I downloaded the Windows 7 beta a few months ago and didn't get around to trying it until today. My C: drive on XP SP3 is 140 gigs with about 42 gigs free, and I found a handy guide to installing 7 that said I needed to make a partition of at least 16gb. So I downloaded GParted, which they recommended, and booted with that. I lowered my C: partition down to about 120 gigs and used the newly freed 20 gigs to make a new partition. It took roughly 2 hours between the test-runs and the actual process, and then it said it was complete. So I rebooted.
Normally, this is what happens. I turn on the computer, and I get a Thinkpad (T400) splash-screen telling me to press the blue ThinkVantage button if I want to. Then another screen telling me to press Ctrl+P to do something or other. Then that goes away, and the screen is all black with a cursor blinking at the top left for a couple seconds before the Windows XP logo fades into the screen as the OS loads.
However, after rebooting after making the partition, it got to the blinking cursor but never loaded the OS, and I tried a few times with no result.
From there, I tried a few things. I went into the BIOS and did a HDD diagnostic and it said everything was fine. I booted up again with GParted and it showed the 2 partitions. I then booted up with a Knoppix live CD and checked one of the drives it listed, which was my C: drive, and I could navigate to my desktop and see all my stuff. I mean, I didn't check to see if ALL of my stuff was there, but it seemed like it was.
So it seems like my stuff is OK but I just can't boot. I've found people online saying that people in my situation should make sure their C: drive (or whatever drive has Windows) is set to be active, but you need to actually be logged in to do that. I can't start the OS.
On another forum, someone suggested doing two things: first, boot into GParted again and check boot flags on the two partitions to see which one is active. As it should be, my C: partition with Windows on it had a boot flag, and the new 20gb partition did not. So that's OK.
The second thing they recommended doing was to boot from the XP cd and run the Recovery Console, and from there I could run fixmbr and fixboot. Here's the problem with that. I don't have the XP discs because when I got my laptop 4 months ago, I got it from Lenovo as a Vista machine with a free XP downgrade. So essentially, the computer came with XP installed but with Vista discs. The first thing it suggested I do was to create XP recovery media, which I did, but when I tried booting from them just now, really all it is is the ThinkVantage Rescue and Recovery software. It isn't the actual XP install disc where it loads up a blue screen and asks if you want to install or repair, and then asks which OS to work on, and then asks for your password, etc.
So does anyone have any ideas for me to try to let me boot Windows again? I don't have very good knowledge of the boot-up process but I can follow directions well.