MBR and such

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by corinthian, Aug 10, 2009.

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  1. corinthian

    corinthian Registered Member

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    OK, so having been a bad boy and not having done a new disk image in a long time, I found myself needing to do a system restore. I think it had been a bbout a year from the last image. But the other morning, I got a message during boot up that a certain system file was missing and it would not go past the opening DOS looking black screen.

    I used to be pretty familiar with all of this, but I wasn't sure I would remember all of the steps now that it had been awhile. And I knew I would have a real hassle with programs and files that would not be on the old image. But if it would work I did hope to recover that missing system file and be able to boot up.

    So, I found my old Acronis CD and managed to boot to that, and ran the full Acronis system. I picked the newest image I could find, though it was oddly in two parts on my Ext HD. Apparently that time I had done some sort of incremental back up a few days after the original full disk image. So I restored the 1st full disk image. I did not choose MBR, in fact I think I just restored the C: partition. Before I did any of this, I was able to back up the MY Docs folder and Desktop, the only likely place where I would have any newer files. I realized too late that I could have probably also have done a full disk image, but I didn't. Wish I had for mounting image purposes, but too late.

    Any way, she fired right up. So far so good! That's better than a dead computer! So after a lot of labor restoring the newer backed up files and getting my anti-virus's newer version reinstalled, the darn computer actually seemed to work significantly better than it had been before it failed to boot Windows XP.

    I was surprised because I had noticed that when the first screen DOS screen came up during boot up, it "said" there was "no device found" and bios was not installed! But then it immediately went to the screen allowing me to choose XP or restore, then straight to XP, running real smooth. The honeymoon lasted about a day. Then the computer started shutting down during boot up and automatically restarting itself. It would cycle like this for quite a while. But I finally got it to start and then keep running for quite a while. But if I turn it off or put it on standby, it will not restart without doing this recycle thing, maybe for a whole bunch of times. Sometimes it shuts down before I can even use the Acronis boot disk. It has never done this before.

    I figured it was a mechanical problem, something that just coincidentally failed. But I switched over to another hard drive( to Seagate from a WD) with about a year old image on it. I still get the message about no device/bios, but so far it starts quickly every time, no recycling. So far!

    1:So, is it possible that not having restored MBR could have any thing to do with this new problem, and/or the "No BIOS" message?

    2: If so, if I can get the system to run long enough, is it now too late to restore MBR to the WD Hard disk that I restored the image to the other day? The one that runs so nicely now once I can get it to stop recycling except for the startup message that no device is found and that BIOS is not installed. (BTW, I had never NOTICED such a message prior to this image restore).

    3: Or, whatever, any ideas or thoughts?

    Thanks much,
    Bill
     
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    I doubt it. The MBR is just a tiny bit of code that boots the PC. The code is only 446 bytes (for Windows) long and is so simplistic that it should either cause the machine to start to boot, or it won't boot at all. I can't imagine an intermittent outcome, but I suppose anything is possible.

    That should be possible. Be sure not to have two identical drives in the PC when you boot Windows.

    Does the startup message appear during the motherboard's power-on self test, or after Windows starts to boot? The "No BIOS" message sounds like something that would originate from the motherboard's BIOS. Try entering setup for your motherboard by pressing the magic key at boot-up time (F1, F2, Del, or whatever it is) and look at all of the settings for your hard disks. There may be two areas of interest. One will set the first device to attempt booting from (floppy, CD, network, hard disk, etc) and the other will specify which hard disk to boot from first, so check both settings.

    The original problem sounds more like bad sectors on the hard disk. Either run chkdsk X: /r on all partitions on the disk, substituting the correct drive letter for X:. Or, if the disk does not boot correctly any more, try downloading hard disk diagnostic software from the manufacturer of the disk. I'll bet that you find that you simply had a bad disk.
     
  3. corinthian

    corinthian Registered Member

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    Tupelo, MS
    Thanks, Kolo, that is pretty much what I was afraid of. I figured the BIOS deal was motherboard related, and I don't see how that could be affected by any kind of disk rewrite.

    I got the other disk, the Seagate, current and running. I have not yet restored to it. I just used it as it was about a year ago and updated Windows and installed my current AV/firewall. I'm not having any start up problems or shutdown/recycling problems yet with it, but I do get the message "no bios installed" before XP starts up.

    My original problem was not even an attempt to start WinXP, every thing stopped with the message about the missing system file. There is no more sign of that message.

    I don't know where my BIOS and/or device went, how they might disappear(virus?), or how the computer can start up without these items! :rolleyes: o_O

    The oddest of all is: If I have both hard drives powered on and connected, and set the Seagate as 1st choice in startup, I don't get that message. I have not yet tried yet to see if I get the message with both powered up but the WD disk set for start up.

    This is quite strange!
     
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