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XP Pro - won't start


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#1
Aiwendil42

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A few days ago I woke up to find that XP Pro wouldn't load - I got the screen with "safe mode", "last good configuration", etc. None of these worked - it wouldn't even show the XP loading screen before it restarted.

I've been trying to use the Recovery Console from my XP CD. Initially, I didn't even get a "1: C:\windows" option. Then I ran ChkDsk; it said that errors had been found; now I get the "1: C:\windows" option as I'm supposed to.

I've tried replacing the system.bak, software.bak, sam.bak, security.bak, and default.bak files in windows\config with the ones from windows\repair; it didn't help.

I've also run fixboot. Also didn't help.

I was about to try fixmbr and got a warning that "this computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master boot record" and that it may damage my partition tables if I proceed. This scared me a bit, so I haven't run it yet.

So - my questions are:

1. Do you have any idea what my problem is and how I might go ab out fixing it?

2. Is there any way for me to recover my (foolishly un-backed up) data?

3. I have two physical hard drives - if I'm forced to reformat, the data on the second drive won't be affected, right?

Thanks.
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#2
BabyTech

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I'm not sure exactly where the problem stems from as I'm a little bit of a feel as I go kinda guy, but maybe with some more info we can get to the bottom of it. Firstly, if you format one physical drive, it shouldn't touch the other one. Just make sure you only format the one, but you'd have to do this completely on purpose to format both. The other thing to make sure of, is just because you have more then one Drive letter for hard drives (i.e. C:\ and D:\), doesn't mean you have 2 "physical" hard drives, it can be a partition.

If you want to try to recover the data, you could try one thing if you're not worried about your install files/drivers. Which would be installing windows on top of your current one. Basically, you run windows setup without erasing your current version. If it's 2000, NT or XP, you'd try a recovery install. If you want to avoid doing this incase you're missing some of your drivers or don't want to lose your settings, you could give me some details of your typical use of your system to try to pinpoint the origin of the problem.

There is a more complex way of doing a reinstall, which would be modifying your boot.ini to recognize a second copy of windows on your system, which would require you to install a second copy of windows to a seperate windows directory on your hard drive, provided you have the available space on one of your drives.

Well, let me know what you think, and if you'd like to explore other avenues.
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#3
Fenor

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Hi Aiwendil42!

Just to clear things up, doing a repair installation of windows won't make you lose any files or settings. BabyTech is correct that you may have to reinstall some drivers, but that is a minor thing and I can help you with that once the repair installation is complete if the need arises. Doing a repair installation is very easy. Just make sure you have the product key before doing this as you will be asked for it during the repair install process. You can use the link in my signature as a guide for doing the Repair Install of Windows XP.

If you have any questions/comments/concerns please feel free to post them here. Otherwise good luck and let me know how things go! :tazz:

Fenor
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#4
BabyTech

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man, I really need to setup some posts so thaqt I could stop repeating myself and refer to links, wtg fenor, great add-on
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#5
Aiwendil42

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Thanks!

I wasn't aware of the recovery install feature - guess I should have done some research. I don't mind re-installing some drivers. I'll try it straightaway.
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#6
Aiwendil42

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Success! Now to back some things up before I get lazy again.

Thanks for your help.
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