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Huge problem - Unable to load Windows XP


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#1
csundita

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Hello,

In April, I bought an HP Pavillion a1323w Desktop PC which runs Windows XP Media Center Edition. I have no Windows XP CD and no floppy disk drive. Just a CD drive.

I was having the computer restart, and it appeared to have been stuck. So I turned off the computer and then turned it back on.

I was then shown the Safe Mode screen. All of the options I chose - be it Safe mode, Safe mode with command prompt, start from last configuation, and start normally would all cause the computer to reboot and show up at the safe mode screen again.

I spent an hour with HP technical support on the phone and the tech support man told me to press F10 and go into PC recovery. I told him that the "STart PC Recovery" would delete my data files. He said it won't, and he said go see what happens. Then it said "FORMATTING." He and I both said "[bleep]" at the same time and I immediately turned off the computer before the progress meter started.

I am now fearing the worse (good bye family photos and schoolwork!) Now when I reboot the computer, I won't get the Safe mode screen. It just says NTLDR is Missing Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart.

The tech support guy offered me a System Recovery CD, which I forked $23 over for. It should arrive by FedEx this Thursday.

In the meantime, what should I do? Is there hope? Are all my files already deleted?

Thank you in an advance for any help,

--Chris

Edited by csundita, 25 June 2006 - 05:19 PM.

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#2
computerwiz12890

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Hello and welcome to Geeks to Go.

Considering you canceled the format before it was able to complete, you have a good chance for recovery. But don't get excited yet, since this could be a complicated recovery and may not even work...

And, a piece of advice, if you ever decide to call tech support again, and they start telling you things that sound dangerous or risky, just hang up. :whistling:


There are 2 things you can do to try to recover your data:

1. Put your hard drive into a different computer (one that works) and see if your files are available. If not, use a recovery program. If you choose this, I can guide you through it

2. Make an Ultimate Boot CD for Windows by downloading the necessary files at http://www.ubcd4win.com You will need an XP CD make one. You can borrow an XP CD from a friend. This is more complicated, but at least you won't have to open up your computer and risk dropping your hard drive. But if you choose to do this, you will need a place to recover your files to. In other words, you will either need an external hard drive, a flash drive, or a CD burner (which means you'll need 1 for the Ultimate Boot CD to run off of, and then 1 burner to back up your data onto)


Either choice will take some time. But it will give you a good chance to recover your data. Let me know what you decide.

Edited by computerwiz12890, 25 June 2006 - 05:29 PM.

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#3
csundita

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2. Make an Ultimate Boot CD for Windows by downloading the necessary files at http://www.ubcd4win.com You will need an XP CD make one. You can borrow an XP CD from a friend. This is more complicated, but at least you won't have to open up your computer and risk dropping your hard drive. But if you choose to do this, you will need a place to recover your files to. In other words, you will either need an external hard drive, a flash drive, or a CD burner (which means you'll need 1 for the Ultimate Boot CD to run off of, and then 1 burner to back up your data onto)


Hi, computerwiz, thank you for the reply. It looks like option 2 is the only feasible option for me right now, then.

I have a question, I'm able to do so, but why would I need to transfer my files? Will they be erased if I try to restore Windows XP back to its original state?

Thanks again,

--Chris
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#4
computerwiz12890

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Yes, exactly. If you use the Restore CD that they are sending you, it will erase everything and put it back the way it was when you bought it.

So we need to try to get your files before you use it.
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#5
csundita

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Yes, exactly. If you use the Restore CD that they are sending you, it will erase everything and put it back the way it was when you bought it.

So we need to try to get your files before you use it.


Really? Darn. Ok, so it's not possible for me to go and fix whatever's bugging my computer once I get it started with the boot disk?

One more question - I hope you don't mind me asking so many - what is the purpose of the spare Windows XP CD that you mention? I am currently using my father's laptop with Windows XP (Home edition from 2003) to access the internet right now.

THanks,

--Chris
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#6
computerwiz12890

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The Windows XP CD is used to build the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows. (I'm gonna call it UBCD from now on)

That UBCD requires Windows files in order to run. Due to copyright reasons, they cannot just include those Windows files with their UBCD. So you must provide the XP CD with the files that the UBCD needs.

There's a "how to build" at that website. Read through it and try to follow it as best as you can. If you don't understand something or get stuck, let me know. I'll help you out. :whistling:

Edited by computerwiz12890, 25 June 2006 - 06:03 PM.

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#7
dsenette

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just as a note here...from someone who has built the UBCD probably about 10 different times now (i love the thing...great to have in the toolbelt)...the UBCD process can be a bit daunting (even though they have GREAT instructions)...IF the process is feeling a little scary...you could get an external USB hard drive enclosure for the HD of the borked PC and copy the files over to your dad's laptop that way (instead of having to have another desktop to drop the drive in)...this may be a better option for you (as it looks like you don't have an xp cd on hand to begin with)
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#8
csundita

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Someone else suggested "enclosure" for me too. Pardon my ignorance, I know what an external hard drive is, but what is the enclosure part of it?

--Chris
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#9
dsenette

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well...when one goes to bestbuy and says "yo...dude..i want an external hard drive"...they're going to hand you a box that has a device inside it that already contains a hard drive...you don't want that...you just want the contraption that will allow you to connect your hard drive to your computer with USB...thereby a USB hard drive enclosure...your main concern here is to make sure that you get a 3.5" enclosure not a 2.5" enclosure...(i've done it...it's very enfuriating) as the 3.5 is for desktop HD's and the 2.5 is for laptop HD's..
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#10
csundita

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Well folks, I got a hold of a bootdisk.. And all my files are indeed deleted - no files left on the C drive and close to 160 gigs of space. Dang. Painful lesson.

Thanks for all of your help and suggestions. 'Twas much appreciated. Tomorrow begins the recovery process.

--Chris
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#11
computerwiz12890

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The UBCD has a tool called Restoration. I don't remember exactly where it is located (I think it's in programs > Disk Management > recovery), so look around for it.

Give that program a try and see if any of your files turn up. If they do, post back and I'll give you further instruction on how to recover them without overwriting them.
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#12
csundita

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The UBCD has a tool called Restoration. I don't remember exactly where it is located (I think it's in programs > Disk Management > recovery), so look around for it.

Give that program a try and see if any of your files turn up. If they do, post back and I'll give you further instruction on how to recover them without overwriting them.


Thanks for the suggestion. I went ahead and did that, but unfortunately Restoration did not find any files.

I'm surprised that all the files were deleted before the progress meter for the formatting started registering.

--Chris
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