Windows XP: Will Fixboot or FIXMBR erase the data on my hard drive?

raybe
raybe used Ask the Experts™
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After my system crashed, I got a message telling me that the following file was missing or corrupt and I needed to reintall it: <windows root>\system32\ntoskrnl.exe

I started in the recovery console from the XP disk and it isn't acutally recognizing every command in the console (for example, c:>dir produces a message that an error occurred when ennumerating the directory.  Also won't let me make a temporary directory or even see the windows directory.  The manufacturer is going to replace my hard drive, but meanwhile I thought I'd try to recover my data.  Will running fixmbr or fixboot, if they work, erasee my data?  I do not have a partition set up on the drive.

Thanks.
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Commented:
Running fixmbr may render your partition unusable, so while it won't delete the data per se, you could lose access to it, effectively losing it anyway.  Fixboot shouldn't affect your data or partition in anyway, but running the command probably won't fix your problem in this case.  You said you no longer have a partition and that appears to be your problem right there. A simple reinstall(non destructive) may allow windows to rebuild the directory structure of your drive and boot into windows, but that's only a faint hope.  Good luck in your trials.

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Commented:
Thanks for the comment.  That is useful information.  Just to be clear, however, I never partitioned this hard drive - the entire drive was FAT32.  When I was using W2K I found that the partition of my hard drive led to a lot of instability, so I never opted to do so with this machine.  
Commented:
Well, you have a partition either way.  It's either fat32(like your old one) or ntfs(win2k  or xp).  In order to store any data on the drive, you need to have a partition of some sort, which windows 2K would have made for you automatically if you didn't choose one.  I'd say you did indeed lose your partition info on your hd, either due to mechanical failure, windows failure, or a virus.  Virus and machanical failure would be my two choices.  
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