when starting my computer, and no boot disk is inserted, i get the error message:"HARD DISK BOOT FAILURE INSERT SYSTEM DISK PRESS ENTER" when a boot disk is inserted, windows xp (home) starts up if no button is pressed after a boot disk is inserted. I cant work out how to boot from hard disk immediately, and it is set as primary boot device. ANY help would be greatly appreciated!!!

This is the sequence that occurs when I boot.

Initializing MBA

Managed PC Boot Agent (MBA) v4.00
© Copyright 1999 Lanworks Technologies Co. A subsidiary of 3Com Corporation
All rights reserved

Node:  0050DAD70B9E
Locating Server……………………………

Filer Server could not be found

Press any key to continue.


I just want windows to boot from the hard drive, as I said it starts perfectly when there is a boot disk (floppy) in the machine.

Thanks in advance, Chris
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what brand of computer is it?

You may need to go into the bios and change the boot order;


I advise is you to backup your data as soos as possible so in case of a failure... that will be no problem!
Second have you tried running Chkdsk /f /r from command prompt to check what it reports about the hard drive condition, or use any of the tool below to check it!

Fujitsu >> http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com/download/hard-drives/#diagnostic
IBM and Hitachi >> http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT
Maxtor/Quantum >> http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/products/index.htm
Samsung >> www.samsung.com/in/products/harddiskdrives/utilities/
Seagate >> http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/index.html
Western Digital >> http://support.wdc.com/download/ >> www.westerndigital.com
Also you may try booting into the recovery console and performing a fixmbr.

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Your system is trying to boot from lan. Either your system doesn't see your hard drive or it's not included in the boot sequence.

First--- You need to be sure that your hard drive is present in BIOS setup. If it appears properly, you then must check in BIOS boot sequence that it is included as a boot device (following cd or floppy).

-- If all of this is clear, with the same result, you may have a corrupted MBR, in which as tim qui posted, using the recovery console and fixmbr c: should fix this.

-- If you cannot see the drive in bios at all, you've either got hard drive failure, or possibly improper jumper settings, or bad cables, a bad ide channel or improper cable connections.

If you're not familiar with BIOS setup, and jumpers and cables, etc, please post your system information (brand/model of motherboard or computer) and we can help you troubleshoot, giving you step by step instructions.

Please post any extra info you have..ie...the drive is seen in bios, it's not seen, I've tried this, etc...

You can also try the drive as a slave to another sytem (jumpered as slave) to see if it's recognized, as well, to get the data off.
clb8888Author Commented:
The drive is seen in bios, I tried to cahnge the boot order, and I rean fixmbr.  All or no avail...
clb8888Author Commented:
All to no avail
clb8888Author Commented:
My computer will boot from a CD and Floppy, but is seems to skip right over the a HD.  In the order I have

1st - Floppy

2nd - HDD - 0

3rd - CD

This may be a problem with spin-up time; the drive isn't ready when probed first time, but gets ready later... Some BIOS setup programs include a feature that allows for a "spin-up wait" that is user adjustable. If you can find this, try a longer wait time.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Okay - first STOP making changes to your hard drive.   That's not the issue here and you don't want to mess up the configuration and make this worse.  It's also almost certainly NOT a spin-up issue :-)

Your system is set up with 3Com's Managed PC Boot agent, which is a pre-boot environment that allows administrators to have better control over PC's -- not necessarily booting from the LAN, but entering a pre-boot state that allows LAN administration before it actually boots (which can then be either LAN-based or local).

This can be fairly easily resolved, but I need a few details first:

(1)  The 3Com boot agent can either be a dedicated chip on the LAN adapter, a ROM upgrade for the LAN adapter, or embedded in the system BIOS (on some motherboards).   Which of these applies to you?  (i.e. do you have a separate network card, or is it embedded in the motherboard)

(2)  Describe exactly what you mean when you say "... windows xp (home) starts up if no button is pressed after a boot disk is inserted ..."    Are you talking about inserting a bootable floppy?  ... a bootable CD?   etc.  (and if so WHAT floppy/CD are you using)   In other words, exactly what steps do you take that allow the system to boot?

(3)  The 3Com boot agent configuration options include a configuration enable/disable option (hopefully yours is not disabled) and a local boot enable/disable.   I suspect by simply changing the configuration (which is most likely separate from the BIOS, but if it's embedded may be a separate section of the BIOS Setup -- look for it) you can eliminate this delay.

(4)  If you don't have any MBA configuration options in the BIOS, and if you don't have a separate network card, then I would see if the current Managed Boot utility disk from 3Com will provide any configuration options on your system.   You can download v4.30 here:  http://support.3com.com/infodeli/tools/nic/mba.htm

Post back with the details I asked for in #1 and #2

By the way, if you have a separate network card, a simple solution to this is just remove it :-)  That should let the system boot easily (although obviously without network access).  You could then replace it with an inexpensive network adapter that does not try to do a managed boot -- e.g. here's a Linksys for $6.99 (after rebate): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16833124107
clb8888Author Commented:

I am excited that you are able to pin point this.  I do have a separate network card, the one in the MB died about a year ago.  When I turn it on if I have a Windows floppy boot disk in the drive it will boot just fine.  It will boot into Linux via a Live CD just fine and if the XP disc is in the drive it will launch the set up.

You are right on with your assessment.  I tried to install Linux so I could do a dual boot and I remember changing something after passing the stage where I could access the BIOS.  When I changed it, the computer wasn't booting at all and I was trying to follow directions found from other forums.  I cannot figure how to get back in to the MBA configuration options to change it back.  I am fairly confident that it is not in the BIOS.

For now I am giving up on Linux and just want to boot into Windows.

clb8888Author Commented:
I took the network card out and now I get a little different process but the same error.  Here is what the computer screen reads.

Verifying DMI Pool Data ..............
Boot from CD:

Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Ahh -- you changed the MBA configuration !!  A few things to identify:

(1) You need to confirm is whether the MBA is embedded in the motherboard (on the old, non-functional adapter) or on the add-in card.   The simplest test of this is just remove your add-in network card and then turn on the PC.   If it boots directly -- or even if it doesn't if you do not get the MBA dialogue -- then you've fixed that part of the problem (although to keep using that card you'll need to remember how to get back into the configuration options -- I don't have one of these and don't know the sequence).

(2)  Since you attempted a Linux install, there may be an issue with your BOOT.INI based on your partition structure.   Do the following:

(a)  Download the demo version of Boot-It NG from www.bootitng.com
(b)  Create a bootable floppy (or CD)
(c)  Boot that floppy/CD ==> at the 1st prompt select Cancel (don't install it); then choose OK;  then select Partition Work.   Post the details of the display in the middle here (shows the exact partition structure).

(3)  You implied in the question that you can still boot to XP Home -- but didn't answer #2 in my previous post about exactly how you can do this.   Did you mean you could boot to the setup CD?   ... or is there a process that actually lets you get to XP?
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Crossed posts -- you've already tried removing the card.  I presume you no longer get any mention of the MBA -- is that correct?

I think you've just got a messed up BOOT.INI -- post the details I asked for from Boot-It and we'll get this resolved fairly easily.
clb8888Author Commented:
if i use a floppy disk I can boot into XP  if I use the CD I can go into setup

clb8888Author Commented:
I see

HD 0
MBR Entry 0            Partition      38154 MB HPFS/NTFS
------------               Partition            8 MB  Free Space
clb8888Author Commented:
The following is all that was in the center space

MBR Entry 0            Partition      38154 MB HPFS/NTFS
------------               Partition            8 MB  Free Space
clb8888Author Commented:
You are correct above no more mention fo the MBA...
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Boot to your XP CD, press R to go to the Recovery Console (you'll need to know your logon password), and at the DOS prompt type FixMBR.   That may be all that's wrong with the disk.   If that doesn't do the trick, we'll have to look at your current BOOT.INI file and may have to rebuild it.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... if you can't get into Recovery Console, but have a Windows 98 boot disk, you can boot to the Windows 98 floppy, then type "FDISK /MBR"   (DO NOT do anything else with FDisk)
clb8888Author Commented:
no luck on the fixmbr how can I get you a copy of my current BOOT.INI?
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Download the free EditBINI from here:  http://www.bootitng.com/utilities.html

Put the program on a Win98 or DOS boot disk;  then boot & run it.   It will show you the BOOT.INI on your disk and allow you to edit it.   First just post the contents here.

Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... or if you can boot into the system (as you noted) then just do a right-click, Properties on My Computer;  click the Advanced tab;  click on the Settings button in the Startup and Recovery section; and click the Edit button where it says "To edit the startup options file manually, click Edit"
clb8888Author Commented:
Sorry,  I had to pick up my wife from work...  Here is the boot.ini file

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Unfortunately that looks perfect !!   (i.e. this is not a simple case of a wrong BOOT.INI)

Boot to Boot-It again (Cancel, then OK, then Partition Work);   click the View MBR button (on the left);   see if the 1st partition is marked as Active (it will show on the left side of the window that displays when you click View MBR).   If not, click the Set Active button, then exit out of Boot-It and reboot.   This should fix your problem.

If the partition is already active, then describe in very precise detail the following two things:

(1)  I'm still not completely clear on how you can actually boot to XP Home.   You indicated it works if you put a floppy in the drive.   Which floppy?  ... and what is the process (i.e. indicate what prompts you see, what you respond, etc.)

(2)  Exactly what did you do when you attempted to install Linux?   ... and how did you "back out" of that installation?

clb8888Author Commented:
Response to #1.)  It will boot when the Windows XP boot disk is in the floppy, it starts up without any prompts.  Not just any floppy will work, just the boot floppy.

Response to #2.) I tried to install Ubuntu (linux) and I partitioned my disk as directed on about the middle of the following page:


After partitioning, the install locked int he middle of the process and I had to reboot.  I then gave the Windows partition the entire HD back.  Thus starting the problems!!!

I tried to boot with boot it and I got the following

Verifying DMI Pool Data.........
Bootit EMBRL 2.02

Read error loading EMBRM!
System Halted!

I will make another disk....

Thanks for your investment of time, I am grateful beyond what I could convey with simple typing.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Hopefully the partition structure has not been damaged by the Ubuntu resizing operations.  I NEVER use anything except Boot-It for partitioning restructure  (I've used many tools in the past, but none have proven as stable and to-the-task as Boot-It).

Since you CAN get to your XP install, there's simply something wrong with the initial boot structure.   We've checked your MBR; and as I type this you're confirming the partition is Active.   If that doesn't prove to be the issue, then do this:

Boot to the Recovery Console again  (on your XP CD)
When you get the command prompt, type:  FIXBOOT

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clb8888Author Commented:

Lo and behold Windows is booting like a charm!!!  I simply switched it to active and she is firing like a charm.  Now the question is, will it still work if I put my lan card back in?

Secondly, if I want to attempt the linux install again, how should I properly partition my disk?  I can start a new thread as that would be a second question and I would love to give you all the points I can for the amount of time you have invested to help me on this one.  You definitely earned this 500.  

Thanks so much!
clb8888Author Commented:
Works with the LAN card reinstalled....
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Excellent -- as I noted, since you COULD get to your install, it's likely okay, so it had to be one of a couple simple possibilities.   I would expect it will be fine with the LAN card as well -- you should still see the MBA initialization, searching for the server, etc. ==> but then it will just boot to your hard drive.   Try it -- I'm sure it will work fine.

I'm going to be gone for a bit, but will post another comment later r.e. how I would suggest setting the system up to install Linux ==> the simple concept is to use Boot-It to free up some space BEFORE you attempt to install any other OS.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... for what it's worth, your problem was essentially this:   When you installed Linux, it made it's own partition active and was going to use its boot manager to choose which OS to boot;  when you eliminated it, it obviously resized the Windows partition back to normal (hopefully without error); but either didn't reset the XP partition to Active or (if it was "going to") died before it did that.   So when you attempted to boot, you had no active partition.   The MBA was a red herring -- you do indeed have an MBA setup, but it wasn't set to disallow local booting.

Just to be sure the resizing operations didn't cause any errors, I'd suggest you do an error check on the disk now.   Just right-click on the disk in My Computer; select Properties; click the Tools tab; and click on the Check Now button.
clb8888Author Commented:
Everything checked out.  Do you want me to leave this question open until you place your comments about partiioning down?

Thanks again
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
No need -- you can go ahead and close it ==> I won't forget to add another note this evening when I have more time.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Okay ... a few thoughts r.e. adding another operating system (Linux, etc.).

First a caveat:  I think every computer should have two hard disks, with the 2nd used to keep a current image(s) of your system partition(s) and backups of all your data.   The key point here is you should never only have one copy of anything you'd be upset to lose; and no matter how reliable a partition manager is (i.e. Boot-It) it's always a good idea to have a backup.   Notwithstanding that, Boot-It is VERY stable;  I've used it extensively for a couple of years, recommended it to many, and it has never failed to work correctly.

Before installing any additional OS, I would free up the space you want to use for it by resizing your current XP partition using Boot-It.   Just boot to the Partition Work screen (you've done that several times above); highlight the current partition (MBR Entry 0            Partition      38154 MB HPFS/NTFS); and click the ReSize button.   Just choose your desired new size, and then wait while Boot-It does its magic.   When it's done, your system will still boot fine -- but there will be a bunch of free space.

You can use the free space to install Linux, create a 2nd partition (if you wanted to separate your system and data), or whatever you may choose.   For some of my ideas on organizing a system to be more "bulletproof" you might want to read this:  http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Desktops/Q_21582113.html

With only two OS's, you can just use the boot manager from one of the OS's -- either Linux or XP.   But for more flexibility, you may want to simply install Boot-It on the hard drive (i.e. don't "Cancel" at the 1st prompt).   That will give you instant access to partition management; and Boot-It is also an excellent boot manager.   It's got a bit of a "geeky" interface, but has an amazing amount of flexibility.  As I presume you know, the MBR only allows 4 primary partitions.   With Boot-It you can actually have an essentially unlimited number (255 -- but that's FAR more than you could possibly want); and then set which ones are "visible" for any particular operating system.   This provides complete isolation and protection for each bootable system.   In addition, Boot-It is an excellent imager -- you can create images of your system(s) and easily restore them if you ever need to.    I'd suggest you "play" with it for a few days -- you can easily uninstall it if you decide not to keep it.   I believe the demo is good for 30 days before you have to decide.
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