why can't bootcfg find my Windows OS?

Discussion in 'Windows XP Help' started by idiotprogrammer, May 11, 2008.

  1. I had a hard drive crash on XP Pro and I'm trying to get everything up
    again. XP won't start at all without the install CD. I need advice
    about trying to boot into XP using my existing OS.

    Previously I had three hard drives and I think the Windows
    installation was on drive letter E: on hard drive 2.
    Hard drive 1 (which crashed) contained C: and D:, but these were only
    data partitions.

    For some reason I think that Hard drive 1 (HD1) contained the boot
    loader (and MBR?) which found the Windows installation on HD2.
    When hard drive 1 failed, I think the Windows install wasn't in the
    path to boot.

    Here's how I tried to resolve the problem.

    First, I removed the bad drive and verified that the other two hard
    drives work (using an Ubuntu LiveCD). When I ran the XP Recovery
    Console, the initial screen asked me to login to the administrator
    account on c:\windows . I logged in successfully.

    (I verified that c: corresponds to e: on what used to be HD2. C: is
    the partition with windows installed).

    The problem is that when I run bootcfg nothing seems to happen.
    Running /list reveals nothing bootable; running /scan produces this
    error message: "Failed to successfully scan disks for Windows
    installations. This may be caused by a corrupt file system, which
    prevents boot.cfg from successfuly scanning. Use chkdsk to detect any
    disk errors."

    I ran checkdsk; no errors. Before I ran bootcfg I ran both fixboot and
    fixmbr without result. I noticed btw that in C:/windows there was no

    I'm on a 64 bit processor and I read somewhere that fixboot and fixmbr
    isn't supported on 64 bit processors. Can you verify?

    Is there anything else I can try? I find encouraging that recovery
    console initially recognizes my Windows OS; why then is it unable to
    make it bootable?

    I will probably add Vista to the new HD I add, so I guess as long as
    Vista can mount the drives, everything will be all right. But I would
    really like to get XP running--(mainly to recover my previous settings
    and some of the programs that I installed.

    Otherwise I can just install XP and Vista on my new drive and forget
    about the original Windows partition. But doesn't it seem strange that
    Windows would recognize the Windows install at Recovery Console
    originally and then be unable to use that knowledge to reconfigure
    boot.ini? Any suggestions?

    Robert Nagle
    Houston, Texas
    idiotprogrammer, May 11, 2008
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  2. Copy the files NTDETECT.com and ntldr from the i386 folder on the
    Windows XP cd to the root of the drive (c:\), you can do that from the
    Recovery Console with the copy command. You also need to acertain that
    the partition is marked as active. The boot.ini file also belongs in
    the root of the drive alongside the ntldr and NTDETECT.COM files. If
    there is only one partition on the drive ntldr may be able to start
    Windows without a boot.ini file, it will look for the Windows folder on
    the drive and attempt to boot from that folder. The boot ini when there
    is only a single partition on a single hard disk usually looks like this:

    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP"
    /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

    John John (MVP), May 11, 2008
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  3. how do I ascertain that the partition is marked as active?
    Robert Nagle
    idiotprogrammer, May 12, 2008
  4. I just noticed something strange. Recovery Console doesn't seem to
    recognize the install CD as a drive letter. what the heck? I don't
    have a floppy. would I need to make a CD that boots into DOS (or
    whatever the NT equivalent is)?

    idiotprogrammer, May 12, 2008
  5. You can do that with a Windows 98 setup diskette and fdisk, or you can
    use a third party tool like BootItNG
    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootit-next-generation.htm You don't
    have to install BootItNG, just click cancel at the installation screen
    and the program will launch in Maintenance Mode and you will be able to
    verify the active status of the partitions.

    John John (MVP), May 12, 2008
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