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Moodie1

Need help fixing a badly damaged WinXP system.

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Rest assured, Ponch and me are not at all "fighting". :)

BUT you seem like not having fully grasped the "general concept" of drive lettering under a Windows NT system.

The matter is a bit complex, but basically the Active partition on first disk will get drive letter C: during a new install (unless some "special" measures are taken).

This means that any other volume will get a non-C: drive letter.

This is not an issue, as said multiple boot systems are in use commonly since NT 3.51 times:

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/169320-dual-booting-dos-and-win7/?p=1058478

deciding if you want this second install have a C: or a non-C: drive letter is just a matter of personal preferences, but you have to know what will happen beforehand.

It is quite simple to fix/repair a BOOT.INI file, no problems there.

See:

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/25365-bootini-and-different-hard-drive/

jaclaz

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I know exactly what jaclaz is talking about. He's referring to the option Windows has of "permanently" setting each drive (that is, volume) as one constant drive letter

No he's not. He's talking about the possibility to see drives (removable or not) assigned same letters (or not) from the perspective of different booted OSs.

+Your boot.ini being on the active partition, it will probably be overwritten by a new installation. If some invalid entries remain, you can still delete them before or after.

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Okay, I've found an old 500GB HD that checks out okay, that's never had an OS installed to it and still has plenty of room left on it. I've decided that, rather than go through what seems like a very complicated multi-boot repair/install, I'll just install WinXP from scratch and reinstall all my programs. I've just converted it to NTFS and are now going to remove all other HDs and hook this one up. Here's hoping I have no problems with this. :unsure:

Edited by Moodie1

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Good God! I just spent the last 6+ hours trying to get my PC to boot! I tried every combination of HD, jumper, BIOS boot settings I could think of with no success. I tried installing Windows on the 500GB PATA HD I mentioned previously - no joy, the WinXP CD wouldn't boot from either of my CD/DVD drives (I always thought that Windows boot CDs installed the CD-ROM driver(s) from the CD and didn't depend on the driver on the HD). I also found an old but good 160GB PATA HD that had a usable WinXP install that I thought I could boot from - no joy there either. Each time the boot would get to the point where the hotkey options would appear (Del for BIOS Setup, f12 for Boot Menu, etc.) and then it would hang for upwards of 20-30 minutes! A couple of times I got an error message that said something about a SATA CD-ROM drive being configured as IDE but it didn't stay onscreen long enough for me to read it. (I also should have mentioned earlier that yesterday I tried to repair the boot.ini file (using instructions from a reputable website) but I found that there was nothing to fix - the entire file was missing! Anyway, I learned something new today. When simplifying your system (for troubleshooting purposes) by disconnecting HDs, it's not enough to disconnect just the data cables, you also have to disconnect the power cables as well. I think this is one reason why my system wasn't booting. I thought I'd hosed my entire system!

One quick question before I try once again to boot from that 160GB HD. I visited what seemed like another reputable website: http://www.systweak.com/registrycleaner/2005/... . It recommended the installation of something they call 'Windows XP Repair Tool'. They claim it will fix many Windows problems. They also claim to be a 'Microsoft Partner' and that the program has had more than 110 million downloads. However, their site's also connected somehow with McAfee and I know from bitter experience just how buggy McAfee software can be. Can anyone recommend this tool as safe and effective?

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Moodie1,

with all due respect, you came here asking for advice, you blatantly ignored it, and now are asking if some Commercial crap (which BTW needs a running operating system on which it is to be installed) will do? :w00t:

JFYI, the missing BOOT.INI file is very likely to be not an issue.

First thing it is to be seen if it was actually missing (as it is normally flagged as hidden and system), and second thing XP has a failsafe provision to the effect that if the BOOT.INI is actually missing it will attempt anyway to boot to the system in C:\Windows.

If you provide some actual details of what exact CD you have in your hands (just as an example an XP "Gold", without service packs won't be able to install on a LBA48 disk drive) we may be able to support you, but forget about these wonderful automagic tools that you find on the 'net, in most cases they simply won't work, and in the worst ones they may be additionally vectors for malware. :ph34r:

jaclaz

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Sorry to try your patience, jaclaz. I tried to repair boot.ini, using the instructions on http://support.microsoft.com/kb/289022 but the sample files given were for WinXP Pro and Win2000, nothing for WinXP Home, which is what I have (actual MS upgrade CD of version 2002 with SP1 included). Not wanting to chance ruining my system even more by using the wrong files, I decided not to try any further. Also, the info given in a previous post above on this file didn't mention exactly where this file would reside. And since this file is missing on my system I can't even search for it. So even if MS Support had a sample file for WinXP Home I wouldn't know where to copy it. And I know that Windows can boot without it, that's how I've been able to use my PC all these many months. The 500GB HD I'm trying to install XP on is a Western Digital Caviar Blue (WD5000AAKB) and the 160GB HD with WinXP (installed from the same CD in 2009) is a Western Digital Caviar SE (WD1600AAJB). And I know all about all those programs that "find" problems with your system but won't "fix" them until you pay for them. To return to the issue, I can still use my PC (somewhat, since most of my programs won't run). I can still go online with it, that's how I'm able to post to this forum. What doesn't work right now are my CD/DVD drives. (See below.)

Ver-r-ry strange. The only removable disc drive that's currently connected is my Lite-On SOHW-832S DVD-RW drive. I thought at first that it wasn't working but now I don't know. I've just checked it, it reads CDs and DVDs okay but it doesn't see my WinXP install disc! And yet it did see it when I first started posting to this forum (see section 4 of my January 6th post)! Weird!

Oh, and BTW, in my January 6th post I mentioned that at shutdown that night Windows installed 26 updates. Well, apparently they didn't "take" because the very next night the exact same thing happened, 26 Windows Updates again. So I waited once again for all of them to install so I could make sure the PC shut down normally. So what happens? Today when I shut down the system to connect the previously disconnected BD-R drive along with a couple of my internal HDs I get the same thing! This time I skipped the updates install, figuring that the install wouldn't finish anyway. And on rebooting I once again got the error message about a SATA drive being configured as an IDE drive. I figure it's my BD-R drive which I haven't installed the manufacturer's drivers for yet. (BTW, it's an LG HL-DT-ST BD-RE WH10LS30.)

I'll try installing WinXP once again tomorrow.

Edited by Moodie1

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Since you have a *somewhat working* XP, you don't actually *need* to boot from the CD/DVD.

As a matter of fact the "best" way to install a NT system has been traditionally that of initiating the install from harddisk.

Basically you copy the CD contents to a directory in root of a drive, with a nice, short name, let's say D:\xpsource, then from the booted XP you open a command prompt and run WINNT32.EXE, (with the wanted parameters).

See:

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/163184-my-plan-to-preinstall-xp-on-a-drive-will-this-work/

http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/winnt32.mspx?mfr=true

The files needed for booting and that are in ROOT of the active primary partition are:

  • NTLDR
  • NTDETECT.COM
  • BOOT.INI
  • NTBOOTDD.SYS (this ONLY if you have "special" hardware like SCSI/RAID/SATA hard disks)

There is no actual differences between the BOOT.INI's of different versions of Windows (except of course the text in the entry).

But it would be an additional safety if you can actually boot from CD/DVD.

It is possible that your CD, for whatever reasons, is not bootable because it is an "upgrade" (though I doubt it), but you can make a new CD from the files on it and have it bootable alright.

jaclaz

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Bad news and good news. Just this morning I discovered a scratch on my WinXP disc, small but deep. It must have happened in just the past couple of days, while it was out of its cardboard sleeve on my worktable. I figure I must have accidentally gouged it with the corner of one of my disconnected HDs. So maybe that's what's keeping my system from reading it. But a good friend of mine called today and said she'd give me the money for a new OS disc! I suppose that's understandable since I've helped her and her husband out in many other ways in the past, especially with their computer. I've just come back from their place and a computer store with a Windows 7 32-bit full-install disc. So now I intend to disconnect all my other HDs and install Win7 Home Premium on my 500GB HD. If all goes well I'll probably close this topic soon.

Edited by Moodie1

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Okay, Win7 Home Premium installed well on my 500GB Western Digital Caviar Blue HD. I've reset my logon for this forum and are now changing drive letters for all my HDs to fit my preferences. One (hopefully minor) problem: Win7 currently doesn't recognize one of my internal SATA NTFS HDs (a 1TB Seagate ST31000528AS). It's saying I have to initialize it first (and probably format it, too). IIRC, this drive got screwed up somehow when I first added it to my system many months ago. Somehow it got two separate letters, one as a normal SATA drive, the other as a SCSI drive (both for the entire physical drive). I could never access the SCSI part but the SATA part worked just fine. It's now filled with files that I'd like to backup to a separate HD before reformatting it. It shows up in Disc Management as 'Unknown' and 'Not Initialized'. Can I just initialize it without formatting it? It was working fine under WinXP. Alternatively, if I format it can I recover the files from it later?

Edited by Moodie1

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Can I just initialize it without formatting it? It was working fine under WinXP. Alternatively, if I format it can I recover the files from it later?

NO. :no:

Leave the disk alone, DO NOT DO anything in Disk Management with it, DO NOT EVEN THINK of re-formatting or initializing it.

You need to go on it with some partition recovery tool, please start a new, specific thread, here:

http://www.msfn.org/board/forum/169-hard-drive-and-removable-media-issues/

with as much details as you can remember on how the disk was partitioned, and I will try and suggest you a proper recovery procedure.

jaclaz

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Thanks, jaclaz. I'll check that option out. The HD in question has only one partition, 1TB, formatted as NTFS.

I also have another problem, one which I have to assume most everyone who upgraded to Windows 7 had at one time. I have tons and tons of files of all types on my drives and now that I'm using Win7 I can load them but I can't edit them due to MS's intrusive UAC. I can't even move them from one folder to another! MS says to adjust UAC (or turn it off) but I don't need to (or want to) do this for my program files, just my project files. MS seems to lump files of *all* types into its UAC, even .txt and .rtf files! If I'm correct about this then this is utter idiocy!!! I have only one user account on my system, I assumed that it would get administrator privileges by default. Am I wrong about this? How can I get Win7 to give my user account unhindered access to all my old files and at the same time reserve UAC only for files that it should be protecting? Can I set UAC so that it doesn't apply to certain filetypes? Is that possible? I now understand all the bitching other users constantly make about UAC if it prevents users from doing anything at all that's related to working with something as basic as text files.

Another thing. I now see that WordPad in Win7 has been upgraded into something very similar to MSWord! It now treats text as if it's on paper, with onscreen margins, just like MSWord. One thing I liked about the old WordPad was that it didn't do this. In the old WordPad if you narrowed the window the text would wrap so that all the text was still visible, no matter how narrow you made the window. The new WordPad no longer does this. Can I get this behavior back in the new WordPad? Or, alternatively, can I install the old WordPad in Win7 and use it alongside the new one? FPS! If I wanted my scratchpad text formatted for paper I'd use MSWord.

Edited by Moodie1

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This will fix the permission issues:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\runas]@="Take Ownership""NoWorkingDirectory"=""[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\runas\command]@="cmd.exe /c takeown /f \"%1\" && icacls \"%1\" /grant administrators:F""IsolatedCommand"="cmd.exe /c takeown /f \"%1\" && icacls \"%1\" /grant administrators:F"[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\runas]@="Take Ownership""NoWorkingDirectory"=""[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\runas\command]@="cmd.exe /c takeown /f \"%1\" /r /d y && icacls \"%1\" /grant administrators:F /t""IsolatedCommand"="cmd.exe /c takeown /f \"%1\" /r /d y && icacls \"%1\" /grant administrators:F /t"

Save as a .reg file and run it. Then you need to take permission of the root folders of all those file to tell win7 you own them. (right click and take ownership)

Edited by Kelsenellenelvian

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Oops, please ignore my complaint above about the new WordPad. I just noticed the Word Wrap function. Sorry 'bout that.

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@ Kelsenellenelvian:

I opened Regedit. There's HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, *, and shell but no runas, only removeproperties. What now?

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you've misunderstood.

COPY all of the text in the code box i placed and paste it notepad. The save is as ownership.reg. Then double click on the crated reg file. it will add the information into the registry making the need changes.

Then you will have a new option in your right click menu.

Take_Ownership.reg

Never mind just save the attachment in my post and double click it.

When you take ownership of a folder you will see a cmd window pop up and it will crazily just start listing the files in it. This is expected in is windows taking ownership of the files so please don't freak out.

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