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Hard disk unable to boot to WinXP

Posted on 2011-09-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have a Sea Gate hard disk. It fails to bootup. Operating system is WInXP.

Error reported a non system hard disk.
Also noted that the at times the BIOS is not able to recognize the hard disk.

Tried to use winXP disc to do a recovery to fix the boot manager. Not successful.
I don't have the password for the Administrator account thus unable to do the recovery.

Connected the hard disk as a slave and found all the files are all there.
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Question by:asidu
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Accepted Solution

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Dr. Klahn earned 100 total points
ID: 36593272
The symptoms point to the drive failing intermittently.

One way to investigate this is to remove the drive from the afflicted system, take it to a known healthy system, and attach it to a secondary controller.  From the problem description, you have already done this.  Download and install a freeware SMART monitor such as Passmark Disk Checkup and see whether the drive is showing symptoms of failure such as increasing bad block counts and pending replacements.  If the drive shows no problems, other avenues can be investigated.
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Assisted Solution

by:X_layer
X_layer earned 100 total points
ID: 36593280
If BIOS don't recognize hard disk is possible that hard disk controller is failing or try to replace data cable from MB to disk.
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Assisted Solution

by:K_Wilke
K_Wilke earned 100 total points
ID: 36593287
If it is a hard drive failure, I would use this software:
http://www.dposoft.net/
It is the HDD Regenerator.
It will fix sector errors on the hard drive that are not physical (where the read/write head crashes into the platter).
I have used this software for over 7 years and have not been disappointed with it.
If you do not purchase the software, it will only fix the first bad sector it comes across.
This program will take about 2-24 hours to run, based upon how big of a hard drive you have and how many bad sectors you have.
Thanks,
Kelly W.
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by:Jim-R
Jim-R earned 100 total points
ID: 36593365
I have seen instances where a cable has been disturbed and is not connecting properly.  Either the power or the data cable can cause the "sometimes" thing in BIOS, but more often than not, it is a hard drive failing issue.  If you can see the user data files, rescue them ASAP in case the drive decides to fail altogether.   Hopefully, they are not encrypted.

Check Seagate's website to make sure you don't have one of the drives that Seagate had a firmware issue with on the controller board.  

I had a few of these and irritated me to the point of not buying Seagate drives anymore.  They took over Maxtor and seemed to have gone downhill since.  I have had one drive fail (300GB) and be replaced no less than 3 times.  I didn't bother with the 3rd replacement because by the time I paid shipping, I would have spent enough to buy a new drive instead of getting another re-manufactured drive from Seagate.  Not to mention reinstalling everything TWICE only to have it fail again.

They didn't even want the drive back for free, and wouldn't send me a prepaid label to ship it to them.  This tells me how much they value their own hard drives.  They didn't even want a free one under warranty until 2013.

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Assisted Solution

by:senad
senad earned 100 total points
ID: 36593680
I suggest you first remove XP administrator password and then
make yourself administrator and then try and do the recovery.
There's lots of tools on the net which will let you do that....
Try and report....
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Author Comment

by:asidu
ID: 36594255
@All, Thank you guys for the suggestions and pointers. Much appreciated.

@senad, I would  reset the administrator password and try to fix the MBR.
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Author Comment

by:asidu
ID: 36594456
@senad
The password is fixed.
On running the fixmbr I get a Caution message:

This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master boot record
FIXMBR may damage your partition tables if you proceed.
This could cause all the partitions on the current hard disk to become inaccessible.

I understand that the harddisk has a linux partititon and was a dual boot and grub was installed at one point of time. Thou the linux was not used by the user.
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Expert Comment

by:senad
ID: 36595268
I would suggest you wipe the disk clean (format) and reinstall XP.
You would do everything faster.
Just save what you must before.
This way you would recover wasted space of Linux too ....
No way of knowing which bootloader to fix - xp one or grub ...
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 36596148
Also the possibility of a virus infected MBR.
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Expert Comment

by:Jim-R
ID: 36596224
If the MBR is infected, the warning regarding partition table damage is definite   Make sure MBR is not infected before "fixing it"
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Author Closing Comment

by:asidu
ID: 36596815
Confirmed that the hard disk is an issue. Some times
its detected some times not. Changing of the connections also
did not help.

Finally replaced with a new hard disk and no issue of
detection and install.

Thank you all for you valuable pointers.
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