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I screwed something up with a hard drive, and now I'm trying to get it bootable again.

I had Windows working fine, but it somehow assigned H:\ to the system disk on installation. In trying to edit the registry to change this (my mistake) I hosed everything up. I was going to just boot to my Windows XP disc again to reinstall, but now I'm receiving BSOD STOP error 0x0000007B every time.

I did some hunting around and it looks like this is related to a corrupt MBR on the hard disk, and found recommendations to run FIXMBR from the repair console. The problem is I can't boot to the hard drive, OR from the Windows disc to reach the recovery console, I get the BSOD. Does anyone know how I can easily erase/rewrite the MBR on the hard disk in this situation? I already tried using the BartPE disc and hit the same wall (it loads some kind of Windows kernel, I believe). I thought there might be some kind of bootable linux disc out there that could run something to fix the hard drive.

Any help would be appreciated...

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Are you sure you're correctly booting from the Windows CD? (Steps: Boot from CD. When the text-based part of Setup begins, follow the prompts; choose the repair or recover option by pressing R. If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot system, choose the installation that you need to access from the Recovery Console. When prompted, type the Administrator password. At the system prompt, type Recovery Console command: Fixmbr. ) –  l0c0b0x Jul 2 '09 at 16:08
    
Yeah, when it's loading the initial drivers, etc., it reaches the final step (something like "Loading Windows XP...") and then BSODs. I never get to any further prompts or anything in the installer. –  colemanm Jul 2 '09 at 16:11
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9 Answers

For future reference, as I said in a comment, that STOP code (INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE) is more often than not a misconfiguration; a mismatch between what NTLDR/WINLOAD sees and NTOSKRNL sees for the system drive. Disk or controller problems usually manifest themselves sooner during POST.

Wrong drivers.

Another cause is moving an IDE disk to another position (primary or secondary, master or slave.)

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

It looks like the problem had something to do with the SATA/RAID configuration in the BIOS. Windows couldn't see anything connected to the SATA controller at all. I just went into the BIOS and configured the drive to be mapped as IDE, rather than SATA, that solved it. Naturally this is someone from the office's home computer, and I don't have time to mess with it anymore, so as long as it's working I'm happy.

Thanks!

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Depending on what all is on the hard drive... this is one of those cases where the following might just be your easiest and least time consuming solution:

  1. Get a new hard drive.

  2. Reinstall your OS.

  3. Configure your new system.

  4. Hook up your old hard drive and copy over any files you need/want to keep.

NOTE: I'm assuming that you don't have some other type of hardware problem (bad memory, etc). The "good news" is that if you do... you'll probably be more likely to discover it this way.

Sometimes its just easier to move forward than to keep spinning your wheels in the mud. Now, this is a BIG IF because it depends on what all is on your system. You didn't say. So if this is a system which requires LOTS of time to rebuild or LOTS of configuration you'll have to weigh your options a little more carefully.

My rule of thumb (personally) has been that I can build a new system with all updates in about 2 hours then copy over the files I need in another hour or so. If "troubleshooting" is going to take me longer than that... I might as well rebuild the system and save myself the time.

Your mileage may vary...

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I second the above answers- if you get a BSOD when booting from CD, you have a hardware issue, most likely bad memory or a dodgy motherboard.

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Pull the drive out. Boot from a CD. Put the Drive into a USB/Firewire/eSata enclosure and fix the MBR after booting, if that works for you.

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If BartPE is bluescreening, I suspect your computer has a much deeper issue. Try pulling the hard drive and running Bart. If it still blue screens, then you have a motherboard/ram/video card issue.

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Do you have a custom rig? It could be a bad / unsupported miniport driver:

Windows XP requires a miniport driver to communicate with the hard disk controller that is used to start your computer. If Windows XP does not supply a device driver for your controller or if Windows XP is using a corrupted or incompatible driver, you must replace the driver with a valid copy that is compatible with your controller and Windows XP.

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+1 for the disk driver miniport. Inaccessible Boot Driver STOP codes are usually misconfigurations. Bad disk/controller hardware would show up at POST. –  dmoisan Aug 26 '09 at 13:27
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The Partition Magic liveCD has several tools that may solve your problem.

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If you are planning to reinstall anyway, you could try booting to a linux live cd, and use fdisk (or your favorite partitioner) blow away any partitions and the mbr then try using the windows cd.

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I just used GParted to erase the whole disk and reformatted as NTFS, but still am seeing the same issue. It seems like GParted isn't actually restoring the MBR... Is there a particular live CD that can do this? –  colemanm Jul 2 '09 at 15:42
    
You could try to drop tot he command line and issue the command: "fdisk /mbr" if the Gpartd live cd won't let you do this. you can use the latest ubuntu live cd. Also as a attempt of last resort you could let ubuntu install itsself and then boot from the windows cd to reinstall XP. –  Zypher Jul 2 '09 at 16:04
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