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Windows Could Not Start Because...


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#1 kgash

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 01:21 AM

My computer has 2 hard disks, C with Windows XP Professional and D with Windows XP Home Edition.
Up until this morning, I could select either as an option on my bootup screen. Now when I select the second drive, I get the following error message and have to reboot into the first drive.
"Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.
Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware."

I have not added any hardware, the D drive works fine - all programs and files are intact - and CHKDSK reports no errors. The boot.ini file is not corrupted and is correctly formatted. I have read the info in MS KB/314477 and it was no help.
I really don't want to do a Restore Install or especially a clean install so I hope that someone will be able to help.
Thanks,
Ken

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#2 david28

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 01:27 AM

Well firstly can you access the second drive from your first? If so, I would recommend that you copy all of your important data to the drive that is actually working first. Report back and tell us how it goes :thumbsup:

Hope you can get the files :flowers:

David

#3 garmanma

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 09:10 AM

Did you run Fix MBR?
http://support.microsoft.com/KB/314503
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#4 kgash

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 11:27 AM

Well firstly can you access the second drive from your first? If so, I would recommend that you copy all of your important data to the drive that is actually working first. Report back and tell us how it goes :thumbsup:

Hope you can get the files :flowers:

David

Thanks for your response.
I'm sorry, I should have been more clear in my original post. I can read/write to the drive; the only thing that I can't do is boot to it.
Ken

#5 kgash

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 11:29 AM

Did you run Fix MBR?
http://support.microsoft.com/KB/314503

No, I did not. The symptoms I have did not seem to warrant it.

#6 usasma

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 12:45 PM

"Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.
Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware."


It appears that your computer's boot options menu works as you can still boot into your other drive.
The "Windows..." error message indicates that Windows has begun to initialize on the system and then has a problem with starting.
Chkdsk is OK, boot.ini is OK

The MBR is the Master Boot Record on the drive - and it contains references to the 4 possible partitions on a drive (and to the boot sector on each partition). Do you have 2 separate physical drives, or is it just one drive that's partitioned into 2 separate volumes?

As the error message refers to "computer disk" I'd say that was pretty convincing evidence that there may be an issue with the MBR. Beyond that I'd also have to suggest running a hard drive diagnostic from the manufacturer of your hard drive.
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#7 kgash

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 07:04 PM

"Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.
Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware."


It appears that your computer's boot options menu works as you can still boot into your other drive.
The "Windows..." error message indicates that Windows has begun to initialize on the system and then has a problem with starting.
Chkdsk is OK, boot.ini is OK

The MBR is the Master Boot Record on the drive - and it contains references to the 4 possible partitions on a drive (and to the boot sector on each partition). Do you have 2 separate physical drives, or is it just one drive that's partitioned into 2 separate volumes?

As the error message refers to "computer disk" I'd say that was pretty convincing evidence that there may be an issue with the MBR. Beyond that I'd also have to suggest running a hard drive diagnostic from the manufacturer of your hard drive.


I have 2 separate drives. Here is some further information:

[boot loader]
timeout=10
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

When I checked BOOT.INI in MSCONFIG, I got the following message:

It appears that the following line in the BOOT.INI file does not refer to a valid operating system:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin
Would you like to remove it from the BOOT.INI file?


Does this mean that my Windows Home installation on drive 2 (D) is shot?

#8 hamluis

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 07:35 PM

It means that your boot.ini file reflects 2 identical entries for XP installs...which is impossible (one install per partition).

XP wants to remove what (to it) is a redundant entry.

Perhaps...the easiest way to fix that...would have been to run the fixmbr or fixboot command from the Recovery Console (as suggested by others).

If you want to check the detection of XP installs, I suggest you use the bootcfg command, using the HELP function.

http://commandwindows.com/recovery.htm AND http://windowsitpro.com/article/articleid/...is-bootcfg.html

Louis

#9 kgash

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 01:48 PM

Thank you all for your suggestions. I tried to run FIXMBR but it gave me dire warnings that I have a non-standard or invalid MBR and the partition tables may be damaged by running it.
Secondly, I have 2 computers, both with 2 hard disks with OS on all disks. If I do bootcfg/list on the other computer it tells me I have 2 entries in boot.ini. If I then copy the boot.ini from the second computer to the root of my computer with problems, then run bootcfg/list it tells me I have only 1 entry.
At this point, I don't want to do anything to screw up my main boot disk.
Ken

#10 usasma

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 06:00 PM

fixmbr won't hurt anything if all you've got is Windows installations on the hard drives. If you've got Linux or some other OS, then it may cause problems.

But, the message told you that you had a non-standard (another OS?) OR an invalid MBR - so that's most likely to be your problem (another possibility is that the hard drive is dead/dying).

The syntax of the stuff that starts with "MULTI" is a bit complicated, but here's what I understand:

1) The standard for this is the Advanced RISC Computing naming convention.

2) The first word can be MULTI, SCSI, or SIGNATURE
- MULTI instructs Windows to use BIOS INT13 functions to load system files (what most of us use)
- SCSI instructs Windows to rely on NTBOOTDD.SYS to access system files
- SIGNATURE instructs Windows to use a GUID to identify the boot disk, then to use NTBOOTDD.SYS to access system files

From here on, I'll only deal with the MULTI type....

3) The (0) after MULTI is the disk controller number (also known as the ordinal number) and is typically 0
4) The disk(0) value is always 0 in the MULTI syntax
5) The rdisk(Y) value specifies the physical hard disk that is attached to the MULTI disk controller number (values are typically between 0 and 3)
6) The partition(Z) value specifies the partition on the physical disk that is the boot volume. The first partition is assigned the number 1.
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#11 kgash

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 04:31 PM

Thank you all for your help and patience. The problem is fixed! After exhausting all of the boot.ini edits, fixmbr, fix boot, etc., I opened the computer and removed the connection to the sata drive that worked leaving only the problem one. When I booted the machine it came up fine. Then I reconnected the drives back to the way they originally were, rebooted and selected Drive 2 (D:) and it worked. I have no idea why it is now fixed but it appears to be stable.
Thanks again all.
Ken




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