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.

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

Hibernation vs. Sleep+Vista

What is the difference between “hibernation” and “sleep”? Both are power-saving states designed to achieve a compromise between fully-powered (“on”) and total shutdown. Without these low-power states (Stand By, Sleep, and Hibernate), you would have to go through the whole Windows’ boot process each morning. Although Vista has a shorter boot than previous versions, it still takes longer than most of us would like to wait — we are prone to desire “instant gratification” these days — and so we use Stand By, Sleep, or Hibernate.

I wrote an article on power states and how to make adjustments to when they kick in, and use the Power Options control panel. To read (or review) this article, click this link, More reader questions answered: power states. Today I want to answer the title’s question, and tell you how to enable Hibernation as a power-saving option if it is not already a part of your Power Options control panel.

To begin with, Hibernation is a deeper “off state” than Sleep (or Stand By, as it’s sometimes called), and thus offers greater power savings at the cost of a longer rebooting time. It is considered a “safer” state, in terms of data. This is because, unlike Sleep mode, Hibernation not only shuts down the power to peripherals (monitor, etc.) and hard drives, but also turns off the power to the RAM memory chips.
When you remove the power to RAM, any data there is “lost”, forgotten, gone — whatever unsaved document, any open window, and such. 
Hibernation “writes” (Saves) all the 1’s and 0’s that are in RAM to a reference file (on your hard drive) before un-powering RAM, and it “reads” this file and reloads the data when you come out of Hibernation, thus restoring you to where you ended your ‘session’. (This “reading” and loading is why it takes longer to “wake” than coming out of Sleep.)
Sleep/Stand By mode retains the power to your RAM. There is no saving of RAM contents to a file and there’s no need ‘load’ it — and thus it’s faster.. with less power savings. If there was a power interruption for some reason while in this state (and you don’t have a UPS), then your unsaved RAM contents would be gone.

Laptop computers typically come with the Hibernation power-settings option enabled and desktops don’t. If you would like to add the Hibernation option to your desktop, or if for some reason (such as a sneaky Windows Update) your Hibernation option has disappeared and you would like it back, here’s how to restore it: open a command prompt (Start >Programs >Accessories >Command Prompt) and type in “powercfg -h on” (no quotes) and hit Enter. That’s it. Now you will find Hibernation settings in the Power Options area of your Control Panel.

Vista users: Vista has a known bug which sometimes causes it to fail to read the Hibernation reference file and “lock up” when waking. This causes you to have to do a hard boot, (hold down the power button for 10 seconds) and the data in the reference file is gone. It is hoped that this ‘glitch’ will be fixed with the release of Service Pack 1, but I cannot confirm this will actually be the case. The KB Update which fixes this issue was included in SP1, and it seems to have eliminated the issue entirely. Both SP1 and the seperate patch can be obtained by simply using Windows Update, or manally at

* If instead you would like to remove the buggy Hibernation mode, and disable it from your automatic power-saving settings, the command is “powercfg -h off” (no quotes).

Today’s free link: for those of you who like digital music, the Nexus Radio download is for you. This offers you not only 6000+ Internet radio stations you can listen to, but the ability to record directly to your hard drive.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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November 1, 2007 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , | 21 Comments