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"Error loading operating system" on Windows XP, with RAID1

Posted on 2007-04-02
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Greetings - I have a problem with one of my PCs - it is an HP/Compaq desktop running Windows XP (Pro, I believe).  It crashed the other day (no BSOD, just an message stating that an unexpected error had occurred - unfortunately, I did not see it myself, as it happened when my colleague was using the PC - when she closed the message, the PC simply shut off).  When we tried to restart, it gave the message, "Error loading operating system..."

The PC has two 40gb hard drives on a RAID controller - the array is configured as RAID1(mirrored).   The Primary Master shows its status as Hidden, and the Secondary Master is set to BOOT.  I don't see anything in the boot utility that suggests something is wrong with either the array or drives.  I tried to run recovery with the Windows XP CD, but it gave me the message the the hard drive could not be found.

Any ideas as to what might be wrong?
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Question by:Natterjak
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SysExpert earned 250 total points
ID: 18838925
Recovery will require you to load the RAID driver using F6 probably.

Get it from HP.  Also check out any troubleshooting advice that may be there.

I would consider breaking the RAID and using only 1 drive to recover, so that you have a backup drive that is unaffected.

I hope this helps !
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Author Comment

by:Natterjak
ID: 18839219
Tried F6, but that didn't do anything.  The PC is unfortunately not a standard HP - it's a custom work machine.  The RAID is a HighPoint RAID system.
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by:firebeast
firebeast earned 250 total points
ID: 18839488
There is something wrong with one or both of the hard drives.
To be able to do anything with the drives in the recovery console you have to load the drivers for the device, that usually consists of putting the drivers for the raid controller on a diskette and having the windows setup load it when you get to the prompt to hit F6 to load the drivers.

have you looked at what the raid controller says when ever you go into it right after the bios screen?
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Author Comment

by:Natterjak
ID: 18839631
Ah okay, I understand now.  Okay, doing that allowed me to finally access the recovery panel.  At the C: prompt, I typed in chkdsk.  The message it returned was, "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems."  What do I do from this point?  Thanks!
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Author Comment

by:Natterjak
ID: 18839697
I just tried chkdsk /r and received the same message.  chkdsk /? returned /p and /r as the only options, and both gave me the "unrecoverable problems" message.  
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Expert Comment

by:firebeast
ID: 18839782
did you look in the raid utility after the bios?
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Expert Comment

by:_Mr_Limo
ID: 18839907
one or both of these drives is physically failed.  chkdsk /p or /r is going to make the data unrecoverable if you run either.  It needs physical care, in a clean room environment.  Try DriveSavers data recovery www.drivesavers.com - they're the best in the business and were able to recover my data for me when my RAID 5 crashed...

good luck.
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Author Comment

by:Natterjak
ID: 18840157
Thanks everyone for the help.  It looks like both of these drives went bad, but we were able to at least recover the data from one of the partitions (the other partition, that had the OS, only prompted us to format the drive).  The data recovery was the most important part, so it looks like we'll be getting new drives.  Thanks again!
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