Transfer XP Boot Sector?

October 3, 2005 at 13:08:38
Specs: WinXP SP2, P4-1800/256

Short history of my issue:

Friend's XP computer was found to be having a intermittant hard drive failure. I was able to keep the old HD running long enough to Ghost it to a new HD, only I didn't choose the "Clone w/boot sector" option of Ghost, so afterward the system would only boot past the POST and then stop at a black screen.

What I've already tried:

* Booting to the XP Recovery Console and performing both "fixmbr" and "fixboot" commands.

Result: Didn't work. Boots to black screen.

* Extracting NTLDR,, and boot.ini from the XP CD and replacing the existing files on the HD.

Result: Didn't work. Boots to black screen.

* Extracting NTLDR,, and boot.ini from the XP CD to a floppy disk and booting from that.

Result: Worked. System will boot to the floppy, then continues on and boots to XP like normal.

The sticky point to all of this is that I can't just go back and re-clone the old drive with the "clone w/boot sector" option enabled. Why? First, because my friend was in desperate need of the computer before I could get it totally fixed, so she's been using it with the "boot floppy" option (see above) for the past few weeks. This means re-cloning the drive would wipe out all the new/changed files. Second, there's no guarantee that the old drive (which I do still have) will survive another hour of Ghosting.


Is there a way to copy only the boot sector from the old HD to the new HD? The 3 main files (ntldr,, and boot.ini) have all been replaced, what else could cause it not to boot?

Any insight would be appreciated!


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October 3, 2005 at 14:08:18

Have you made the Partition (C:) active ??

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October 3, 2005 at 14:18:35

It is usually not advisable to copy boot sectors from one HD to another unless they physically and locigally the same.

Now that you have it booting, can you go to the Recovery Console and try fixboot and fixmbr again, using fixboot first, then fixmbr?

Hint: If Recovery Console is not installed on PC, do it now.

To install Recovery Console as a startup option for x86-based systems:

With Windows XP Professional running, insert the Windows XP Professional operating system CD into your CD-ROM drive.
Click No when prompted to upgrade to Windows XP Professional.
In the Run dialog box, type cmd, and then click OK.
At the command prompt, type:
drive:\i386\Winnt32.exe /cmdcons

In the preceding command, drive represents the letter of the CD-ROM or network drive that holds the Windows XP Professional installation files.

Restart your computer. Recovery Console appears as an item on the operating system menu.


Installing Recovery Console on the hard disk is an option only for x86-based computers.

98% of the population is asleep. The other 2% are staring around in complete amazement, abject terror, or both.

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October 3, 2005 at 15:38:39

I believe plainandsimple nailed it.

boot up on a boot diskette containing fdisk. go into fdisk. set the first primary partition as active.

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