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New hard drive > Formatted and partitioned > XP won't boot a


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#1
qwerty3

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Hi all, I really hope someone can help as I'm going crazy trying to figure this out. Let me explain the situation:

Computer: Dell Precision desktop, Windows XP.

- I have two hard drives, C (system) and D (files)
- I run out of room on D so buy a new 1.5TB drive, and install it
- I boot up XP, format the drive using Disk Management, and set the partition as Primary
- I restart my computer
- Suddenly, before Windows manages to load up, I get the error message:

"Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM"

I've tried:
- Removing the new empty HDD and switching on again. I get the message: "Drive 1 not found: SErial ATA, SATA-1. Alert! Failed to detect one or more drives during POST. Strike F1 key to continue"
- Removing the empty HDD and swapping the system drive to the other HDD bay, same error message as above but with "Drive 0 not found"
- I've tried booting Partition Magic from a CD, and it didn't reveal any problems.

Can anyone help me?

I get the impression that when setting up my new hard drive in Disk Management, me selecting to have the partition as PRIMARY, may have screwed things up. I'm not sure if two drives can both be set to primary partitions? Then again, I've run Partition Magic from a bootable CD and it seems to show both C and D as primary.

I just don't understand why removing an empty HDD would cause the error message that it is missing. After all, there's nothing on it! Why would the computer care that it isn't in the bay?

Thanks all, any help or insight would be fantastic.
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#2
Macboatmaster

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Lets try the easy thing first. Unless you already have.
Enter setup and see which Hard drives are shown.
Commission setup, boot device priority to boot from the C drive - system.
Leave setup - F10, most lilkely to save changes and exit.
See if it now loads windows.
The more serious problem, hopefully NOT the cause is that you have formatted the wrong drive. It has of course been done before. You click on the drive you want in the bottom window of Disk Management to format, partition etc.
Come back on that one and going briefly back to the 1.5Tb new drive, are you sure BIOS is commissioned for support of large drives.

If you get past the first problem have a read of this





http://www.largehard...l.com/index.htm

Edited by Macboatmaster, 24 March 2010 - 06:52 PM.

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#3
qwerty3

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Thanks for getting back to me.

Both hard drives are recognised, but I disabled the empty new HDD from booting in setup like you suggested.

Still the same error message. I've even tried totally removing the new HDD, there is just an error message saying that it is 'missing' and to press F1 to continue boot. At which point I get the "Windows cannot start because the following file is missing or corrupt"

I just don't understand why the machine makes a point of saying that an empty HDD is missing, it's as if it's expecting Windows to be on it, hence why it says the SYSTEM folder is missing. It's strange because XP was running fine when I formatted the new drive in disk management, then a simple restart caused all this.

Definitely didn't format the wrong drive, I'm able to run Partition Wizard from a bootable CD and I can explore my entire C: drive, and all the files are still there.
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#4
Macboatmaster

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Of the original hard drives ie: C & D, is that one drive with two partitions OR two separate hard drives..
By that I mean - before you installed the new 1.5Tb drive HOW MANY hard drives were in the computer.
Are they IDE or SATA.
Please send exact details of what is now shown BIOS setup for Hard drives in the computer.
The new drive I see is a SATA drive, if the other one or two are IDE, have you removed the SATA drive lead from the motherboard.
If that is still plugged in, unplug it.
Now go to setup and look what drives are shown.
The new drive, should not now be shown.
Check that the computer is now commissioned to boot from the C drive.
Remember that Windows allocates drive letters, so ensure that the one with the Windows system is the one you are booting from, FIRST.
If this does not work do you have the XP CD or with it being a DELL is that loaded on the Dell Recovery partition.
If the original drive has not been changed since Dell shipped, it could be, send details of Model and Model number.
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#5
qwerty3

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Two separate hard drives, C and D. C is a 500gb SATA drive that shipped from Dell and has XP pre-installed on it. D, last week was a 1TB SATA Samsung drive, which was working perfectly. I replaced it yesterday with a 1.5TB SATA Seagate drive. It installed fine, and I formatted it in XP. Restarting caused the problem.

I've tried putting the original 1TB drive back instead of the new one, and the same error message pops up:

"Windows cannot start because the following file is missing or corrupt Windows\……..\SYSTEM"

BIOS shows both hard drives, controller = Serial ATA, Ports SATA-0 and SATA-1, the capacity of both and it shows that they're both ON.

All HD's have been SATA, never had an IDE in this computer and I've never touched the SATA drive cables going into the motherboard.

I just removed the SATA cable from the motherboard as you suggested. It said that the HDD wasn't present in the BIOS when I restarted. I changed the boot order so the system HDD was on top of the rest, it still doesn't make a difference, the same error message.

I unfortunately don't have an XP CD nor a DELL one, annoyingly I must have misplaced them.

Computer: Dell Precision T5400.

Edited by qwerty3, 25 March 2010 - 05:48 AM.

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#6
123Runner

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I get the impression that when setting up my new hard drive in Disk Management, me selecting to have the partition as PRIMARY, may have screwed things up

I believe this to be your problem.
It has most likely messed up the boot.ini file.
I believe to repair it you need to have an original XP disc or recovery console.
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#7
Macboatmaster

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There is a way round this, but it is not guaranteed to work.
However you will not be in a worse situation than your are now.
Have you access to another computer running the same XP as yours ie: Home, Professional etc. and preferably with the same SP ie: SP3
If you have we may get round this.
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#8
qwerty3

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I managed to access the recovery console using an XP CD, and followed the steps outlined here:

http://www.pantz.org...rycommands.html

From what I can understand it repaired by boot.ini file or something like that. Chkdsk, having run for 3 hours also said that it had 'repaired one or more bad sectors' on my C drive.

Anyway it worked and I was able to boot up Windows. My hard drive was over-heating a fair bit so I immediately turned the machine off, will leave it for an hour or so, but the first thing I noticed in Windows was that it seemed to be re-installing all my hardware, which is a little strange. The mouse for instance, took about 30 seconds before it started working, and popup boxes in the corner were telling me that various hardware was installing.

Will see what the situation is when I start it up again in a little while.

I might just bite the bullet, get my files off and start a brand new XP installation on another new HDD. Start from scratch...
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#9
Macboatmaster

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You jumped the gun, it is always best to wait for the advice.
You most likely needed these files which could have been copied from another computer running the same system.
Then XP would have booted and you could then have worked on the problem in XP.
You would have copied these to a floppy.
I HOPE I AM WRONG, but I think you may have other problems now. Come back anyway I have some good advice for you.
Boot.ini
NTLDR
Ntdetect.com

Edited by Macboatmaster, 25 March 2010 - 12:51 PM.

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#10
Macboatmaster

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Create A XP Boot Disk from System Files
As a hedge against being unable to start XP, you can create a boot disk specifically for Windows XP that may allow you to boot the operating system. This can occur when the active partition boot record or other required files become corrupted.

Using Windows XP, place a blank floppy in drive A and format the disk. Navigate to the root folder of the system (in most cases this will be C:\) and copy the following files to the floppy disk.

Boot.ini
NTLDR
Ntdetect.com

If you can't see the files, click [Tools] and [Folder Options...] in the Menu Bar of Windows Explorer. Click the [View] tab and click the radio button next to [Show Hidden Files and Folders]. Remove the check mark next to [Hide Protected Operating System Files (Recommended)] then click [Apply] and [OK]. The files should now be visible in Windows Explorer. If the files still cannot be copied, right click each file, click [Properties] and remove the checkmark from the Read-Only attributes. Reset whatever attributes were unchecked after the copy procedure is completed.

In addition to the files listed above, check the same directory for bootsect.dos and ntbootdd.sys files. If they are present on your system, copy them to the same floppy diskette.

The disk is used as any other boot disk, inserting it into the floppy drive (A:\) and initiating a cold boot. Make sure the BIOS is set so that the A:\ drive is first in the boot sequence.
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#11
Macboatmaster

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http://support.dell....00/en/index.htm

The above is the manual for your computer if you do not already have it you will find it useful, especially the section on adding a hard drive.
You will find other Dell items relating to your computer on the link.

When you go to the link click on support home page and if it is not there insert your model ie: Precision T5400 Have a look at the downloads particularly for the SATA drives

Edited by Macboatmaster, 25 March 2010 - 01:19 PM.

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#12
qwerty3

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Thanks for all your help Macboatmaster, it's really appreciated.

My computer seems to be running fine now, I guess fixing the boot.ini file was the problem, it must have gotten corrupt when I partitioned the new hard drive.

I think I'm going to replace my system hard drive anyway and start from scratch with two brand new HDD's.

Could I ask for your help one last time, what's the best way of doing this? Obviously both HDD's will be empty and new, and I should be able to install XP on one with no problems, but is there anything else I need to do to my computer? Reset the BIOS or anything like that? Any help would be fantastic, many thanks again.
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#13
Macboatmaster

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Make and model please of the of the present drive that has the Windows installation on.
Do you wish to keep all that with all your programs and files etc.
OR are we starting a completely fresh installation.
WHICH TWO drives are going in please.
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#14
qwerty3

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Make and model please of the of the present drive that has the Windows installation on.
Do you wish to keep all that with all your programs and files etc.
OR are we starting a completely fresh installation.
WHICH TWO drives are going in please.


Toshiba 500GB drive has Windows on it at the moment, but I'll be replacing it with a Seagate 1TB 7200, 32gbcache model.

I'll also be putting my other new HDD as a second drive: Seagate 1.5TB 7200, 32gb.

Completely fresh installation. Files are all backed up to an external drive, I just want to start from scratch. So would that involve putting the new C drive in, booting up the XP Installation disk and installing it, then putting the new D: HD in once Windows is up and running? Hopefully I won't run into the exact same problem!

Do I need to reset the BIOS settings before I do any of this? Basically I want to start like brand new.

Also, I have an XP Pro with SP1 CD that I was thinking of using. Would this be ok, and then I could simply upgrade to SP3 by downloading it online?
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#15
Macboatmaster

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Away until about 2200HRS uk time.
How do you want to partition the Seagate 1Tb drive.
How do you want to partition the Seagate 1.5Tb
If there is nothing wrong with the Toshiba 500Gb with Windows and the installation is good I personally would keep that as the main O/S first boot drive and then partition one of the other as you wish.
If however you wish to USE the TWO Seagates, firstly check that the motherboard, will handle the two
drives totalling 2.5Tb.
Are they for instance SATA1 or SATA2 and if SATA2 is the motherboard capable of seeing and using the full benefits of SATA2.
Ascertain the motherboard and processor from either the Dell site on the link I gave you OR by running this and then check that LARGE DISK support is enabled in the BIOS, together with cache size as necessary.
http://www.cpuid.com/pcwizard.php
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