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Blank Desktop, explorer.exe not running


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#1
The Gnome

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Hi,

I recently bought a new HD for my aging PC (300GB Matrox) and after some spasms managed to get it running as extra space. Matrox however provided a handy tool to make the new drive the primary boot device, and copy the OS and all my files. My setup was:
HDD0 (Old Drive) -> Partition1 (OS)/Partition2 (stuff)

After installing the new drive running the Matrox tool my set up is like this:
HDD0 (New Drive) -> Partition1 (Copied OS)/ Partition2 (Copied stuff)
HDD1(Old Drive) -> Partition1 (OS)/Partition2 (stuff)

Now when I boot to the new setup, everything loads fine and the login prompt appears. I log in with my old username and password, and it starts to load the OS. For a moment the taskbar appears, and it quickly disappears. None of the icons are on the desktop, and explorer.exe is not running.

If I attempt to run explorer.exe nothing seems to happen, not even an error message. This pattern holds true for any user account I try to log in as.

I can still can change the boot order in the BIOS and load off the old drive and it works as normal.

I'm at my wits end on this one, and I'd really, really like to avoid doing a reinstall!
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#2
The Gnome

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Additional Info:
This behavior is exactly the same under safe mode and VGA mode. There is the *Save Mode* text on the four corners of the screen, but again.... no explorer.

If I load safe mode with command prompt, it does not recognize the second partition, and gives errors on C. HOWEVER, the drive behaves normally if I access it after booting from the other drive.

My Specs:
AMD Athalon 1.4
FIC AZ11EA Mainboard (VIA)
768MB Ram
ATI Raedon 9600
Sony DVD-RW
SB PCI 128
80GB Maxtor HD
300GB Maxtor HD

Running XP Pro SP2
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#3
gerryf

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Well, my first reaction is a bad clone...I have had this happen on more than one occassion.

BUT that said, Have you removed the old drive, and then placed the new drive in its place as the primary drive on the 1st controller?

I would think it would not work at all of there was a hardware abstraction layer issue with trying to boot of disk 2, but even if you change the boot order you have not changed the actual hardware the drive is using to start
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#4
The Gnome

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Hi and thanks for the quick reply!

I setup the new drive as the primary master, and moved the old drive to the slave position. The would just play with the bios to switch between the two for booting.

At one point I removed the old HD altogether and booted with the new drive as the ONLY harddisk, and the behavior has not changed. Also, when I booted with an XP boot disk I couldnt access the drive at the dos prompt.... I'm not sure if this is a large harddisk issue.
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#5
gerryf

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Just so we're on the same page here:

you mean maxtor, not matrox, right?

You used Maxblast 4?

What service pack of Windows XP were you using before the switch over?
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#6
gerryf

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and how old is this machine?
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#7
The Gnome

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Yes, sorry, maxtor.... talk about a Fruedian typo!

The machine itself is old, I'm just trying to squeeze the last life out of it now. I built it 2Q 2001, but have upgraded along the way. I had to upgrade the BIOS to get it to recognize the new drive, but after that all seemed fine.
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#8
The Gnome

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Oh and the machine has been XP SP2 since well before the new drive arrived.
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#9
gerryf

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I'd re-image the drive...I was doing a job for a large insurance firm where I was imaging about 10-20 machines a day and I'd invariably get that with at least one pc (usually, the one just before 5 o'clock)
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#10
The Gnome

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lol, ok thanks for the help, I'll give that a whirl after I get home tonight! If worse comes to worse I'm pricing new motherboards and chips now. I might as well do a major upgrade if I have the excuse. I'll post how it turns out either way.
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#11
The Gnome

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Well disaster strikes.... but there was a happy ending anyway.

I got home and tried to re-image the new hard drive when I remembered something that could be hurting everything. At one point when I had given up trying to make the new drive the primary I had switched my swap file over to the added storage. Before imaging I told XP to stop using the drive, and it prompted me to restart.

Everything restarted as normal, but when I tried to log in, I would immediately be logged off. This would happen both in safemode and with other user accounts. After a few half-hearted and thoroughly disgusted attempts I gave up.

The happy ending: I ended up getting a brand new AMD 64 X2 machine. I can work on resuscitating the old box at my leisure now. Any ideas what might have happened?
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#12
gerryf

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this occurs in two cases: certain worms create this behavior, and a damaged windows authentication routine...could be a wiped out registry key, or a criticial file
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