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Repair MBR


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#1
jst42day

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I need to repair the MBR in my XP Pro w/SP2.
Everything I've read so far indicates that I'll need to Recover XP using the OS install disk.
There appear to be ways of doing this without losing all of my hard drives' contents.
Would you please guide me towards a guide that is the easiest to follow?
I'm a novice and can usually follow good directions. But with all the different sites explaining how to do this I'm not sure of which one to trust.
Thanks for any help.
J.
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#2
Artellos

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Hello jst42day,

Here is a guide on how to repair a damaged MBR.

Repairing a Damaged MBR

Your Windows XP setup CDROM has a tool called the Recovery Console, which is designed to help you repair a damaged master boot record or boot sector. To start the Recovery Console and fix your damaged MBR, follow these steps:

  • Restart your computer with the Windows XP Setup disk in the CDROM drive.
  • If you are prompted to press a key to start the computer from CDROM, do so quickly. Otherwise it may try to boot from the hard drive.
  • After a few minutes, you'll see a prompt to press the R key to start the Recovery Console.
  • When Recovery Console starts, it will prompt you to enter a number corresponding to the Windows XP installation that you need to repair. In most cases, you'll enter "1" (which will be the only choice). If you press ENTER without typing a number, Recovery Console will quit and restart your computer.
  • Enter your Administrator password. If you don't enter the correct password, you cannot continue.
  • At the Recovery Console command prompt, type fixmbr and then verify that you want to proceed.

Your damaged MBR will be replaced with a shiny new one, and you should then be able to boot your system normally. In some cases, you may need to repair the boot sector in addition to the MBR. If your system still doesn't boot properly, repeat the steps above, but issue the fixboot command instead.

NOTE: These procedures assume that you have only one operating system installed. If you are an advanced user and have a multi-boot system with more than one operating system, you may need to do some additional reading about the fixmbr and fixboot commands at the Microsoft website.

EDIT: Here's the Source: http://askbobrankin.com/fix_mbr.html

Edited by Artellos, 09 March 2008 - 10:40 AM.

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#3
The Skeptic

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Are you sure that you have to fix the MBR? Please note that if not successful you may lose all approach to your files. I suggest that you describe the problem that you have with the computer and we'll try to help you.
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#4
jst42day

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Artellos,
Thanks for the help. That I can do.

Skeptic,
I was trialing some different programs including an imaging program.
Decided not to buy it yet. Wanted to try others of the same type.
I uninstalled it per their directions and now am not able to install other imaging or snapshot/restore programs. I get a pop up box that states I have a missing or damaged MBR or the pop up states that Windows Installer is missing or broken.
I tried some research on this and keep coming up with me doing the recovery with my XP disk, which contains SP2.
I'm going to wait a couple of hours in case either of you see that I'm going in the wrong direction.

Thanks both of you for your help.
J.
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#5
The Skeptic

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Could you give us some details about your computer (make and model). The recovery that you plan to perform is it clean install (which wipes everything from the hard disk) or is a repair installation (less drastic. Supposed to leave your data and applications intact, except for the removal of all windows updates and possibly some hardware drivers). Whatever you plan to do, backup your valuable data first. If you need help with this please let us know.

Artellos advice is a good one and you can try it. I must admit, however, that I dread messing up with the MBR and I leave it as a last resort. Even further, the fact that you get other messages (windows installer etc.) indicates to a more complex problem. I would try, first, to restore the computer to an earlier date (before the unsuccessful uninstallation).

Since the computer is not bootable you have to use the recovery console as described in Artellos post. While there, please follow these instructions:


* When you get to the recovery console Type

CD \

* Press Enter
* Type

cd system~1\_resto~1

* Press Enter
* Type

dir

* Press Enter

After you press enter you will see a list of folders (like rp1, rp2) If the list of restore points has more than one page then press the Enter key untill you reach the end of the list

* Type

cd rp {number of the second to last folder in the list}


Note: Example: cd rp9, if rp9 is the second to the last restore point where the last restore point no. is 10
* Press Enter
* Type

cd snapshot

* Press Enter
* Type

copy _registry_machine_system c:\windows\system32\config\system

* Press Enter
* Type

copy _registry_machine_software c:\windows\system32\config\software

* Press Enter
* Type

Exit

* Press Enter

Your PC will reboot.

If you get an access denied error when doing the above, then do the following at the recovery console:

* Type

CD \

* Press Enter
* Type

cd windows\system32\config

* Press Enter
* Type

ren system system.bak

* Press Enter
* Type

Exit

* Press Enter

Your PC will reboot, go back into the Recovery Console and start from the beginning

If you still cannot get access in anyway to your installation in the recovery console then your SAM database files are corrupt. There is no way you can restore these with the recovery console. You may need to do a fresh install.
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#6
jst42day

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Skeptic,
I apparently did not state this properly.
The pc IS bootable.
I can't do a restore to an earlier time because system restore was turned off by the software that was being evaluated.
Pathetically, this is the very reason I was trying the software-to deal with a corrupt system.

As an example, if I try to download EAZ-FIX or Roll Back or one of the imagers I get the message that the MBR is shot.
If I try to download, lets say, FDISR, I get the Windows Installer pop up.

Both pop ups lead me to having to do a system revory from the XP disk according to what I've read online.
I'm just hoping that I don't lose too much stuff such as drivers, programs etc..
Hope I have explained it better.
I'll be checking back before I do anything just in case.
Regards.
J.
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#7
The Skeptic

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Now I understand. It's obvious that the MBR is not corrupted, otherwise you wouldn't be able to boot the computer.

Go ahead with the recovery, unless someone else comes with a better idea.

Good Luck.
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#8
jst42day

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Skeptic,
I'm going to give it a shot.
The one problem is apparently the MBR problem.
I also have read that the Windows Installer is a part of SP2, which is part of my XP disk.
I'm hoping I'll see a way to fix that while I'm wandering arounf in there.
This is a [bleep] of a way for a little old man to learn about pcs.
Pray.
J.
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#9
jst42day

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Skeptic,
OK. It's done with out any problems and seems to have taken care of that MBR problem.
Now I've got to figure out how to repair/reinstall the Windows Installer. It seems to be part of SP2 which came on the XP Pro cd fgrom MS.
Hugger
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#10
The Skeptic

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Go to Control Panel > Add/Remove programs and uninstall Windows Installer 3.1. Please use this link to download from Microsoft a fresh copy. Alternatively, run the computer with Windows Updates enabled and you will automatically get the installer as an update.
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