Last week my 750GB drive died on me over the period of a couple of days. I had a back-up from earlier this year, made by Nero Backitup. Beside all of the hassle that it took to get me to this point, I was finally able to restore from the back-up yesterday. So, it carved out 750GB from the 1TB drive that I wanted to install to, and left the rest as unformatted space. It gave me a warning before restoring that it might not boot correctly because I didn't have the exact same drive/size to restore to, but I went ahead, knowing that I'd be no worse off. And I'm not. My problem now is, as I figure it, just trying to tell the computer where the hell to look to boot. When I get through BIOS or tell it to boot directly from the hard drive, I hear a beep from the CPU telling me that it got through POST, but then there is no visual response from the drive. Just a blinking cursor.
From here, I've tried using an Ubuntu Live CD to repair/rebuild the MBR using both "lilo" and "ms-sys" (http://www.arsgeek.com/2008/01/15/how-to-fix-your-windo...) but ms-sys is no longer supported and I can't get it to install from the CD I have anyway, and lilo didn't fix anything, even though I had to change my update sources file to point to the latest sources, though at least I got that to run.
From Ubuntu, I was at least able to take a look at the file system to verify that everything is there, but I can't actually boot to it.
I'm really just lost. How do I work out this handshake from the low-level OS to Windows XP?
Oh, and I don't have a windows cd. Whenever I build a system for myself, I'll be sure to hold onto it, but whenever me or my wife have purchased a computer in the past, they never send you the CD, or they charge you $30 for a "restore" CD. This is really enough for me to just go with Apple for the rest of my days...