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Solved: WinXP no boot - MBR/HDD related


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Rannio Rannio is offline
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06-Jul-2012, 12:59 AM #1
Solved: WinXP no boot - MBR/HDD related

I have spent two days debugging my WinXP SP3 no boot problem, and I'm close to just going out and buying a new HD for a fresh install. I figured I may be able to get some expert advice here.

The System:
- WinXP SP3
- Two Seagate SATA HDD
- Drive 0 has 2 partitions: C & D/E (1 partition, 2 logical drives)
- Drive 1 has 1 partition: F & G (2 logical drives)
- All partitions formatted to NTFS
- I have a Ghost image of the OS on drive F

The "Incident":
- I was surfing the web reading about Katie Holmes when one particular site froze my computer. That was already a bad sign
- I rebooted and Windows starts to load for about a second before a brief BSOD, then the system reboots itself
- Both HDDs is detected by the BIOS during post

What I have tried:
- Safe mode / last known good config options - same BSOD/reboot sequence
- Tried restoring my Ghost image, but the program only detects F & G, hence no destination to restore to! (I have tried restoring before and never encountered this problem)
- Disabled auto reboot. BSOD STOP at 0x7B, with 2nd hex code being 0xC0000034, which suggests no boot drive detected
- Checked partitions with Partition Wizard. C & D shows up in the scan
- Thought maybe my MBR is messed up, so I ran MBR wizard to rebuild a new MBR (C & D also detected). No change
- Also checked for boot sector virus with the free Avira tool. No issues found
- Downloaded the Seagate diags to check for HDD failure. No issues found

That's where I am at. The problem seems to be that Windows cannot pick up drive 0 for some reason, even though the HDD and the partitions seem to be fine. I figured if I caught a virus, it would be in the boot sector / MBR, but I have done what I can with those.

I'm sort of at a loss of what to do next. I considered erasing the C partition and recreating it, but I was afraid that might make things worse / corrupt my files on D & E.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Last edited by Rannio; 06-Jul-2012 at 11:55 AM..
user2339's Avatar
user2339 user2339 is offline
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06-Jul-2012, 06:19 AM #2
Hi Rannio, Not much help just now but I have a question ...
How can you run all those diagnostic programs if the PC will not boot ?
Are you using a boot CD ?
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Rannio Rannio is offline
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06-Jul-2012, 11:51 AM #3

I have a laptop that I am using to search for clues and tools.
Some of the tools advertise that they can solve your boot problems, but the tool itself can only run in the Windows environment. The time consuming part is combing through all the utilities to find ones that come with a boot cd.
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Rannio Rannio is offline
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07-Jul-2012, 04:50 AM #4
Here's an update.

I caved and bought a new 250GB drive. The store didn't carry anything smaller for non-SSD. Here's what happened next:
1) I unplugged my 2 existing drives, then fdisk / format the new drive
2) Ran Windows installation and convert new drive to NTFS
3) Hooked up the drive with my Ghost images (F & G). Booted into Windows and imported the Dynamic disk
4) Rebooted to the Ghost recovery program and loaded my Ghost image to the new drive
5) Hooked up my other drive (previously C/D/E). Booted into Windows and disk is unreadable!
6) Found a program called Find and Mount, and managed to mount those partitions
7) Now I'm backing up my files, though the transfer speed is really slow

I don't know why Windows imported the first dynamic disk, but not the other.
Maybe that's why that drive was having the original problem?
I read some threads that said you can convert a dynamic disk to a basic disk without losing data, but I'm kind of paranoid that I would mess it up and lose all of my files!
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07-Jul-2012, 05:01 AM #5
XP will not "see" a SATA drive if it doesn't load the driver first.

Probably this is all a result of calling Katie Holmes "Katie". As you may know, Tom renamed her "Kate", much to her and others' chagrin. Your drive failure is possibly due to a scientological principle.

All disks will fail. Many will take all their data with them. If you don't have a full system backup, including your OS and everything else, you will lose them. Dynamic disks increase the chances of failure many-fold.
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Rannio Rannio is offline
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07-Jul-2012, 10:17 AM #6
The driver isn't the problem. Windows can read the other SATA drives just fine. It just couldn't read my old drive 0.

In any case, the back-up speed was so slow that I had to stop it. The way it was going it would probably take a few weeks.
I read about a "non-destructive" way to convert a dynamic disk back to basic using Dskprobe. Tried it. My old C and D drives are now recognized, but my old E looks to be gone for good. Luckily I already got all of the critical files from that drive from the back-up last night.

Anyway, I guess this is now "solved". The net damage is $70 on the new 250G and about half a drive of non-critical files. Definite lesson learned about dynamic drives - will convert my F and G drives back to basic ASAP!
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