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Windows XP Hard Drive Problem - No Drive Letter

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by CardPuller, Dec 18, 2004.

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  1. CardPuller

    CardPuller Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    I am trying to revive the local Priest's computer - he has nothing backed up (and I'm not even Catholic ;-))
    He has a Dell Dimension 933r running Windows XP Home. When he started the computer yesterday it started to boot into Windows and then just restarts in an endless cycle. It got to a point where it came up with an error "autochk not found - skipping autochk" and then a Windows XP BSOD (the ones with some hex addresses) pops up with an error for about a tenth of a second (I cannot read anything on it - it is too fast).
    I pulled the drive and put it in another computer. The computer (Win XP Pro) finds the drive and it shows as "healthy" in Disk Management, but it does not assign it a drive letter. I would just like to be able to get in and copy his data.
    I tried a repair install, but Windows XP says it cannot intall to the partition.
    I downloaded Maxtor's PowerMax (it is a Maxtor 40GB drive) utility and the drive passes all tests with no errors or failures.
    I can see directories, etc. when I boot in the Windows Recovery Console, I just can't do anything with them. It tells me "access is denied" when I try to go to documents and settings, etc.
    I have tried a fixboot, etc.
    Anybody have any ideas how I can help him get his data back?
    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    51,988
    Does it have a drive letter in the Recovery Console? Have you run chkdsk /r on it from the RC?

    If you have imposed a security template on your machine, you can use this command in the RC to access the Documents and Settings folder:

    set allowallpaths = true

    If you have no security template, you will get an error message to that effect.

    Documents and Settings is a private folder and can only be accessed by the owner when he is signed into his account. In order to access that folder, you need to make yourself the owner from an Administrative account. But, you will need to be able to access the folder from within XP first.

    Try chkdsk /r if you can run that from the RC, reboot into Windows and see if you can access the drive.

    If not, come back.

    Is it set up as a secondary in another machine now?
     
  3. CardPuller

    CardPuller Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Messages:
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    Thank you for the fast response.

    Yes, it shows up as the C drive (I get a C:\Windows prompt) from the recovery console.

    Yes, I have run a chkdsk /r (twice). It has not fixed the problem.

    The set statement came back with the plug-in not installed error, so that did not work.

    The drive is currently in the original machine where I am running the recovery console off of the XP CD. It is not a problem to move it to the other machine if that helps - they are side by side right now.

    I will be up for another half hour or so and back at it tomorrow.

    Thanks again.
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    You can give this a try. Download this program. Run it to create a floppy. Boot from the floppy.

    I think I made that one to autostart. If a window pops up asking you to choose the partition or drive you want to scan, choose the drive first, and later you can come back and try it with the individual partitions. Let it scan and look for partition tables. See if it reports any errors and let it fix any that it is able to.

    If it doesn't autostart, you need to run: pr.exe at the A: prompt after booting.

    http://users.adelphia.net/~abraxas/dl/APR.exe

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    You can do something similar with the 2 floppies in this package. Boot from the first and follow the prompts. Eventually, you will get to a screen with a lot of options on it. None of those options will be about repairing your problem. But look through the menus. When you see some place that offers to give you more information about your drives or partitions, click it. This program very often finds errors in the process of gathering information and offers to fix the errors.

    http://users.adelphia.net/~abraxas/dl/Rescue.zip
     
  5. CardPuller

    CardPuller Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Messages:
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    The rescue program didn't do anything. It showed some info. but most options were greyed out.

    I ran the APR program several times and it found a partition, etc. and I told it to accept it. But when I restarted . . . no change. Then about the third time I ran it (and performed the longer scan) I (accidentally) hit the escape key and then saw the save/write option. I did so and now I am able to get into Windows - it's still a bit screwed up (I think the good Father has installed about every program possible - and two of most things).

    I will hook it up and back up the drive onto another computer and then try to stabilize the system for him.

    Thanks for all your help. I was about to give up. I really appreciate your help (this freebie job was going to eat up my weekend).
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    LOL. Just maybe, you will go directly to heaven for this.[​IMG] I'm not exactly sure what the escape key does---I'll have to fire up that program myself so I'll better be able to guide people with it. It has saved me many times, but it's been a while and I don't remember its details all that well.

    You're welcome and thank you for the followup.[​IMG]
     
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