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system thinks external drive is hard drive

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by saxguy, Feb 23, 2009.

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  1. saxguy

    saxguy Thread Starter

    Nov 30, 2004
    I was trying to get rid of a persistent Vundo infection yesterday.

    I turned the PC off to reboot when I though I was going into safe mode and went into regular mode instead. Now, it thinks one of my external drives is the C drive. On boot, I am getting a message that it cannot recognize find the system 32 windows config file (I'm paraphrasing).

    I used the repair utility to get to the C prompt (which is pointed at the external drive) and checked the drive letters. I don't think the PC bios knows the hard drive is there.

    I tried going into setup and reverting to factory installed configuration and that didn't change anything. I could not get it to recognize the hard drive.

    The PC is a Dell Dimension 8400, about 5 years old.

    Dell support (out of hardware warranty, but will provide phone support) said that I should reinstall windows but it will wipe out whatever is on the hard drive. They suggested finding a data extraction service.

    I'm not against that, but I'd like to see what I can do to get at the REAL C drive beforehand.

    I do have the factory Windows disk, although I am not sure of my product key.

    I also saw the material on windowsinstall.com about getting it to recognize the C drive, but that seems on the edge of my technical expertise.

    Does anybody have any other suggestions?

    Thanks a lot.
  2. Noyb

    Noyb Trusted Advisor

    May 25, 2005
    There should be a sticker on your Dell somewhere .. that will tell you the Code for your OS.
    Most likely .. you will not need this code to use your Dell recovery CDs

    Using the Code finders will not work for the OEM installs in a Dell, HP or others.

    I'd remove the drive (at 5 years old) and install a new one .. and recover it.
    Then ... there's ways to read the old HD and extract your data from it.
    Here's one way >> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812156017
  3. saxguy

    saxguy Thread Starter

    Nov 30, 2004
    I still can't get setup or Bios to recognize the hard drive, even though Dell diagnotics off the boot menue tested the hard drive as fine.

    So, here is the current plan. I'd like your thoughts:

    Right now, I am doing a complete backup on the external drive that Windows thinks is C, using my other PC.

    Tonight, this is what I plan to do.

    1. Install windows to the external drive using my setup disk.

    2. install the current drivers for the hard drive from the Dell site (I’ll download them to a cdrom today)

    3. install the current bios from the Dell site (I’ll download them to a cdr today)

    If I then can access the internal hard drive, I will back up everything but the Windows directory to one of my other external hard drives.

    Then, I will ponder my next move. I may make a couple of attempts to manually run system restore on the crashed drive. If I can’t run system restore, or I can’t get a registry without Vundo infected, I’ll reinstall windows. If one of those works, we’re done. If I can’t access the internal drive, I will consider my next move, which likely would be to see if the data can be extracted from the hard drive WITHOUT a clean room. Then, I would likely have the tech replace the hard drive and reinstall Windows.
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