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Windows XP-Pro Won't Load

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#1 Henrik37


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Posted 25 June 2016 - 03:14 PM

Mod Edit:  Edited title to reflect seeming issues - Hamluis.


On a Dell 8100 (32 bit) still running XP-Pro and AVAST security software, I had a strange set of problems, some of which I have figured out.  Please read on to see if someone on this list can halp me with the problems I have not figured out.


Out of nowhere, this PC - used largely for e-mail - suddenly refused to load XP.  The XP load screen appeared but the messages indicated, among other choices, that I should go to the last good operating status.


I eventually figured out that I had apparently had a power surge that had fried at least a portion of my Linkskey KVM switch's circuitry.  Accordingly, I stopped using the KVM switch and connected the monitor, keyboard, and mouse directly.  XP still wouldn't load past the initial screen.


I then tried to boot the PC with a floppy MS-DOS boot disc formatted only with the 'format /s' command.  The PC booted but wouldn't recognize and of the five partitions on the hard drive.


Lacking any other tools, I tried booting the PC with an XP-Pro OEM installation disc.  The PC booted and correctly identified the five partitions on the hard drive and the CD/DVD disc drive.  Interestingly, the C:\ partition was listed as 'blank' while the other four partitions (D:/, E:/, F:/, and G:/) were all correctly listed as NTFS partitions.  My conclusion was that somehow my C:/ partition had somehow gotten erased!  WHAT?


As it has been my policy, going back to the MS-DOS days, to install only the operating system files in the C:/ partition, I decided to gamble and reformat the C:\ partition and reinstall XP-Pro so I could at least copy to CD-R discs the files that appeared to be intact on the D:/, E:/, F:/, and G:/ partitions. 


As expected, none of the originally installed applications were working, Accordingly, I installed Roxio's application to the C:/ drive and found that I could, indeed, copy the old files in the D:/, E:/, F:/, and G:/ partitions.


Thank you for reading this far.  Does anybody have any idea what could have caused my C:\ partition to get erased and become unformatted?  Is this some strange bit of malware floating around?  I have fould AVAST to be pretty good at catching malware but maybe my experience is a unique one.  Could a power surge have tricked the PC into somehow going berserk?  I am utterly baffled and all ideas, comments, etc., particularly by folks much younger than me who know Windows operating systems vastly better than I do. 


Thank you,

Edited by hamluis, 25 June 2016 - 06:18 PM.

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#2 JohnC_21


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Posted 25 June 2016 - 03:58 PM

I then tried to boot the PC with a floppy MS-DOS boot disc formatted only with the 'format /s' command.  The PC booted but wouldn't recognize and of the five partitions on the hard drive.


MS-DOS can not detect NTFS partitions which is what your XP drive would be formatted with. 


The C: partition may have been corrupted during the power surge and lost it's partition table making the partition look empty when in fact the partition table may have been able to be repaired but unfortunately you have already reformatted it. You could have pulled the data on the other partitions using a linux distro like Puppy and an external drive without resorting to formatting your C: partition.


If the computer is mostly used for email and has 1GB or more of RAM you may want to look at a linux distro instead of XP. This would be a much more stable system with stronger security over XP. It would all depend on if you have any mission critical programs where there is no linux equivalent.


The linux forum would be able to answer any question you may have. This would be a much more stable system with stronger security over XP.

#3 WebWalker67


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Posted 26 June 2016 - 04:33 AM

Instead of using XP installation to format the C drive to retrieve your file in other partitions, you can boot up your system via a Linux CD/DVD (any distros).

Within Linux environment (which work like Windows) to back up all your files in other partitions.


Try to download the HDD diagnosis program from the HDD maker website. Run the diagnosis on your HDD.

HDD might be faulty which you need to replace it.

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