Solved: changed drive letters, computer won't boot

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bdub2

Thread Starter
Joined
Sep 30, 2008
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4
Dell Dimension 8400
Pentium 4 3.2 GHz
4 GB RAM at 533
XP Pro SP3
Bios A02

I was attempting to back up my hard to an external hard drive. The program (Norton Ghost 14) wasn't recognizing the drive. The Norton tech. helped me determine this was because under Disk Management there were no drive letters next to the drives. It showed a small partition on my primary drive, my primary drive, and my usb connected external hard drive, but none had drive letters next to them. I attempted to change their drive letters. It did something, but the letters still didn't show next to the drives. After this, everything disappeared on my desktop. I then rebooted and couldn't get to the login screen.

Right now, when I start my computer I get the Dell bios revision screen, then the black MS Windows XP screen, and then the blue XP screen. Everything looks normal except that it stops short of the login area.

My guess is that by changing the primary drive letter that my computer now cannot find anything because it appears the C drive is missing.

What I've tried:
-Get in through Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Command Prompt, and Last Known Good...wasn't able to.
-Contacted Dell tech chat support...they had me do a repair through the recovery console. It didn't fix it.
-I "got in" using the Symantec Norton Ghost 14.0 Recovery Disk. I could see all of my files. I checked the boot.ini file and a few other things and everything appeared correct.
-I "got in" using BartPE to Change the System/Boot Drive Letter in the registry (Microsoft KB article 223188) It didn't work.

My latest thoughts are if I could somehow do a system restore without being able to boot to Safe Mode/Command Prompt, change the Userinit file in the registry (but I don't think this would do it), and/or getting a new hard drive, installing a fresh copy of xp and migrating files off of old hard drive to new one.

Anyone have any ideas?
 

fairnooks

Banned
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Oct 1, 2007
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5,251
If you can do the folowing;

1. Restart your system
2. When the system first boots, type F8 to bring up the boot menu
3. Select the Safe Mode with Command Prompt option
4. Log-on as administrator if needed
5. At your command prompt type %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe
6. Hit Enter
6. This will open the system restore wizard...


Otherwise I think its a new install for you.
 

bdub2

Thread Starter
Joined
Sep 30, 2008
Messages
4
Thank you for your reply. Safe Mode with or without Command Prompt and Last Known Good gets hung up at the same spot, blue XP screen right before login box shows up.
 

bdub2

Thread Starter
Joined
Sep 30, 2008
Messages
4
Solution:

1. Access system using BartPE bootable CD (created using PE Builder)
2. Access Restore Points through System Volume Information
3. Copy System and Software restore points from time when the system booted (I right clicked on each point to see the date and time).
4. Delete System and Software files in the System32 config file and paste in the restore versions and rename.

*Note: this is overly simplified. DO NOT USE THIS AS INSTRUCTIONS! If you need to do this, here is the full details and where I got the solution from: http://www.icompute.info/restore_with_B_PE_disk.htm
(I did make a donation
)
 

fairnooks

Banned
Joined
Oct 1, 2007
Messages
5,251
Now that's some open heart surgery right there. Does it work perfectly or are there some side effects?
 

managed

Allan
Moderator
Joined
May 24, 2003
Messages
14,366
If you installed any programs after the time the restore files you used were created I would re-install them. This would put the correct info. back into the registry and let the programs work properly.

Try it without uninstalling them first (in Add or Remove programs).
If you can't re-install without removing them first I suggest you use Revo Uninstaller to do it :- http://www.revouninstaller.com/
 

bdub2

Thread Starter
Joined
Sep 30, 2008
Messages
4
Thank you for your replies!

No side effects. Everything was back to normal...including my original issue that started the whole thing...no drive letters in Disk Management;)

I manually backed everything up on my usb external and then redid the whole thing...quick format, install xp pro, everything else, etc. It had been over two years since I had done this, so it was good timing I guess;)

Of course, if I was going to redo everything, I could have just put in a new hard drive in no time for a little money and then pulled the files off the old, but it just felt like I would be giving up. I was stubborn and wanted to figure it out.
 
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