XP boot drive letter changed, now won't boot!

June 2, 2009 at 07:54:03
Specs: Windows XP SP3, P4 2.8 Ghz/ 1 Gb
Initially, I had Vista installed on Drive C:. Found it too slow, and wanted to go back to XP, So I installed XP on a second hard drive, with no problem. The system automatically booted XP, without any prompt, and never again booted Vista, which was fine with me. When XP was installed, it's drive was assigned F: . XP has been running flawlessly, until I finally decided to get rid of the drive Vista was on...oops. Now computer won't boot, which I now realize is because the boot information must have been on C:. SO... I ran the windows recovery console, and it shows windows (XP) as being on drive C: ! (remember it was on f:). I followed some instructions I found on this forum for repairing the MBR, and everything went smoothly, but upon restarting computer, still no boot. I have a feeling this has something to do with the system just "changing" the drive from F: to C:. What I did in Recovery console was as follows:
At the recovery console, type fixmbr and press enter. Confirm all warnings, etc.

Next, type fixboot C: and press enter. Confirm all warnings again.

Next, type bootcfg /rebuild. It will scan your hard drive and will look for Windows NT 4/2000/XP and will ask you if you want to add what it finds to the boot.ini file. Select the Windows XP folder that it displays. When it says to add an item identifier, just type Windows XP and press enter. When it says "Enter Operating System Load Options" type /FASTDETECT and press enter.

Somebody PLEASE help me!

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June 2, 2009 at 08:26:31
It would appear you deleted the c: partition/drive.

You did not recreate it apparently. This is where you went wrong. This is also why f: is now reported as c:

Addtionally since you did not do a repair install of xp you have no loader files since they were on c:

Correct procedure is as follows:

Option1: Restore XP to F:
Recreate c: partition on drive1
Boot the xp cd via the bios and skip the first repair option. Go to the point of new install or repair the existing then choose repair. This will park the loader files on c: and xp will boot.

Option2: Restore XP to C:
Swap the drive cables so the 2nd drive is now Primary and C:
Boot the xp cd via the bios and get to repair the existing installation. Do so. Now you will boot from c:

You may need to reinstall some apps due to the drive letter changes. All of your data will still be there.

Partition and format the 2nd drive via Disk Management so you have it for storage and you are done.

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June 2, 2009 at 08:55:05
Thanks for the reply! So I opted for option 2, to restore my boot device to drive c: (to avoid future problems). I didn't need to swap any cables, as I'm running a third party raid controller to operate my disk drives. I left the drive with Windows XP on it as the only one connected, which I assumed accomplishes the same as what you asked me to do, correct? I don't know how I forgot about how to get into the windows repair option, but I did. Anyways, did the windows repair, and seemed to go smoothly. Computer rebooted, and still no boot! says "Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key". What's going on?? It's possible that my RAID controller is complicating things, but I don't understand why. When i boot from the Windows disk to do the repair, I have to tell it that I have 3rd party drivers to install, which I do, and everything goes fine. This is the same process as when I first installed XP. What do you think?

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June 2, 2009 at 12:26:02
So the repair reinstall feature correctly found the existing installation, which it displayed as on C:, then you selected r to start the repair, which continues successfully to conclusion - but then won't boot? At the end of the repair, what actually happens (you usually get a 'mini-setup' before XP starts).

Also, I would have expected the repairable installation to show as on F: - because that's what windows thinks its on.

I'm wondering if its a pagefile issue (ie, the pagefile is defined as on C: and you haven't got a C: drive.... or its defined on F: nad you haven't got an F: drive) - though I thought XP could cope with that situation (2k can't).

You might be better off just starting fresh (in terms of effort!)

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June 2, 2009 at 13:26:00
Steve if the drive is now c: and you do a repair install, the repair will fix all of the registry entries that pointed to f: to c: except those related to third party software hence my caveat that some apps may need to be reinstalled.

keenana why do you think I suggested swapping the cables?

At this point you need to go into your raid bios and tell it the boot drive is the drive with xp on it.

Again, following directions is important. Remember what I wrote about WHY your xp install is seen as c: now?

You now have the risk of when you add the other drive back in after you get things booting that it will cause conflicts. If this is the case you need to wipe the drive [raw] then boot xp. Then using xp disk management partition and format the drive.

But first you need to correct the boot order in the raid bios if that is supported. I am assuming this is sata not scsi. If scsi you may need to jumper the drive as id0 to boot.

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June 2, 2009 at 17:39:05
If I were you, I would just start completely over again. Leave the second drive installed, keep the first one out. Run through the XP Setup again, supplying the drivers for your controller card. When you get to the place where you decide where to install XP, delete the partition that XP is currently on and make a new one. Install XP there.

I don't know how big the second hard drive is, but it might help to do a full format. It will overwrite everything on the disk with zeros and will take a long time, but it has helped me in times past with MBR and boot sector problems, especially when a quick format didn't work. This isn't mandatory, but may be helpful if my other suggestion doesn't work.

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