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didn't prepare, new motherboard,cpu,mem on XP Pro SP2

Posted on 2006-07-09
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
We didn't prepare the machine to change out the motherboard,cpu,memory, but after much hair pullling on the part of my husband's expert work, we've gotten XP to load all the way up to......black screen with white mouse pointer. CTRL+ALT+DEL does not bring up anything so that avenue's out for adjusting the video driver.

USB's also, the external combo drives, were dropped along with the video.

We loaded the XP from our hard drives, by installing one and then deleting the other. There were two installing kind of simultaneously, and then hanging, but we figured that out, got this far so far.

We cannot wipe the drives, it is not an option. We must succeed at this. Life threatening stuff, for real, if we lose that data. Can't back it up because of the nature of the data being saved and saved over 15 years of technology. We've held onto the drives and upgraded the system over and over, but it can't be saved off and reloaded.

I'm not an expert but my husband can understand the most technical geeky explanations and instructions you have, and is well equipped to handle whatever help you can offer.

We're considering putting the old hardware back in, re-authenticating it again and then preparing it for switching out the hardware. But, hubs has had this much success so far by manipulating the files from DOS so I'd like to continue without moving the hardware again.

This might be the most difficult problem we've had in upgrading a system so far, in many years of being at this. Would appreciate some real knowledge of file systems, hacks, technical details. Yes, should have prepared differently, but it didn't happen......so.

It is quite urgent, we are dealing with a spinal cord injury with intractable pain, impending further surgeries and hospitalization, major legal meetings coming up, malpractice suits, and this machine is the key.

We need to get that XP loaded and working on the new hardware, whatever it takes. We'd order an original set of disks to solve it that way, but we live in Costa Rica, and it takes 3 weeks for them to get here. Don't have the time. Seems that if we can get the device drivers taken care of, we have a good chance. We do not have another XP machine to hook up to, and load up through a network.

I apologize if I'm spacey, but I will be right here to see if you guys can help us get this done. We will not log off and sleep either, promise.


Also: we're currently in dos, manually changing motherboard drivers and whatnot. still, appreciate any other kinds of things we might not have thought of.
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Question by:cstrcstamyst
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by:garycase
ID: 17070275
"... We're considering putting the old hardware back in, re-authenticating it again and then preparing it for switching out the hardware ..." ==>  If you have not "messed up" the system beyond the ability to do this, then DO IT.   That's far-and-away the SAFEST way to ensure you don't lose any data in the transition.

THEN copy all of your data safely to another drive (buy one if you have to).   Your comment r.e. "... Can't back it up because of the nature of the data being saved and saved over 15 years of technology..."  simply doesn't make sense.   The data on your disks is in files;  the files CAN be copied to another disk and saved.   Some of your programs to manipulate that data may not run on XP -- but if that's the case, then why are you trying to upgrade to it??

In any event, get the data saved on a backup drive ...
... and THEN you can install XP => preferably from an original XP disk (SURELY they're available in Costa Rica --> if not, bite the bullet and have one FedEx'd => shipping will be as much as the CD, but it will get there in 2 days)
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by:armand278
ID: 17070857
i agree with garycase on this one, if you have not already harmed any data you might have on this drive, please as soon as possible get another hard drive, start your xp installation from scratch on a new drive, add the old drive after installation as a slave and copy any data you might need over to the new drive, most important now is to try and safe the data before serious harm comes to it.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17071747
This is where we are headed, have just backed down and removed the installation. After hospital tomorrow (if they let us out), we will put the other hardware back on, prepare the machine, and start anew.  

I wlll be back. Oh, garycase, we're not upgradingTO xp, have xp and are upgrading the hardware.

Amy
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by:armand278
ID: 17071854
right now when you put all the old hardware back in there is no guarantee your machine will operate like it did 10 to 1 if you installed new motherboard drivers you are going to get a blue screen, if indeed it does boot succesfully you must remove all device drivers you have on the system, also go into control panel, system, look for ide devices, right click and choose to install another driver, install the default ide drivers.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17071881
Ugh, what I meant to say was we will do one of two things...depending......put the hardware back on and prepare anew, or get a new hard drive and go that route.

I will be back.

Amy
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17071890
so you think that a new hard drive is the safer way to go Armand278 ?
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17071904
we have two hard drives, so get a new one and install XP, slave our main drive to it to transfer the data, then take that off and slave the second one so we have an original daisy chain but new first drive........?

Appreciate your helping me. I'm just the researcher and try to get as much down as i can, then hubs does the work and all that.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17071939
Gosh, what i didn't mention (spaced  out obviously, to get into this trouble to begin with), is that we did already, as part of the troubleshooting, put the old hardware back on, system booted up fine, no blue screen. Then we switched back and were goingn through, trying through dos and whatever. I feel we can do it again probably. So, lemme know your opinion Armand. Which thing to do first. Which is safest or whatever.

Amy
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by:rid
ID: 17071948
If your important files are data files of some sort (like, say, text documents, spreadsheets, pictures etc) then I'd suggest you build a new system with an O/S of your choice (e.g. XP) on a new hard drive and then hook up your old HD(s) as additional "secondary" drives in this system and just pick up your files from the old HD as needed. A new build is almost always the best and safest sytem to work with, any other approach could easily lead to corruption of valuable data and subsequent hair-pulling during a tedious restore process.
/RID
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by:armand278
ID: 17071963
well depending on the type of data you are going to be retrieving, is it easy to move ? can you just copy and paste ? if this is the case then easiest would be to load xp on the new hardware and harddrive and after that just adding your old drive as slave and copy paste all the data you need. Instead of trying to get your old xp installation to work correctly on the new hardware and possibly destroying the data in the process.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17071981
Okay. Now, just to go ahead and pick your brain some more, let's talk hard drive choices here...........we've already got a Seagate 80G and a Seagate 40G.  Any thoughts on anticpated problems? I can't have a three HD daisy chain....right? We've got two internal CDroms, two external DVD combos. So we have one IDE to use for the hard drives. Reason for the different cdrom/dvd drives is to be able to read all the backed up data we have. some of it only reads on certain drives, but don't wanna go into that right now. point being, the hard drives.

I feel so stupid having to ask for help to get a new mobo working.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17071989
moving the data has been problematic in the past.......large documents don't move so well when they're book manuscripts, which is a lot of the data. they've got complex formatting inside word processors, and i don't know why it doesn't move well, but it doesn't. dragon naturally speaking also, loses all its training when you move it, gets corrupted.
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by:armand278
ID: 17072022
use the newer drive on the new hardware, seagate is my drive of choice as i also have an 80gig seagate in my home system, dont feel stupid it is becoming increasingly challenging to get new hardware to work properly these days what with all the newer, faster, beter toys out there. Getting back to the drives, you will want the faster technology to go with your new hardware which would prob be the 80 gig, by the by, what drive is the data currently on ?
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17072028
eventually yes, we're headed towards dividing this machine up for different uses. but that's not how it is right now. i know someone is thinking that right now....divide up the machine. but, eventually. moving the data has been extremely problematic in the past. there's a ton of scans, legal documents, a lot of documents that have been dictated in,  though we don't really mind losing beta testing work, reloading programs and patches, drivers and such, it's the data.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17072035
the data's on both drives. this machine's very full. did i understand you correctly? partitions and all that. i apologize for not having more clear answers, it's a team effort around here and my husband can't chat like this, is asleep right now.
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by:armand278
ID: 17072069
do you have a clean drive with no data on it at all, that you can format and load a clean installation of xp ?
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17072090
not at this moment. we'd have to buy another hard drive. then take one of these out......move data if possible, go that route.
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by:armand278
ID: 17072111
it would be the safest, then you could sift through the other drives one by one and extract all the data you need.
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by:rid
ID: 17072112
You DO need an empty, preferably new, drive to install the O/S on. Moving the data files fromthe old to the new hard drive shouldn't be a problem in any normal circumstance, unless the files are larger than several gigabytes (forgot the correct number; it's a FAT32 size limit, not often a problem...). The complexity of the document layout is not a problem here: either the files copy correctly or they fail.

If the data is very important, I'd suggest you do a clean, simple install or your O/S, copy the data off the old drive and then make some kind of good backup. *Then* you can go on tweaking the system if you feel the need.

Most motherboards have 2 IDE channels, each of which can have 2 IDE devices connected. External (USB ?) optical units are not counted.
/RID
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17072139
okay, so. i get a new hard drive, and hook it into my one IDE i have available, then........install the OS. then.....hook up one of my old hard drives, transfer data, then hook up the other one as a slave. right?

what i was referring to was, i only have one IDE available for me to hook up hard drives to. otherwise i'd just use external dvd drives and use the two internal IDE's for four hard drives. that would be heaven.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17072155
ah, and the reason i mention dragon naturally speaking, is that is IS too large to move. tried it before. i don't know if you know dragon, it's voice recognition software, and the whole machine is voice activated. so. complicates things a bit, if i understand my husband correctly. and boy is it expensive.
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by:rid
ID: 17072169
No... You connect  a new HD as master (primary drive on first IDE channel) and install the O/S. Then you hook up the old HD to any other IDE port available (remove an optical drive if necessary) and copy the important data to the new HD. THEN you can disconnect the old HD and use external (USB) media for backup and things. The old HD can be archived in a cool, dry place.
/RID
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17072170
and the increased speed was the main reason to change out hardware.......voice activated activities really benefit from the faster, more powerful hardware.
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by:armand278
ID: 17072175
start as simple as possible to avoid mistakes, just connect your new drive and one cd rom, install xp, then add your first hard drive with data on it as a slave on the  new hard drives ide cable or as master on the cd roms cable, copy the data you need, when you finished with the first hard drives data, take it off and connect the other drive that contains data, copy your data
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by:rid
ID: 17072179
Didn't know dragon.... too large to move? Anybody knows anything about this? If file system is NTFS, I find it a bit odd that it could be too large to move...
/RID
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17072190
okay. so to move the data i MUST put the old HD on the other IDE. thanks, i didn't know that. so i do that, then i can take my second old hard drive and daisy chain it to the new one huh? put my optical drive back on?
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17072204
well maybe i'm wrong about dragon, but i tell ya, it's a bear to move. i make no claims to being an expert. previously we just have not been able to move it.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17072322
more about dragon....when hubs and i talked about putting a new hd in this machine, numerous times for different reasons, it comes down to "i'll lose dragon if i have to move it," which leads me to believe he knows what he's talking about. if you read the help files there, it's typical in the respect that, they don't tell you everything you might need to know, and so you have to learn from experience with it.

alright, i have some direction here anyway.......after we go to hospital, i'll come home and check for anything else, get ribht back into it. currently i'm sitting here doing other work but noting and checking for anything else you guys can offer. thanks so much Armand, for the kind words regarding my stupidity. i do feel stupid, but, that's the way it goes sometimes.
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by:armand278
ID: 17072333
tell me your dragon software is it specifically configured for your use ? did you spend a lot of time tweaking it to get it working for the person who is using it ?

you would not be able to move it from one drive to another anyway, you would have to do a new install of it.

new drive in the middle of the ide cable, make sure the jumper is set to master on the drive, hard drive on which data resides on the last connector of the ide cable, make sure the drive jumper is set to slave.
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by:armand278
ID: 17072385
that does present a problem, if you do not have an install cd you will most likely lose your dragon naturaly speaking software, we will have to get your original drive up and running again.

when you are able, boot the new machine with the old hard drive and describe exactly what is happening.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17072470
two answers: one, yes, it is specifically configured for my husband's use, hundreds of hours of training it, and it's integrated into the machine. okay, so maybe that's a loss, but we shall see. two, we'll get back into it later today, and i'll be in touch with what's happening. unless the magic elves come and fix it while we're gone.

see you again, after noontime sometime. in the afternoon. Amy
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by:garycase
garycase earned 300 total points
ID: 17072716
Okay ... a lot of interesting dialogue while I was sleeping.  I'll add a few thoughts here:

(1)  First, there's nothing wrong with having two HD's on the same IDE channel (as you've been doing) -- that will work fine.   You can, if you install on a new hard drive, then add one of your current drives as the slave on that channel; AND, add the 2nd hard drive temporarily as the master on the IDE channel you use for your optical drives (just temporarily disconnect them and use that IDE cable for the 2nd hard drive).

(2)  ... HOWEVER,  since you're very concerned about losing both the installation of and the training of Dragon, I'd suggest you do this a different way ==>  I'll outline it, and if you need further details just post back.   I'm going to be gone most of the day today, however, so it may be a while before I can respond.   The general idea is this:

  (a)  As I said yesterday, first restore the system to its good, working state with the old hardware.

  (b)  Get a new hard drive -- I'd suggest at least 120GB, but anything over 80GB will work.  Larger is better ==> BUT, 120GB will work for sure;  larger drives MAY have a problem with your old system if it doesn't support 48-bit logical block addressing.

  (c)  Install the new hard drive as a slave in the system (you can replace the current 2nd drive)

  (d)  Download the free demo of Boot-It NG from www.bootitng.com;  create a bootable floppy;  boot to the floppy;  press Cancel at the 1st prompt;  then Okay to go to Maintenance Mode;  then Partition Work; ...  and create an Image of your current drive.   You can follow the more detailed instructions I wrote here to create the image:  http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Microsoft_Network/Q_21549976.html

  (e)  You now have a complete image of your hard drive -- and could restore it to its current state very easily if need be.   ... we will now try to upgrade the old drive without losing any data -- but if any problems develop, you have the absolute ability to recover to the original state.   This is how you SAFELY upgrade systems :-)

  (f)  Now remove the NEW hard drive and safely put it aside.   Then upgrade your system to the new motherboard, etc. with the old hard drive in it.

  (g) Finally, boot to the XP install CD and do a REPAIR installation  (this is NOT the first Repair option on the XP install CD -- it's a choice offered after you've indicated you want to install XP and have accepted the license agreement).   See the details here:
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm   The Repair installation is essentially a full install of XP, but with all current programs and data left intact.   This SHOULD let you do the update without losing any data or programs (which is the goal here -- right ??).

  (h) Assuming all went well, you can now install your 2nd hard drive and the system should be back to its original state with the upgraded hardware.   You can now, if you want, install the new hard drive temporarily as a replacement for an optical drive, and copy the old 40GB's data to it; and then replace the optical drive and put the new, larger, hard drive in place of the 40GB drive so you'll have more storage.   There are several other options here as well -- but let's leave that discussion to later; after you've got the system working in an upgraded state.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17072810
okay, going to print this out, read it while we're at the hospital, make some decsions, probably go to the distributor and get a hard drive, and i'll be back later. thanks for the detailed instructions. Amy
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17073846
alright, the hospital bumped us to a later day......so, we're looking at hard drives right now.

question: any kind of conflict to anticipate between our current hard drives on IDE, and a new SATA hard drive??

amy
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17073864
okay, we'll be getting a Seagate 160G IDE drive, same speed as our other drives. will letcha know how we fare.

amy
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by:willcomp
ID: 17074389
Long thread, so correct me if I'm wrong.  Upgraded hardware, including a new motherboard, and tried to boot from existing hard disks that already had XP installed.  XP would not finish boot.

That is expected behavior under the circumstances.

Whenever significant hardware changes are made (motherboard with a different chipset is the most significant one you can make), a repair install of XP is required to accomodate the new hardware; technically, it's the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL).

GaryCase provided excellent advice in his last response above.  Recommend you follow his recommendations to prevent data loss.  

Usually a repair install works without problems, but I always image drives with critical data prior to a repair install to protect against the cases where things do go awry.  Although I've not seen a case yet where data was not recoverable by installing hard disk in another PC.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17074647
you are right willcomp. i am heading to the store to get a new hard drive right now. that's the way we're going, and will let you guys know when i have finished the job. thanks very much. amy
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by:brent6699
ID: 17077594
WHAT I WOULD DO IS BACK UP THE DATA ON ANOTHER HARD DRIVE!  Thats the most important thing to do. Make sure that is backed up.  This is the thing of the new, back up back up back up every day if not for sure every week.  The repair install will allow you to save the data.  All it does is copy the I386 Folder over the previous and doesn't usually effect the data on the drive.  The Programs will sometimes need to be reinstalled so I wouldn't guarantee that what ever data you have, if its that old, will be saved.  I see no need for another hard drive except for the back up image or whatever process you plan on using for back up purposes.  Good luck with this.
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by:garycase
ID: 17078819
... how's it going?   Did the 160GB get recognized okay on your old system?   (if not, you have a logical block addressing issue;  post back and I'll suggest how to quickly and safely resolve it temporarily so you can get on with the install)
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17084929
okay, here i am again. the new hard drive was recognized, XP install completed BUT....... it asks for a password for my husband's user. and we don't know where to go from there yet. we're throwing around a couple of ideas........go to safe mode and set a password, maybe go to safe mode and configure the adsl internet............we haven't tried everything yet.

it seems to be booting off the mobo disk and won't boot off the hard drive.

but, so far so good, data preserved, happy people so far. this is very confusing, but at least we're past frustration mode and into progress mode.

Amy
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by:garycase
ID: 17084980
"... BUT....... it asks for a password for my husband's user ..." ==>  Is this a NEW install?   If so, you MUST have set a password when you created the account (by accident perhaps?).   If not, then the old password would have carried forward (if you did a Repair install).

"... it seems to be booting off the mobo disk and won't boot off the hard drive..." ==> ????  Can you clarify what you mean by this?
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by:willcomp
ID: 17085011
Is XP asking for a user logon password or a domain network password?  Is it XP Home?

A repair install should not set or change any passwords unless entered during install, in which case one should know what they are.  If it's XP Home and Administrator password has not been set, start in safe mode, log on as Administrator, and then clear user passwords as desired.

I don't understand this statement:

"it seems to be booting off the mobo disk and won't boot off the hard drive"
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by:willcomp
ID: 17085023
Two old geezers responding at the same time :>)  Remarkably similar.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17085033
we did a clean install on a new hard drive.

XP welcome window comes up, and you can select your user......administrator, then there's my husband's name, and they want a password put in. whatever we put in, a little popop error comes up and refuses it, we click okay, and it reverts back to the user selection.

okay, i wan't clear. no matter how we boot, we can't log in at the welcome window. sorry to be confusing, i'm doing a million things at once around here.

amy
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by:willcomp
ID: 17085169
Try leaving password blank.  If that doesn't do it, see my previous response about booting into safe mode.

Also need to be clear whether he is trying to log onto The Administrator Account (Administrator Account is available in XP Pro but not XP Home for Normal mode) or an account with administrator privileges.
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by:garycase
ID: 17085183
... willcomp (the OTHER "old geezer") is doing fine :-)  ==> and I'm off to run errands and go out for the evening, so will be gone for at least 7 hours ...
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by:willcomp
ID: 17085205
Sorry, see that it's XP Pro which prompts for an administrator password during install and will allow Administrator to log on in normal mode.

If an Administrator password was set and forgotten and there were no users added, will have to either re-install or use a password clearing utility.  XP Pro is a secure OS.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17085222
yes, we're going to try safe mode now. that's where we were headed anyway, and thanks for hanging in there with us. lot of pain and problems here, so although i'm totally embarrassed to need help, here we are and we're getting through it. thanks.

amy
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17085857
"The system cannot log you on due to the following error: the specified domain could not exist or could not be contacted."

That's what it says in response to trying to put in a password at the user selection window.

Amy
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17086296
responds equally in safe mode. Amy
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by:willcomp
ID: 17086518
Thats a network log on, try clicking cancel (think that's it, don't have one to look at) and see if it will let you in.  Appears that a Domain login was created during install.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17086950
we don't know how a domain login was created during install. hitting cancel doesn't work, tried that first thing.

when during setup is a domain login created?

amy
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17086984
it only took 19 minutes to install, fishy, should we reinstall? amy
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by:
willcomp earned 200 total points
ID: 17086994
It would be during network setup at end of installation.  Did you have an Ethernet Internet connection while installing XP?

Just let XP install its defaults.  The only thing you need to add is a User name when prompted.  I'm not sure exactly what happened and how to resolve at this point.

Probably the esaiest approach is to simply re-install XP Pro.  Be sure to delete existing partition and start afresh.  The optimum approach is to wipe hard disk prior to install.  If you purchased a retail Seagate drive, it came with an installation disk.  Run SeaTools and low level format drive (0 fill).  If no disk, post back and I'll link to a utility.

Hope Gary returns shortly.  He mat be able to sort this out.  Often, 2 heads are better tahn one.

One last question.  Did you install from a volume license XP CD that was configured for network installation (corporation or educational institution disk)?  If so, it may have automatically setup network login.
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by:willcomp
ID: 17087000
mat = may
tahn = than

Fingers aren't working tonight.
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by:willcomp
ID: 17087047
Since it takes about an hour to format a 160GB HDD, 19 minutes does seem a little short.  Even if drive is already partitioned and formatted, still takes around 25 to 30 minutes to install XP from CD on an average PC.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17087527
willcomp, we're currently doing exactly what you recommended, we decided the same thing. will let you know how it turns out. yeah, 19 minutes did seem short. will let you know.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17087906
WE'RE IN, good to go. thanks very much for all your help. we're installed and in windoze, on our way. can do the rest on our own. thanks very much. Amy
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by:garycase
ID: 17087924
Great !!  Got back a couple of hours ago and was "watching" ... but thought I'd wait to see how the re-install went.    You clearly did something on the initial install that made it "think" you were on a domain.   Sounds like you're past that, however, and have a good new install.

Feel free to post any additional questions if you have any issues migrating all of your programs.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17088117
ah, glad you asked, cuz here i am. hubs told me to look up: copying an entire hard drive to another hard drive. we wanna make sure we are educated clearly, know what we know, before doing it.

amy
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17088124
rather than "copying" let's say "moving" an entire hard drive to another hard drive. amy
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by:garycase
ID: 17088145
Let me be sure I understand what you want to do.   Suppose you have two hard drives, A and B.   A is bootable, and works fine.   Do you want to simply copy/move A to B --> so that B boots fine (just like A did) and has EXACTLY the same operating systems and programs that A did ??

If not, try to outline exactly what you want to do.

If so, then give me the details of the drives -- the size of each;  current partition structure; and amount of free space.
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by:garycase
ID: 17088153
... by the way, it's late and I'm going to be hitting the sack in a few minutes.   If I don't respond to your next post quickly, it will be tomorrow before I get to it.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17088165
here's details......we want to move the entire drive contents from our Seagate 40G, over to the new Seagate 160G. We've already erased  non-necessary stuff. i am sure there's a "best tool" for this, and would like a recommendation. it's about 17G of data and programs we need to move.

what we're moving includes the SP1,1a,2,3 plus WindowsLive setups, drivers, data and programs.

on the old drive there's a 40G partition, a 32G partition.......and the new drive has a 160G NTFS, just one partition.  we can correct partition conflicts using partition magic.

amy
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17088176
i have 149G of free space on C. I have 13G to move off of D. have already moved all but settings in the OS system that's on D, already moved onto C.

so, to recap.......the C drive is the new Seagate160G, D is the other Seagate slaved to the new one. make sense?

amy
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17088181
same size sectors, same size cylinders, same speed for both hard drives - 7200.
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by:cstrcstamyst
ID: 17088189
planning on using partition magic, partition 7 tools, uninstaller 2006. already have multimedia and audio and video settings ready to move from D to C.
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by:garycase
ID: 17088275
Before you do this, I'd suggest you read what I wrote here:  http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Desktops/Q_21582113.html

... you may want to structure the drive so you can do essentially what I suggested in that writeup.   e.g. make your primary OS partition relatively small; and keep all your data in a 2nd partition.   For reasons I detailed in that writeup it's much easier to make the system "bulletproof" that way.

... I'm also not a big fan of Partition Magic -- but if you're careful and use an older version (the newer versions are not as reliable) you should be okay.   As I've noted before (and in the writeup I just linked you to) I use Boot-It NG these days for all my partition management.

Off to bed now ... I'll respond to any further thoughts tomorrow.
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