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XP Won't Boot (MBR??)

Last response: in Windows XP
October 3, 2011 7:56:08 PM

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" ( 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 also tried several programs from the UltimateBootCD (, but couldn't actually find something that simply rebuilds the MBR, even though there are tons of programs that seemingly are just for that.

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...

More about : boot mbr

October 7, 2011 8:48:40 PM

Unless I missed it, what mfg model computer do you have this problem on ?

Having attempted to fixmbr on a dell, using anything but their recovery software will screwup their proprietary boot record.

Yup, nothing is standard on a dell !