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Is my boot sector corrupted?


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#1 Tom Tildrum

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 12:58 PM

Hello!

I came home the other night to find that my computer will not boot. There had been storms that day, and power had gone out in the house at least once. The computer was plugged in through a power strip, and it was probably off. No indications of physical damage.

This is a self-built WinXP box, P4, with a SATA HD, and DVD, CD, and floppy drives.

It goes through the usual BIOS startup screen, stumbles through a slow version of the RAID-related screen that usually comes next, then tells me that an IDE scan finds nothing at Drives 0-3. Then a RAID configuration screen that I don't think usually appears, and then I get the screen that says there's been an error and asks if I want to load Windows in Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, Safe Mode with Whipped Cream, Last Known Good Configuration, or Start Windows Normally. Starting Windows normally or last-known-good gets me as far as the WinXP logo for a moment, but then it restarts. The safe mode options churn out a screen or two of text but then restart. No error message.

HD light on the front comes for a moment at the beginning, blinks again at the Safe Mode screen, then flashes as the computer tries to load Windows.

Based on the above, am I right to think that it doesn't sound like the HD has failed physically? Should I try to boot from CD and see what can be read? But what does it mean that an IDE scan did not find any drives -- will it even see my CD drive?

Should I just reinstall Windows? That can be done without formatting the disk and wiping all data, right? My Windows disk is SP1, I think; is that going to interfere with a repair installation, given that the version on the HD is current?

I may be able to scare up an empty hard drive; should I just install Win XP on this one, boot with it, and then see if I can see anything on the troubled HD?

Any advice would be welcome.

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#2 Baloo

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 01:53 PM

Finding nothing on an IDE scan is normal given that you are using a SATA HDD. Set your BIOS to boot from the CD and run the recovery console using the FIXBOOT command. If you canfind a spare HD then I would try installing XP on the drive and see if you can read the SATA drive.
When life hands you lemons squeeze the lemon juice right in his eye!

#3 hamluis

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 01:55 PM

Anytime a user has system problems...the primary concern is to get files off the troubled partition/drive, assuming that the user has not been making routine backups.

That seems to be a safe assumption, since I only remember 2 or 3 posters ever stating that they have backups and are not driven to panic at the prospect of a clean install, hard drive replacement, etc.

Once that is done...you can try to troubleshoot the situation.

<<Should I just reinstall Windows? That can be done without formatting the disk and wiping all data, right? My Windows disk is SP1, I think; is that going to interfere with a repair installation, given that the version on the HD is current?>>

That's your decision to make. Bear in mind that there are system problems which a repair install of XP...will not solve. Hardware problems and some malware problems call for a clean install of the O/S, IMO.

How to Perform a Windows XP Repair Install - http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

Additional references:

MS, XP Repair Install Procedures - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315341/EN-US/

Perform a Repair Installation - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/h...ips/doug92.mspx

TweakXP.com - How To Do a Repair Install of XP - http://www.tweakxp.com/article36955.aspx

Windows XP Professional Repair install from CD - http://www.windowsreinstall.com/winxppro/i...dexfullpage.htm

How to perform a repair installation of Windows XP if Internet Explorer 7 is installed - http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=917964

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#4 Cavillas

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 02:05 PM

You could always do a chkdsk /f as an added precaution before doing any re-installs etc.

#5 Tom Tildrum

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 03:59 PM

Thanks all for the advice.

You could always do a chkdsk /f as an added precaution before doing any re-installs etc.


What does chkdsk/f do? Will it cause data loss? (My education has some blind spots).

Edited by Tom Tildrum, 05 June 2009 - 04:06 PM.


#6 Tom Tildrum

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 10:39 PM

Thanks everyone. The problem turned out to be in the RAID settings of my BIOS. I suspect that the storm must have reverted my BIOS back to some factory default.

#7 Stang777

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 02:06 AM

What did you do to fix it?

I would love to know as I also run a raid configuration and know very little about what to do with it should I have problems

#8 Tom Tildrum

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 07:35 AM

What did you do to fix it?

I would love to know as I also run a raid configuration and know very little about what to do with it should I have problems


Actually, I've got the opposite situation. My HD was not in a RAID array, but the BIOS apparently assumed that it was. So, when I disabled the on-board RAID functions on my motherboard, the HD started right back up.

#9 Stang777

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 05:44 PM

That seems weird that it assumed it was a raid config. Thanks for letting me know what the deal was.




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