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XP boots to black text screen


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#1
leftspin

leftspin

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I have a Dell Inspiron 9200 laptop. The affected drive is a Seagate 160GB.

I have a recurring problem with my machine. On a restart or power cycle, it is VERY likely that the machine will get past the Dell bios logo, and then fail to boot XP. I get a black text screen with a blinking underline cursor in the upper left of the screen. If I put another drive in my laptop, the second drive boots fine. I then put the first drive into an external enclosure. All of the files are OK. Since I use Ghost to backup my drives, I have not lost data, but it is a real pain in the butt. To avoid this problem, I put my machine into stand by mode at night, and I only reboot every couple of months.

Here are some additional details. If I put a known good ghosted image of the same drive onto the affected drive, it will not boot. If I put an image of a 40GB drive onto the affected 160GB drive, the drive will boot. If I then put the known good ghosted image of the 160GB drive onto the affected drive, it will boot.

So I have two questions. What method can I use to fix this booting problem after it has happend. I tried Norton's fix MBR, and that didn't work. I tried the Windows XP recovery console's applications, and those didn't work.

What software is likely to be causing this problem. Is it a problem with the large 160GB drive, or some software on the drive?

Thanks,

LeftSpin
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#2
leftspin

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Any ideas?
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#3
ClickRight

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Can you boot off of a CD and run Seatools on the drive to see if it may be damaged?
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#4
leftspin

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I think I have tried Seatools, with no luck. The drive itself is not damaged. Some file is getting corrupted.

BTW, I did manage to make an image of the drive, and the image has the problem. I had thought that maybe I could fix the MBR, and then put my image onto the drive, and I would be OK, but no such luck.
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#5
leftspin

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I used HDHacker to verify that the MBR and Boot Sector are identical between working and non working images. I did see that the disk signature had changed, but I forced the disk signature back to the one the working image had, and that did not resolve the problem. I'm guessing that Norton Ghost may not have been set to restore disk signatures that time. This last time I restored the non working image, I set the option to restore the MBR, and the disk signature is now the same, but the drive still does not work.

Any ideas?
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#6
leftspin

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I made a windows boot CD, and that still does not boot my bad image. It did boot another good image. The boot.ini came from the good image, of the affected drive

From the microsoft web site: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314503

This issue may occur if one or more of the following elements are corrupted:
• Master boot record
• Partition tables
• Boot sector
• NTLDR file

If you can start the computer from the boot disk without receiving an error message, the damage is limited to the master boot record, the boot sector, or the NTLDR file. After Windows XP is running, immediately back up all data before you try to fix the boot sector.

I would like more help on this subject. I have only gotten one reply.
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#7
leftspin

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Still no help from this board in this problem. I see lots of people with this kind of problem on various forums, but the problem is almost never solved. Come on people.

I decided to see if there is some corrupt file on my hard drive. So I deleted everything in the C:\windows folder, and copied it from the good drive. Now I get continual rebooting, with a very brief message:

Invalid BOOT.INI file
Booting from c:\windows\
NTDETECT failed

I know that the boot.ini file is good. I diffed it against the good version. I also have tried booting from CD. The cd has boot.ini, ntdetect.com, and ntldr. This CD booted another good drive.

Is there some magic placement of files on the hard drive? I wouldn't think so for anything in C:\windows.
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