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No Access to Hard Drive

I rebooted my Dell 8400, w/ XP Pro, this morning, and received the dreaded blue screen Unmountable_Boot_Volume.  When I tried to go into Recovery console using the system disk, I still get the blue screen, but with Driver_IRQL_Not_Less_or_Equal. Please Help!!!

 The other computer on the home wireless network, also a Dell Dimension 8400, had the Unmountable_Boot_Volume blue screen this morning, but I was able to fix it by going  into Recovery console and running a chkdsk.

What are my options with the first computer mentioned???

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wjmccrthy
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wjmccrthy
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1 Solution
 
CallandorCommented:
Boot into the BIOS and see if the hard drive is detected.  If it isn't, your CMOS battery may need to be replaced.  Next, check your RAM modules - swap the ones from the other machine in.
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wjmccrthyAuthor Commented:
The BIOS does detect the SATA drive.  I have already swapped the RAM modules (both are 512).  Still no luck.  When booting I can hear the hard drive trying to boot, but to no avail.
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CallandorCommented:
If you hook up the drive in another machine as a non-boot drive, can the contents be seen?  If not, the drive is shot.
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mjcoyneCommented:
The Driver_IRQL_Not_Less_or_Equal error message is usually caused by a driver problem (but can also happen with bad RAM).  The error should have been accompanied by a bit more information: a stop code with parameters, perhaps mentioning a specific driver?

You can check out your RAM with Memtest (see http://www.memtest86.com/)...
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CallandorCommented:
mjcoyne reminded me of a possible cause: since this is an SATA drive, missing or corrupt SATA drivers will result in an error.  You should perform a repair install and press F6 to install the SATA drivers when prompted: http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
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wjmccrthyAuthor Commented:
The drive does not work on other computer.  When I try to install or recover I get a message that it trying to examine memory location 12578 bus 0 sector 0.  The blue screen pops up with the Driver_IRQL... message.  I did press F6 to install the SATA drivers.

Underneath the stop, I see it is trying to access Iastor.sys

Is the data on the hard drive salvagable?
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mjcoyneCommented:
Iastor.sys is the Intel SATA driver; since the OS is having issues with this driver, it cannot access the hard drive.  Maybe you need a fresh set of drivers?  
Apparently, this can also be caused by a resource sharing conflict -- see http://www.ydeologi.com/, for example.

Do you have any add-in cards installed?  Try removing everything from the system except your video card and RAM (and hard drive, of course).  Go into the BIOS and disable as many onboard devices as you can (floppy drive, onboard Ethernet, onboard Audio, etc) and see if the computer will operate then.  If it does, I would then update my chipset drivers, and flash the BIOS to the latest version.

You might also take a look at http://support.intel.com/support/chipsets/imsm/, and links therein.  Google says this problem has sometimes been resolved by running the Intel Matrix Storage Manager, which will update your iastor.sys driver.  You'll likely have to do it during the OS install (see http://support.intel.com/support/chipsets/imsm/sb/CS-021736.htm).

I also found mention that going into the BIOS setup, and switching the SATA mode from AHCI to ATA, and then reinstalling Windows XP clears up this problem...
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mjcoyneCommented:
BTW, there is likely nothing wrong with the data on the hard drive -- if you can resolve the driver issue, Windows will see the drive again, and all the data on it.

You might want to grap a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD fir Windows (see http://www.ubcd4win.com/).  This will allow you to boot into Windows from the CD drive, and might allow you access to the hard drive (it has Intel SATA drivers included; see http://www.ubcd4win.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=1374) to recover your data.

Building a PE disk is not too hard, and having one of these around is quite helpful when all else fails.  The Ultimate Boot CD for Windows is an essential piece of my data recovery kit, along with Knoppix (http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html) and Gnoppix (http://www.gnoppix.org/) Live CDs, and the Linux version of the Ultimate Boot CD (see http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/).
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jamietonerCommented:
have you ran diags on the hdd 50% of the time i see unmountable boot volume its a bad hdd. If you haven't ran diags there are 3 ways to run diags on the hdd, 1st press ctrl+alt+D at the bios screen this will run a quick hdd diag and give a simple result behind the drive pass or fail, the 2nd is to press f12 on the bios screen to get to the boot options you may have an option for the hdd diag if not choose to boot to the utility partiton and you can run hdd diags from the diag menu, if it wont boot to the utility partition boot to the resource cd and you can run diags from it. If the drive fails any of these diags its bad if you need to recover data i would attach it as a secondary drive in another system and see if you can access the data.
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wjmccrthyAuthor Commented:
In the BIOS setup, I switched the SATA mode from AHCI to ATA, and I was able to go into Recovery Console.  I solved the problem by chkdsk /r, chkdsk /p, and then fixboot C:.

Thanks

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