1. Have two drives on the machine. The original configuration (before the troubles) =
2. Was resizing a partition using Partition Commander. I thought the program was done processing and exited.
3. The next time I booted up, I got the error NTLDR missing – Ctrl/Alt/Delete to restart
4. Tried a boot disk in A:. I got in at the DOS level and could navigate and use the dir command and nothing else. At this point, the drive letters were all messed up (the boot drive, formerly C: was now listed as H .
WINDOWS XP WOULD NOT RUN
5. Created a boot disk with DRDOS on it so I could use the copy command in DOS
6. Copied the following files to the C drive (now H) (recommended in several forums)
Boot.ini (from my laptop)
7. Machine still gave the NTLDR error
8. Could not find my original XP install disk (since then, it has been found) so I used a copy hoping to get into XP and the recovery console (RC)
9. This operation installed a new XP to drive H (more on this later) and the machine would run. Since this was a new install, none of the former programs would run.
10. Later in the day, upon boot, Partition Commander intervened at the beginning of the boot and said that there were two Windows XP OSs on the machine … which did I want.
With this, I could now boot either to my old installation, or, the new one
11. Here is where the true weirdness begins -- When I boot to the new installation, the drives assignments are all messed up. They appear the same in Disk Manager, Partition Commander and Windows Explorer.
12. When I boot the original installation, the drives are where they should be in Disk Manager, Partition Commander and Windows Explorer (e.g, the boot drive is C) and all programs run as they did before.
12. BOTH installations are appear as folders (as Windows and Windows 1) on the C: drive partition
13. I have searched for boot.ini and none of the ones I find show the code I would expect for a dual boot machine. Only Partition Commander picks the dual-boot capacity at startup (another clue is that, when I boot into the new installation, no boot.ini appears in any partition or directory).
14. The boot up to either of the installations is very slow, so I would like to get rid of the new installation before things get too confused.
SO, HOW do I get rid of the new installation with its crazy partition assignments and leave the original installation intact?
It's time to accept the fact that you've got to back up your data, reformat the computer, and perform a clean install. A bit of a time-consuming revealation, but a totally useful one nonetheless, as you'll be starting from scratch to minimize any problems.
Thanks r_maniac. That may be the case and I am ready to do it if no other solution is workable. I do have all the data backed up. In terms of rebuilding the OS, this machine is so tweaked and loaded with software that is constantly used that I am loath to do a clean install. It will take days to even get the machine back to minimal functionality!