Jump to content
LCVG

Hard drive and/or OS failure


PoisonJam
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi, guys. Maybe one of you can save my marriage or my life, since my wife is going to either kill me or leave me if I don't get our computer running again. This is going to be a lengthy post because I want to describe exactly what I did to come to this pitiable state, but I will try to be as succinct as possible.

 

Quick version: I took the hard drive out of my working computer and put it into a dead PC that I was bringing back to life, but after monkeying around with it in the new PC, I decided to give up for the night and put it back into the original PC. Now, in the original PC, Windows won't boot up and I don't know what to do.

 

Long version: as I mentioned in previous posts, my friend gave me a bricked computer that had better hardware than mine, only it wouldn't boot up. I bought a new power supply and hooked everything up tonight, but I discovered that he had yanked his hard drive before he gave it to me (understandably; I just didn't realize it). So, I decided to move my existing hard drive to the new PC.

 

After installing my hard drive into the new PC, I booted up the computer but was met with a Windows stop error. The MS knowledgebase said it could be due to device drivers, which made sense since he had all different hardware than me, so I booted in safe mode and uninstalled the video drivers (ATI catalyst). Since the new PC has an NVidia card, when prompted to uninstall the ATI chipset, I said yes.

 

Still got stop errors, so I booted again in safe mode, but with networking enabled (intending to let Windows download the drivers it needed). This time I got a message that Windows needed to be activated with MS...apparently Windows binds to the computer on which it is installed? Not just the hard drive?

 

At this point I gave up and moved the hard drive back into my machine, but when I booted it up, I got a message "Press F1 to reboot or F2 to enter Setup". I went into Setup and verified that my hard drive was being recognized as the Primary master, etc, and it was. Booted a few more times, but always to the same message.

 

Then I got the idea to throw in my Windows reinstallation disc that came with the computer (from Dell), figuring maybe I shouldn't have deleted that ATI chipset and maybe I could find it on the reinstall disc. I chose the Windows Repair console from the setup disc, but it said it couldn't find the path. Then I went a few steps down the path to reinstalling Windows just to see if it could find my hard drive, but I cancelled out.

 

So, that's pretty much where I am now, only now instead of booting to "Press F1 to reboot or F2 to enter Setup", now after the BIOS screen I just see a single blinking cursor in the corner.

 

Questions:

1) Any idea what the hell I did to my hard drive?

2) Can I reinstall Windows on my hard drive and still access all of the documents and programs I had initially? Dell didn't partition the drive when I received it so it is all one partition.

 

Again, sorry for the length but I wanted to include all details in case one of them provides a clue. Any and all help is appreciated...as I said, I am in the doghouse in a major way, since my wife knows this all started with me trying to get a machine together that would play Warhammer...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Dave,

 

It sounds to me like you borked the boot sector on the HDD. I think if you do a fresh install of XP, you won't lose your files unless you choose to format the partition. You might still need to re-install some stuff to put the registry hooks back in, but the data should still be there.

 

Someone who's more familiar with this may have a better answer than I do...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Joel. After spending a virtually sleepless night on it, my new plan is to borrow a spare hard drive, format it with Windows XP, install that as my primary drive, and then connect my current drive as a slave. Then, I hope, I hope, I hope that I can still access the slave drive and copy all of the important data to the spare, just in case. Then I will probably reinstall Windows on the slave, and even if it does screw up the drive so much that I have to format it, at least I will have preserved the important stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Joel. After spending a virtually sleepless night on it, my new plan is to borrow a spare hard drive, format it with Windows XP, install that as my primary drive, and then connect my current drive as a slave. Then, I hope, I hope, I hope that I can still access the slave drive and copy all of the important data to the spare, just in case. Then I will probably reinstall Windows on the slave, and even if it does screw up the drive so much that I have to format it, at least I will have preserved the important stuff.

 

 

Dave, that should work perfectly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, guys. One more wrinkle that I didn't add because my original post was already ridiculously long: I ran through the Windows setup process from the Reinstall disc twice, both times to see if my hard drive was even being recognized as valid (with all the messing around with cables and master/slave jumpers I had done). I had no intention of actually reinstalling Windows (at least, not yet), but I wanted to see if it would at least let me.

 

The first time I ran it, it told me to select a partition on which to install Windows, and listed just a single partition as available, which spanned my entire hard drive (191GB or so, on a 200GB drive). When I pressed Enter, it told me I had to create a partition, and brought me back to the partition select screen, at which point I exited the program.

 

The second time I ran it, I again just wanted to verify that my hard drive was being recognized as available, but when I got to the select partition screen and hit enter, instead of telling me to go back and create a partition, for some reason it created one for me, and then told me that I had to reformat the partition before it would be usable. Gak! That's when I shut it down, posted my plea here, and cried myself to sleep. So, what effect will the fact that the Reinstall disc appears to have created a new partition on my drive have on my ability to retrieve my old data? I sure as hell didn't format the partition but I'm afraid the damage might have been done...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Creating a partition on the drive could have destroyed the data on it...I'm not sure how advanced the WinXP partition installer is.

 

It's really best to grab another HDD, install Windows. To be safe, don't hook up your old drive as the slave until you've formatted Windows safely on the new one (you don't want to accidently wipe the wrong one).

 

The Knoppix boot from CD/flash drive is a good idea too...certainly quicker than installing Windows if you want to see if your files are there. You can also boot Windows from an external USB HDD or a big fat flash drive for most modern motherboards.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, it turns out creating the partition was NOT a good thing. I did grab another HDD, ghosted it with a Windows image, and then connected my drive as a slave, and the slave showed a 185GB drive, with 185GB free.:bh

 

Luckily, a friend here at work has a data recovery tool that is running now, and it looks like it is finding some files. I'll know in about an hour how much it was able to salvage.

 

With apologies to Miracle Max, I am considering upgrading my condition from "Dead" to "Mostly Dead", depending on the data recovery results.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quick question...installed a new 500GB hard drive into the DOA machine. BIOS sees all 500GB, but Windows XP sees only 167GB. I knew this going in, because my Win install disc was pre-SP1, but I was hoping that once I updated Windows to SP3 I would somehow be able to adjust the primary partition to the full 500GB. Is that possible within Windows, or do I need something like Partition Magic to do that?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quick question...installed a new 500GB hard drive into the DOA machine. BIOS sees all 500GB, but Windows XP sees only 167GB. I knew this going in, because my Win install disc was pre-SP1, but I was hoping that once I updated Windows to SP3 I would somehow be able to adjust the primary partition to the full 500GB. Is that possible within Windows, or do I need something like Partition Magic to do that?

 

Don't know, but I recently repartitioned with a live CD linux distro specifically made for re partitioning. Free.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OMG. With each detail you gave in your story I jumped out of my seat yelling "NOOOOOOO" in my head, but alas, you couldn't hear me. If it wasn't such a terrible thing for you, I'd probably bust your chops on it. Jesus that sucks. I have spent many a night troubleshooting stuff like that when building machines. I hope things work out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Keith. The good news is, I was able to recover my wife's data, store it on a spare HDD at work, and then ghost her drive with an XP Pro base image. Then it was just a matter of moving her data back over and re-downloading and re-installing everything. Her computer is back up and running (I am posting this on it now), and I have strict instructions to LAY OFF.

 

Sound advice to my ears, which is why I am monkeying around with the new drive in the previously-bricked computer now, lol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quick question...installed a new 500GB hard drive into the DOA machine. BIOS sees all 500GB, but Windows XP sees only 167GB. I knew this going in, because my Win install disc was pre-SP1, but I was hoping that once I updated Windows to SP3 I would somehow be able to adjust the primary partition to the full 500GB. Is that possible within Windows, or do I need something like Partition Magic to do that?

 

I recently repartitioned with Partition Magic myself. I borrowed a copy from my buddy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...