Solved: Boot Loop with "Unable to mount" error

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Savdog

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Sep 17, 2007
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Problem:

Boot loop started with XP during XP boot screen. I hit F8 during XP loading screen to stop restart after crash, and a blue screen with "unable to mount" [hard drive] error popped up.

Here's what I've tried:
1.) I am unable to enter recovery console because it fails to recognize my HD. So I hit F6 and manually installed the SATA drivers, but then recovery console hangs at "examining/analysing hard drive" (I forget the exact message).
2.) I am able to load an old stable HD with XP. But when I make the new unstable HD a slave to the old HD, the old HD refuses to load.

So here's what I'm asking:

1.) Is there a way I can get recovery console to recognize my HD so I can attempt some repairs on it?
2.) Is there a way I can use my old stable XP HD to access my new problem HD so I can at least save the data on it?
3.) Any ideas on how to repair the HD?

As far as I can tell, the BIOS does recognize the HD since it does appear in the RAID selection menu (no, I am not using RAID).

Another footnote is that this new HD has always had problems with being recognized properly by my BIOS. Often from a cold boot it would give the message that "invalid boot sector HD not recognized" (paraphrasing from memory), but with a soft restart of Ctrl-Alt-Del it would load properly with new HD as master and no errors (it's the only HD installed).

Any suggestions?
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
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Download a drive utility program, and run a test on the drive and repair any errors. What drive do you have?
If its a maxtor, use the seagate tools utility.
 

Savdog

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Sep 17, 2007
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11
I have a samsung SATA drive. It didn't come with any software, so I'll see if I can download something. What I do have is a maxtor boot disk for my old HD. Maybe I'll try running that and see if it has a diagnostic program. Is it bad to use one manufacturer's diagnostic disk for a different manufacturer's HD?
 
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I use the seagate utility on a hitachi drive and after 6% it failed, your need to get the samsung utility - I'll have a look for ya
 
Joined
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1.) I am unable to enter recovery console because it fails to recognize my HD. So I hit F6 and manually installed the SATA drivers, but then recovery console hangs at "examining/analysing hard drive" (I forget the exact message).
If there are disk errors, this part can take quite a while, sometimes an hour or more to get to the login prompt. It's not common, but can happen. Might want to double check the SATA drivers too; if you happened to grab the wrong ones that could keep it from loading.
2.) I am able to load an old stable HD with XP. But when I make the new unstable HD a slave to the old HD, the old HD refuses to load.
Is the old drive also SATA? or is it IDE?
Sounds like it's picking the new drive as the boot drive with both connected. If both are SATA, swap the ports they are connected to, so the old drive is connected to the port that the new drive was using.
You may have to rummage around in the BIOS to change the boot order. There may be two sections -- one to choose device type (HD/Floppy/CDROM/USB), then a second one to choose the specific HD to boot from. With IDE/SATA, should see something like this for choices:
  • Primary IDE
  • Secondary IDE
  • SATA 0
  • SATA 1
  • SATA 2
  • SATA 3
Ports without a drive might not appear

Note: SATA drives do not have a Master/Slave setup, they are numbered by the port they are connected to.
 

Savdog

Thread Starter
Joined
Sep 17, 2007
Messages
11
Yes, the old drive is also SATA and never had any problems.

I have tried switching the SATA cables to no avail. I can tell it attempts to boot from the old HD (it's louder), but it hangs at the XP loading screen.

I have an AWARD BIOS, and I can find nothing that deals with boot order for HDs. I can only change the general boot order (Floppy, CD, HD)

I have since tried repairing the MBR, but that didn't work either.

Any other ideas?
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
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9,028
Few things to try
Try booting to Safe mode with the old drive and see if it still hangs.

If the new drive is a SATA II drive, see if it has a jumper to force SATA I mode. Could be the motherboard controller is just not happy talking to SATA II drives.

Install the new drive into an external USB enclosure. That way, you can get the system booted with the old drive before turning on the new drive. That might let you access it.

Try the problem drive in a different system.

HTH

Jerry
 

Savdog

Thread Starter
Joined
Sep 17, 2007
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11
The problem is finally solved. What I ended up doing was hooking it up to a friend's computer with Vista through a SATA-USB adapter, and Vista actually picked up my problem HD. But that wasn't what solved the problem. What I did was mount both the problem and new HD, and installed a pirated/moded version of Windows 2003. Through the process of installing that OS, it actually ran chkdisk on both drives and repaired whatever errors there were on the problem HD.

Thanks for all your help and suggestions.

Cheer!
 
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