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Boot error

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... You do realize that Hirens is Warez and very illegal?

Wasn't aware it was warez as I wouldn't want warez on my system for reasons of both principle and practice. Came across it some while ago but don't recall how - would either have been recommended somewhere or other or more likely just from googling for recovery type packages. The rest of your chastising lecture following the opening question above was redundant.

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    WPI Guru

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The rest of your chastising lecture following the opening question above was redundant.

Not really as nearly everyone that is told that seems to HAVE to argue that fact whenever it is brought up here.

I was just trying to prevent the typicall argument we get.



    Iuvat plus qui nihil obstat

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We do have a really high no-tolerance policy against Warez in general and Hiren's in particular.
Now that Tony is aware of it and already expressed his stance about it, no further mention of it is needed or warranted.

And, considering how uncanny his problem is, let's again focus on it, in the hopes we can progress towards solving it.


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Just a benign comment: I followed this thread because 'Boot Errors' are troublesome when you can't proceed or get more error info. And a three page thread seems attactively rich.
I nearly gave up on it; but my thanks goes to the many & good advice from all the eminent (and extemely patient!) members who persevered with advice against much discursive commentary.

I viewed this thread with some amusment, but maybe tony177 is on to something, but missed the point. When your on another planet where the native population speak the same language but in a different way that you don't understand, perhaps you're not speaking the same language?

... 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...

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My XP Pro pc has been fine for several years but in the last week or so has experienced boot problems, namely the pc won't boot but displays an error 'disk read error occurred'. Note - the disk is healthy so there is not a problem with the physical disk per se.

I get around this by booting from the Windows CD into repair mode and then, but without having done anything in repair mode, reboot without the CD (ie normally) and Windows then loads normally. This is an intermittent error as sometimes I can boot Windows normally for a few days but then the next time (for no obvious reason) Windows won't boot and the error appears as above.

I was going to run - fixmbr - from repair mode but the warning message about an invalid or non-standard partition table put me off the idea (I have 2 partitions).

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?).


I have also had the non-standard MBR message but ran FIXMBR anyway using the Recovery Console from the XP CD as I have no ENCRYPTED files on any of the four partions. No problem. I then ran FIXBOOT for good measure.

If you do have any encrypted files you will likely lose them. (Normally a Corporate problem not for the private user.)

BUT ... I do use a drive imaging program and have two drive images which I can restore from even if the drive totally fails. One is on the F:\ partition and another is on a USB stick.

I use Image for Windows which has never let me down and is very easy to use.

So I would run chkdsk on both partitions and also run Sysinternals Config defrag program as well as their PageDefrag as both are recommended by sources close to MS especially as Sysinternals is now part of MS.

It seems that the Config program modifies the behaviour of the standard Diskeeper based MS defrag to produce a better file structure.

If all is well and the partitions are 'clean' make a drive image of the OS partition and back up anything on the other partition.

Then if anything goes wrong you can restore easily.

Simply taking the RAM out and putting it back helps to re-seat the connectors and the same can be true for all cable connections.

Do NOT forget to unplug and disconnect ALL cables before opening the case then simply hold the metal casing with your left hand and hold the start button down for a few seconds. You should hear a slight crack as any residual electricity is discharged.

If you add /sos to your BOOT.INI file ... I.E. --- /fastdetect /sos ... you will be able to see the boot process on the screen.

The drivers will load and then a screen will appear showing Processor(s) and RAM.

Then you should see.

Volume C:\ is clean.
Volume D:\ is clean.

Windows has finished checking the drive.

It will then proceed to the Welcome/Password screen.

(I never use a boot screen preferring to have a clear view of the boot process and a confirmation that the RAM is being reported and that the partitions - are - clean before using the computer.)

Intermittent errors smack of connection problems.

When you have checked all the connections and re-seated the RAM modules you might want to run a check on your drive and do a burn in test. One pass is enough.

You can also find freeware programs which will do a burn in test on the entire system to see if the connections are up to the job.

If you are getting serious fragmentation it may be that you need to increase the size of the MBR (happens if a lot of new programs/data has been added.)

My registry setting allows the MBR to use 25% of the drive space.

NB I recently made the mistake of removing the NTFS file time stamp and the 8dot DOS naming after which Image for DOS, the CD/floppy based program used for restoring drive images made by Image for Windows, could not see the TBI00.IMG files to restore from.

So be careful not to do this when using a Drive Imaging program. (FAR better than System Restore and Backup and 100% reliable so far.)

(Trying too hard to maximize NTFS performance.) (Should have known better!)

Otherwise ... virus?

Edited by NATO, 11 May 2012 - 06:59 AM.



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Thank you, NATO, for summarizing what we had suggested to Tony177, along with specific tools and tasks you have found useful yourself in similar circumstances. I would be very interested to find out whether he was ever able to find out what was causing his problem.

Cheers and Regards

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    The Finder

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I would be very interested to find out whether he was ever able to find out what was causing his problem.

In the meantime I have a "logical possibility". :ph34r:
The 2K/XP boot CD's do when booting attempt to load (or however read) the contents of the MBR, this is the way the BOOTFIX.BIN works, it checks if the disk is partitioned and if not does not prompt anything, if yes starts the five seconds timeout before booting from hard disk.
This is something that most other boot CD won't do and could be the reason why booting from a XP install CD makes a difference (but of course says nothing about the actual cause, nor WHY this MBR access may make a difference) :unsure: .



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This is sufficiently bizarre to keep alive into June.

Tony, whatever your convictions, you are simply ignoring good troubleshooting practice. You should eliminate simple hardware errors before messing with the software. As several people have said, intermittent errors usually result from hardware that is failing. If a bad back prevents you from opening up the computer, find a friend. Check the cables. Take everything out, clean the contacts and reseat, One item at a time to see if you can reproduce the error. Even going so far as the processor. Run the drive mfgr's diagnostic. Run memtest86 overnight. And whatever else I might have overlooked.

Then image the drive. There are a couple good free imaging programs. Run fixmbr and fixboot. Or, first, try a repair install of XP.

People have got frustrated with you because you are simply not doing the things that are usually necessary to solve the problem.

What it sounds like are a failing hard drive or a failing mother board. So I'll tell you exactly what to do: get Macrium Reflect. It's free. Image the whole drive twice. Make a Rescue cd. Use your XP disk to do a repair (upgrade) install. Yes, you'll have to do all the incredibly annoying updating again, so what. If that doesn't fix it, check the hardware - find a friend. Or live with with the intermittent problem till it finally breaks completely.

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