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First Time User--No Menu

Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:30 pm
by GemLuva
Hi, I burned a UBCD using Nero 9 to boot up my Dell Dimension 4450 after I got a c000021a {Fatal System Error} BSOD.
So, I was pretty proud of myself, but I rebooted using the UBCD and all I'm getting is a black screen with flashing cursor. Isn't a menu supposed to appear?
I just need to get to my deskdop and back up My Documents to a flash drive. I just finished updating an inventory that I can't afford to lose. :(

Thanks for any and all help!

Re: First Time User--No Menu

Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:39 pm
by GemLuva
I totally realized right after I posted that I should have given more info in order to save time.
I downloaded the P2P and the file didn’t match, so I downloaded from the Haraldkraft mirror site.
I did check the download format, the size and the checksums to make sure they all matched, and they did.
I burned with Nero 9 using the Nero Burning Rom, clicked the tab for boot and selected CD-ROM (Boot).
I burned at a speed of 4x to a maxell CD-R74 74 min. 650 MB disk.
I changed the BIOS settings to boot from the CD-Rom drive first, then floppy, then hard drive. I made sure the floppy disk was enabled to boot.
I didn’t know how to check to see if the CD drive is install as a slave or a master
I selected Boot Delay on the BIOS.

Now, I will say that when I put the disk the computer I’m at now, no files show on the window that pops up, but the Details say:
File System: CDFS
Free Space: 0 Bytes
Total Size: 301 MB

While I much prefer the black screen with the flashing cursor to a BSOD any day of the week, I do have files that I need to retrieve. If there were usage instructions on the site that I missed, I apologize, I’m a little stressed.

Thanks for any and all responses.

Re: First Time User--No Menu

Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:01 pm
by ady
GemLuva wrote:I just need to get to my deskdop and back up My Documents to a flash drive.
So, what tool are you planning to use from UBCD? It may sound you as a strange question, when you still don't even have a booting menu, but I do have a reason to ask.

Besides the backup, are you planing to use any other tool from UBCD?
GemLuva wrote:I did check the download format, the size and the checksums
...against the official checksum published at, right?
GemLuva wrote:I burned at a speed of 4x to a maxell CD-R74 74 min. 650 MB disk.
JFYI, for UBCD it is recommended to use CD-RW or CD+RW (re-writable CDs). You can/may use CD-R, but in case of updates or bad CD burning, a re-writable CD lets you try again on the same media.
GemLuva wrote:I made sure the floppy disk was enabled to boot
Does your BIOS correctly recognize the optical drive? (besides your floppy drive, which is not actually being used to boot.)
GemLuva wrote:I didn’t know how to check to see if the CD drive is install as a slave or a master
You can see this both in the BIOS and at the POST screen (the first screens, before any OS or boot menu appears). It would be useful if you can confirm that the optical drive is correctly identified by your BIOS (the info that appears at the POST screen about it is actually the real characteristics of the optical drive).
GemLuva wrote:Now, I will say that when I put the disk the computer I’m at now, no files show on the window that pops up, but the Details say:
File System: CDFS
Free Space: 0 Bytes
Total Size: 301 MB
This is strange. If you are using Windows in that computer, you should be able to open the CD media with Windows Explorer and see several files. Where those 301 MB are coming from? No file and no folder? You understand the contradiction, don't you?

Just to be sure, set Windows Explorer to show all "hidden" files, and try opening the content of the CD media again. Let us know what you see then.

Also, can you test booting UBCD in some other system (like the one you are writing from)? This may help us know if the problem is the CD or the hardware.

Re: First Time User--No Menu

Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:24 pm
by GemLuva
Okay, here goes:
1. I don't know which programs I would use. Since I didn't have menu options to choose from, I didn't get that far. It was a cross that bridge... situation. Dell seemed fairly confident that I had diagnosed the problem correctly, so I figured I'd use the data recovery tools, since that's my primary goal. Dell said that if I used my XP recovery disk I would lose my files when it reinstalled windows XP, so I figured if I have to reinstall the OS anyway, I might as well just retrieve my docs and upgrade to my dad's WIN7 and Office 2010 since he's only using one of his licenses.

You know, if you're dissecting my post in an effort to make me realize that I don't know what I'm doing, it's completely unnecessary. I already realize that. I know someone who can fix it but I'm unemployed and I can't afford him so I put on my big girl pants and my DIY hat and got down to business. I have to retrieve my files because all my job search tools are in that PC and I would prefer not to be homeless by Easter.

2. Well yes, I actually did match my checksums to the ones on the Downloads page. Since most muggles don't even know that checksums exist, I wouldn't have mentioned it otherwise.

3. I made a checklist of other user's challenges/problems to go over before inserting the disk, and since using a CD-RW was a challenge for someone, I used the CD-R. I'm happy to burn to an RW and try again.

4. I don't know if my BIOS correctly recognized the optical drive. Like I said, just put the big girl pants on today. I'm a beginner. However, I do happen to know that I'm not booting from the floppy drive, just like I know the CD-ROM drive is not, in fact, a cupholder. Again, made a list of other people's challenges, big and small, changed the things I could, sprinkled a little pixie dust on the rest (and no, not real pixie dust. Everybody knows you only use that on kitchen appliances).

5. Good to know where to find the slave/master info but I need to know what text to look for or that does me no good. I have been to the POST screen before but I don't remember how to get there (gosh, it unexpectedly hurt my pride to say that). "...confirm that the optical drive is correctly identified by your BIOS" I'm laughing. I get your plan now. First insult my intelligence with the floppy drive thing to get my guard down and then the unanticipated KO with this deal. I'm more than happy to confirm it if you tell me what it should say.

6. I actually do understand the contradiction, which is why I mentioned it. I set it to show hidden files, none popped up. I think we're looking at a re-burn. Won't be the first time.

7. I'm on my dad's PC by the grace of prayer, so I'll try to re-burn before I boot his PC with the CD. This whole thing happened because stupid Microsoft said I needed up update my (admittedly antique) media player. After it installed, I allowed windows to restart my system. I have hi-speed now and I thought I was fancy. In the past I would have waited until I was done on the web and re-started it myself, because it takes the hamsters so long to get that dial-up wheel going good. Ah well, you live and learn.

Thanks for the help, I really do appreciate it and I'll do my best to pretend I know what the heck you're saying.

Re: First Time User--No Menu

Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:21 pm
by ady
I was polite and by no means was my intention to provoke you. I guess you are having a bad time and reading a neutral post may be interpreted as an aggression, being you in that bad mood.

Someone that wants to burn UBCD might have "some" goal in mind. That's why I asked for which program you are looking for. JFYI, simply looking at you have the current list of programs for the stable version of UBCD.

If you are looking to somehow read your HDD and to make a backup (to CD or UFD), the recommended method from UBCD is to use the included PartedMagic version.

Alternatively, if you only want to make a backup, and you are not interested at all on any other tool included in UBCD, then you may try downloading and burning the latest PartedMagic from

With all that complaining, you actually lost me. If you want some specific help, and you can provide more specific useful info to help you troubleshoot the problem, then maybe we can start again. For example, try your UBCD in more than one computer, so you can test if the boot problem is on the specific computer only.

About the POST screen, try "How To Access BIOS On Dell, HP, Acer, Sony VAIO, Compaq and Toshiba Computer" at ... bios-setup. The BIOS usually displays the connected drives (letting you know if it is master/slave/sata/ahci..., or if it recognizes a CD drive or a DVD drive), and should also let you display a graphic logo screen at startup, or the POST screen at startup (one or the other).

Re: First Time User--No Menu

Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:37 pm
by ady
GemLuva wrote:I burned with Nero 9 using the Nero Burning Rom, clicked the tab for boot and selected CD-ROM (Boot).
For users interested, the UBCD site includes a tutorial (originally made for an older version of Nero, but essentially it is still the same). The Nero tutorial is located at

Re: First Time User--No Menu

Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:22 pm
by GemLuva
I should start by saying that you are correct. I suspect that most people who initially post here are stressed out. I am no different. I’m an actor, so believe me, I can take criticism, but if I object to the way I’m spoken to I do say so.

You’re right to assume that anyone requesting help may not have the understanding of computers that you do. Certain of your comments read as a little condescending (plus the fact that you thought I might not know that a CD-ROM does not boot from the floppy drive) and that kind of pissed me off a little bit. Also, you took it a little too seriously. I’m very tongue-in-cheek.

I can’t afford to lose these files. I wouldn’t attempt to retrieve them myself if it wasn’t reasonably certain I could do it. I’m pretty good at installing hard drives and plug-and-play little upgrades, but I’m nowhere near as knowledgeable as you, and not ashamed to say it. I did my best to honestly answer every question you asked. I’m sorry you saw that as complaining.

I did read the list of files contained on the CD before I downloaded, and I planned to watch some of the tutorials online before I started. All I wanted was to put the CD in my dell and look at the menu, then watch some tutorials and figure out how to proceed. I didn’t get a menu when I used the CD, so I wanted to know why, and that’s why I asked for help.

The problem was my cd. I did properly download the image but I couldn’t find anything online about burning it using Nero 9. I used the Nero manual but something still wasn’t right, after several tries, so I switched to Active ISO. Windows Explorer showed the file folders this time. Now that I’m confident I have a good disk, I can spend tomorrow looking at your other recommendations. Much shorter posts from now on.

Thanks for the help!

Re: First Time User--No Menu

Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:15 am
by ady
Have you thought that maybe, just maybe, you were interpreting my first post not as originally intended? I mention this not to make an endless and pointless discussion. I am only trying to say that when reading simple posts, the reader may be "changing" the interpretation according to its own mood. My only intention is to effectively help with UBCD; nothing else.

Anyway, to the point. You mentioned you now see the content of the CD, but you don't mention if it indeed is booting correctly. You can test it in the system were you are currently writing, instead of your problematic laptop.

By testing in other system, you can at least get used to what you are supposed to see, and you avoid additional hardware problems. (If, by any chance, your HDD is "dying", you want to use it exclusively when you are ready to make your backup).

If you find out that you still have problems with the CD, you may read for example , where you have part of the issues with burning the ISO image. In addition, you may want to read

About my previous links to tutorials, they were intended to resolve the CD boot problem. So, if you already have a bootable UBCD, you don't strictly need them anymore.

Once you know your CD is correctly booting into you system, from the boot menu of UBCD you select PartedMagic to try to recover those files you need. For example, PartedMagic can detect USB Flash Drives or you can burn your backup in an optical media too.

If you have issues in any step, come back here and describe your problem (including error messages if you see them).

Re: First Time User--No Menu

Posted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:39 pm
by GemLuva
I completely and totally believe that you did not mean to sound condescending. I do not think you intended to offend me at all. I’m not here to argue. Here’s what I’m saying: On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 = Extensive knowledge of UBCD and 1 = No computer knowledge at all, I’m probably at about 4 from a software perspective. My focus is hardware and peripherals, I learn software as needed. But you are very clearly a 10, and your post came across (to me) as though you were addressing a 1 on the scale, and I took exception to that.

I understand your point, and if you don’t understand mine that’s ok. I’ve read this site extensively, so I know that I’m not the first person to read another’s post here and interpret it as rude. That doesn’t mean I think you’re a rude person. You’re genuinely trying to help and I really do appreciate your time. End of argument.

As far as Nero goes, it is not essentially still the same. If you know previous versions of Nero and are familiar with it, then you can probably get by with the UBCD tutorial. Versions 7 and 9 differ at step 3B, “(click)…BURN IMAGE TO DISK” which does not appear in my version of Nero 9. If you go back to the START Menu and launch Nero Express, then yes, you can use the UBCD tutorial from there on with absolutely no problem. But if you’re unfamiliar with Nero Start Smart, get stuck at step 3, don’t know what to do and simply launch the Nero Burning ROM, which is what I did, then perhaps you will not be as successful. To use the online tutorial for Nero 7 with Nero 9, you start from Nero Express, not Nero Start Smart.

I haven’t tried booting yet, I was saving it for tonight. Thanks for the tip, I will view the UBCD in this PC before I use it in my Dell. I have already read the Download page and the FAQ many times, but I plan to have them up on my laptop as I boot the PC.

I understand what you’re saying. I was planning to look at PartedMagic more closely online before I boot up so that I can follow along as it performs. If it prompts me for responses, I want to be familiar enough to make the correct choices. I’m probably assuming that it will be more complicated than it is, but I always over-prepare. Either way, I’ll be back later with a status update.

Re: First Time User--No Menu

Posted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:12 pm
by ady
GemLuva, I would like to clarify something, not only for you, but for other forum users too.

When I reach for help in a forum, I hope to find someone who knows enough to point me in the correct direction, and that will take the time to explain, without "assuming" that I already know almost as much as he does.

When such a user posts, he can't know beforehand how much I already know. He may assume that I know things that I actually don't know, hence leaving me not really understanding. OTOH, he can "over-explain", making the post too long and too basic for me.

From what I read in your first post (2 first posts actually), I couldn't know beforehand what is your specific level of knowledge. In addition, other users reading this topic may take advantage of posted details, that you specifically already know.

Please keep this comments in mind for the future, in this or at any forum. I don't think that someone takes the time to help, but he has some other "hidden upsetting goals" in mind. In any case, please accept my apologies. By no means my intention was to sound condescending (I wouldn't really know how to sound like that, if I would ever wanted to, since English is not my birth language).


Anyway, about Nero. AFAIK, all versions of Nero have the possibility to open a previously saved "project". Depending on the specific version of Nero, opening an ISO image can be done in several different ways (as you mentioned). The tutorial I linked to is the more "general" one so to cover most of Nero editions and versions. The "bigger" editions will still include the more basic characteristics.

The important feature to distinguish here is that opening an ISO image (for burning it or editing it) is not the same as starting/building a new "Data" disk / job / task / project, and is neither the same as starting/building a new "bootable" disk / job / task / project.

If you download UBCD, PartedMagic or any ISO image for that matter, you should burn the optical media "as an ISO image". In general, the ISO image should already contain the "bootable" part (if it is a bootable CD/DVD).

The option you chose from Nero (or tools alike), "make a bootable disk", is not dedicated to burn an ISO image that you download. That option is for "building" a new ISO image (or directly burning a new optical media) that you want it to have the "bootable" characteristic in addition to whichever general data you were adding.

That's why you didn't see the files and folders in Windows Explorer before. As explained at, after burning the UBCD optical media, you should see a folder tree at least similar to the one shown in the download page.

If, in Windows Explorer, you select to display hidden files, and you don't see any file/folder, or you only see 1 ISO file (as explained in the download page) burned in the CD/DVD, then the burning job was not done as it should.

Let us know if you have more questions about UBCD or PartedMagic.