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Boot XP without original boot sector


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#1 aod_

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 01:00 PM

I need to try and boot a copy of windows that has been recovered from a formatted hard drive. I canít restore the original boot sector, or clone the original partition. I have managed to get a copy of all the partitionsí files and folders, including what I think are all of the boot critical system files (e.g msdos.sys, io.sys, ntldr.sys etc). This is to boot Windows XP.

Is there a way that a blank hard disk can have a bootable partition created, the restored data copied to it, and then somehow configure the drive to boot windows from the files? I know there is a lot more to it than that, with boot sector / boot loader files / config that is normally written during the OS install Ė but I canít restore this data and need to boot the windows installation that was originally on the hard drive before it was formatted.

Any help appreciated.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 01:12 PM

You could try a repair install.

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

Louis

#3 aod_

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:03 AM

You could try a repair install.

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

Louis


Cheers I'll give this a go.

#4 aod_

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:38 PM

Ok I'm nearly getting somewhere. having recovered the data from the formatted HD, and copied it to another blank drive, I'm now trying an XP repair using the recovery console. It found the installation, I selected it.... then it asked for the Administrator password! DOH! Don't know this, and friend doesn't think he set one.

Anyone know a way to reset or hack this without it booting the OS?

#5 hamluis

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:35 PM

Did you try just hitting Enter...when asked for a password?

I've never known XP to ask for such when doing a repair install...only when trying to run the Recovery Console.

Louis

#6 aod_

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:19 PM

Did you try just hitting Enter...when asked for a password?

I've never known XP to ask for such when doing a repair install...only when trying to run the Recovery Console.

Louis



Hi, yes i tried leaving it blank, and it kept prompting for the password. After 3 goes it locked out and said press enter to reboot
I tried a different XP disc and it worked, however I'm at the c:\windows prompt, and not sure what to do! I want to do a windows repair so it recreates the boot loader / boot sector, but leaves all the program files etc intact.

#7 aod_

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:22 PM

Ah, just re-read the guide in the link! I did the Do NOT press R for recovery console! DOH! No prob, I'll try Enter and repair, but if my previous attempts at pressing R have stuffed it, I'll recopy all the data back and start again.

#8 hamluis

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:31 PM

I would not worry about recopying data...the only thing that a repair install does is to remove all old system files and replace them with new ones. Data files are not impacted, programs installed are not impacted.

Louis

#9 aod_

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:53 PM

OK, I've been through a few things! Bear with me!

Firstly, having copied the recovered data from the formatted hard drive (all files and folders were recovered, but not partition), to another hard drive, I installed the hard disk in another PC. I tried a repair install but the repair feature doesn't show up.

I then tried a few goes at bootcfg, following the instructions in
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm#warning2

After trying various things (can't remember which order), I got the Windows Start up menu, with 3 windows options to boot. Something like
1. Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
2. 1.
3. Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

All booted to the login prompt the same.

When trying to login as administrator, it wouldn't let me - can't remember the exact message, but it was something to do with activation. I tried a different account, and that wouldn't log in either.

I figured the installation didn't like being in another computer, on a different hard drive - so I recopied all the restored data back to a drive the same as the original (or very similar), and put it in the original PC.

Since then I've been trying all the above again, and can't get it to boot. I just get Press F1 to reboot, F2 to enter Setup (After a beep) - I don't think it's finding a boot sector.

I've also tried http://webcast.broadcastnewsroom.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=8658-2 - but this is more for corrupt installations, rather than re-building a boot sector / boot partition around an existing 'bootless' Windows installation.

I'm going to recopy the data again and try some of the steps above in a different order to try and boot again. If I get that far, maybe it will login.

Any further suggestions appreciated!

Edited by aod_, 18 December 2012 - 02:55 PM.


#10 aod_

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:02 PM

I've had an idea!

If I install a clean copy of Windows on the hard drive, then overwrite all the data with the restored data - that should leave the boot partition intact, and then maybe I can fix the MBR / boot sector in the recovery console?....

#11 hamluis

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 05:08 PM

I don't have anything new to say, maybe others here do.

Louis

#12 nameaka

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:13 AM

Create an AVG Rescue CD and boot with it.
You may have to open BIOS Setup to change boot order to CD ROM first. You can also make a USB Boot Stick.
http://www.avg.com/us-en/avg-rescue-cd-download

Use Testdisk to rewrite your boot files.
http://www.avg.com/us-en/avg-rescue-cd




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