Boot Sector Not Found

Posted on 2004-09-20
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have a problem with a computer that's been working fine until I installed a SATA Maxtor 9 120gb HDD.

Here's the spec:

P4 2.4 ghz (Northwood)
1gb Corsair RAM 3200
Geforce 4 Titanium 4800
Albatron PX845 PE Pro II Motherboard
120gb Maxtor 9 HDD SATA 7200rpm
80gb IBM DeskStar ATA 100
SB Audigy

Origionally I installed the 120gb drive as a backup because my dad (its his computer) didn't want to reinstall windows. So I humoured him.

In that configuration he gets a "Delayed Write Failed" when copying anything from D:\ (120gbSATA) to C:\ (80gb Maxtor)

So I convinced him to swap them around so that the 120gb SATA was the operating disk and the 80gb was the backup.

The first thing I did was to shut down the computer. I booted from the WinXP Disk and using the recovery console formatted both drives (all information had been backed up to DVD before hand).

I then booted from the CD again and this time pressed F6 and loaded the Promise Fast Trak Controller drivers. I then proceeded to install windows on the 120gb harddrive.

Once windows had completed installing I got to the desktop and began customisation. When I went into my computer the C drive was the 80gb and that was completely blank. The D: drive was the 120gb and had the WINDOWS directory. I thought this was very odd and went into Disk Management to see if I could change the drive letters but I couldn't on either. I loaded the LAN Driver so I could get other drivers from the Net and rebooted. Once the computer had rebooted it said Boot sector not found Insert and bootable disk or cartidge and press any key to continue. So I went on the net and it said to use the recovery console to repair the boot sector. So I did this and used FIXBOOT to repair. Rebooted and exactly the same. I thought I might have had the wrong boot device set in the bios so I made sure it was seelected to boot from SCSI (which is the fast trak controller). A point to note is that the 80gb drive is not installed on the FastTrak controller but on the IDE Bus.

So I am at a bit of a loss to be honest. Can anyone shed any light on my problem?

Also where is the boot sector stored? Where is that information retained? I understand that viruses can "inhabit" the boot sector, could this be a problem?

Thank you in advance
Question by:chrissp26
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Expert Comment

ID: 12104713
Are you sure that your jumpers are correct... Instead of using cable select manually set one as master and the other to slave.

Author Comment

ID: 12110073
Thanks for the reply. The ATA Drive is set as Master with no slave present.

The SATA drive doesnt have jumpers as it is on a single cable.
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 12110135
i would install xp with only the SATA drive connected, and add on the rest after the install
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Author Comment

ID: 12110164
I tried doing a minimum install.

I removed every addition component and left:

120gb SATA Drive.

So I ran through the setup and installed the FastTrak drivers after being prompted to press F6 during windows setup. Windows Setup picked up the drive and allocated the drive letter C: to it.

I then formatted the drive to ensure it was a clean install and once the format was complete setup began copying files. The files finished copying successfully and then the coputer rebooted. When it got to the point when it says press any key to boot from CD I left it so windows setup could start and it just came up with the error, "Boot Sector not found please insert a bootable disk or cartridge and press any key to continue.

I think it has something to do with the configuration in the FastTrack controller. I think I might have to get another 120gb drive and run them in either a RAID 0 or RAID 1 array.

Thanks for your help.

LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 12110194
can you access the drive from the repair console? if yes you could try :
to copy NTLDR to your drive : (x = your cd drive)
COPY x:\I386\NTLDR C:\
BOOTCFG /rebuild

Author Comment

ID: 12110219
This is whats strange. I've tried doing exactly what you've suggested. I've even gone as far as over writing the boot.ini file with another I have created but it still doesn't work. I have emailed the motherboard manufacturer (Albatron) and hopefully will get some idea from them.

Do you think it could be because I am only using one drive as an array?

It won't let me configure it as anything other than RAID.
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 12110238
you must have 2 drives to be able to configure it as raid, so there is your problem : you must simply connect it to the sata connector, without configuring it; it is looking for the second drive, where it looks for data. You will need to restart your XP install allover, without raid.

Author Comment

ID: 12110247
Well I must havve installed it 5 or 6 times over the last few days so once more won't hurt.

I don't think the FastTrak controller will allow me to configure the device without using RAID. I will see if I can find more information on the problem.

Thanks for your help.
LVL 92

Accepted Solution

nobus earned 100 total points
ID: 12110298
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 12110318
Look at page 26 of 59, i think you connected the drive to the raid controller, instead of to the regular SATA plug

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