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  1. #1
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    stumped, can't load windows (urgent)

    When I restarted my system this morning (see signature), Windows didn't load. POST proceeded normally without error but then the screen went black -- well, not black but slightly lit gray. And there's no HDD activity at all. I've never seen this behavior before. If there were a problem with the HDD or MBR, there would have been an "insert boot media" message, no?

    I checked the BIOS and all looks normal. Although the failure mode doesn't suggest a bad video card, I swapped it out anyway. Same result. If just the card had been bad, the HDD would have been active after POST loading Windows.

    I happen to have a Linux Mint iso DVD, so I booted into Linux. From File Manager I was able to mount and navigate the primary partition (FAT32, Windows XP) so the drive appears to be fine.

    I'm stumped. I need my computer back to do my work, so timely troubleshooting tips would be greatly appreciated!
    ASUS A8V Deluxe | AMD Opteron 185 | Hyper 6+ cooler | 4GB OCZ Platinum | NVidia 7600GS 512MB | modded Evercase LE4252 | Seasonic S12-II-330 | Barracuda 7200.10 250GB HDD | Plextor 740a | WinXP SP3

  2. #2
    Stark Raving MOD Midknyte's Avatar
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    I would run a hard drive diagnostic before attempting any software repairs. You could be wasting a lot of time if the hard drive is bad. Just because you can see the partitions, that doesn't guarantee the drive is good.
    Look at the UBCD5 Guide in my signature. You'd run Seatools on a Seagate drive (post #4)

    If you choose to skip that, you can try booting to an XP SP3 CD and going into Recovery Console (#4 on the following link)
    http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-...-xp-wont-boot/

    Then run fixboot C: and fixmbr (#6 and 7 on the link)

    If that still doesn't work, you can try a Repair Install:
    http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
    https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-perf...nstall-2624915
    Last edited by Midknyte; 08-01-2017 at 07:15 PM.

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    Thanks, Midknyte. I just needed some structure to guide me! The drive passed Seatools short & long tests, but my original Windows XP installation CD hangs while checking system configuration. I found plenty of google hits where others have had this issue, but causes are widely varied. Rather than further troubleshooting that, I tried restoring MBR from a recent backup (Acronis TrueImage) and it did the trick! And it only took a few seconds. Not sure why I didn't try that first.

    I now know what happened. Last weekend I created a 20GB partition on my HDD to install Linux Mint 17.3 (that's why I had Linux iso DVD) to test drive before I commit to Linux for a new machine I'm building. The Linux installer wouldn't recognize the partition, which I had created in Windows, so I deleted and re-created the partition from Linux. That was before I was advised in Linux Mint forum to install Linux on my 2nd HDD to avoid downstream issues with MBR, should I later remove Linux. Since I never installed Linux on HDD1, I didn't associate the boot failure with the Linux work (duh). But simply having used the Linux tool to re-partition my main HDD rendered the MBR unable to boot Windows. Also, the failure wasn't totally persistent. Windows booted immediately after I used Linux to create the partition, and it booted again last night during troubleshooting. That was right after I deleted (renamed) my boot.ini file, thinking a recent change I made to that file may have had a syntax error. So I ended up chasing that red herring for a while. Sigh. It's good to be back in the XP saddle again.

    I have a big learning curve ahead with Linux, but I'm done with Windows, at least any version post-XP. I plan to mount my live XP partition in VirtualBox running on the new machine. I have tons of legacy software that either can't be ported to Linux or I'd have to re-purchase (and re-learn). Also, some of the programs I rely on are no longer around.
    ASUS A8V Deluxe | AMD Opteron 185 | Hyper 6+ cooler | 4GB OCZ Platinum | NVidia 7600GS 512MB | modded Evercase LE4252 | Seasonic S12-II-330 | Barracuda 7200.10 250GB HDD | Plextor 740a | WinXP SP3

  4. #4
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    Why you might want to get a refurbished laptop/desktop to use . Got this through Walmart and swapped the hdd out for a SSD.
    Code:
    $ inxi -Fxz
    System:    Host: antix16 Kernel: 4.10.1-antix.1-amd64-smp x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 4.9.2)
               Desktop: IceWM 1.3.8
               Distro: antiX-16.1_x64-full Berta Cáceres 16 January 2017
    Machine:   Device: laptop System: Dell product: Latitude E6430 v: 01
               Mobo: Dell model: 0H3MT5 v: A00 BIOS: Dell v: A17 date: 08/19/2015
    Battery    BAT0: charge: 90.0 Wh 137.8% condition: 65.3/90.0 Wh (73%)
               model: LGC-LGC3.0 DELL J7KGM29 status: Full
    CPU:       Dual core Intel Core i5-3320M (-HT-MCP-) cache: 3072 KB
               flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx) bmips: 10369
               clock speeds: max: 3300 MHz 1: 1199 MHz 2: 1199 MHz 3: 1200 MHz
               4: 1200 MHz
    Graphics:  Card-1: Intel 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller
               bus-ID: 00:02.0
               Card-2: NVIDIA GF108GLM [NVS 5200M] bus-ID: 01:00.0
               Display Server: X.Org 1.16.4 drivers: nouveau,intel (unloaded: modesetting,fbdev,vesa)
               Resolution: 1600x900@59.99hz
               GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Ivybridge Mobile
               GLX Version: 3.3 Mesa 10.3.2 Direct Rendering: Yes
    Audio:     Card Intel 7 Series/C210 Series Family High Definition Audio Controller
               driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
               Sound: ALSA v: k4.10.1-antix.1-amd64-smp
    Network:   Card-1: Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection
               driver: e1000e v: 3.2.6-k port: f060 bus-ID: 00:19.0
               IF: eth0 state: down mac: <filter>
               Card-2: Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300
               driver: iwlwifi bus-ID: 03:00.0
               IF: wlan0 state: up mac: <filter>
    Drives:    HDD Total Size: 120.0GB (11.9% used)
               ID-1: /dev/sda model: SanDisk_SDSSDA12 size: 120.0GB
    Partition: ID-1: / size: 106G used: 9.2G (10%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
               ID-2: swap-1 size: 4.69GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda2
    Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 55.0C mobo: N/A gpu: 50.0
               Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
    Info:      Processes: 170 Uptime: 4:38 Memory: 1633.0/7893.1MB
               Init: SysVinit runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 4.9.2
               Client: Shell (bash 4.3.301) inxi: 2.3.21

  5. #5
    Stark Raving MOD Midknyte's Avatar
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    Ok, you should have mentioned that from the beginning. So you messed up by installing Linux, which basically overwrote the MBR. If you were just testing Linux, you could have booted from a live CD/DVD instead. You should never use your main production drive for testing purposes.

    Linux is a completely different animal. I would have physically swapped drives or used virtual machines instead.

  6. #6
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    Since he has windows, he can us Rufus https://rufus.akeo.ie/ to make a live USB stick.

    Linux Mint 17.3, I don't care for.

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    Live and learn. The folks advising me in the Linux Mint forum did in fact recommend installing it on my 2nd HDD, but that advice came a few hours too late. By the time I got all that sorted out over a period of several days, I received the last components for my new machine and had it built, so the test drive became moot.

    I had been advised to go with 17.3 to test drive on my old machine due to potential compatibility issues, given that my h/w is circa 2005/06. I'm running Linux Mint 18.2 on my new machine.

    Since I intend my new machine to last as long as possible, I went with latest components: ASRock Z270 Extreme4 / i7 7700K / Cryorig H7 cooler / 32GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4 2400 RAM / 850 EVO SSD / EVGA 450W B3 PSU. I'm using my existing Evercase LE4252, as it's ideal for a low-noise system, and moved my old system to a spare case. I also bought a EVGA GTX 1050 video card, which I haven't yet installed. All in, I spent just under $1100. I considered SM951 NVMe SSD, but ASPM is still the wild west in NVMe drives, and coming off a mechanical drive, a SATA III SSD is like lightning!

    Like my old machine, I designed the new machine to be near silent. Not too difficult given my modest computing needs. I bought the K version of the CPU so I can underclock to emulate the 35W 7700K. The EVGA B3 fan remains off well beyond the power levels I'll be operating at, and the EVGA card has a huge full-length heat sink with two oversized fans. Its fans remain off up to 50C, and when the fans do come on, they operate at relatively low RPM so they're nearly inaudible. I'll update my sig once I transfer XP over to VirtualBox on the new machine. I'm still feeling my way around Linux.
    Last edited by ginahoy; 08-03-2017 at 02:13 AM.
    ASUS A8V Deluxe | AMD Opteron 185 | Hyper 6+ cooler | 4GB OCZ Platinum | NVidia 7600GS 512MB | modded Evercase LE4252 | Seasonic S12-II-330 | Barracuda 7200.10 250GB HDD | Plextor 740a | WinXP SP3

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    Since posting my last comment, the boot problem recurred and got progressively worse until last Sunday, since then I haven't been able to boot into XP. In hindsight, the success with restoring MBR apparently was just a coincidence.

    I ran SeaTools again and the drive still checks out. Also, I moved the suspect drive to my new machine and I can mount and navigate all the partitions and folders. I booted the old machine using a bootable floppy created with XP and verified boot.ini file is correct. However, I had a strange problem navigating the drive using DOS "CD" command (change directory). After I navigate one or two levels deep, any CD command thows an "Abort, Fail or Retry" error. Doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for whether it fails at first or second level, but the errors are consistent. Very strange.

    It occurred to me that the SATA controller may be bad. My mobo has two SATA controllers (VIA & Promise) so I switched the suspect drive to the other controller. Still no boot.

    So I'm still working under the theory that the HDD is bad or corrupt. My strategy is to restore my C: partition to a 2nd HDD, which is larger and newer and mostly contains media files and old True Image 9 backup files. Should be easy, right? So I made a 60GB space at the front of the 2nd drive and booted with TI9 Rescue Disk. I had just completed verifying a backup made the previous night when my optical drive failed! It had been acting up for a couple of years (nuisance issues) but this time it started making horrible sounds when it spun up. Unfortunately I don't have a spare IDE optical drive and the DVD burner I bought for my new system won't work with old mobo (I tried, but old mobo isn't compatible with SATA II or above). I'm not going to find an IDE optical drive locally and I doubt any SATA drive stocked in a local store will work.

    Next, I moved the 2nd HDD to the new machine and booted with TI9 Rescue Disk. I had to copy the most recent backup to a partition on that drive (TI9 Rescue disk doesn't see USB drives), so I ran the Verify operation on the file and it was fine. However, when I started the restore operation, TI9 threw a "corrupt backup image" error! I tried to restore an older backup image that was natively stored on the 2nd HDD. Again, successful verify but restore throws a corrupt backup error. Bizarre. I tried one more thing: I installed the suspect drive in the new machine and used TI9 Rescue Disk to make a new backup image of the C: partition. Again, verify passed but backup threw a corrupt backup error (is there a smiley for 'exasperated'?)

    I figure the TI9 rescue disk must somehow be incompatible with new hardware. Without an optical drive on the old machine, my only option to resolve this today is to create a bootable TI9 Rescue "disk" on a USB Thumbdrive. The link Train posted to Rufus, and on that page, there's a link to a program that can create an ISO file from a disk (I didn't know that was possible!). so I'm going to try to create a rescue "stick" and I'll report back. In the meantime, if the restore still fails, I'm wondering if I can create a usb stick in the same manner from the XP installation disk? If that's not possible, I would appreciate knowing that before I spend time trying to do it.
    ASUS A8V Deluxe | AMD Opteron 185 | Hyper 6+ cooler | 4GB OCZ Platinum | NVidia 7600GS 512MB | modded Evercase LE4252 | Seasonic S12-II-330 | Barracuda 7200.10 250GB HDD | Plextor 740a | WinXP SP3

  9. #9
    Stark Raving MOD Midknyte's Avatar
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    It occurred to me that the SATA controller may be bad. My mobo has two SATA controllers (VIA & Promise) so I switched the suspect drive to the other controller. Still no boot.
    You can't just switch SATA controllers. The HAL wouldn't match, so XP probably would not boot.

    Did you try an XP Repair install as I mentioned earlier?

    I tried, but old mobo isn't compatible with SATA II or above
    SATA II drives should be backwards compatible to SATA I. SATA I is just slower.

    I don't know how you created the TI backups, but it's possible that the backups are just bad. I'm assuming the image was just for the XP C: drive, and not any other partitions.

    Note that there are Rufus instructions in my UBCD5 Guide link in my signature.
    You can probably create the XP flash drive, but does the old motherboard support USB boot?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midknyte View Post
    You can't just switch SATA controllers. The HAL wouldn't match, so XP probably would not boot.
    I thought that was just for OEM installs. I purchased the retail version to avoid that nonsense.

    Hmm.. so what happens if I replace my mobo? I purchased a spare A8V Deluxe a few years ago as a backup, since my livelihood depends on this machine. It already has same BIOS version, so a simple swap-out should work, right?

    Did you try an XP Repair install as I mentioned earlier?
    No. Recall when I started this thread, the XP disk locked up during "checking hardware configuration". This time I wasn't thinking about a repair since restoring from a backup should be simple, at least that what I thought. And now I don't have a way to use the disk. Also, I forgot to mention, I now have evidence the drive may be failing. Last week I started getting drive errors in the event log (error code 11 and one other drive error I can't recall), so restoring the C: partition to the new(er) drive seems to be my best option.

    SATA II drives should be backwards compatible to SATA I. SATA I is just slower.
    Here's what ASUS says about running a SATA II HDD on my mobo: http://bit.ly/2vH7nBY. And here's what the Seagate manual says where it describes the 1.5 Gb/s jumper: "if you receive a “drive not detected” error, your SATA-equipped motherboard or host adapter may use a chipset that does not support SATA speed auto negotiation."

    I don't know how you created the TI backups, but it's possible that the backups are just bad. I'm assuming the image was just for the XP C: drive, and not any other partitions.
    Correct. I use the Windows installed TI9 software (not the rescue disk) to make all my backups. I've had to restore my C: partition several times over the years without issue, but only once from the rescue disk. And I've restored individual files dozens of times. In recent years I've been writing the backups to an external HDD. I only discovered last night that the rescue disk doesn't see external HDD's.

    It's possible that copying my latest backup image from external drive to the logical partition on the target drive (using the Linux machine) fouled the backup. However, the rescue disk validation operation reports the backup image is good.

    Note that there are Rufus instructions in my UBCD5 Guide link in my signature. You can probably create the XP flash drive, but does the old motherboard support USB boot?
    USB isn't an option in BIOS / Boot Priority but I can invoke a boot menu (F8 during POST) that does include thumbdrives. So there's that.

    Since posting, I spoke with Acronis tech support and learned that TI 2014 (several versions back) "should" be backwards compatible with TI9 image files, and it can generate a bootable Rescue disk or thumbdrive that will detect external HDD's. The tech sent me a link to the trial version of TI 2014. Trials work for restore only. I'll have to install it on my wife's laptop (XP) since they don't provide rescue ISO and they don't have a Linux version. If restoring C: partition on the other drive doesn't work for some reason, I'll use Rufus to clone the TI9 rescue disk on a thumbdrive, And lastly, I'll look at the repair options. Fingers crossed.
    ASUS A8V Deluxe | AMD Opteron 185 | Hyper 6+ cooler | 4GB OCZ Platinum | NVidia 7600GS 512MB | modded Evercase LE4252 | Seasonic S12-II-330 | Barracuda 7200.10 250GB HDD | Plextor 740a | WinXP SP3

  11. #11
    Stark Raving MOD Midknyte's Avatar
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    I thought that was just for OEM installs.
    No. It doesn't matter if it's OEM or Retail. The HAL is basically the code that allows Windows to interact with the hardware.
    http://windowsitpro.com/windows/what...tion-layer-hal
    If the motherboard is the same (same chipset), then you should be able to swap boards without reinstalling Windows. However, you'd probably have to reactivate the license.

    From post #2:
    If that still doesn't work, you can try a Repair Install:
    http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
    https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-perf...nstall-2624915

    "if you receive a “drive not detected” error, your SATA-equipped motherboard or host adapter may use a chipset that does not support SATA speed auto negotiation."
    That doesn't mean that SATAII drives don't work on SATAI ports. That's talking about a specific feature of the motherboard chipset. If that's the case, then you need to install the jumper. I.E. you're limiting the SATAII drive. It's still compatible.

    It's possible that copying my latest backup image from external drive to the logical partition on the target drive (using the Linux machine) fouled the backup.
    Are the drives NTFS? That could be an issue with Linux.

    USB isn't an option in BIOS / Boot Priority but I can invoke a boot menu (F8 during POST) that does include thumbdrives. So there's that.
    Well, you can try I suppose. I've had problems booting to USB drive on older systems.

    Note that Seagate's DiscWizard is a freebie version of Acronis TI, but I'm not sure which version they are using now.
    http://www.seagate.com/support/downl...00dd04090aRCRD

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midknyte View Post
    If that's the case, then you need to install the jumper. I.E. you're limiting the SATAII drive. It's still compatible.
    Not sure I follow. The jumper makes the HDD operate at SATA I speed. It doesn't fix the mobo compatibility issue (ie, the mobo apparently can't auto negotiate the speed). Both of my HDD's are Sata II, and both have the jumpers, o/w they wouldn't work. The new DVD burner I bought for the new machine doesn't have the SATA I jumper, and thus with my admittedly limited knowledge of this, I figure that's why it didn't work in the old machine.

    Are the drives NTFS? That could be an issue with Linux.
    Not originally. Everything on both drives started as FAT32. Several years ago I created a small NTFS partition on the 2nd HDD to hold a 15GB image file I created on my wife's T42 (thinkpad), which IS formatted NTFS.

    Well, you can try I suppose. I've had problems booting to USB drive on older systems.
    Exactly, but I've already proven it works, at least it did with a Linux installation build on a USB thumb-drive.

    Now I have several possible options to try, so I'm... encouraged
    ASUS A8V Deluxe | AMD Opteron 185 | Hyper 6+ cooler | 4GB OCZ Platinum | NVidia 7600GS 512MB | modded Evercase LE4252 | Seasonic S12-II-330 | Barracuda 7200.10 250GB HDD | Plextor 740a | WinXP SP3

  13. #13
    Stark Raving MOD Midknyte's Avatar
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    Not sure I follow. The jumper makes the HDD operate at SATA I speed. It doesn't fix the mobo compatibility issue (ie, the mobo apparently can't auto negotiate the speed). Both of my HDD's are Sata II, and both have the jumpers, o/w they wouldn't work. The new DVD burner I bought for the new machine doesn't have the SATA I jumper, and thus with my admittedly limited knowledge of this, I figure that's why it didn't work in the old machine.
    The point is that it's the motherboard, not the drive itself. Some boards require the limiting jumper, some don't.

  14. #14
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    Shortly after my previous reply I took an extended road trip to view the eclipse in Casper WY. By the time the optical drive failed, there wasn't enough time to order one to arrive before my departure, and I couldn't find a compatible drive locally. And as Midknyte predicted, I was unable to get the system to boot from TrueImage Recovery iso installed on a thumbdrive (even though I was able to boot from a thumbdrive with Linux Mint iso).

    Before I left, I found a nice (NIB) 40-pin IDE optical drive on eBay, which arrived while I was gone. With that, I was able to successfully restore the most recent TrueImage backup of my C: partition (XP) to the 66GB partition I created on the 2nd HDD. But still no boot, and still unable to load WinXP installer / Recovery Console (hangs while checking system configuration). About this time, I started noticing inconsistent reported memory size during POST so I ran memtest-86. The memory checked out, plus I swapped out some spare memory sticks and was still getting inconsistencies (e.g., 1215 GB reported, with 2GB installed). I could fix this by clearing the CMOS, but the inconsistency would return at the next re-boot. It was beginning to look like the mobo has a fault.

    Fortunately, I had purchased a spare A8V Deluxe several years ago (I rely on this system to earn my living, so failure isn't an option). So I replaced the mobo and ALL the problems went away. I was able to boot into XP from the first HDD as well as the restored image on the second HDD. I have no idea what kind of fault would cause the various symptoms I've been experiencing (aside from DVD burner mechanical failure), but there it is. Now I can get back to work, and take my time to transition to my new Linux system.
    ASUS A8V Deluxe | AMD Opteron 185 | Hyper 6+ cooler | 4GB OCZ Platinum | NVidia 7600GS 512MB | modded Evercase LE4252 | Seasonic S12-II-330 | Barracuda 7200.10 250GB HDD | Plextor 740a | WinXP SP3

  15. #15
    Extreme Member! BipolarBill's Avatar
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    Windows XP is going to be problematic for any modern motherboard since drivers are non-existent. Dunno why you are still using such a vulnerable OS, but I'm sure that you have your reasons.

    Good move returning to your previous mobo.
    MS MCP, MCSE

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