Some possible help for failed boot


Distinguished Member
This may be old news, but it also may save someone a lot of headaches.

This afternoon, I completed my normal chores in Vista and decided to reboot into Simply Mepis Linux which I am attempting to learn. (I have been using Easy BCD for at least a couple of years). I am currently quad booting Vista, 7, Mepis 8.0 and Mepis 8.5. My system has three SATA drives with the four OSs residing on two of the drives.

When I rebooted, Mepis simply refused to boot. I received a totally different login screen than normal and was rewarded with an error 17 (non-bootable partition--or something similar).

I found this strange since I had not installed any new software, had any power fluctuations, or done any incorrect shutdowns in Windows.

OK, I decide t use the live CD to boot into Linux. I inserted the CD and rebooted and the computer booted directly into Vista. That really got my attention.

Another attempted reboot resulted in the same situation.

I attempted a third reboot, and entered the BIOS setup. For some reason, the boot order was totally different than it should have been. The floppy drive (yes, I still have one) was now listed as the first boot drive and the drive containing Vista was second and one of my two DVD drives was third.

Now, this isn't like launching the space shuttle. I rearranged the boot order (from memory) and rebooted. Still no Linux. Now, I'm getting irritated. I rearrange the hard drive order again, and all is back to normal, now.

So where am I going with all this rambling. Glad you asked.

When operating multiple drives and multible operating systems in a computer, you cannot change the order of the drives after operating system installation nor can you change the cable connections without causing the whole system to go crazy. At least that has been my experience.

So, I copied the boot order onto a card and placed it in the bottom of my computer case (I have a large tower) for future occurances.

I have absolutely no (zero) idea or clue as to what caused the boot order to change between my shutdown this morning prior to work and the restart this afternoon after work.

I hope my story will help others who may experience a similar problem.

Jerry in Anchorage, Alaska

PS If this story is worthless, or inaccurate, Administrator please remove it and tell me so I can avoid looking like more of an idiot in the future.
Jerry, you're just having a bad day :smile:
And hey, at least you fixed the problem without losing too much hair over it (hopefully)
Hi Jerry,

You are spot-on correct. You definitely must not change the boot order.

My stupid PC will change the boot order if I plug in or disconnect a harddrive, use eSata, or a couple of other things.
It seems to be a standard feature that removing a HDD to protect it, whilst installing an OS on another disk, will reset the boot sequence. The BIOS will remove the missing HDD from the sequence, then add it back at the bottom when it reappears.
Annoying, but predictable.
btw . It's a good idea to have floppy/CD/HDD as your standard sequence.
As long as the trays are empty the system boots normally with only a second or two added to the time taken, but rescue/installation CDs or floppies can be used predictably and succesfully, without the problems associated with a temporary BIOS override.
Why your system should have changed without intervention from you, is more mysterious.
The only reason I can think of, short of practical jokers messing with your box, is that your CMOS battery needs replacing if the BIOS cannot retain its memory.
Terry, I used to always use your "place CD at the start of the sequence" method.

But most modern PCs these days have a "press f8 to display boot menu list" which presents an easier way of changing the BIOS boot menu temporarily.
The reason I advise leaving CD before HDD is because of the number of times people come here saying a Windows install has failed at the first reboot, when they started the install with a temporary override.
It's fine if you're just booting something like a partition manager from CD, but it causes problems if the booted CD expects to reboot itself dynamically.
As I said, the time cost is negligible during a normal boot, and it's faster if you do want a CD boot, just to slip the disc into the tray and click "restart" than to hang around intercepting the boot process.

(the floppy is just for old times' sake)

After computer reboots from Windows install it doesn't need to boot from the disc again, since the files have been copied over. So it actually needs to boot from the hard drive on reboot to finish the installation. But yes, rather than re-explain to someone how to boot from the disc its better to just have them leave the boot order as is so it always boots from a bootable disc if present when and if a future problem with the computer requires it.
I don't know how setup is coded, but it seems to be essential.
I've fixed a number of "install keeps failing" posts here by getting the poster to alter the BIOS.
It doesn't seem logical (you must not "press any key" on the reboots) but it works.
I assume the logic of the PBR on the DVD is
write "press any key"
if yes start setup
If no check if setup already in progress
If yes continue
if no boot next device in sequence.