Posted 07 June 2006 - 04:17 PM
Hi, folks. After reading a thread which touched on using the Recovery Cosole on an XP install disc, I realized that the booting process has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. That is, how does XP know where to find the "system volume". This all leads to me getting a handle on how to fix a system when it won't boot properly that spits out the error "hal.dll missing" or "insert system disk" and such misleading tripe.
I can't ask just one question because I have several, so I think it's best that I tell you what I believe to know and then let you correct me. With that said, here is how I imagine the 'nuts and bolts' description of how the booting process actually work:
- Once the BIOS's POST in complete it reads and runs the boot loader from the MBR of the Master disk drive on the first ATA channel (IDE or SATA).
- The boot loader searches the Master disk's primary partitions (logical partitions are excluded) for the partition that is set 'active'. The active partition has the three files ntldr, ntdetect.com and boot.ini. Ntldr takes over from the MBR's boot loader and uses ntdect.com and bootini to determine which partition on which disk drive the XP OS is located and finishes the booting procedure. This partition is called the "System Volume" by MS. Boot.ini specifies which physical drive and which partition XP is on.
- The System Volume can be either a primary partition or a logical partition.
How close did I come to getting this right ?