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Thread: Non-booting Windows Install

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeXT View Post
    Assuming the failure is just that it lost its ability to boot with no warning, yes.

    Now I'm still basing off the worst-case scenario due to my anxiety that this does not fix the problem and the backup I have is no good. With that in mind I pulled out my old HP Kayak XU which has onboard IDE/SCSI under Windows 2000 and will let me hang the drive off it and have it on standby if we have to go the recovery route.
    The XP repair console is pretty good assuming the drive itself isn't borked. Run these 3 processes from the repair console and see what happens:

    CHKDSK

    FIXMBR
    FIXBOOT

    Also, even if the system has problems, as long as you can query the HD you'll be able to pull data off it. You didn't say, but hopefully you're not running a RAID 0?
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

  2. #12
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    It's a single SCSI disk that is not part of a RAID, using any special/"smart" adapters or funky partitioning/filesystem schemes aside from the defaults applied by Windows during a fresh install. I like to keep system disk configurations as simple as possible to assist in disaster situations like this.

  3. #13
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    Just a heads up that I have been working on this, jsut procrastinating and carefully planning my moves first.
    Booted up from an XP cd to the recovery console, confirmed that there were more problems with the drive since the last chkdsk and ran it again, so it's almost certainly failing. Decided to run chkdsk again to verify it was now clean it but did not proceed with the next two steps as there was no easy way to go back if they went wrong.
    Instead pulled the drive, mounted it on another machine, generated a backup, grabbed an empty DOM, restored the OLD backup to the DOM, then restored the NEW backup over that to replace any missing files/update the DOM to my last running state and now I'm in a safe position to keep working on the disk. The DOM still isn't bootable but at least now I'm in a much more comfortable position.



    I forgot to ask, since FIXMBR pretty much writes a whole new MBR, what are the risks of it wiping out the partition entirely?

  4. #14
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    Oh yeah, I did also get the system back from just blinking a cursor to NTLDR is Missing, so I guess that's an improvement.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeXT View Post
    Oh yeah, I did also get the system back from just blinking a cursor to NTLDR is Missing, so I guess that's an improvement.
    Run those 3 utilities in#11 and you should be good to go. Good luck.
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeXT View Post
    I forgot to ask, since FIXMBR pretty much writes a whole new MBR, what are the risks of it wiping out the partition entirely?
    Sorry, didn't see this until now. No, FIXMBR will not wipe out the partition or any data - just fix it. I used it many times on my A7 gamer which had a wonky SSD. https://neosmart.net/wiki/fix-mbr/
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

  7. #17
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    Well both FIXMBR and FIXBOOT ran successfully and the disk is still readable from within the repair console and in a different machine but it's still giving me the NTLDR IS MISSING error at boot so there's still something wrong.
    I'm pretty sure as well that while I do have two separate backups of the disk now, neither are likely bootable unless NTBACKUP knows how to handle the windows bootloader when restored to an alternate path which does not already have one. I'm sorry, I've never ran into a situation before where I had to recover a Windows install that was this hosed. I really don't know what to do.
    Last edited by NeXT; January 31st, 2020 at 08:11 PM.

  8. #18
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    Sounds like tough one but I've seen it before. Check the obvious stuff out here in the Computer Hope guideline: https://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000465.htm

    NTDETECT or BOOT.INI could be the culprit.

    Also, check step #5 here: https://neosmart.net/wiki/ntldr-is-missing/
    Last edited by Agent Orange; January 31st, 2020 at 08:36 PM.
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

  9. #19
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    Thanks Orange. It looks like it was a mix of NTLDR and later NTDETECT by mistake.
    Twofold problem. As it turns out, you cannot properly fix bootloader problems on Server 2003 Enterprise with the XP pro CD. The files are slightly different.
    I restored ntldr which was apparently missing as it didn't prompt for an overwrite and then NTDETECT which did. This got me back to that grey loading bar, then a hang. Safe mode was the same. So was the alst know good config.
    At this point I determined that the CD drive was no longer reading burned CD's, hence why I could not boot the original Windows Server disc but the pressed XP disc could. After swapping that out, booting from that CD and trying the procedure again the system FINALLY started booting.

    Now, I can't seem to back the machine up locally as it's throwing a LOT of wild read errors in certain folders and files but I know from the past already I can run the backup with the disk in the other machine and it's fine so I should be good from here.

  10. #20
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    You'll often get the NTLDR error if the thing was configured as dual (NT and DOS) system boot. NTLDR is loaded from the DOS partition in many cases.

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