Repairing Windows install w/HD hooked up externally

Upgrading to XP SP3 broke my laptop, now the HD isn't even recognized when trying to remove SP3/repair SP2. I've read that upgrade does that with that laptop, somehow modifying the HD so Windows thinks it's something else, while BIOS sees it okay. I can read/write to the HD by putting it in an external case w/USB. I need to fix the disk from this other laptop (it won't fit inside - so it's external). The working laptop is SP3. I don't want to miss up the working laptop, or delete any non-o/s data files on the disk being reverted to SP2. I have an XP SP1 boot disk, and the SP2 non-boot upgrade. Thanks for any help. (BTW - I *don't* want to get into the "unbelievability" of Windows not seeing the disk - rather just repairing the disk (boot record, O/S, etc.) from the other laptop.) Thanks.
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  1. Why not back up the user data from the drive to be fixed to your working laptop and then put the problemed drive back in its own laptop and use the SP1 disc to perform a fresh install, rather than trying to remove SP3?
  2. BIOS sees the hard disk, but when I put in the Windows install CD it runs for a while, then says there's no hard disk, so the install can't continue. Also, there's not room on my other laptop for all the data on the disk, and I don't have all the CD's to reinstall all the applications.
  3. Kind of sounds like you need SATA HDD drivers to add using F6 key during Windows install, in order to successfully reinstall Windows. In fact, maybe that is what corrupted during your upgrades (not certain though). This would explain why you can see and access everything when the drive is hooked up as an external drive on another system.

    Check your manufacturer's website for a SATA driver for your Hard Disk. If they have one, you should be able to use it to add to Windows while performing a Repair Install with your installation CD.

    Check for the driver first and then let me know!
  4. I made a boot disk (from "pogostick" - Google) to remove the Recovery Console password. Then I did a fixboot c:. The read error that occured several minutes into the installation is gone, and all is ok.
  5. Excellent! Good news.
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