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?