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Vista boot problem (No OS found)

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
Last response: in Windows Vista
August 7, 2008 4:07:10 PM

Hope this is the appropriate forum for this thread...I have a relatively dire situation that I don't know how to resolve, with Windows Vista 32-bit. I've had a few minor problems witht he OS, one in particular which has led me to want XP on as a dual boot.

Instead of putting XP on a separate partition, I just bought a second drive and decided to put XP on that second drive for when I wanted to use XP. Well, I had both drives installed (and working), so I booted off my XP CD and went to start the XP installation. I made VERY sure that I chose the WD drive (not the Seagate) that was empty to install XP onto. I did not choose the format option, since the drive was already formatted prior using NTFS file format.

Everything seemed to be going ok, then it had to reboot the system. But, upon reboot, I got the (apparently) dreaded "Cannot find operating system" message :o  So, I unplugged the Vista drive and made sure the BIOS was set appropriately. Still no OS found.

Here's the issue: I unplugged the new/XP drive and put my Vista drive back in, verified BIOS was set correctly AND STILL NO OS FOUND!!! :o 

So, since then, I put the XP drive back (disconnected the Vista drive) and installed XP again, this time formatting the drive. That worked fine. I eventually got everything up and running, with all the updates. XP seems to be working great.

But, my Vista drive will not boot. I'm sort of at the point where I really wouldn't care if it weren't for all the programs I have installed...and emails I don't know how to retrieve. So, I'd really like to get it running again.

I fear the XP install may have corrupted the boot Vista boot sector (or something like that). I'm not really sure what happened, because I know I did not choose the Vista drive. All the files on the Vista drive are still there...It's just that the drive won't boot Vista.

So far, I tried booting off the Vista CD and choosing the repair option, but that didn't work. But, now I'm out of ideas...

So, I need help :D  Any ideas on how to fix this Vista install without destroying the programs/files I have on the drive?

More about : vista boot problem found

August 7, 2008 4:28:55 PM

Not sure what problem is but here a re a few general ideas:

Did you hook up the Vista drive to the same SATA port? Any chance you put it on a RAID enabled port instead?

If it's an IDE drive any chance this is a jumpering issue?

Be sure in BIOS that the system is set to boot from HD and that the HD is set to be the 'first' drive.

What happened exactly when the repair install failed?
Related resources
August 7, 2008 5:13:38 PM

Thanks for the reponses...

The machine has always been Vista and has been working for the past 8 months. It was just since I tried putting XP on a secondary drive that the Vista drive won't book now. They are both serial drives and I did not change the port it's been connected to (Vista drive has been on port 1 (or 0? whichever is the first one).

I was checking/changing the "active boot drive" as needed...

I've never used a RAID setup and those settings are currently disabled.

Scotteq, I did try the repair option, but will try again...and thanks for the other link too.
August 7, 2008 6:53:59 PM

When you loaded XP after Vista, it loaded XP's bootloader. Since XP's bootloader doesn't know Vista from a hole in the wall, you no longer can boot Vista. The repair option should restore Vista's bootloader, which does recognize XP as well.
August 8, 2008 10:28:33 PM

Quick update: Resetting the bootloader did not work. Not via the restore CD and not using bootsect.exe. So, I reinstalled Vista. I'll just deal with reinstalling all the applications :\

Thank you everyone for the help.
August 9, 2008 3:58:45 PM

Follow up question...does anyone know where Windows Mail keeps it's files (emails)? I am restoring programs, but old emails are gone. Windows moved all my old OS files into Windows.old folder, so they are there, but I can't seem to find them. There's no pst file I can find and no dbx (the two extensions I thought they might be).

I'm really hoping to restore my old emails and contacts, etc.