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tony177

Boot error

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I have all my data backed up on a second internal disk, an external hard disk and a flash drive. Plus I take a system image each week and store it on the second internal disk.

...

If I ran fixmbr and it screwed my system I would then have to spend a lot of time putting it back together

yeah, right.

the pc won't boot but displays an error 'disk read error occurred'

...

seems to me to indicate some manner of software corruption somewhere

yeah, right.

My original estimation of your intelligence was waaaaaaaaaaay too generous

Yeah right. Please step back, take a deep breath and stop this.

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Not closing this topic, BUT we better start over again. All calm down a few degrees or come back tomorrow after killing some bad brain-cells.

---

Now, here are my 2 "could be" answers:

- Bad chipset on motherboard, including bad capacitors can lead to all strange kinds of hardware failure.

- If hardware failure is ruled out, how about those nice root-virus that dig themselves deep into the HDD, thus delete partition, power off/on cycle and re-install that 2001 dated OS

Now, about what hardware are we talking as I'm for 99% sure it isn't XP related...

Anyone have any ideas as to what would intermittently cause the computer to behave like this and why the problem would be fixed after booting from the Windows CD in repair mode (does that replace some file(s) on the hard drive?).
Yes it probably does, you might have a bad or corrupted XP driver as well, that could be the other 1%. Try de-installing the ATA drivers and restart directly XP. You might need to redo the repair again when booting up.
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I'd suggest you get a copy of a utility/program which will firstly back up your MBR, then fix it. You are being told that the MBR is not that which is normally expected therefore unless you've got some special partitioning system or non Windows OS installed on the hard disk, (doubtful unless you were willing to destroy that earlier with fixmbr anyhow).

You can use the Command Line Interface freeware version of MBRWizard to perform this task.

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Not closing this topic, BUT we better start over again. All calm down a few degrees or come back tomorrow after killing some bad brain-cells.

---

Now, here are my 2 "could be" answers:

- Bad chipset on motherboard, including bad capacitors can lead to all strange kinds of hardware failure.

- If hardware failure is ruled out, how about those nice root-virus that dig themselves deep into the HDD, thus delete partition, power off/on cycle and re-install that 2001 dated OS

Now, about what hardware are we talking as I'm for 99% sure it isn't XP related...

Anyone have any ideas as to what would intermittently cause the computer to behave like this and why the problem would be fixed after booting from the Windows CD in repair mode (does that replace some file(s) on the hard drive?).
Yes it probably does, you might have a bad or corrupted XP driver as well, that could be the other 1%. Try de-installing the ATA drivers and restart directly XP. You might need to redo the repair again when booting up.

Ok, tks for that. I am fairly confident that I am not virus infected as I run the usual AV stuff and immediately investigate anything even remotely unusual or suspicious. The computer started normally today (just as it had done a few times after the first occurence of the problem) but I am not at all confident about next time I boot. I have been using the computer daily for about 4 years without any boot problem and although that might suggest a hw fault has developed, I think a hw fault is unlikely (but not impossible) as previously when the system failed to boot (repeatedly as I tried about 4 or 5 times first time round in quasi-panic mode) it then booted immediately when I used the Windows CD and this pattern has constantly repeated each time the problem occurred so It seems unlikely to me to be either coincidence or that a hw fault would be so rigorously sensitive and consistently responsive to the boot source. So my guess (and that is all it it is) would be some form of sporadic sw corruption is taking place for some unidentified reason after the computer has booted which then causes the problem next boot.

I note your suggestion about ata drivers but am reluctant at this stage to go down that route without further investigation both to get a better understanding of the implications and mechanics of de-installing/reinstalling those particular crucial drivers as well as the (ever increasingly unlikely) hope that someone might be able to identify from the symptoms what is actually happening. I checked out the various drivers and not suprisingly since the computer booted their devices are all showing as working properly. Although they are all showing as accessed today their last modified dates are years in the past. However even if those drivers were being sporadically corrupted and then replaced when booting from the Windows CD that would still not address the root cause of whatever was instigating the corruption in the first place which means the problem would just reoccur. Still, I will add your suggestion to the list of various solutions I might try if this situation persists long enough to become intolerable.

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I'd suggest you get a copy of a utility/program which will firstly back up your MBR, then fix it. You are being told that the MBR is not that which is normally expected therefore unless you've got some special partitioning system or non Windows OS installed on the hard disk, (doubtful unless you were willing to destroy that earlier with fixmbr anyhow).

You can use the Command Line Interface freeware version of MBRWizard to perform this task.

Tks for that. I've dl'd mbrwizard and will have a look - I dl'd another mbr utility (called mbrtool) yesterday but haven't checked it out yet. The fixmbr message could indicate that the mbr is damaged or that it is non-standard either as a result of the partitioning tool used to create a second partition or from some sw hooking into it. It would be interesting if I could find some kind of reference dual partition mbr so I could compare with mine to try to determine if there were any obvious non-computer specific differences although I have no idea how feasible or useful that exercise would turn out to be. In a bad, if not exactly worse, case scenario I have weekly back ups of the system image so I could always reformat the disk and load the image although if the image contains whatever is causing the problem it would be ground hog day all over again.

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(...sigh...)

ATTACH THE BACKUP and MAYBE (if you LET US HELP YOU) someone will be kind enough to VERIFY the contents.

There are TWO "basic" parts to the First 512-byte sector (MBR) - the Boot Code + the Partition Table

Do yourself a favor - search "starman pcministry mbr" (without quotes) on the Internet and do a little light reading. What you'll find is both some good info on various "versions" of MBR's (depending on which OS "initialized" it) and links on the Partition Table layouts.

"Starman" is a well-respected and (nearly) definitive person/resource for what you insist is the "apparent" cause of your problem.

edit - "...the partitioning tool..." - WHAT partitioning tool? Trust me, those that have been around a while ("not our first rodeo") will immediately recognize it and know how it functions.

Edited by submix8c
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You only have to worry about a non-standard MBR if your PC is configured with dual boot. If your other partition is just a data partition, you shouldn't worry. The only exception is if there is a recovery/service partition which would technically make the system be a dual-boot anyways.

Swapping drive cables is a simple enough fix to try. I've seen that happen as well, and especially for SATA cables that do not have clips or the soft orange ones.

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(...sigh...)

ATTACH THE BACKUP and MAYBE (if you LET US HELP YOU) someone will be kind enough to VERIFY the contents.

There are TWO "basic" parts to the First 512-byte sector (MBR) - the Boot Code + the Partition Table

Do yourself a favor - search "starman pcministry mbr" (without quotes) on the Internet and do a little light reading. What you'll find is both some good info on various "versions" of MBR's (depending on which OS "initialized" it) and links on the Partition Table layouts.

"Starman" is a well-respected and (nearly) definitive person/resource for what you insist is the "apparent" cause of your problem.

edit - "...the partitioning tool..." - WHAT partitioning tool? Trust me, those that have been around a while ("not our first rodeo") will immediately recognize it and know how it functions.

That site looks useful so will have a peruse. I infer rather than insist as to what seems to me to be the apparent cause of the problem and explained why. The computer came partitioned so I don't know what tool was used. I've used different patitioning tools on various computers over the years but none on this computer (although I have a couple installed). Also, I shall keep in mind your generous offer (for who can fail to notice upper case shouting) on behalf of that kindly someone who might verify the contents of a backup when I get round to making it.

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You only have to worry about a non-standard MBR if your PC is configured with dual boot. If your other partition is just a data partition, you shouldn't worry. The only exception is if there is a recovery/service partition which would technically make the system be a dual-boot anyways.

Swapping drive cables is a simple enough fix to try. I've seen that happen as well, and especially for SATA cables that do not have clips or the soft orange ones.

The system is not dual boot and the se

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You only have to worry about a non-standard MBR if your PC is configured with dual boot. If your other partition is just a data partition, you shouldn't worry. The only exception is if there is a recovery/service partition which would technically make the system be a dual-boot anyways.

Swapping drive cables is a simple enough fix to try. I've seen that happen as well, and especially for SATA cables that do not have clips or the soft orange ones.

Reply, take 2 - my brain appears to have got out of synch with my fingers first time round....

The computer is not dual boot (seems more like duel boot now) and the second partition is just a logical drive. As I said in a previous post it is my (somewhat tenuous) understanding that MBR can be seen by fixmbr as non-standard if it has been altered by some intrusive software although I've seen in other boards a wide range of responses to that warning message from ignore and proceed without fear to cease and desist immediately - my heart leans towards the former but my head the latter. I've had my finger poised over the go button a few times after seeing that message but discretion always prevailed.

Is your suggestion re swapping cables to the second internal disk (that I put in just after I got the computer about 4 years ago and has been problem-free) to check that the problem is not due to a defect in the physical connection? I haven't had the computer open or moved for many months so I revert to my familiar refrain about my belief that the problem is not due to defective hw although if all other avenues turn out to be dead ends then I will start exploring hw aspects.

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@tony177, I'm not sure what exactly you are looking for. Best I can tell, you are hoping that someone will say:

"Yes, I had that exact same problem. This ... is what happened to cause it. This ... is why the problem manifested itself in that way. And this ... is what you have to do to fix it. It is guaranteed to work, and here ... are all my references that you can check out proving that I am a recognized expert in this area."

Other than holding out for the remote, though I suppose possible, likelihood of that happening, you don't seem to appreciate anyone's suggestion of what you might try in the meantime. You either explain, sometimes kindly and sometimes not, why their idea won't work, or if you agree their idea has the remotest possibility of working you merely "add your suggestion to the list of various solutions I might try". You don't seem willing to actually try anything. You don't want to make the problem worse, understandable, even though you admit you have backup images of the disks, so it should not be a huge inconvenience to restore things as they are. You say that "it would be ground hog day all over again", but that's not totally true - you could positively check off one idea that didn't work.

You don't even want to take suggestions as benign as swapping cables to the disc drive. Sure it might not, even probably won't help, but what is the harm in trying? ANYTHING (Sorry for shouting) that moves the least little bit such as disk drives, not to mention expansion and contraction due to temperature changes, metal fatigue from being compressed into a given position for four years, corrosion from the least bit of moisture, problems due to faulty manufacturing issues (it happens to the very best of companies), dust if you haven't cleaned out your PC's case in four years, etc has the possibility, no matter how remote, of causing an intermittent connection in any of your cables that will only show up after some period of time.

So I guess if you're not willing to try any of our suggestions then we'll just have to patiently watch and wait, as you will as well, for the expert to stumble upon this thread. Please let us know when you discover what the problem and solution turn out to be so that we can better help the next person who comes along with this problem.

Cheers and Regards

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@tony177, I'm not sure what exactly you are looking for. Best I can tell, you are hoping that someone will say:

"Yes, I had that exact same problem. This ... is what happened to cause it. This ... is why the problem manifested itself in that way. And this ... is what you have to do to fix it. It is guaranteed to work, and here ... are all my references that you can check out proving that I am a recognized expert in this area."

Other than holding out for the remote, though I suppose possible, likelihood of that happening, you don't seem to appreciate anyone's suggestion of what you might try in the meantime. You either explain, sometimes kindly and sometimes not, why their idea won't work, or if you agree their idea has the remotest possibility of working you merely "add your suggestion to the list of various solutions I might try". You don't seem willing to actually try anything. You don't want to make the problem worse, understandable, even though you admit you have backup images of the disks, so it should not be a huge inconvenience to restore things as they are. You say that "it would be ground hog day all over again", but that's not totally true - you could positively check off one idea that didn't work.

You don't even want to take suggestions as benign as swapping cables to the disc drive. Sure it might not, even probably won't help, but what is the harm in trying? ANYTHING (Sorry for shouting) that moves the least little bit such as disk drives, not to mention expansion and contraction due to temperature changes, metal fatigue from being compressed into a given position for four years, corrosion from the least bit of moisture, problems due to faulty manufacturing issues (it happens to the very best of companies), dust if you haven't cleaned out your PC's case in four years, etc has the possibility, no matter how remote, of causing an intermittent connection in any of your cables that will only show up after some period of time.

So I guess if you're not willing to try any of our suggestions then we'll just have to patiently watch and wait, as you will as well, for the expert to stumble upon this thread. Please let us know when you discover what the problem and solution turn out to be so that we can better help the next person who comes along with this problem.

Cheers and Regards

This is a most interesting board - some of the posts here make me think this is sort of like I imagine it might be if I visited another planet where the indigenes had the same language but used it in a different way.

Your first sentence is quite correct - you do not know what I am looking for and your second sentence confirms that the best you can tell is wrong. While the fanciful idealized outcome you concoct would be most agreeable should it come to pass it is an outcome beyond my expectation horizon. I don't recall asserting that any of the suggested actions 'won't work' nor do I fail to appreciate them and the spirit in which they are offered. But as I have stated a few times and explained in a little detail once I don't think it is essentially a defective hw problem although of course I realize I could be wrong. So in that context I am presently focusing on non-hw solutions while giving the hw solutions a lower priority but neither disregarding nor dismissing them. I do indeed take a weekly image backup (C-Drive only) although I've never had to use one in anger yet so that would be new territory which I am willing but not especially eager to navigate. I am not sure I follow your remark about my ground hog day comment as restoring a troubled system puts you back where you started since neither hw nor sw would have changed.

Apart from my lack of confidence in the effectiveness of things like swapping cables (and various other internal machinations) I am not motivated to do it at present before exploring sw related solutions since I have a medical problem with a (life-long) bad back and the logistics of getting at the computer to open it up frequently results in severe pain followed by a trip to the osteopath (once I am able to stand upright again) for treatment. Your comments about the various things that can deteriorate over time inside the computer are wholly valid but I still fall back on (or maybe am becoming fixated by) the unlikelihood of this being the problem bearing in mind the tight coupling of a normal boot failure faithfully followed by a CD boot success. Of course if that sequence breaks then it will be rethink time for me.

The guess in your second last sentence is as wrong as the best you could tell in your second. I have already followed some of the suggestions offered here and am likely to so with other suggestions but just not necessarily in the order that you deem appropriate. If I manage to crack it without availing myself of the sort of pseudo-offer of asssistance made by a previous poster on behalf of some unidentified techno-samaritan then I will certainly come back and update the board, unless it turns out to be a hw problem in which case I would be too embarrassed to submit myself to being an object of gloat-fodder. I mean you have to draw the line somewhere.

cheers and regards

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(...sigh again...)

This isn't a debate board (as you apparently seem to think it is). It's a "help each other" forum.

If you insist that "that may not work because so-and-so website said so" (better with bold/italicized? not shouting but insistent?) then you have come to the wrong place. Try what's suggested with proven - free software and/or potential - hardware fixes or don't bother bandying with us.

Point of note - if you check all posts others here have (try "search the board") you'll note that these folks are not "askers of assistance" but rather "helpers". You want helped, then you've got try something then report back, not "argue/debate". BTW, "fixmbr" is not a be-all-end-all-definitive "fixer". Again, the MBR could have been "created/altered" by any number of softwares. You seem to be reluctant to name any of them.

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+1. In other words: we here work by the Scientific Method. We construct hypotheses (not necessarily always explicitly described) and propose experiments in order to validate or disprove them. Then the OP performs the tests suggested and reports back. Then, more refined hypotheses are thought up (not necessarily by the same person) and so on, until we get to understand what actually is happening, and then we move on to solution. Without experiments we simply cannot help.

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Apart from my lack of confidence in the effectiveness of things like swapping cables (and various other internal machinations) I am not motivated to do it at present before exploring sw related solutions since I have a medical problem with a (life-long) bad back and the logistics of getting at the computer to open it up frequently results in severe pain followed by a trip to the osteopath (once I am able to stand upright again) for treatment. Your comments about the various things that can deteriorate over time inside the computer are wholly valid but I still fall back on (or maybe am becoming fixated by) the unlikelihood of this being the problem bearing in mind the tight coupling of a normal boot failure faithfully followed by a CD boot success. Of course if that sequence breaks then it will be rethink time for me.

I think the best option in your case probably is sending your computer to repair shop for checking, including hardware checking due to your medical condition.

My previous motherboard is having booting problem intermitenly. Turn out some capacitor corrodes and leaked. Hard to see the corrosion even opening up the cover. In the end, I sent it to repair shop to check and replaced a new motherboard. That motherboard last me about 4 years before it start giving me problem.

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