*&^%$% Compaq boot sector stupidity

Tea

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OK guys, some of you probably know all about this one already, so I won't recite chapter and verse, just hit the high points. (More details available if required though.)

I have a Compaq in for upgrade - a half decent one, actually (if that's possible): P4-1800, 384MB of SDRAM, tower case. One of their business models with an Intel chipset, not an el-crapola SiS thing in a plastic box.

The brief: fit a new 120GB hard drive, up the RAM, few other odds and ends, reinstall Windows XP Pro from scratch on the new drive, copy the documents folder over later. Routine stuff.

But ....

I boot off CD and install XP, but the first reboot doesn't boot: missing NTLDR. I know this is a Compaq special because Tannin met one a bit like it a few weeks ago, and had to buggerise about doing something weird with it to make it work. Unfortunately, the old bugger can't remember exactly what he did, just that it was a bit of typical Compaq stupidity which required him to do something weird and probably immoral.

Familiar problem?

Anyone remember it off the top of their heads?
 

mubs

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A quick search indicates it is a drive geometry problem; the BIOS to be reset and/or made to recognize the new drive properly. I don't know if this helps, but am throwing it in anyway.
 

LiamC

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Mubs nailed it. Drive geometry problem. I just went through it with a motherboard change, I came across an ASUS P3V4X, so I changed out my BH6 and plonked in the ASUS. Attached drive etc, NTLDR missing!

WTF. After much mucking about last night with a DOS/LINUX tools disk, the NT partition thinks the CHS scheme should be XX-16-ZZZZ, but the ASUS BIOS sets the CHS as XX-255-ZZZZ, so all the LBA sector addresses are mucked up. The long, is, you can recover from this.

The short is, delete all partitions and start again. Make sure the BIOS detects the drive and the schema detected doesn't change (some BIOS's will let you change from Large CHS to LBA interchangeably, but sometimes this change will bite!). When installing, delete any/all existing partitions and repartition the drive on the machine in question. You've probably done this, but maybe something went awry with the CHS/drive detection?

HTH
 

LiamC

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BTW, I tried all the FIXMBR, DISKPART, FIXBOOT commands and nothing solved this problem.
 

Tea

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Cracked it!

I had already tried FIXBOOT, FIXMBR, and so on. Also tried (on a Google-sourced hint) running it on cable select (just because Compaq are stupid like that) and a couple of other things.

Then today, prompted by Mubs' post, I tried repartitioning and reformatting it on the Compaq instead of on a normal machine. That does the trick. Got back here to write this post and I see that the ever-excellent Liam is right on the money.

Well done Storage Forum team and thankyou!
 

Bozo

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I'm confused. Didn't the first thread say that Tea installed a NEW hard drive and then did a clean install of XP. Wasn't this on the Compaq, or is there something missing from the post on my end???


Bozo :joker:
 

Tea

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Followed the standard procedure, Bozo:

1: disconnect old Maxtor drive from the Compaq. (Also add some RAM and a few other things)

2: Partition and format a new 120GB drive on the dedicated hard drive partitioning and formatting machine - much faster and more reliable that way

3: Fit drive top Compaq

4: Install XP

5: Swear, curse, and cry.

(It is a Compaq, right? If you haven't got to the swear, curse and cry stage yet, you ain't been working on a Compaq.)
 
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