Problem Booting From Large Drive


K

Kertis Henderson

Hello,

Hardware is Dell Inspiron 9300, Windows XP MCE + SP2. I installed a
250GB WD hard drive in January 2008, and removed the existing 80GB
drive. The new drive is IDE, as this seems to have been the last
Inspiron made without SATA. The following story has happened three
times since January.

I booted the WD Data Lifeguard Tools CD 11.2 and created a partition
of size 250GB. I booted Dell's XP CD and installed XP without
incident. The computer runs fine for a while. After some time, the
computer boots to an empty text screen with a cursor in the upper-left
corner. This is right after POST and before anything Windows-related
happens. So, F8 doesn't work, safe mode doesn't work, and there's no
Windows logo. The only thing that I could think of that worked was to
delete the partition and recreate it.

The first two times that this happened, it was after about 2 months of
using the computer. Everything worked very well in that time. I
can't think of anything that happened out of the ordinary on the days
when the computer stopped booting.

The third time, I did a few things slightly differently. I installed
CentOS (and a swap partition) on two other partitions. I installed
GRUB as well, thinking that this might help diagnose the problem. It
turns out that XP stopped booting after less than a month. GRUB works
fine, and I can boot into CentOS without problem. When I try to boot
into XP, it shows the "rootnoverify" and "chainloader" lines on the
screen, and then nothing more.

Here's a list of things that I've tried, in no particular order:

I ran FIXMBR and FIXBOOT from the XP recovery console. This removed
GRUB, but it didn't boot into Windows. I reinstalled GRUB after this.

I ran chkdsk from XP recovery console.

I checked the NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM files. They match the files on
the XP install CD.

Interestingly, I can read the files from the XP partition in CentOS.
I've been able to back up my files *after* the boot problems each
time.

Anyone have any ideas? I appreciate the help.

- Kert
 
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R

Rod Speed

Kertis Henderson said:
Hardware is Dell Inspiron 9300, Windows XP MCE + SP2.
I installed a 250GB WD hard drive in January 2008, and
removed the existing 80GB drive. The new drive is IDE, as
this seems to have been the last Inspiron made without SATA.
The following story has happened three times since January.
I booted the WD Data Lifeguard Tools CD 11.2 and created a partition of size 250GB.
You dont need to do that, the XP CD can do that itself.

The only time you get any benefit from not using the XP CD
by itself is if you want that partition to be FAT32 formatted,
the XP CD wont do that with partitions over 32GB.
I booted Dell's XP CD and installed XP without incident.
The computer runs fine for a while. After some time, the
computer boots to an empty text screen with a cursor in
the upper-left corner. This is right after POST and before
anything Windows-related happens.
That usually happens when the win drivers are
being loaded, and one fails to start properly.

You can see which one is the problem by doing a logged boot.
Thats in the same menu where the safe mode boot is selected.
So, F8 doesn't work, safe mode doesn't work, and there's no Windows logo.
Are you saying you cant ever get into safe mode, or only once its failed like that ?
The only thing that I could think of that worked was to delete the partition and recreate it.
A repair install should work and wont lose the settings and other installs.
The first two times that this happened, it was after about 2
months of using the computer. Everything worked very well
in that time. I can't think of anything that happened out of the
ordinary on the days when the computer stopped booting.
The usual cause of that particular symptom is that a particular
bit of hardware isnt starting properly when its driver is loaded
and everything hangs because the driver isnt starting properly.

Most likely the extra time that the reinstall involves sees the hardware working again.
The third time, I did a few things slightly differently. I installed
CentOS (and a swap partition) on two other partitions. I installed
GRUB as well, thinking that this might help diagnose the problem.
It turns out that XP stopped booting after less than a month.
So the hardware thats the problem is getting worse.
GRUB works fine, and I can boot into CentOS without problem.
Because the XP driver isnt being loaded and
so the hardware problem doesnt kill the driver.
When I try to boot into XP, it shows the "rootnoverify" and
"chainloader" lines on the screen, and then nothing more.
Because its hung starting that driver again.
Here's a list of things that I've tried, in no particular order:
I ran FIXMBR and FIXBOOT from the XP recovery console. This removed
GRUB, but it didn't boot into Windows. I reinstalled GRUB after this.
I ran chkdsk from XP recovery console.
I checked the NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM files.
They match the files on the XP install CD.
A logged boot will show you which driver is the problem, and so which hardware is the problem.
Interestingly, I can read the files from the XP partition in CentOS.
I've been able to back up my files *after* the boot problems each time.
Because the hard drive is fine and the problem is with different hardware.
 

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