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Windows 7 starter can not boot up.

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January 24, 2010 5:45:48 PM

I deleted all the files on my C: drive by accident, then the computer stalled. I was running windows 7 starter, and can not boot up the computer anymore. I tried to install XP, because I do have a installation disk by hand, but it failed to go through. I checked hard drive with some bootup program like Killdisk, etc. It seems my hard drive is fine, but the boot sector or MBR is corrupted. Somehow I can not fix the problem, without a windows 7 installation disk by hand, I wonder if I could format the hard drive and install XP instead? I wonder if I can not get XP installation initiated because some protection feature of the windows 7? How do I fix the MBR or boot sector?

Thanks in advance for any help!
I am really desperate to get it work.

More about : windows starter boot

January 24, 2010 5:49:54 PM

Btw, the computer is a netbook, I checked BIOS but it is different from regular laptops, it does not have hard disk partition and/or diagnostics functions, although the HD seems to be fine after scanning using other programs.
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a b $ Windows 7
a c 342 G Storage
January 25, 2010 7:30:28 PM

If you really have no intention of trying to recover everything on the drive and proceeding with a fresh install if Win XP, there may be some items to adjust.

1. Win XP does not know how to handle SATA devices without help. If your drive is a SATA unit, Win 7 could certainly handle that as a native SATA or AHCI device, but Win XP cannot. One way to deal with this BEFORE you try to install XP is to enter your BIOS Setup screens and configure the SATA port for the HDD to use the IDE (or PATA) Emulation mode. This option makes the drive appear to be an older-type PATA unit that Win XP fully understands and can use, but it eliminates a few features of the newer SATA designs. If you set it this way, Save and Exit the setup system, then boot from your XP Install disk in the optical drive and you should have access to the HDD.

2. If you want to continue using the AHCI mode for a SATA drive you can. To do that you will need the proper driver for an AHCI device under Win XP on a floppy disk attached to your machine. There is a place early in the Install routine where it asks if you want to add some extra drivers; if you do, you must press the F6 key and it will allow you to do that. BUT it only knows how to load them from a floppy disk. If you follow this procedure, Windows installs that driver as a part of its basic capabilities from now on, and it can use the AHCI mode HDD unit for Installation, booting and running.

3. In doing the XP Install from its CD, it might be good as a first step to use the Install routine's option to Delete any Partition already on the HDD. I guarantee the HDD had a Partition. Moreover, if you truly just did a Delete operation, that cleared out almost all the files on it, but it did NOT remove that Partition. So, when Win XP tries to install, it will find there is no empty space on the drive to create a new Partition. Rather than trying to Install to an old Partition that may still contain junk, you'd be better to Delete it first and start as if the drive were totally empty.
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January 26, 2010 2:44:41 PM

Paperdoc, thanks for the informative suggestions.

I guess you are right on the money. I have tried to go to Bios to configure the HDD to make the XP installation fit the SATA drive, but I just could not find anything related to SATA port config. The Bios of my compaq netbook mini seemed to be much more simple than other laptop and PC I 've used. Is this common or is there any other way to configure the SATA port? I got a Hiren's Boot CD from a friend, do you think it is a good tool to use for this? I do not have any external floppy drive, I guess the option 2 is out of the question.

I do plan to install the XP, and then re-partition the HDD using Partitioning Magic or things like that.

Thank you for the time writing, maybe I should not have foolishly wiped out my HDD, it is just I can not stand the windows 7 starter anymore, and downgrade to XP directly is not available.
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a b $ Windows 7
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January 27, 2010 2:29:31 AM

Hmmm! So your BIOS does not offer the IDE Emulation mode for its SATA drive. By the way, does it actually say that you have a SATA drive in there? I expect you do.

Well, I can think of two ways to get XP installed. Some machines (maybe yours?) can make a USB memory stick appear to be a removable drive unit. I don't know whether that would be sufficient to fool Win XP Install into accepting drivers on that medium. The other is to search for a friend who has an external floppy drive you could just borrow for the Install task. You don't need it permanently.
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February 4, 2010 2:46:57 PM

Problem partially resolved.

I just restored my netbook with the restoration disked provided by HP, although it is still windows7 starter, but everything is up running. I think I will just add XP system later as a secondary operating system.

Thanks for the help and suggestions.
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