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Help! Deleted primary partition!

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September 30, 2006 9:49:37 PM

I used PartitionMagic to delete an empty partition on one of my hard drives and switched the other partition on the drive to primary. When I rebooted to make the changes, windows could not boot. I don't really know why it couldn't boot, but at this point, I have no idea how to get things working! Help please!

More about : deleted primary partition

September 30, 2006 10:24:16 PM

Reformat and reinstall the os, that should fix it. Might also try editing the boot.ini file on the original root partition, but it probably won't work.

Why were you messing with the primary partition of the disk anyway?
September 30, 2006 10:44:23 PM

Yep reformat and re-install. Easiest way.
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September 30, 2006 11:01:40 PM

Your boot partition needs to be a primary partition and set active.

Unless you are mulitbooting additional partitions should be logical not primarly.

If you screw up the Windows XP installation, you can end up with files necessary to boot the OS being put on partitions other than C:

Your system might be trying to boot from the wrong hard drive, check the boot order in the CMOS setup.

If you accidentally deleted the wrong partition then you can just undelete it.

In any case you should post exactly what feedback you get when you try to boot your PC.

PS Rinstalling to fix a problem is strickly amature. Anyone who knows what they are doing would either learn to fix the problem or if they didn't have the time spend 15 minutes restoring from a backup.
September 30, 2006 11:09:46 PM

Alright here's the deal, I was deleting a giant, empty parition on my drive so I could make smaller partitions for multi-booting. I reformated awhile ago and since I already had a partition on the drive (which held tons of music), windows was installed on d: instead of c:, so the drive that I deleted was the primary drive. I told partitionmagic to make my d: drive to become the primary and I thought that all would be well, until I restarted.

I can't remember the exact message it gave me, but it was something along the lines of "disk error", whatever. I don't want to reformat the hard drive because I have my entire music collection on there, which is quite large. I want a way to get back to windows, without reformatting! I tried to create another partition on the drive and install windows on that, but after everything has finished installing and restarts, the setup process begins again instead of going to the 2nd stage of windows setup.
September 30, 2006 11:39:54 PM

part of the problem here is that there are 2 ways windows references a physical partition on a hard disk.

The first that occurs during the initial boot up process is the one that is stated in the boot.ini which will look something like this

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN /FASTDETECT

This is the absolute partition reference generated by the windows install. in your case if you deleted a partition preceding the one with your windows install.. like the following example

{ [ empty partition 1 ] [ Windows partition ] } => { [ expanded windows partition ] }

Would have the following entry in the boot.ini file.

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN /FASTDETECT

Following this example.... the boot.ini file would have to be changed. the partition number is no longer 2 it is now 1.

That is the first problem but that alone is not enough to correct the problem. Also in the windows registry there is a location containing a table that references partition ID's to drive letters. The only drive letter that is NOT changable is the system drive letter.

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=223188

Contains additional information on how to change it using the registry editor, which for you to get to in your situation will be extremely difficult.
This is the second place that this information is referenced.


I would initially try running the XP install in repair mode. it will correst the boot.ini file if you are not familiar on how to do that any other way. If the second issue is also a problem, you will have additional issues after the reinstall. If you can I would do a reinstall on a seond hard drive.
September 30, 2006 11:40:31 PM

Now when I boot up, I just get a black screen with the cursor in the top left, but nothing ever happens after that...
September 30, 2006 11:41:15 PM

Oh no, so now you've installed another OS on the disk too?

It's not exactly a lost cause, but if it were me and I wanted to preserve the data, I wouldn't mess any more with this disk. I would get another disk, install the OS, then install the old disk and get your data.

Codesmith, I don't disagree with you about the easiest thing to do is to recover from a backup...in my case, it would be a ghost image, but reinstalling is probably the best thing to do, or perhaps second best. The best thing to do is not mess it up to begin with. :wink:

Another example of why I wouldn't never use PM to mess with my partitions. And, if you have critical data on a disk without a backup, don't go messing with it...and, keep a backup.

In this case, for the original poster, I highly recommend you get another disk and keep this disk intact until you can recover you data.
October 1, 2006 12:03:55 AM

Quote:
If you can I would do a reinstall on a seond hard drive.


I feel a good complete reinstall every now and then is a great thing. I always keep my data backed up and on seperate hard drives anyways. Nothing like fresh copy of XP w/ nothing on it at all.

Wirefire is totally on about how to fix this problem at this stage. Just install XP on the new drive (w/out the old drive plugged in) then after it's all updated and protected w/ a antivirus program, shut it down, plug in your drive, restart, and PRAY your data is still intact.

Back up your data on disks if you can too.

Andy
October 1, 2006 12:09:37 AM

I have another hard drive, and I tried to install xp on it, but after it finished installing and restarted, it did not go to the 2nd part of the windows install, just like what happened when I tried to do the same on another partition on the main hard drive.
October 1, 2006 12:39:37 AM

Try to get into bios. Maybe they're not set right in the boot order.

Should be something like
1st. Floppy (i dont even use a floppy anymore)
2nd. CD ROM
3rd. HD
4th. Etc.

If HD is gone from there it would keep going in a circle like that. I cant think of another reason. Is a key depressed when it restarts? I know it says press anykey to boot from cd.

Andy
October 1, 2006 2:12:22 AM

Quote:
I have another hard drive, and I tried to install xp on it, but after it finished installing and restarted, it did not go to the 2nd part of the windows install, just like what happened when I tried to do the same on another partition on the main hard drive.


1) For now disconnect the hard drive with important data on it, and set it asside.

2) Retry installing windows XP with just the one hard drive attached, and all unnecessary devices disconnected from the computer.

(No cheating, if its possible to install XP without it attached remove it, even a USB device can cause problems)

If that fails ....

3) Use Nero CD/DVD Speed to verify that that the install CD isn't scratched or damaged.

Test the memory with memtest 86.

Use the manufacturer's utlity to completly wipe the hard drive and then do an extended drive self test. (to eliminate any drive overlay/multiboot software that may have been previously installed).

And then try the install again.


PS - Its true that sometimes its good to start with a clean install, but thats why the first thing you do after you install the OS on a new build is to burn a backup image to DVD.

Even with an unattened install CDs, restoring from a backup is faster.

I went from Ghost 2003 to True Image 8 and then True Image 9. I have tried the latest versions of Ghost, but prefer True Image. Really it doesn't matter what you use for backups, as long as you use something.
October 1, 2006 2:29:21 AM

Alright, I disconnected my main drive and reformatted my secondary hard drive and attempted to install windows. It copies all of the setup files and then restarts. Once it restarts, it'll come to the 'press any key to run cd' screen, then if I wait a sec, it'll come up with a message like "could not load OS" or something like that. I have the boot order correct (cdrom, hd). I didn't think to unplug all unnecessary cables, but I'll retry. If the problem is install disc, I can install vista instead and try that, right?
October 1, 2006 6:01:27 PM

This second disk you are using... does not exactly sound like it is clean.

usually a bad install of XP will produce a cannot find NTLDR error. I would say the bios thing is probably a good start again. either your boot sequence is pulling a boot record from another device, or the boot sector of your second drive might not be doing so good (Sector 0).

either way the CD-rom being damaged to the point that the install process is successful, and then unable to reboot is Extremely slim, there are alot of system protections in place to prevent that kind of situation.

Also reboot the computer without the XP CDrom in the drive and put it back in when asked. some bios revisions screw up badly when they catch a boot record and then try to skip to the next one.
October 1, 2006 6:46:19 PM

I don't suppose you used a RAID driver floppy disk to install Windows?

If you did, remove the floppy after the setup files transfer to the hard drive.
October 1, 2006 7:23:58 PM

What is the exact error message you are receiving?

Have you double checked the boot order in the CMOS setup?

Is the hard drive SATA or IDE. What chipset/controller is it attached to?

Have you checked your motherboard manual to see if the controller requires that you press "F6" and load storage drivers from a floppy?

---

Were there any signs of instability prior to this problem?
If so run memtest 86 and prime 95 to verify the system is stable.

Have you successfully installed XP from the same CD in the past?
Have you updated your CD to SP2?
Have to checked the CD for unrecoverable read errors?

Is there any chance that the drive once help drive overlay or multiboot software? If so zero the drive before recreating your partitions.

Have you run diagnosics on the hard drive and controller?
October 2, 2006 11:37:10 AM

Alright, I think Vista saved my day. I reformatted my secondary drive and installed vista on it, which completely installed and didn't screw up at all, who woulda thought? Well, I've plugged in my other hard drive and rebooted and transfered all of my important stuff over. So tonight I'm going to reformat the original drive and try to reinstall xp. One note though, after I reformatted my secondary hard drive and tried to install xp, it still wouldn't work. It would reboot and say "OS Install Error"????
October 2, 2006 11:50:59 AM

Also, I've used this disc to install XP many times, so I doubt it's a disc problem. I can get another copy and test it though.
October 2, 2006 1:27:39 PM

You do know that you have Vista on your hardrive you will not be able to go back to XP! So you will want to have another harddrive with XP so that you can run either or....
October 2, 2006 1:50:40 PM

Quote:

Another example of why I wouldn't never use PM to mess with my partitions.


This has nothing to do with PM, which is a fine product.
It has to do with the fact that the old primary partition had low level system files on it's root that allows Windows to startup enough to read the boot.ini to let if find the Windows directory so Windows could load.

When he intentionally destroyed those files, Windows no longer booted.
This was a matter of somebody who was missing a critical bit of knowledge. The tool worked flawlessly. The user just did not fully understand the consequences of the request.

You statements regarding backups, ghost images, etc... is very true.

Many times I have slammed my forehead into the desk after realizing what I had just done by mistake.
October 2, 2006 5:13:52 PM

Yeah, I've got two hard drives, so I'm going to transfer all of my music and valued files onto the 2nd hard drive and reformat the first, then install xp on the 1st again, etc

I don't want this to happen again - what backup software is 'the best'?
October 2, 2006 5:54:37 PM

First and foremost, you should copy all your files off to DVD or CD. Do you have a burner? If you do that, at least you won't lose those if you happen to mess up or have an error partitioning and reloading the OS.

If you want to take a complete image of your system Symantec Ghost is good. True Image is good from what I've heard but I've never used it. There are other backup systems which will just back up files that have been updated. Don't have any names of those off the top of my head.
October 2, 2006 6:16:21 PM

Quote:

Another example of why I wouldn't never use PM to mess with my partitions.


This has nothing to do with PM, which is a fine product.



I never said it did, I simply said it's another example of why I wouldn't ever use such a product that messes with my partitions. I don't trust it or any other such product, but I'm old school. I'm sure it probably is a good product, but it will do exactly what you tell it to do, weither you know what you are doing or not. If I am going to do something like that, the first thing I would do is create a backup. Then, if I screwed something up, I wouldn't need to jump through flaming hoops to recover the only copy of my critical data. But, I digress.

As for backup software, I also use ghost and haven't tried anything else, and if I want to run automatic backups of just changed data, I use a command line program called robocopy. I don't know of any gui programs do to the same thing.
October 3, 2006 1:07:37 AM

I tried Norton and in my opinion True Image 9 is the very best.

Definately chose a program that will backup your OS while you are using it.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,123202-page,1/article.html

Quote:
However, Ghost 10 cannot create an image while operating from its extremely slow-booting installation/recovery CD. So if your system goes down, the utility can't create an image to help you recover any un-backed-up data stored on a crashed partition. Symantec does bundle the older Norton Ghost 2003 (included mainly for Windows 98 users), which can create an image while running from its CD. But True Image 9's recovery CD handles everything that its Windows application can, and that's a far better approach.
May 9, 2012 4:41:50 AM

i deleted my primary partition accidentally while installing windows xp.my notebook is not booting.when i try to install windows xp again there is a problem in loading file:hal.dll.when i tried to install win 7 the allocated space for primary partition is nil.will installing win 7 fix my problem?
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