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Windows cannot boot, windows setup cannot access disks.

TommyTwoPints
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Last Modified: 2009-02-13
Hi experts,

Today i put 2 second hand 80 gb harddrives in my pc, formatted them and installed windows xp professional sp2 on one. The other drive already had aload of my data on it but not a windows install.
The windows install was a success and i was able to access files on the other harddrive with no problem.
Then I noticed that one of the partitions was unformatted so i used the quick format and quarter way through i got a error with a blue screen that was far too fast for me to see.
When the system reset itself it couldnt recognise the harddisks. I rebooted again and this time the harddisks were recognised but on the black windows xp splash screen my pc again crashed out with the flickering blue error screen and again resetting itself and not finding the hardisks.
I rebooted again (Harddisks recognised), this time selecting the boot option menu and booted from the XP cd. The setup started rather promptly but stopped when scanning the disks and then returned saying both hardisks couls not be accessed.
I have tried these processes more than once with the same results. I am clueless to this and to why formatting unpartitioned space caused 2 perfectly fine harddisks into 2 nightmares.

Cheers,

Tom
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Top Expert 2006
Commented:
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Top Expert 2006

Commented:
if you continue the see a flash of Blue Screen (BSOD)
you want to disable Automatic restart to find the error code

So, you want to uncheck the "Automaticall Restart" option and next time, system wont reboot again. Instead it shows the STOP blue screen. There you can identity which drivers is causing the error.

Click Start, click Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, and then click System.
Click the Advanced tab.
Under Startup and Recovery, click Settings.
Under System Failure, select the check boxes that correspond to the actions that you want Windows to perform if a sever error occurs.
Uncheck "Automatically restart"

Then report your error code.
maramom: I doubt that he'd be able to access his control panel if he can't get past the BSOD.

Tom: I recommend using a boot disk, preferably a WinXP OEM -- from here, attempt to go to the recovery console instead of booting up. In the help menu, there should be a command to rewrite the boot sector. I had a similar problem when I bought my 200gb from a friend... If that doesn't work, I'll try and give more suggestions... but try this first, as I'm almost certain that's the same problem I dealt with...

Hope this helps you,
-aNthrax
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
anthrax,
notice troubleshooting tips before that recommendation, as well as safe mode, as safe mode prevents some drivers from causing BSOD
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
sorry, Tom, I reread my comments, and see that I wasn't clear
I did mean if you can get into safe mode change the settings

Author

Commented:
hey guys

Anthrax; i have no floppy drive or floppy disks, is there another way...

maramom; I do not see an option for safe mode and ive forgotten they key command for it.

Top Expert 2006

Commented:
at the "starting windows"  splash screen press F8

Author

Commented:
well you'll be pleased to know (excuse my sarcsm) that i just tried turning it on after leaving it all this time and the drives are being detected but when i boot from the master nothing happens after the bio finishes. When i boot from the XP CD the same thing happens as before, i get an error saying;
76934 MB disk at id 0 on bus 0 on atapi [MBR]
(setup cannot access this disk.)

I get this for both disks. When i reboot they are detected by the bios.

Top Expert 2006

Commented:
if your data is important i'd recommend data recovery now, first
getbackdata www.runtime.org has an excellent track record. free to see if you can recover, pay for license to actually recover.

Author

Commented:
How is that going to work on a pc i cant even boot.
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
you could also try slaving the drives to another system to see if you still have your data.
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
getbackdata offers a cd version, and it did boot from cd, the hd apparantly has no MBR. getbackdata can also work with my slaved drive suggestion if the data can't normally be seen.
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
if your not concerned with the data, it looks like recovery console can't help, you may have to repartition/reformat.

Author

Commented:
How do i do that, when i try to format in windows xp setup it wont allow me as it can access  the disks.
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
checkout the site: www.runtime.org
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
>>How do i do that, when i try to format in windows xp setup it wont allow me as it can access  the disks.
sorry,  TommyTwoPints, you were talking about formatting, not data retrieval

My hunch is that these drives are either failing or you may have formatted the mbr. are you hearing any grinding or unusual noises? if you can't access either drive it points more to failing than the mbr...you said they were second hand..a reliable or questionable second-hand?


Author

Commented:
reliable, when i say second hand, i mean this is the second pc they have been in
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
check you bios settings, make sure you disable virus protection, if it was enabled, it may prevent you from changing the mbr...
important question....are you concerned about your data?
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
if you are concerned about your data, you should use a data recovery program before you try anything else
you can also try using a bootable cd (not install disk) to see if you can access the drives as well as slaving them to a good system.

info for making a bootable cd:
http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/

you can also use Knoppix cd (standalone linux based os on cd).http://www.knoppix.net/    
there's a chance you may be able to see the drives and format as well

here's an article from microsoft kb
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314503/en-us
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
here is a program TESTDISK that may help..you'll have to add it to your boot disk or slave the drives to a good machine to use it
http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=1139&page=8

Author

Commented:
im not concerned about the master, just the slave, so what can i do to reformat the master
As I had suggested before, although I wasn't clear about it I guess, I suggest trying your Windows XP CD and go to the Recovery Console and rewrite the boot sector for the primary drive (with the OS installed) -- or try a Repair. After you try this, report back with the results (no change, worked, etc.) and if needbe, I'll try and figure something else out.

Hope this helps you,
-aNthrax

Author

Commented:
the xp recovery console requires a floppy disk, i now have a floppy drive but no disks, is there a way around this (apart from what has been suggested by maramom). I dont get an option to repair.
This thread has gone on for longer than i expected thankyou both for sticking to it with me.
Im out of ideas and ready to give the PC man a call but the last time i did that i had a bad experience and didnt see my for a couple of months so im quite reluctant to do that.
We just need to find a way of cleaning the disk and getting a fresh installation on there.
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
if you try to run testdisk, it will try to show you your hard drive and partitions(even damaged). it will fix the partitions if there are errors. xp will not see the disks. testdisk might. don't do this yet on your slave, because fixing the partition has a risk of losing data.  if you need the data, use a reliable data recovery program first.
Top Expert 2006

Commented:
also, if you like some more experts to join in, you can post a new pointer question worth 20 points, tell them to post on this thread, not the pointer, and include the url: https://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Desktops/Q_21734729.html

Author

Commented:
Im away from home until wednesday of next week, i'll try the bootable cd rom then.
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