No boot up, no recovery console

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xyzed

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On my old desktop with Windows XP pre-installed, I had been getting "Operating system not found" and "NTLDR is missing" error messages on boot up, which I researched online and figured out how to fix by using a set of six floppy boot disks to get into the recovery console and then copying "ntldr" and "ntdetect.com".

That worked fine, but it didn't stick. And now when I press "R" to access the recovery console, I get the error message "The path or file specified is not valid" followed by a "C:\>" prompt, and I can't copy the files. Other commands like "chkdsk" and "fixboot" yield similar messages. I found someone with the same problem who decided to run "fixmbr" despite the warnings and was amazed that it worked, but I'm a little leery of trying something so random.

Also, I just noticed that if I boot up without the disks, I don't get the original error messages anymore but simply a flashing cursor. Looks pretty bad, however the hard drive is still listed under "Primary Master" in the BIOS. I've heard that means there's hope. I'm not looking for a complicated permanent solution. I'd just like to get in there one more time to transfer a few remaining files to my new computer.

Any help would be much appreciated.

PS: Because XP came with the system, I don't have the install disks, and anyway the CD-ROM is busted.
 
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Welcome to TSG....

What is the make and model of the computer? Also some system specs would be nice

WHat you need is the recovery disk set I suggest ordering them from the computer manufacturer and also get the cd-rom drive fixed you are going to need it.
 

DoubleHelix

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You can't do anything to repair windows without a CD or DVD drive. It doesn't matter what the make and model or specs of your computer are.
 
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It does to me if I want to be able to give the person a way to get the software easier. And if you really want a drive all you have to do is find an inexpensive computer and scarf the drive from it.

And you have never seen my thumb drive that boots up with Windows XP Pro on it. and it will install.
 

xyzed

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ozrom1e said:
Welcome to TSG....

What is the make and model of the computer? Also some system specs would be nice

WHat you need is the recovery disk set I suggest ordering them from the computer manufacturer and also get the cd-rom drive fixed you are going to need it.
It's a six-year-old eMachines T1090 with Windows XP Home Edition, a 900 Mhz Intel Celeron processor, 128MB RAM, and a 20GB hard drive. I downloaded XP Service Pack 2 for it a while back. I'm not sure what else you want to know.

I was hoping to avoid having to order software and repair parts. I just want to get in, get out and then toss it. Is there any other approach? Would you advise trying "fixmbr"? What are the possible negative consequences?
 

xyzed

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I want to transfer data to my new computer and then get rid of the old one. I was in the process of backing up files when I ran into this problem.
 

JohnWill

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You can also remote the hard disk from the old system and either connect it as a slave drive in the new system, or put it into an external USB drive enclosure. This would allow you to recover the data, and you'd have a second hard disk for backups too. :)
 

xyzed

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Sounds great, but I wouldn't even begin to know how to do something like that. Any simpler suggestions? A way to fix the recovery console, or maybe bypass it altogether?

I tried two other kinds of disks but ran into problems with both:

- An MS-DOS startup disk, which yielded the promising message "Starting…" followed by two "A:\>" prompts, but I didn't know what to do next.

- A Boot disk, which gave me the second error message listed under "Troubleshooting". The problem is, I can't modify the "boot.ini" file to match the computer I'm trying to access because I don't know what it's supposed to look like.
 

EAFiedler

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JohnWill said:
You can also remote the hard disk from the old system and either connect it as a slave drive in the new system, or put it into an external USB drive enclosure. This would allow you to recover the data, and you'd have a second hard disk for backups too. :)
I think what JohnWill meant was: remove the hard drive, even though the context supported remove and not remote. :D
 

xyzed

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Someone I talked to thinks that the flashing cursor on boot up most likely indicates a corrupt MBR, and that slaving the hard drive to another computer wouldn't solve the problem. What are your opinions on that? Should I go ahead and run "fixmbr", or is it too risky?

This is the warning I get:

** CAUTION ** This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master boot record. FIXMBR may damage your partition tables if you proceed. This could cause all the partitions to the current hard disk to become inaccessible. If you are not having problems accessing your drive, do not continue. Are you sure you want to write a new MBR?
 

DoubleHelix

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What were you backing data up to if you don't have an optical drive? If it was a network between two desktop computers, take the drive out of this one, put it in the other one, and copy the data off.
 
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