Boot disk failure.

February 19, 2009 at 19:30:45
Specs: Windows XP
Little backstory.
I just built a new pc, which works great. I copied all my data to my new hard drive from my old one. So, now I'm trying to put the old one back, but;
I'm continually getting a "Boot Disk Failure, insert system disk and press enter" message when I start my pc. So, I put in my xp disk, since this all started when I planned to reformat anyways.

It loads the file's onto the drive, and it reads the the hard drive is there, as does the bios. It finishes up, and it reboots the pc to finish the install.
But it just gives me the message again.
I didn't think it'd work, but I tried setting up unbuntu, as well. I can run unbuntu without installing it, but installing it doesn't work. It works up to the boot where it reboots, then boom, error message again.

Restarting the unbuntu live cd, I cansee that the hard drive has the files on it. But I can't get the installation to continue. Any idea on how I can fix it? It'd be nice if I could get either os to install. ;/

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February 19, 2009 at 21:20:03
A hard drive not set active will do that. However, the active bit should be set if you previously were booting from the drive and didn't repartition it in a system that already had a drive with an active partition.

I'm not sure about setting it active with XP unless you repartition. Not sure about unbuntu either. Setting a drive active is not dependent on the OS so if you can't figure it out with XP or unbuntu you can always use a 98 bootdisk and then typing FDISK and enter at the prompt. Option 2 from the fdisk menu will set the drive active.

Again, fdisk will only allow one active partition so if another active drive is connected you'll need to temporarily disconnect it when running fdisk.

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February 20, 2009 at 01:56:26
So, if there was only one drive, and that drive only had one partition on it, it would have to be set as active, right? Because I can get to the part in the xp install where I can change partitions, and I tried deleting everything, and only using one partition, the one I "tried" to install windows on. Still gets the error message after rebooting if the xp disk is removed from the drive, or just boots right back to the first step of the setup again if it is in the drive.

Also, one thing I didn't mention before. Everything about my pc seemed much slower than before, now that I returned the hard drive. From the first screen, to the error message, they're be a black screen there, for about thirty seconds. Or with the xp disk, I'll be waiting for four minutes for it to start up.

BUT, if I unhook my hard drive, everything goes super fast, included the xp startup. (But that obviously does me no good, I can't install with no hdd.) Would this just mean my drive is shot?

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February 20, 2009 at 05:50:11
I think if there is no Active partition, the MBR boot code will give an error "Partition Table Error" not the bios error "Boot Disk Failure".

Check the jumpers on the hdd(s)/cd drive(s) and verify correct Master/slave/cable select jumpers. Next go into bios setup and be sure the hdds and cd drives are correctly detected.

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Related Solutions

February 20, 2009 at 06:48:13
Or you may simply not have the hard drive selected to appear in the boot order. You haven't indicated if you are working with a SATA or PATA (IDE/ATA) interface hard drive.

This can make a difference on how you set the BIOS settings and weather or not you need to install additional drivers at the start of the installation.

Additionally, you didn't indicate what type of installation disk you have or if this computer was an OEM that came with Windows pre-installed. All those items make a difference.

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February 20, 2009 at 12:54:53
The message displayed when there's no active partition would be coming from the bios and wouldn't necessarily be consistent with different bios versions and dates. On the few occasions when I had that experience I know I didn't get an MBR message. Those would have been older systems--probably P-II or P-III's. Maybe bios' for newer ones are more specific.

Setting it active is usually automatic when partitioning. And it doesn't sound like you did anything that would have removed the active bit. I only mentioned it because of my similar experiences. But if the drive itself seems to be slower then maybe something else is going on.

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