Recovering An Unbootable OS

Discussion in 'Acronis Disk Director Suite' started by seekermeister, Sep 29, 2007.

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  1. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    I'm not certain if this belongs here, or in the TI forum, but since the problem began with DDS, this is where I shall post.

    When I first got DDS, some time ago, I was fiddling around with renaming drives, and lost my x64 OS. Since then I have also attempted to fix this with the Recovery Console, so I probably complicated things further. However, when viewing the x64 files from my MCE OS, they appear to be intact.

    This leads me to believe that the problem is in the MBR and/or track 0. I noticed that TI had a function to write these when creating a backup location, but I imagine that might not be good for this purpose...o_O

    Therefore, I'm looking for a similar function in DDS, but if it is there, I haven't found it. If it is there, how is it to be used?
     
  2. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    seekermeister:

    DD will create a new MBR if you delete all partitions on the drive and start over, or start with a blank hard disk. There is also a "copy MBR" function that will copy the Master Boot Record from one disk to another disk. This feature is accessed by clicking on a disk name and then from the "Disk" menu choosing "Advanced" and then "Copy MBR". I've not used this feature before and it isn't described well in the help file or in the manual, so I don't know exactly what it copies.

    Is this a single-OS disk or do you have multiple OS installations? If multiple, what are you using for a boot manager; Windows or OSS or other? And which OS; XP or Vista?

    Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, so is it possible to post a screen shot of your problem disk as viewed in DD10 in manual mode?
     
  3. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    It's not clear to me, but it doesn't sound as if any of the options that you described would do what I need. I'm not very familiar with DDS yet, so I'm not sure what screenshot that you mean, but perhaps it might help if I describe things textually.

    Drive 0 contains MCE, 1 unallocated partition (reserved for Linux) and 3 other archival partitions on an IDE 250GB Maxtor.

    Drive 1 is a WDC 40GB IDE that is empty.

    Drive 2 is a 80GB Maxtor SATA that is also an archive.

    Drive 3 is an 80GB Maxtor SATA that has x64 in one partition, and a TI backup location in the second.

    Drive 4 is a WDC 80GB SATA that has a second installation of MCE, which I used TI to make, but it is currently disconnected.

    Currently, Drive 0 is set as the boot drive. I was hoping that either TI or DDS would be able to make a new MBR and track 0 and drive 3 (x64) without destroying any data.

    I have only just reinstalled DDS and have not impliment OSS, the only things on Drive 0's boot menu are MCE and the Recovery Console. All of the designations given are from MCE's Disk Management.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2007
  4. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    So are you saying that if you make Drive 3 the boot drive in your PC BIOS, that it won't boot?

    A picture like the ones in this thread would be helpful. Just start up DiskDirector in Windows and choose "Manual" mode. Get a screen shot of the main window showing all of the disks and partitions.
     
  5. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    DDS numbers the drives differently, so it is 4 in DDS and 3 in Disk Management No, I cannot boot to the drive whether is is set as the boot drive or not. I'm not too sure about how to upload it, but I'll see if this works:
     

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  6. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Thanks; the picture helps answer many questions. I can see then that your x64 OS is contained in a Primary NTFS partition that is Active (boot flag set). You can see that it is active by the little red flag on the partition symbol and from the listing in the "Flags" column. DD doesn't identify the partition as having problems because there is no red C (for corrupt) on the partition.

    So it appears to be a Windows issue. I can see that you have Windows Media Center Edition on Disk 1. Which OS is installed to the "Max X64" partition on Disk 4? Is it Vista or XP?
     
  7. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    Personally, I wouldn't touch Vista at this time. It is XP Pro x64.
     
  8. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    OK; personally I really like using Vista. There's a lot to like about it.

    Anyway, if both disk 1 and disk 4 contain bootable XP operating systems then the master boot records on the two drives should be the same. Before doing anything we should confirm that the MBR is indeed the problem or else rule it out. So could you post a copy of each disk's first sector?

    To do this, start DD and click on the label "Disk 1" to select the entire disk. Choose "Edit" to open the Acronis Disk Editor. From the "View" menu choose "as Hex" and you'll get a view of the first sector on the disk containing the master boot record and the partition table. Next, from the edit menu choose "Write to File". In the dialog enter a "0" for "Offset in file" and a "512" for "Size". Click on "Browse" and navigate to your desktop. Name the file "mbr1.txt" and click "Save" and then "OK". This will save a copy of the first sector to a text file on your desktop.

    Do the same for Disk 4 and name that file "mbr4.txt". Attach both files to your next post. From these I'll be able to tell if there is anything wrong with your mbr on disk 4.
     

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  9. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    I hope that these are what you wanted. Oddly, they seem to show problems with both files, but I'm not having any problems booting MCE...except on random occassions, which I have thought were due to driver problems.
     

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  10. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    Those reading make me more confused than ever, because I didn't think that I had ever installed Linux on Drive 1, but the Stage 1.5 sounds as though it comes from Grub.

    The mention of NTLDR on drive four is also confusing, because I know that I have run CHKDSK /R, which I thought would fix that kind of problem...at least it did once in the past.
     
  11. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    These don't look like Sector 0. The file "mbr4.txt" looks like the partition boot record for your Windows XP x64 disk, or sector 63. To view sector 0 you need to click on the label for the entire disk; not on the label for a partition. When viewed in Disk Editor you should see which sector number is being viewed at the top of the window.

    The file "mbr1.txt" does indeed look like it had a GRUB installation at one time, but again, you may have been viewing the wrong sector.
     
  12. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    They may well be the wrong files, but I'm not sure that I understand your directions. What I did was to highlight the label "Disk 1" in the upper right window of DD as in the screenshot. Clicked edit, and changed the view to hex, and saved it as you recommended. Of course, the same for Disk 4. If I misunderstood, then please spell it out for me.
     
  13. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    It sounds like you did the right thing but there are no partition tables in either of the files that you uploaded, so they cannot be from sector 0. Are the attached figures helpful? Note that item 3 should say "Absolute Sector 0" when viewed correctly.
     

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  14. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    Yep, that is what I did, and that is what it said. But, when I scrolled down the file, before saving it, it had alot more info than what was in the saved file. I guess at one time or another, I have used all of the drives for booting, because all of them had similar errors. I thought that any traces of Grub would have been erased when I installed MCE.

    I've been thinking, perhaps the best solution would be just to do a repair installation on x64. Would or wouldn't that take care of any problem with ntldr and the mbr?

    I also have a copy of SP2, that a friend sent to me, which I have never installed. I have never had any experience with service packs before, do they function the same way that the OS's CD does?
    If so, perhaps just installing it would work....o_O
     
  15. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Could you check again? I am almost certain that you are viewing Partition Boot Records in sector 63 instead of the Master Boot Record in sector 0 on your drives.

    With multiple Windows installs you could also have boot files in unexpected places. What happens when you do each of the following tests:

    1. Disconnect all drives from the system except drive 1. Does it boot?
    2. Disconnect all drives from the system except drive 4. Does it boot?
     
  16. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    I was doing that before I read your last post. I think that you may be right, because this time I highlighted all of the first section and then saved it. These are the results:
     

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  17. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    I forgot to answer your questions. Question 1 yes. Question 2 no.
     
  18. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Yes! Those are the correct sectors.

    The master boot record is contained in the first 380 bytes of sector 0 (includes error messages) and both of your disks have identical MBRs. I used a file compare command in Linux to check that, as well as examining them visually in a hex editor.

    The disk ID and the partition table are in the remaining bytes in the first sector and your two disks have different disk IDs (as they should) and the partition table entries differ, as they should. So we can conclude that there is nothing wrong with your master boot record on disk 4.

    So disk 4 either has a problem with the partition boot record (although the first file that you posted looked normal) or a wrong entry in the boot.ini file or a missing file. The boot.ini file is the most likely suspect. When booted from disk 1 you can view boot.ini in the root of the X: drive. You will have to set Windows to view hidden files and folder and to display protected operating system files in order to view it. You'll see something like this:
    but the disk and partition numbers may differ. You can either figure out what the disk() and rdisk() and partition() entries are supposed to be (I always have to go look that up) or else you can try a repair. Disconnect all drives except the x64 drive and boot from a Windows XP CD and go to the recovery console. Try the fixboot command to see if it will figure out the correct settings for you.
     
  19. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    Here is the content of the x64 boot.ini:

    [boot loader]
    redirect=com1
    redirectbaudrate=115200
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Professional x64 Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

    I can see anything wrong with it myself. What about my question regarding the use of the SP2 CD, would it perform the repairs? It has been a while, but I'm certain that I did try both fixboot and fixmbr back when this problem began.
     
  20. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Your rdisk() entries don't match. One is rdisk(0) and the other is rdisk(1). They both should be rdisk(0). rdisk is the number of the disk on the adapter and should be (0) for the primary boot disk.

    I'll bet you did the repairs with more than one disk present in the PC and it got confused.
     
  21. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    I opened ntldr in a text editor, and most of it was greek to me, I tried to copy the section, but for some reason it didn't work, but it did say that the ntldr is corrupt.
     
  22. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    I think that I vaguely recall messing around with the boot.ini, so I probably did mess it up. That is now edited. I have a hunch that ntldr is the missing link.
     
  23. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    I think that I'm about ready to throw in the towel and do a clean install. I'm not anxious to do so, but I tried fixboot, fixmbr, chkdsk /r again, just to be sure, then I copied both ntldr and ntdetect.com from the CD, but all that I get is a totally black screen. I don't know what is wrong, maybe fixboot or fixmbr did some damage, as the Recovery Console warns.

    Before I start again, I want to do a low level format, just to make sure that nothing is left behind. However, since the old MaxBlasts do not work on SATAs, I'm not sure how.
     
  24. seekermeister

    seekermeister Registered Member

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    After a few hours of sleep, another idea came to mind. If I make an image of the x64 partition, with TI installed on MCE, and use it to recover to a totally different drive, which I have low level formatted, assuming that the files themselves are okay, will that work? I know that it did with the OS that TI is installed on, but am not certain about using it remotely in this fashion? I'm still going on the assumption that the file system itself is corrupt.
     
  25. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Well that's different. I had thought from one of your previous posts that you were getting an "ntldr" message when trying to boot.

    The error message or lack thereof is a clue:

    If you can boot to the correct NTFS partition but something is wrong then you'll see one of the following messages: "A disk read error occurred", "NTLDR is missing", or "NTLDR is compressed".

    If the master boot record is OK but there are no active partitions or the wrong partition is active you'll see one of these: "Invalid partition table", "Error loading operating system", or "Missing operating system".

    If you see a black screen with a blinking cursor then your BIOS cannot locate the boot drive, or the drive has no master boot record (but we already know that your drive has a valid MBR). So I would re-check the BIOS boot options to be sure that the BIOS identifies and can see the drive. Are all of your drives IDE or all SATA or a mixture?

    Can you yank the drive and try booting from it in another PC? It probably will bluescreen when/if Windows starts to load because your hardware drivers will be incorrect but if you can get past the completely black screen and to the "Starting Windows" splash screen then you're getting somewhere.
     
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