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No Boot Sector
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No Boot Sector - November 4, 2009, 07:31 AM

on internal hard drive. Dell laptop

What's my next move?


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November 4, 2009, 07:38 AM

Basically that means you are screwed. What you can do is go get Partion Table Doctor to see if it can fix the boot sector. It worked for me but then I went and retrieved all my data and re-installed the OS. Also you can just use the Data Recovery wizard made by the same people to get all data back but you will need to remove drive and attach it to another computer to do it...the re-install new OS. Damn....I cant believe I do this for a living


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November 4, 2009, 07:41 AM

Never had the problem but google search turned up these answers:

http://en.community.dell.com/forums/t/19263745.aspx

"Can you boot into Safe Mode?
If you can, try a System Restore to an earlier date?

Does it have an IDE hard drive (HDD), or a SATA HDD?
Assuming you can... go into the BIOS, and change the SATA operation mode from AHCI to ATA?
(Scroll down to drives, press Enter or + to expand the drive menu, then down to "SATA Operation", press Enter.

Change the SATA operation mode to "RAID Autodetect/ATA", then press ESC to save and exit the BIOS)

If none of those work... and assuming the HDD is at least recognised in the BIOS, you may have to reinstall XP
However - a 'Repair' install will at least save you (/the kids) losing personal/important files


Last resort - it might be that you need to fix the MBR (Master Boot Record):


1. Boot from the windows XP CD.
2. Press the "R" key in the setup, to start the restoration console.
3. Select your windows XP installation from the list, and enter the administrator password.
4. Enter the command: "FIXMBR" (without the quotes) at the input prompt, and confirm the next question with a "Y" (without the quotes)."


or

http://www.pcguide.com/vb/showthread.php?t=58732

I'm no great expert on this, but I'll do what I can since no-one has answered so far.

1. Go into the BIOS Setup and check that the HDD is being seen by the BIOS and correctly identified
Also make sure that all your drives are set to "Auto" detect.

2. Would be a good idea to run the HDD manufacturers diagnostic utility to test th HDD to see if it's healthy.

3. Which Windows version is installed?

4. Use fdisk to look at the partitioning. See if it looks OK and whether the 1st Primary Partition [the C: partition with Windows on it] is SET AS ACTIVE.
Set it active if it isn't.

5. That should do for now, but the next step would be to restore the MBR..
AND/OR...

6. Make an NT/2000/XP boot floppy and use that to attempt to load Windows.
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November 4, 2009, 07:43 AM

can't he just fix the MBR using a dos based tool that boots from a usb drive? i don't see why he's screwed, it'll just take some time and googling to find the tools to fix it. or maybe i'm just not understanding the problem since i don't get paid to do this kind of work. lol


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November 4, 2009, 08:03 AM

All 3 are good suggestions, I'd try Boost's method first if you've already got the recovery disc. Next up is Novasquid's. Reinstalling is the final answer.

Now here's the underlying concern, if the boot sector failed, there is a chance that hard drive failure is looming. Think of sector failure like cancer. It starts in one and spreads. Sector isolation applications only work so long and can't prevent failure if it's hardware based. I'd back up the data after you get it online again then keep an eye on things.


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November 4, 2009, 08:05 AM

I use ACronis to make an image of whatever I can then read into the .tib file and pull any data that I need out of it.

You can use Spinrite or Easeus Data Recovery (made in china)
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November 4, 2009, 08:05 AM

i have had luck booting the widows OS CD and doing the "repair" option.

FIXBOOT and I forgot the other boot repair option has done its job on 7 out of 10 times ive used it.


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November 4, 2009, 08:06 AM

He might be able to do the MBR from the USB. I know every time I have tried that, it just wasnt that successful. Goodluck dude.


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November 4, 2009, 08:07 AM

Yea if you have a recovery disk...by all means try that first to see if it can configure your stuff for ya. I was going off him having nothing.


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November 4, 2009, 08:13 AM

Yes, windows repair using the FIXBOOT and MBR tools.

or

http://bootmaster.filerecovery.biz/r...ot_sector.html


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November 4, 2009, 09:21 AM

Thanks to all!

I have no recovery CD
I can get to the BIOS
Drive is recognized but not sure if correctly
Cannot find any safe mode to try
Windows XP but canít find installation CD

Bootmaster looks promising but work is kind of funny about downloading utilities
If someone can help a .net family member out tonight please pm!
This comes at a bad time with a magazine deadline looming . . .

Unit is 4+ years old so I hope the hardware hangs on just a little longer . . .


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November 4, 2009, 09:30 AM

no one suggested the famous...disconnect hard drive, wave it around to get the dust out, plug it in, tap 3 times, turn on?

my desktop is stuck at the "we're sorry, windows wasn't shut down properly" screen "please select how you wish to start windows, safe mode, safe mode with networking, safe mode with command prompt, last known config, start windows normally" - no matter what I do...it always goes back to that screen it's not the blue screen of death and everything in the bios looks enabled and good to go, but desktops are like cheap as hell - so i'ma jus buy another one.

Last edited by Oneway; November 4, 2009 at 09:32 AM..
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November 4, 2009, 09:40 AM

Bring it over to my job, I'll see if I can help. Any p0rn I find I keep
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November 4, 2009, 09:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnage View Post
Bring it over to my job, I'll see if I can help. Any p0rn I find I keep
sending pm

sorry all porn is stored in the cloud


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November 4, 2009, 08:13 PM

WKDBLD, I can hook you up with an XP disk if you need one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oneway View Post
no one suggested the famous...disconnect hard drive, wave it around to get the dust out, plug it in, tap 3 times, turn on?

my desktop is stuck at the "we're sorry, windows wasn't shut down properly" screen "please select how you wish to start windows, safe mode, safe mode with networking, safe mode with command prompt, last known config, start windows normally" - no matter what I do...it always goes back to that screen it's not the blue screen of death and everything in the bios looks enabled and good to go, but desktops are like cheap as hell - so i'ma jus buy another one.
All hard drives are sealed air tight.

It's easier to rebuild the OS on a machine then purchase another one and transfer over all your files.


-Ryan
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