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Disk Boot Failure

Concentus asked
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I’ve been optimizing a PC that has XP as it’s OS. I ran Defraggler and CCleaner to help. I also removed a few shortcuts from the Startup folder, including "hp image zone fast start". At this point I think it was still booting.
Then I was trying to figure out what type of motherboard it had to determine what type of RAM to get so I could upgrade it from 512 MB. I gently pushed aside a cable here or there, but, as far as I can tell, nothing came loose or was damaged. It occurred to me, I might find out what I need by just running MSInfo32. So I went to boot it up and got “Disk Boot Failure.” I booted from a liveCD and found that the hard drive is readable – I can see all the files, etc. – no errors.
It’s my guess that something corrupted the Master Boot Record. So I’m wondering if anyone might be able to confirm this likelihood or suggest anything else that might be the problem. I’m unclear about exactly how to use “fixmbr” and other tools I could use. I can’t get into the recovery console (from a recovery partition), as far as I can tell and can’t remember if the PC is running Windows XP Home or Pro. There’s no windows product key on the box – it wasn’t made by a large manufacturer.
I have a few liveCDs that I can use and am just starting to work with, including UBCD, UBCD4Win, Winternals Admin Pak, and Spotmau. They’re all really useful, but I don’t have enough experience with any one of them yet to be certain about how to fix this problem.
I’m concerned that just using one of the tools, like fixmbr, without knowing whether I’m using it right might cause more problems than I fix. It would be nice to be able to figure out if the MBR is corrupt (before trying to fix it) or whatever else could be the problem.
      I appreciate any suggestions on how to fix this problem.
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