Tries to boot from slave drive

Intel / Awrdacpi
December 30, 2010 at 19:17:24
Specs: Windows XP, 3.058 GHz / 503 MB
I have the OS on C:, documents on D: and programmes on E: - that's the main drive. I use a secondary HD for my back-up and have put a switch in the power line so that the drive can be disabled without opening the computer. This worked well for over a year, the slave back-up being given its own drive letters. I have a feeling I didn't even set it to slave.

Recently, following a rootkit attack I re-installed XP. When I next switched on the secondary drive, the computer tried to boot from it. I put in a spare HD , which had XP on it and the computer booted from that. The main is set to master and the secondary to slave. I have Award BIOS - when I go to HD Boot priority, there is only one HD shown - the slave.

What has happened, why and how do I get out of it? I'd be grateful for any assistance. Sorry - I can't see how to categorise this question, hence DOS.

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December 30, 2010 at 23:42:56
If you have the switch off--and thus no secondary drive--does it boot from the main drive?

Was the secondary drive ever used as a booting drive? (I know there's no OS on it now, but was there ever?)

Did the XP reinstall complete successfully?

Real men don't use AntiVirus; they just reformat

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December 31, 2010 at 07:15:22
Has the main harddrives partition set the bootable flag in fdisk?

The original poster should always write the last response !!!
Let us know, if the problem is solved !!!

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December 31, 2010 at 21:21:05
Sorry, I've not been ignoring you, just had a break from the computer. I thought fdisk was a floppy thing - my floppy drive has never worked, despite a new drive put in. I don't understand fdisk - my partitioning etc is done with Acronis.
Thank you for the response anyway.

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December 31, 2010 at 22:43:39
No, fdisk is for hard drives but it's only for FAT16 and FAT32 partitions on the drives. It can't setup an NTFS partition which is usually used for XP. However, you can check the 'active' status of any drive with fdisk. If a drive isn't set active it won't boot. That's what Paulsep was asking and that's what I was getting around to in my posting.

If the main drive boots with the switch off to the secondary then the main drive is set active and your problem is elsewhere.

I asked about the history of the secondary drive because if it once was a boot drive then it was set active and might still be. With fdisk (and maybe the XP partitioning software--I'm not sure) if a drive is already set active you can't set a second one active. You can add an already active drive to a system after the first one is active to get two active drives or use other partitioning software like aefdisk but normally you'll only have one active drive.

Anyway, if the active flag was wiped when you reinstalled that may be the problem. I'm not sure as I've never used acronis but you might be able to check the active status with it.

Real men don't use AntiVirus; they just reformat

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December 31, 2010 at 23:06:54
"but it's only for FAT16 and FAT32 partitions on the drives"

Common misunderstanding of what fdisk does.
Fdisk is a partitioning tool not a formatting tool.

Fdisk can be used with any MS OS. It does not decide the file system. Formatting does that.

John Orford your first objective is getting the main drive seen in the bios. Highly recommend disconnecing the slave drive [which appears not to be configured as slave but I am suspecting master which is causing a conflict.

Answers are only as good as the information you provide.
How to properly post a question:

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January 1, 2011 at 00:20:33
Oh, jeez. Show me where I said fdisk was a formatting tool. I didn't even use the word 'format'. I said that fdisk is used for fat16 and fat32 partitions. Implied there would be creating, deleting, checking the status of, etc.

If that fat partition can then be formatted as NTFS, well that's a new one for me. I searched in vain for evidence of that. If you know of a responsible site that says it can be done then I'd appreciate a link.

In lieu of that I suspect the fat partition is either converted or deleted and then an NFTS partition is imposed. Or maybe some kind of virtual machine setup.

Or maybe I'm wrong. That happens fairly regularly.

Real men don't use AntiVirus; they just reformat

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