to read this prior article of mine, “When good computers go bad“.) Computer troubleshooting is an art, but there are a couple of general principals.
1: Safe Mode is your friend.
2: System Restore. (For more on the System Restore tool, click here.)
3: “My computer was working fine until I installed __________.” Well, uninstall it. (If _______ was a device driver, use the “Roll back driver” button; an application, use Add/Remove Programs; and a device or card, unplug it.)

Recently a client had this boot Error message: “No Disk. There is no disk in the drive. Please insert a disk into the drive. Cancel/Try Again/Continue.” [Note: this is a different error than the more serious, though similar-sounding, “Disk not found” error.]
The gentleman had never before been asked to “insert a disk”, and he told me he had not done any new installations of either programs or hardware.

Typically, this error is caused by a program (or Service) being configured to look to a removable drive before continuing, and ‘failing’ when it doesn’t find the right disk there. The most common of these (situations) is an antivirus that has been set to “scan floppy during boot”. (Keyword=”during”.) That was what had happened to my client: he had inadvertently changed the configuration (the “Settings”) of his antivirus, and simply unchecking the “floppy” option resolved the issue. To read more on configuring your antivirus, click here.

If your antivirus is not your issue, it may be some other Startup program (or Service), and the way to troubleshoot this is to use the msconfig tool to perform a “clean boot”. Open the Run dialogue (Start >Run) and type in “msconfig” (no quotes).
Click on “OK” and the configuration utility will open to the General tab.
Change the “Startup Selection” to “Selective Startup” and uncheck all four checkboxes, as shown above, and leave the radio button on “Use Original BOOT.INI”. When yours looks like my illustration, click on “Apply”. Now click on “Restart now” to reboot.

If your PC reboots normally now, you have indeed determined that a Startup program (or Service) is the culprit and you should return to msconfig and do a one-at-a-time process of checking and unchecking Startup item to identify the problematic one — and then delete (uninstall) it. If this applies to you, please read Microsoft’s article on this process by clicking here.

If the “clean boot” did not give you a normal boot (ie: it is NOT your antivirus, or a Startup program), it is quite probable, almost to the point of certainty, that your machine has been infected with malware. The next step is to run full (up-to-date) antivirus and anti-spyware scans, preferably starting these while in Safe Mode. I have written articles on how to do this, and the pertinent ones can be read by clicking here. You can also boot to an antivirus CD, or if “Safe Mode with networking” allows you access to the Web, you can run online anti-malware scans as well.

Boot errors and Blue-Screens-Of-Death (BSOD’s) are no joke, and I hope you never see them (using safe computing practices goes a long way toward avoiding them). I also hope the six-days-a-week advice you find here at Tech–for Everyone is useful and helpful to you. Hopefully you will find your answer here, but if you don’t.. please remember that there are good, red-blooded American Geeks standing by to help you– us lowly Tech Support-types.

Today’s free links: Are you a Sci-fi fanatic? Do you like to customize your PC with wallpaper? Both? Then I have a website for you, Witt’s Wallpaper. From site: “…one of the oldest and largest free windows desktop computer wallpaper sites on the internet. The site includes several thousand computer wallpapers [ Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, SciFi, Star Trek, Star Wars), icons…”

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

Share this post :

December 5, 2007 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, how to, PC, tech, Windows | , , , | 4 Comments