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Windows Thread, HD NOT BOOTING BUT DATA OK - Fixable? in Technical; Right, just got back from a slightly extended holiday due to the volcano and now faced with my PC that ...
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    HD NOT BOOTING BUT DATA OK - Fixable?

    Right, just got back from a slightly extended holiday due to the volcano and now faced with my PC that won't boot of the main HD. Worked yesterday fine but this morning after leaving it on overnight it just boots to a flashing cursor and a couple of strange characters in the left hand corner of the screen. Tried the HD in another PC and I can browse the disk fine and run programs data from it. I presume the boot section of the drive has become corrupted, any instructions how to repair this error?

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    Assuming windows, boot from an installation CD, drop into the recovery console and try fixboot or fdisk /fixmbr perhaps. (google these for further info and usual caveat of back up before you do it.)

    I would also try a different sata cable/ide ribbon and ensure the contact to the board/disk are sound as it might be an issue with the controller rather than the disk.

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    When you say it boots to flashing colours, do you here the beep and the option to go to bios?

    If you can get to bios and view the configuration then you will need to boot to your windows disk and do a rescue boot. I would look to writing a new mbr and see if this changes the boot process.

    If you cant get to the bios, then it sounds like your pc had thermal issues and could have damaged the chipset or the cpu.

    Cant really say until you clarify.

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    I would look at this ms kb and use the fixboot and fixmbr commands and also a chkdsk /r - as above backup data

    Description of the Windows XP Recovery Console for advanced users

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    Quote Originally Posted by Galway View Post
    When you say it boots to flashing colours.
    Its a flashing cursor not flashing colours, however after investigating various options and putting it in another PC it came up with missing NTLDR messages which I then also investigated along with the fixboot and fixmbr to a stage wher now at boot it just gives a read error! Although put it in another PC and I can browse it etc just not boot from it! Going to look at the chkdsk options now.

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    Just an update, did the chkdsk /p/r and now faced with the NTLDR is missing message! Any suggestions? In the mentime suppose I'll try googling for options.

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    The big question is - do you think it's a sympton of a software problem or do you think it's hardware related?

    Tbh if the HDD is on its way out then repairing the bootloader is really just a temperary fix. If the drive reads in another PC well enough to recover important data, get the data off and replace the drive.

    On the other hand if you certain the HDD is sound then you should be able to boot Windows from CD to a command prompt, as others have suggested, and repair the bootloader from there. Or, better still, what I would do in this situation - just run a repair install of Windows. You may have to reinstall some drivers but you won't lose any installed programs or data and it beats fav'ing around in the command prompt.

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    Think the HD has had it as everytime I fix and replace the NTLDR error it returns with a read error which I fix with doing a chkdsk but then end up with the NTLDR error! The vicious circle! Looks like I'll have to start again unless its possible to use xcopy to copy the installation to another drive I have so I can keep it all as its is but on another drive that currently has windows installed and working just no programs and settings etc. Any help on xcopy if I can use it to do that?

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    Easiest way would be to connect to another computer and back it up from there.

    If thats not possible ...

    Id be tempted to grab a spare HD (or bite the bullet and buy a replacement), put windows on it and then connect the old one and copy the data across.

    If you can use another comp to copy the data, you could then format it and diagnose any issues with the drive.

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    Yes, had that final conclusion afetr a day of battling. Fortunately I only changed to this HD at the beginning of Feb and still got the old one all set up, so its just a matter of booting up the old PC and adding the faulty (I decided its the drive!) drive and just grabbing what data I have created between Feb and now. Just got to get the outlook data file mainly, everything else is set up just needs a good clean out (main reason to swap PC's in the first place and it had a larger HD!) Oh well, thanks for the suggestions.

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