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Drive Recognition: Basic & Dymanic

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April 2, 2009 11:08:51 PM

I'm not sure where to post this, as it involves a drive and a new MB, and seems to have a hardware and WinXp aspect to it, but I'll guess I'll take a first satb here.

My friend has recently upgraded his system with my (mas)advice, and it's essentially turned into a complete rebuild, with successive components requiring more components. A new graphics card meant in turn a new processor to let it work at full speed, and it tured out the proc he bought worked at a higher bus speed than his board would support. The system would POST and then boot, but it was slow as Christmas. So the last component we bought was an ASUS P5GC-MX/1333.

We tired to resuse/salvage his old IDE HD, but while the machine would post, it would not boot to the WinXp installation on the drive. The WInXP install console saw the drive (a basic drive), and couldn't boot from it. So after tinkering around with various ways to maybe rebuild the MBR, we just decided to add a new, larger SATA drive, make that the boot volume, and then use the IDE drive as a spare.

The problem is that while the IDE drive shows up in device manager as present, no yellow check or red x, windows won't assign a drive letter to it (I think the technical wording is that Windows see a partition, but not a volume). In Administrator Tools, under disk management, the drive shows up as Disk 0, but "Change Drive Letter and Paths" is greyed out, and the only option is "Delete Partition," which would suck and destroy all his wife's pictures of their baby. So Disk 0 is the old IDE drive, with no volume/letter assignment, shows as an active partition, and then Disk 1 is the new SATA drive, maked as the system (system) drive C:\.


So, any suggestions how to make this drive work with Windows so they can access the data? I don't know if this is a hardware issue between the new MB and old drive, or a Windows issue because the old IDE drive still has a WinXP installation on it.

ASUS P5GC-MX/1333
Intel Core 2 Duo E7300
WinXP SP3
2 sticks DDR2 RAM at 533MHz
EVGA PCIe GFX-260
WDC WD800JB-00JJC0 (IDE 80GB drive)
WDC-WD3200AAKS-75L (SATA 320 GB drive)
a b G Storage
April 3, 2009 2:59:16 AM

You can use that old drive as the boot drive to retrieve the old files. Use the OS disc and repair the install on the old drive. That should enable the PC to boot off that drive (Make sure the boot order is right). Once the data is moved or backed up, then you can format that drive and use it as the backup drive.
April 3, 2009 3:27:50 AM

Thanks for responding aford--our problem is that we can't boot from that disk, and haven't been able to repair it. Windows XP installer sees it as a dynamic drive, so there is no option to install (reinstall) Windows, only reformat the drive. I'm sure there is some funky command in the Recovery Console to repair the installation, but I'm not sure which one, and I'm worried that messing with the partition will make lose all the data on it.
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a b G Storage
April 3, 2009 5:47:01 AM

You should be able to hit f8 upon startup and boot into cmd prompt. Type 'fixmbr'. This will repair the MBR.

You should be able to boot off the OS disc. Don't install anything. Chose the R option to repair the current windows install.
a b G Storage
April 3, 2009 5:17:18 PM

Mandos said:
So after tinkering around with various ways to maybe rebuild the MBR, we just decided


your current problem may lie in here. What did you do????
April 3, 2009 7:58:01 PM

505090: Thanks for jumping in--we did nothing for fear of messing things up. I typed in "fixboot" at the WinXP recovery Console prompt and got a terrifying warning about destroying the existing partions, so we exited out. Basically, we haven't done anything except add a SATA drive and install WinXP on it, and change the disk order.
a b G Storage
April 3, 2009 8:51:49 PM

The 'fixboot' command will rewrite the windows boot files. It will not harm any other data on the drive. If there is simply a windows corruption, it can repair that, making the drive bootable again. If you simply want to boot that old drive to back up the data, that is a good option to try.

However, if the problem lies in the MBR, you will have to fix it with 'fixmbr'. This command may destroy the partition table, making certain paritions inaccessable.
a b G Storage
April 3, 2009 9:46:17 PM

Just checking, tinkering brought up memories of an old customer " I fixed that thingy in the rega something"

I've had a lot of probs swapping os drives in xp, they are usually fixed with fixmbr. While i have never lost any info using it and i've done it a lot i have heard of people who have, so use at own risk. More options are dos if you installed fat32 instead of nfts. If you did install nfts there are linux boot disks that can read nfts but they are few and far between. Next in line is a preinstalled environment which is basically the same thing as a linux live cd but with windows.
April 3, 2009 11:25:30 PM

505090--I'll think we'll try fixmbr. And yea, it's an NTSF format, so DOS isn't an option, and since my brain shuts down when I hear the "L" word, if fixmbr doesn't work, we'll move on.

Thanks :) 
a b G Storage
April 4, 2009 12:20:46 AM

Even with a NTSF format, you can still boot into the recovery console and use the command prompt. I would recommend trying the fixboot command before the fixmbr command, just to see if it's the boot files. It only takes a minute.
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