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How can I eliminate the Unmounted Volume on my Dell Optiplex GX400 with Windows 2000?

Posted on 2009-04-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Windows 2000 on my Dell Optiplex GX400 has a frequent but intermittent issue of failing to boot due to corrupted Operating System files. I am usually able to repair this simply by running chkdsk  /r a couple of times on the only drive in the system which has been assigned the drive lettter C:. I am able to reproduce the issue with regularity if I attempt to run Disk Defragmenter on an unmounted volume which apears only in Disk Defragmenter. I am thinking that there is some connection between the existence of this Unmounted Volume and my frequent OS file corruption. For this reason, I would like to eliminate the Unmounted Volume or reassign a drive letter to it in hopes that my frequent file corruption issues will disappear. It is interesting to note that the Unmounted Volume appears only in Disk Defragmenter. It does not appear in Disk Management or My Computer. I only have 1 new, tested good with manufacturer's diagnostics 160GB hard drive in the system which has been assigned the drive letter C: with a single partition which comprises the entire drive. Odder still is the fact that  all of the specifications of the Unmounted Volume, in terms of file system, capacity and space are identical to that of the C: drive. Ultimately, my question, then, is: How can I eliminate this issue of frequent OS file corruption? Can I safely eliminate the Unmounted Volume? Should I assign the Unmounted Volume a drive letter? Will either of these actions resolve my original issue or am I on the wrong  track?
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Question by:sharpt
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by:garycase
ID: 24066467
Very interesting.   A couple of questions ...

(1)  Does the drive show the correct size in Windows 2000?   i.e. does your C: drive show as 149GB?   [This is just to confirm you have 48-bit logical block addressing support, which requires the appropriate service packs and the EnableBigLBA registry key mod]

(2)  If the answer to #1 is yes; then download the free demo of Boot-It NG [http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootit-next-generation.htm ]; create a bootable CD; boot to the CD; select CANCEL at the first prompt; then OK; then click on Partition Work.   Post a note detailing what it shows in the center display [It should show your single partition -- but I'd like to confirm that's the case].   As long as it shows everything correctly, I'd then click on View MBR, and then click on Std MBR to be sure your MBR isn't corrupted.
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by:sharpt
ID: 24068907
(1)
Yes.
(2)
Work With Partitions:
HD0 MBR Entry0 Partition 152625MB HPFS/NTFS
View MBR:
MBR Entry0 Active
Starting: C: 0 H: 1 S: 1 FS: 7H Ending: C: 1023 H: 254 S: 63 LBA: 63 Sectors: 312576642

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by:garycase
ID: 24069030
The parameters look okay.   If you haven't already, I'd click Std MBR -- then OK -- then Apply from the Partition Work screen.   Not likely to change anything, but if there's something weird about the MBR, that should resolve it.    Do that; then boot and run Disk Defragmenter and see if it still shows an "unmounted volume" -- but do NOT start a defragmentation on it (no need to mess up your system).

I presume you've already done this (from your previous comments);  but when you're back in Windows 2000 go to Disk Management and be SURE the drive is shown okay [i.e. a single partition;  Basic Volume;  NTFS format; etc.]

If all looks okay, but the issue still persists, there are a couple of other things I'd try ... but first lets see if resetting the MBR helps.



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by:sharpt
ID: 24069178
o my! somehow i managed to turn my old problem into a new problem! it went something like this:
When i first started having the OS file corruption issue, I ran chkdsk c: /r and /p as needed confirm fix of all errors, ran fixmbr and fixboot, booted into Windows 2000 succesfully a couple of times and then made a Ghost 2003 DVD image of the drive. I even tested the DVD image by imaging a drive and booting into Windows. Then, in an attempt to fix the ongoing OS file structure corruption/Unmounted Volume issue, I flashed the bios with the same version i already had. This resulted in not being able to start windows from the original disk anymore. So I ghosted the original hard drive from the DVD image. However, I still could not start Windows. Finally, I deleted the existing partition, created one new largest possible partition, formatted the drive, and installed XPP. The system boots up fine now. So far, no file corruption has occurred and no Unmounted Volume exists in Disk Defragmenter. There was no data on the original drive as it was simply used as a POS system where all data was stored on the networked file server. Bottom Line: The problem is resolved : ) but I somehow burned my bridge to identify what the problem really was :(
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garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 24069348
Well, you've destroyed the evidence, so we'll never be able to confirm exactly what the issue was ... but I suspect one of two things:  (a) a corrupted MBR (the simple Std MBR - OK - Apply sequence I suggested above would have fixed that);  or (b) if your DVD image was made before you added the EnableBigLBA key to Win2K (i.e. before you had the 160GB drive) and you later restored it to the 160GB drive, that likely resulted in some registry corruption, which was likely the cause of the strange behavior.
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by:sharpt
ID: 24069703
Yes, I have and I'm sorry garycase. Regarding (a), Woudn't the fixmbr (which I did) have resolved the issue if std MBR would have resolved the issue? yet fixmbr didn't, permanently at least, resolve the issue. I'd be more apt to agree with (b) because it fits part of the history of that PC that I didn't mention earlier, namely that it did have a smaller hard drive which was imaged to a larger one during an uupgrade about a year ago and it has had periodic file corruption issues since. What I don't understand is what in the world did the same version flash do to the BIOS that caused Windows 2000 to not be able to start? Before that, I used that DVD image succesfully to image the 160GB hard drive, albeit I had the Unmounted Volume Issue. If (b) were correct, how would I avoid the Unmounted Volume in future hard drive upgrades? and how would I fix it after I got it? Would assigning a drive letter to it in Windows have fixed it? Is this only an issue with Windows 2000? I have never run into this issue before. Thank you for your help. I have upped the points to 500 which I will assign to you.
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by:garycase
ID: 24069928
Windows 2000 can cause disk corruption on large drives (> 128GB) if it's run without SP4 with the EnableBigLBA registry key modification.   If your image was from the pre-160GB drive; and it was restored to the 160GB drive; that may very well have been what happened.   I'm not sure what exactly happens if you restore an image like that and then immediately add the EnableBigLBA key (and install SP4 if needed).   In every case where I've needed to move a Win2K install to a larger drive, I've done the following:   (a)  Restore the Win2K image to its original size ... so the Win2K partition is smaller than the 28-bit LBA limit;  (b)  Install SP4 and add the EnableBigLBA key, so the system has 48-bit LBA support;  (c)  use a good 3rd party utility (I always use Boot-It NG these days; although I've used others in the past) to ReSize the partition to the desired size.

I suspect, from the details in your last post, that (b) may indeed be what happened.   I think if you made sure you never restore a Win2K OS to a partition about the 128GB limit unless you're CERTAIN it already has the full 48-bit LBA support embedded that you'd not have the issue you were having.
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by:sharpt
ID: 24070019
Excellent advice which I will follow in the future. Thanks for following up on this one gary. I could easily have restored the ghost image to any size partition below 128GB had I been aware of that limit. Only 10GB or so of space on the hard drive was being used. When the hard drive was replaced , it was because a new one was needed not a larger one. The available hard drive just happened to be larger. Thanks again.
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by:garycase
ID: 24070128
You're most welcome.   The 28-bit to 48-bit LBA conversion has caused a lot of problems when upgrading older systems.   The safest thing to do -- unless a larger drive is needed -- is to not use a drive larger than 120GB ... although it's getting hard to find 120GB drives (fortunately it's still fairly easy to get new 80GB drives, which are usually large enough in those situations).
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