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Master boot record looks damaged

Posted on 2006-07-21
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Hi All-

I have a PC that has ceased booting windows - it tries, then bluescreens with the 'unmountable boot volume' message.  By "it tries" I mean that it shows the windows XP logo for a few seconds - which is obviously pulled from the drive - and then tanks.

I booted from a windows CD, and it wont see the install for a repair install.  It notes the partition type as "unknown".  It is that last clue that leads me to believe that the master boot record is tanked.  

I am posting to see if people agree with me, and if so, is there a way to repair it without a reload/reformat?  I would prefer to not have ot do that.

I do not know, but suspect that a power outage while the PC was on, did this.

Any thoughts, ask away.  Anything I can run or do to narrow things down, just let me know!

Thanks,  Eric
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Question by:EricTuthill
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by:rindi
ID: 17156859
If the mbr was out, you wouldn't be able to boot at all. I think there is something else no good there. What windows CD did you boot from? Get a copy of the UBCD and boot your PC with it. Then test the RAM wirh memtest86+. Also use the HD manufacturer's testing utility to test the disk, it is probably going bad.

http://ultimatebootcd.com
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Author Comment

by:EricTuthill
ID: 17157724
I will run that and post results in a bit - thanks!

Eric
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by:_Mr_Limo
ID: 17158950
unmountable boot disk is most likely the drive itself - something to keep in mind if the above doesnt work.  

If it's the disk, you have two options, attempt a reformat (probably wont work), or professional recovery if the data is important.

Try http://www.drivesavers.com  if the data is critical, they're the best in the business.  Not the least expensive, but definitely the best.
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Expert Comment

by:jobshopr
ID: 17160859
BartPE is the best tool for fixing this.
It's free.
http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/
You will need to have the Windows XP Home or Pro files in order to create the disc.
Sounds like you have some bad sectors on your hard drive.
This disc will boot to a Preboot Enviroment (PE) and allow you to see your files and run disc utilities.  You need to do a chkdsk and repair any bad sectors.

If you don't have the XP CD handy or don't want to mess with BartPE, you can get some standalone programs that will build bootable CDs or floppys for you to run disc recovery tools.
Here are the free ones:
http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Utilities/Disk_Maintenance_and_Repair_Utilities/free/

You should also look at this XP Repair site:
http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/repair_xp.htm
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 17165185
If you have a clean disk, format it FAT32 (easier to recover than NTFS), and xcopy all the files from the other disk to the new one -- if you put both in a second system for this then just issue the command --

xcopy D:\*.*   E:\  /s/h/r/k/c/e

and then hook up the new disk only, boot from the XP CD, and go to recovery console, and type --

Fixboot C:

Now boot from the new disk, and you are fine.  WHen you are happy, you can try to reformat the old.
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Author Comment

by:EricTuthill
ID: 17169956
Hi All-

Well, I decided to give ol checkdisk a try - usually futile, but this time it worked!  The reason I tried was just because I was getting a windows logo at bootup prior to crash.

Went to recovery console, ran it, boots fine now.  Chalk one up for wierdness.

Thanks for all the advice - I do want to address some of it.

I have an ultimate boot cd - its great.  But, even on hard disks I knew were bad, I have never seen the hard drive test utilities flag one as bad.


I will distro points up shortly... thanks to all!

Eric
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 17170004
I've seen powermax say the disk has a problem, along with an errorcode. That code usually allows you to RMA the disk for warranty replacements.
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Author Comment

by:EricTuthill
ID: 17170108
Ill  look for that program randi, thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 17170182
There are 2 versions on the UBCD, but it'll only give the correct errorcodes on maxtor disks.
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Author Comment

by:EricTuthill
ID: 17170222
Heh.  Maxtors have the error code right on the label though!  Right where it says... "Maxtor".

I dont use those anymore, too faulty.  Pardon my humor, hehe, but thanks for the tip.

Eric
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 17170261
That error code doesn't qualify for a warranty replacement. I don't mind that humor at all, actually it is 150% correct, and I don't use maxtors anymore either...
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