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XP failure to boot, forced to linux


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#1
skaterperson

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Hi there,
In the last month my computer started generating an error at boot time with 'PBR for descriptor 2...done'. I contacted Dell about the problem and i was told to unplug all devices execpt mouse and keyboard. Still no luck. Then Dell support told me to contact a professional data recovery company or use the OS repair disk to wipe the system. As the OS boot disk does not fire up (after changing boot sequence) I have looked into Knoppix for an answer. Unable to access my harddisk and linux commands not working, i have been forced to send for help. After hours of googling i still have no luck because most answers just tell you to drag and drop the files you want to save from HD to USB, but as i cannot find any files on the HD, this is not possible for me.
I was hoping someone could tell me how i could completely format my windows and start over, because i have given up on recovering the data. Maybe my harddisk is is so corrupt that everything has been deleted already?

I would be pleased if someone could help me out here. (if this is in the wrong forum,sorry)
Thanks

Edited by skaterperson, 14 January 2007 - 06:22 AM.

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#2
SRX660

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This is a laptop, right?

It is the "primary boot record 2" message from the factory.

The machine has three partitions from the factory:

1) Dell utility partition

2) OS partition (the one you're seeing here)

3) The hidden DSR / Dell system restore partition.

By installing SP2 you have borked the XP install( it's doing that to lots of people). You can boot from the CD and do a repair without wiping all your files, if you have a XP CD.

Some reading here for you.

http://www.goodells....store/fixes.htm

http://support.dell....030A68F27281E82

If you scroll down on the goodells site it has a DSRfix file that you can try to access the restore partition.

Heres dells diagonistic program to check the drive.

http://images.lunarp...sb/delldiag.exe

And heres some dell flash drive bootable images if you do not have a floppy drive.

http://images.lunarp.../uxga/dos/bios/

And heres Hitachi HD utilities.

http://www.hgst.com/...rt/download.htm

Please let us know if any of this helps.

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#3
skaterperson

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Hi thanks for the reply but it is not a laptop, im inquiring about my Dell Dimension 9100.
Does any of the information you suggested to me still apply ?

Thanks again
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#4
SRX660

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Can you boot up the computer at all? Some of the last post still apply. For a long while Dell had a recovery partition and no operating system disk included with the computer. They have since switched back to providing restore CD's with new computers.

If knoppix can not access the hard drive it is probably because the drive has died. Can you install the drive in another computer and be able to access the drive at all? I just used Knoppix to access a drive that had a corrupt NTFS file system and i was able to save quite a lot of data from the drive. Do you get any error messages when you try accessing the hard drive?

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#5
skaterperson

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Firstly no i cannot boot the computer at all. Apart from using knoppix. I emailed Dell and recieved the CD boot disk, but even this will not load up, maybe a clever virus ?
I am not sure if i am able to use the HD in another computer, I am using an HP Pavilion here, Am i able to swap the HD's or are they not compatable (if this method is what you mean).
So to make things clear to you, i cannot boot windows in anyway shape or form, not even using the restore disk, the only way i can get an interface started is by using a knoppix bootable CD.
When in knoppix, i get 2 harddisks coming up as 'sba1' and 'sba2' one folder has nothing in it and one has a few files in for example command.com and some others. I thought i might be able to run the command prompt and give a reformat command, but i obviously dont know much about linux :whistling:. But basically no i did not get an error message trying to access the HD, just none of my documents are there.

Thanks for your time
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#6
SRX660

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How to install a Hard drive in another computer.

OK, so you have a dead computer with data you need to get off the hard drive. Heres how you do this. You will need a second computer with the same type of hard drive. If you do have the right computer you can take the hard drive out of the dead computer and just plug it into the good computer. You will need to set a jumper that is next to the power connector so that the drive will be a slave drive.

Heres the slave settings for some hard drives.

Maxtor
If there is no jumper at all plugged in maxtor drives will be set as slave.

Western Digital
Most WD drives have the slave setting as pins 3 & 4, which is the second vertical pair of pins from the right side looking at the back of the drive.

Seagate
Like maxtor seagate drives will be slave drives if there are no jumpers at all.

Fujitsu
Fujitsu does not make desktop drives now, but when they did the 3 & 4 pins were vertically connected for the drive to be slave (note: this is from the left side of pins).

After setting the jumper( or not setting it) you need to hook the drive up. Most computers Hard drive data cables have 2 connectors on them. The end connector hooks up to the Master drive and the middle connector hooks up to the Slave drive. So plug the data cable into the slave drive. You can probably just set the slave drive on top of the master drive so it won't be dangling off the cable. You do not need to install the drive. You are only trying to get data off the drive and then taking it back out of the computer. You will also need to hook up a power cable( white molex type connector) to the slave drive.

Now you can boot up the computer. If the slave drive has problems you may get a error message stating that. You will then go into Explore (right click my computer and click explore) to see if you can even see the drive. More than likely it will be a drive letter past your cdrom/dvd drives. Say if you have only one cdrom drive that is "D" the slave hard drive will be "E". If you have 2 cdrom drives which are "D" and "E" the slave drive will be "F".If you already have 2 hard drives in your computer you can substitute the drive with the slave drive you have in the computer( take one out and put other in).

You should be able to move any data from this drive to the main drive in the computer with copy and paste.If you cannot see the drive at all in explore, or cannot see any data on this drive then you have file system problems or a dead hard drive. You should be able to open any folders on the drive except the ones in "Documents and Settings" because XP sets permissions on these files.

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#7
skaterperson

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Hi, I believe my second computer (HP Pavilion) has a different Harddrive and connecters, so does this mean it is not possible to recover my Dell WD Serial ATA HD. Or i can, I just need to use a friend's Dell machine ?
Sorry if i am very 'nooby' at this but i havent ever done this before. I have enclosed 2 pictures, the first showing my Serial ATA that is dead, the 8 pin port is the only free place. and then the second picture showing the inside of my HP machine with the only connecter available, a four pin, no 8 pin connecter here.
Thank you very much

Posted Image
Posted Image

Edited by skaterperson, 16 January 2007 - 11:23 AM.

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#8
SRX660

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The easist thing here would be to use the friends computer that is already setup for SATA drives to see if your drive is any good at all. If you can get to the data on the drive i would burn everything you want to save to CD's or DVD's.

Now you also need to decide if you want to try repairing your computer so it is useable again. If you do we can go thru what methods are available to do this. This may end up costing you a couple hundred dollars to buy a XP regular CD, and maybe a new SATA hd for the computer. We won't know if the HD is any good until we have a XP CD to try reformatting it with. The XP CD costs around $90 from newegg. Please let me know what you want to do.

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#9
skaterperson

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Sorry for the long reply , but i have been succsessful in claiming warrenty from Dell and an engineer will be coming in the next few days. I will try and recover some files using the slave drive method with the drive. I cant thank you enough for your help even though we werent succsessful. I really appreciate the help and i hope you keep on doing what you are doing .

Thanks again,
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