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Solved: "Disk does not contain XP compatible partition"...?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Obinice, Jun 1, 2008.

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  1. Obinice

    Obinice Thread Starter

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    I recently took the PSU from one of my PCs and temporarily replaced it with one that had less molex connections. Due to this, I disconnected the file backup hard drive, and left the OS drive hooked up.

    When I got a new PSU for the machine and fitted it, I hooked the file backup hard drive back up, but the machine wouldn't boot into Windows.

    I decided that I'd go ahead and try to fix whatever the problem was by reinstalling Windows (I figured that since all I'd really done is fiddle with a HDD that that must be the problem). It was about time I reinstalled Windows anyway.

    So firstly I put the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows in, and copied the important contents of the HDDs to another machine so I could start fresh on this one. Then, I put the Windows XP install disk in. The disk loaded up, and I was presented with the list of existing partitions.

    I deleted the BOOT partition on the drive (and later while trying to get it to work I deleted both and recreated them, as you can see in the screenshot). However when I select the BOOT partition to install Windows XP, I get an error message I've never ever seen before, and I have no idea how to get rid of it (I also downloaded and used "<reference to illegal software removed>" to create the partitions incase the Windows disk wasn't doing it correctly, but same error). Below are two photos I took detailing the problem, it's all the information I have.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Any thoughts? I want to get this machine up and running soon so my sister and I can both be online at the same time, lol. Thanks folks :)
     
  2. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    Have you FORMATTED that partition??
     
  3. Obinice

    Obinice Thread Starter

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    The Windows install CD usually allows you to format the drive, but this time it doesn't. I did format the drive using the "<reference to illegal software removed>" (and checked that it was formatted by booting into the Ultimate Boot CD), but that didn't seem to please the Windows install CD, lol.
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    You probably created a DOS partition instead of an NT one. DOS tools are not appropriate for XP. You'll need to remove the partition and create new ones with XP's diskpart.exe to create an NT MBR.
     
  5. Obinice

    Obinice Thread Starter

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    That wouldn't explain why the Windows Install CD wouldn't create and format the partition correctly in the first place like it's done so many times before though, right? :(

    I used a bootable copy of Partition Magic Pro 8.05, and formatted the partition with an NTFS file system. That didn't help, I tried the built in Windows disk formatting tool on the Ultimate Boot CD and formatted NTFS, but no luck there.

    Something else, I'm not sure if it's ever been there before but I've only just noticed it, what's with that "Unknown Disk"? There is no other HDD. I don't know if that has anything to do with it, at all.
     
  6. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    The unknown disk could be a card reader.

    Looking at the labels on your drives I'm confused. The drive labeled as Backup is the C drive. If there's no data on either of those two drive that you need to keep then I'd be using a low level format utility on both drives and then create the partitions as you want them. I'd also make sure you have the main drive with the O/S set as the Primary Master drive and you boot sequence correctly set to boot to first boot the drive that will have Windows installed.
     
  7. Obinice

    Obinice Thread Starter

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    Oh yeah, could be the card reader :) Heck I don't even use the thing, lol.

    The backup drive hadn't been reformatted wheras the boot drive had been, I think that's why the new partition's letters come after the Backup drive. I didn't see any reason to mess with it, I didn't think it would have any bearing on the other hard drive.

    What should I use to format the OS drive? I've used several utilities already (and the Windows Install CD should give the option to format the drive in the first place, but now it doesn't). The boot priorities are set correctly.

    This problem started before I even tried to reinstall Windows, like I said. It wouldn't boot into Windows, it acted like there was nothing there (blank screen where the OS should have kicked in). Something was wrong before I ever tried to reformat and reinstall :( (and all I had done, was replaced the PSU...)

    Thanks for the replies btw, I appreciate your patience, lol :)
     
  8. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    I'd disconnect the drive with your data and the card reader. Its best to have the drive with Windows installed as drive C and this will prevent you from accidentally wiping the wrong drive or having files written tot he wrong drive.

    You can use Killdisk to wipe everything off the drive, its a free download: http://www.killdisk.com/
     
  9. Obinice

    Obinice Thread Starter

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    I used Killdisk to successfully erase the entire hard drive, however I still get the same problem with the Windows Install CD, it says the disk doesn't have an XP compatible partition.

    Firstly, how can it have one if the CD hasn't given me the option of creating and formatting an XP compatible partition? Secondly, even if I go and use something to format the drive (even the default windows formatting tool present on the Ultimate Boot CD) it gives the same complaint. Yup, this problem annoys me...lol.... >_<

    I don't think it's as simple as partitioning the drive correctly, or formatting it correctly, I've done allsorts to no avail. The problem appeared when I changed the PSU over for a new one, it seems likely that somehow that had something to do with it (I have no idea how, though!).

    And again, thanks for the patience =P
     
  10. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Very strange problem. Setup must be getting false information from somewhere. Take a look at BIOS settings since you changed the PSU, it's possible something changed there (though the battery should have held settings, theoretically, if not removed).

    Maybe try running an HD diag just to see what it has to say.

    Free Hard Drive Testing Applications:
    Manufacturer's Tests
    HD Tune
    CheckDisk 1.03 (Marks bad sectors as unusable.)
    HDAT2 (Diagnostics and bad sector recovery)
    MHDD Low-level Diagnostics
    Bootable Hitachi Drive Fitness Test Floppy or CD Image (works on most drives)

    Hard Drive Manufacturers' Diagnostic Utilities Links:
    TachTech
    BleepingComputer

    Does XP not allow you to delete the partition you want to use?
     
  11. Obinice

    Obinice Thread Starter

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    I downloaded HDAT2 and here's what I've got from it so far. I don't know how much of it is useful information to you if any:

    --- HDAT2 v4.6b1
    - S.M.A.R.T results for Storage drive:


    Red Highlighted Lines:

    ID: 199
    Attribute: Ultra DMA CRC Error Rate
    Threshold: 0
    Value: 1
    Raw Value: 2047

    ID: 201
    Attribute: Soft Read Error Rate
    Threshold: 0
    Value: 253
    Raw Value: 2

    Also getting "Pre-Failure" warnings on the following Attributes:

    Spin-Up Time
    Reallocated Sector Count
    Read Channel Margin
    Seek Time Performance
    Spin-Up Retry Count
    Drive Calibration Retry Count
    ECC Errors

    - S.M.A.R.T results for O/S drive:

    "Pre-Failure" warnings on following Attributes:
    Spin-Up Time
    Reallocated Sector Count
    Seek Time Performance
    Spin-Up Retry Count
    Drive Calibration Retry Count
    ECC Errors
     
  12. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Ok, so it appears the hard drive may be failing and that could explain why you are having issues with the drive.
     
  13. brite750

    brite750

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    yes it is always a good idea before you go messing with a drive to find out if its any good otheriwse you are just wasting your time. Its always good to have a copy of the hdd makers diag utility and once you know the drive is sound you can zero it and format for windows also that way the OS disk has no problems doing the install.
     
  14. Obinice

    Obinice Thread Starter

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    I just connected up a spare IDE HDD that works fine, and the Windows Install CD gave me the option of formatting it (i.e it worked).

    I went ahead and NTFS formatted it, and it then copied the Windows setup files. However once it was done it restarted. Not the wait 15 seconds restart that I'm used to, but a sudden unexpected reboot.

    Next, the familiar Windows XP boot screen is shown, and then I get the Windows XP install screen with the mouse, etc. In the part "Installing Windows" it works for awhile, then suddenly restarts the PC with no warning, and goes through the same cycle.

    Could this be a related issue? If so, it wouldn't be the other HDD(s) that are broken and causing the problem, as they were disconnected at the time. If it's not the same problem, then damn, it's a new one (though I'm working on backing up some files from a spare SATA drive I have so I can try to install Windows on that, rather than an IDE drive, but it will be another 50 minutes or so before I can even attempt it).

    I've never had any problems with a HDD before, not even the ones I've used for over a decade on a regular basis, but they are fickle creatures, and my luck has to run out some time :p
     
  15. Obinice

    Obinice Thread Starter

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    I tried the replacement SATA HDD but got the same problem, which in my mind confirms that it is not a hard drive issue :( So what is it....
     
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