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Need help fixing a badly damaged WinXP system.

- - - - - .NET restore repair

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42 replies to this topic

#1
Moodie1

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Hel-l-lp! My parts-built PC running Windows XP Home SP3 is just barely functional. For quite a while now, up until a couple of weeks ago it would take about 20 minutes or so to boot up and about one full minute to load a program. About a month ago I updated a lot of old programs and drivers and the performance improved somewhat but it was still far from normal. I have Microsoft's firewall and Avast's free antivirus running all the time and I also run the latest version of Advanced SystemCare Free often so I don't think it's a problem caused by a virus or malware. I also occasionally run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Spybot Search&Destroy to further check for malware. I also don't visit sites where my PC's likely to get infected. Recently (a week or two ago) MS released a buggy Windows update which I had to uninstall by doing a system restore, something I've never had to do until now. That's when the major problems started, just a couple of days ago. Now, most of my programs no longer work, giving me 'The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000022)' errors. I also get 'Error loading' messages about IMF.exe, NvCpl.dll, NvMCTray.dll and ASCTray.exe. I ran a check for viruses today (using Avast) without finding anything. I can't use ASC or MBAM since they won't run now. I've got Fences version 1 installed which still works but every so often gives me (0xc0000135) error messages. I googled for info on my problem and found a couple of websites saying to uninstall and reinstall all .NET files (in order from newest to oldest) so I tried that. I got as far as .NET Compact Framework 2.0 SP1 which won't uninstall. I've tried using Dependency Walker but there don't seem to be any manuals on how to use it. I even went so far as to buy a new hard drive, intending to reinstall the OS from scratch only to find that my Win98SE CD will no longer boot! I can't boot from my WinXP CD since it's just an Upgrade CD, requiring my Win98SE CD to be installed first. On top of that, the new 2TB SATA HD I just got wasn't assigned a drive letter so even though the OS says it's working properly I can't use it! Plus, if memory serves, when I first built this PC I wanted to install the OS on a SATA drive only to find that the system (an AMD Phenom II X4 on a Gigabyte MA785GM-US2H MB) wouldn't let me! For some reason I never discovered the system reads from and writes to SATA HDs just fine but won't boot from one (at least, not then). So I had to stick with an EIDE HD. And please don't tell me to buy a newer version of Windows, that HD took all my extra cash and since I'm between jobs I won't see any extra disposable income for quite some time. I need to repair my existing install, and BTW, the repair didn't work (didn't complete, giving me another error message) when I tried it. Oh, and also (JIC this is important), some time ago (many months) my boot.ini file somehow got deleted and I'm not sure how to add it back. Hel-l-lp!


Edited by Moodie1, 28 December 2013 - 12:48 PM.



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#2
Ponch

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Few thoughts;

-I can't remember if there were bootable and unbootable 98se CDs but I'm quite sure all XP CDs are bootable. You can install an XP "upgrade" from scratch, it will prompt you to insert a former Windows version (98 or ME or whatever) at the beginning but that version does not need to be on a bootable media.

-You say you want to repair but 99.9% of people will advise you to reinstall from scratch. There is no way you can repair that mess and go fro 20 minutes boot to anything acceptable. That system should boot a fully updated XP in less than one and half minutes.

-You do not need to buy any additional hardware nor software.

-for your SATA drive to be assigned a drive letter, you first needed to create partitions on it. Partitions get drive letters, drives don't (at least not in case of Harddrives).

-in order to install to your SATA drive, you needed your (failry dated) XP install CD to recognize the SATA contoler of your Gigabyte motherboard (from ~2009). In order to do that, you have several possibilities.

-The Microsoft way (intended by MS in the era people had floppy drives) is to use so called "F6 drivers", You can find them on Gigabytes site (note that there are several revisions of that board, I didn't check whether SATA drivers are the same, I'd guess yes but you better check the right page) but you need to put them on a a floppy drive and press F6 when prompted by the XP install.

-the DIY way is to modify your XP CD and remake it. A program like "nLite" makes it fairly simple and adds some extra possibilities like including the latest Service Pack and Microsoft updates (that you can get from this member's site). You don't need to play with all the options, it would take hours. nLite has its own forum on this board.

Of course you will need a working computer and a way to backup your existing install, and a CD (RW is best if you're not sure).

Make your decision. I'm sure other people could help you repair as well. I wouldn't.


Edited by Ponch, 28 December 2013 - 06:32 AM.


#3
Moodie1

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Thanks, Ponch! I'll try creating a couple of partitions on my new HD and setting one as C: so I can try a fresh install. I use CDex for disc work so I'll have to reinstall it since it's one of the programs that no longer work. Since I don't have a floppy drive can I use a thumbdrive instead (if I need F6 drivers)? Mine still work. I've read a lot on slipstreaming a CD/DVD boot disk (that is what you're referring to, isn't it?) but it seemed too complicated to try. But if I can't boot from my old CDs that may be the only option left to me. Thanks again.


Edited by Moodie1, 28 December 2013 - 12:10 PM.


#4
Ponch

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As far as I know, CDex is a portable program so it doesn't need to be installed,just copied (or expanded).

It is possible to install F6 drivers from USB, I've never done it and I can't tell you if it is possible for all motherboards or with all USB drives. I found this (doesn't seem as easy as you would expect) and this (explanations in the readme file created by the exe).



#5
RJARRRPCGP

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Sounds like you don't have the boot order configured correctly in the BIOS.


Asus P5QL Pro, Core 2 Duo E4500, eVGA GeForce 9500 GT with XP Pro x64 Edition -> Works great with Asus P5QL Pro!

#6
Moodie1

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Okay, sorry for taking so long to update this but I had just bought a new HD and was moving a lot of files off my C: drive in preparation for reinstalling (or installing a fresh copy of) Windows XP. Also, I spent considerable time trying to research and fix this problem myself - with no success. Here's the situation so far:

1.  I can't install (or reinstall) Windows XP from either of my CDs. Windows says that it can't reinstall because the existing installation still exists. Short of buying another HD (which I can't afford right now) and removing all other HDs from the system I don't know any way around this. Also, this is my only system and I rely on it for quite a lot. BTW, my user account has always had administrator rights. I also always have 'View hidden and system files and folders' activated.

2.  One site suggested resetting program permissions, so I tried their fix, unregistering and re-registering permissions and the registry by installing Subinacl.exe (actually, I think I've tried installing the entire 'Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools' suite (rktools.exe)). This didn't work (or the install didn't complete, I don't remember which). Installing Subinacl.exe separately (today) didn't complete, giving me an 'Internal Error 2503'.

3.  Another site said to right-click on Windows Installer and reset permissions that way. I checked and there's no Installer file either in the Windows folder, the system32 folder or in the hidden Installer folder. (Although there are more than 50 'HOTFIXINSTALLER.EXE' files in the Prefetch folder and more than 350 '$NtUninstallKB...' folders in the Windows folder, FWIW).

4.  Running msconfig shows that Windows Installer is running (who knows from where!)

I'm currently at a loss as to how to proceed. Seems to me I need to fix the 'Internal Error 2503' problem first before I can work on resetting the permissions. Should I try downloading Windows Installer and install anew? If so, which version should it be?
 


Edited by Moodie1, 05 January 2014 - 09:44 PM.


#7
Moodie1

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Oops! My mistake! Msconfig shows that Windows Installer is stopped. But double-clicking on it (left or right) doesn't do anything.
 


Edited by Moodie1, 05 January 2014 - 09:57 PM.


#8
Ponch

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Either you concentrate on reinstalling or you go on trying to fix your broken XP. If you ask for help on both, you are wasting your time.

I can't install (or reinstall) Windows XP from either of my CDs. Windows says that it can't reinstall because the existing installation still exists.

How exactly do you start the installation and what's the exact message?



#9
Moodie1

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1.  My 400GB PATA C-drive is partitioned into 2 NTFS "drives", a 200GB C: drive (with my WinXP install and all of my installed programs) and a 200GB F: drive for TEMP storage (both are primary partitions). Most miscl data files have already been moved to other drives, leaving the drives with 115GB and 120GB of free space, respectively. The F: drive has never had an OS installed onto it and is where I would prefer to install a fresh copy of WinXP so I can skip the hassle of getting the PC to boot from a SATA drive. After finishing the new install I would switch the drive letters so the PC would default-boot from the new C: (formerly F:). Then I planned on installing all of the WinXP updates, service packs, etc. Finally I would reinstall my most-often-used programs whose install files are stored on another HD.

2.  I've just defragged the F: drive, getting it ready for installing XP onto it.

3.  I have two CD/DVD/BD drives in my system, the older one is a DVD-RW multidrive, the new one is a BD-RW multidrive. Last week the BD drive stopped working. Device Manager's Properties' General tab says the drive is operating normally but I can't populate it using the Volumes tab, the driver seems to be either corrupted or missing. The same thing happened just now to the DVD drive. Trying to populate it gives me this error message: 'Volume information for this disk cannot be found. This may happen if the disk is a 1394 or a USB device on a Windows 2000 machine.' Also, Device Manager does not show any yellow Xs for these drives (or for that matter, anything else). FWIW, when I shut the PC down last night 26 Windows Updates got installed onto it. Maybe one or more of those screwed it up a little bit more?

 

4.  I was going to try to install XP on the F: drive straight from Windows using one of these drives (without booting from the CD, but just by running setup from the CD through Windows), now I can't (not that it worked before, it didn't). Seems the only option left to me is a fresh install. But if I manage to boot from the XP CD and try installing to a different partition of a drive that already has XP on it will I have problems? If that won't work I might be able to find an old HD I can use as a new-but-temporary C: drive. I could use some info on this. I'm a knowledgeable PC user but not *that* knowledgeable.


Edited by Moodie1, 06 January 2014 - 10:14 PM.


#10
jaclaz

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@Moodie1
Don't worry :), if you install this new instance on the "second" volume/partition, you will be making simply a "dual boot" system.

The only "issue" you may have is/will be drive lettering and the two installs will "share" a common NTLDR+NTDETECT.COM+BOOT.INI on your first volume, which is and will remain the "active" partition.

In your current status you have the current XP install on the first volume, which by default has got the drive letter C:, the second install will get - still by default - the drive letter D: (or a higher letter, it depends on the devices connected to the PC at install time).

There are two common "theories of operation", one (wrong BTW :w00t:) adopted by most people that want their operating system to reside on "C:" (to be more "standard") and one (right ;)) that makes setup so that no matter which OS is booted the same volume gets the same drive letter (which limits the risk of modifying the "wrong" volume).

So, you will need to make a choice, if you are OK with the second install having a non-C: drive letter you can go on, if you on the other hand need/want to have this second install be residing on a volume with drive letter C: you need further instructions.

jaclaz

#11
Ponch

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one (right ;)) that makes setup so that no matter which OS is booted the same volume gets the same drive letter (which limits the risk of modifying the "wrong" volume).

 

which is more difficult to remember;

-you are running "the other" OS, most probably with a different background/wallpaper, your C: drive you're using now is the "other" C: drive... Duh!

-you are running one of the OS, what was my system drive again...C: or D: or F or G: ?

I'm with the majority of people prefering the (in your eyes) "wrong"option. Almost by definition, people thinking "differently" from one will be "a majority".



#12
jaclaz

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Ponch, there must be a misunderstanding (or you are making the wrong examples)? :unsure:

 

With "my" approach, as an example in a dual boot with two active partitions, first partition is always C: and second partition is always D:.

  1. if you boot in "first" OS and  delete (say) the file C:\myfile.txt, you are deleting the file myfile.txt on the first partition.
  2. if you boot in "second" OS and  delete (say) the file C:\myfile.txt, you are STILL deleting the file myfile.txt on the first partition.

 

When you use "C: as system drive", 

 

  1. if you boot in "first" OS and  delete (say) the file C:\myfile.txt, you are deleting the file myfile.txt on the first partition.
  2. if you boot in "second" OS and  delete (say) the file C:\myfile.txt, you are INSTEAD deleting the file myfile.txt on the SECOND partition.

 

jaclaz



#13
Ponch

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When you use "C: as system drive", 

 

  1. if you boot in "first" OS and  delete (say) the file C:\myfile.txt, you are deleting the file myfile.txt on the first partition.
  2. if you boot in "second" OS and  delete (say) the file C:\myfile.txt, you are INSTEAD deleting the file myfile.txt on the SECOND partition.

I'm still VERY fine with that. :P There would be a reason I create that file on both places at first. If not, I'd create one file on a 3rd partition that I'd access the same way from both systems.



#14
jaclaz

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There would be a reason I create that file on both places at first.

 

Sure, there WAS A reason AT THE TIME you created the first file, ANOTHER reason AT THE TIME you created the second file (several months later) and NOW (some more months later) you have forgotten BOTH and you just deleted the "wrong" file (just saying ;)), that's more or less the essence of Murphy's Law.

 

Seriously, it is just  a matter of personal "tastes" and "habits", everyone should be free to choose the setup he/she finds "better" :).

 

jaclaz



#15
Moodie1

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@ Ponch & jaclaz:

Calm down guys, no need to fight here. I know exactly what jaclaz is talking about. He's referring to the option Windows has of "permanently" setting each drive (that is, volume) as one constant drive letter such that if you have, say, three external drives connected (denoted by, say, E:, F: & G:) and you disconnected the E: & F: drives, the third drive would stay at G: (IOW, it would not reset the drive letter down to E:). And I put 'permanently' in double-quotes because that is exactly how I had my system set up until sometime earlier last year (2013) when somehow it got changed (I have no idea how that happened, I sure didn't change it!). I have about 5 or 6 external HDs (together with 3 internal HDs) not all of which are connected at the same time (there were times when I had up to about 15 drive letters showing in FreeCommander at one time) and it was much easier keeping track of everything when the drive letters for everything never changed. Now they all get whatever letter Windows decides to give them depending on when I connect each one and I have to use their drive names to tell them apart.

So, jaclaz, what you're saying is that Windows can boot from a volume that is lettered as something other than C:, even when that volume is on the same physical HD as the original boot volume. Nice. But on bootup my system tells me that my boot.ini file is invalid. Wouldn't this be a problem? How risky would it be to fix this file? More to the point, what part of my system is this file "attached" to? The BIOS? Windows (regardless of which instance is running)? The volume that Windows is installed onto (perhaps implying that each instance of Windows would use its own copy of boot.ini)?
 


Edited by Moodie1, 07 January 2014 - 10:09 PM.


#16
jaclaz

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Rest assured, Ponch and me are not at all "fighting". :)

 

BUT you seem like not having fully grasped the "general concept" of drive lettering under a Windows NT system.

 

The matter is a bit complex, but basically the Active partition on first disk will get drive letter C: during a new install (unless some "special" measures are taken).

This means that any other volume will get a non-C: drive letter.

 

This is not an issue, as said multiple boot systems are in use commonly since NT 3.51 times:

http://www.msfn.org/...win7/?p=1058478

deciding if you want this second install have a C: or a non-C: drive letter is just a matter of personal preferences, but you have to know what will happen beforehand.

 

It is quite simple to fix/repair a BOOT.INI file, no problems there.

See:

http://www.msfn.org/...ent-hard-drive/

 

jaclaz



#17
Ponch

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I know exactly what jaclaz is talking about. He's referring to the option Windows has of "permanently" setting each drive (that is, volume) as one constant drive letter

 

No he's not. He's talking about the possibility to see drives (removable or not) assigned same letters (or not) from the perspective of different booted OSs.

 

+Your boot.ini being on the active partition, it will probably be overwritten by a new installation. If some invalid entries remain, you can still delete them before or after.



#18
Moodie1

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Okay, I've found an old 500GB HD that checks out okay, that's never had an OS installed to it and still has plenty of room left on it. I've decided that, rather than go through what seems like a very complicated multi-boot repair/install, I'll just install WinXP from scratch and reinstall all my programs. I've just converted it to NTFS and are now going to remove all other HDs and hook this one up. Here's hoping I have no problems with this. :unsure:
 


Edited by Moodie1, 10 January 2014 - 04:42 PM.


#19
Moodie1

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Good God! I just spent the last 6+ hours trying to get my PC to boot! I tried every combination of HD, jumper, BIOS boot settings I could think of with no success. I tried installing Windows on the 500GB PATA HD I mentioned previously - no joy, the WinXP CD wouldn't boot from either of my CD/DVD drives (I always thought that Windows boot CDs installed the CD-ROM driver(s) from the CD and didn't depend on the driver on the HD). I also found an old but good 160GB PATA HD that had a usable WinXP install that I thought I could boot from - no joy there either. Each time the boot would get to the point where the hotkey options would appear (Del for BIOS Setup, f12 for Boot Menu, etc.) and then it would hang for upwards of 20-30 minutes! A couple of times I got an error message that said something about a SATA CD-ROM drive being configured as IDE but it didn't stay onscreen long enough for me to read it. (I also should have mentioned earlier that yesterday I tried to repair the boot.ini file (using instructions from a reputable website) but I found that there was nothing to fix - the entire file was missing! Anyway, I learned something new today. When simplifying your system (for troubleshooting purposes) by disconnecting HDs, it's not enough to disconnect just the data cables, you also have to disconnect the power cables as well. I think this is one reason why my system wasn't booting. I thought I'd hosed my entire system!

One quick question before I try once again to boot from that 160GB HD. I visited what seemed like another reputable website: http://www.systweak....rycleaner/2005/... . It recommended the installation of something they call 'Windows XP Repair Tool'. They claim it will fix many Windows problems. They also claim to be a 'Microsoft Partner' and that the program has had more than 110 million downloads. However, their site's also connected somehow with McAfee and I know from bitter experience just how buggy McAfee software can be. Can anyone recommend this tool as safe and effective?



#20
jaclaz

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Moodie1,

with all due respect, you came here asking for advice, you blatantly ignored it, and now are asking if some Commercial crap (which BTW needs a running operating system on which it is to be installed) will do? :w00t:

 

JFYI, the missing BOOT.INI file is very likely to be not an issue.

First thing it is to be seen if it was actually missing (as it is normally flagged as hidden and system), and second thing XP has a failsafe provision to the effect that if the BOOT.INI is actually missing it will attempt anyway to boot to the system in C:\Windows.

 

If you provide some actual details of what exact CD you have in your hands (just as an example an XP "Gold", without service packs won't be able to install on a LBA48 disk drive) we may be able to support you, but forget about these wonderful automagic tools that you find on the 'net, in most cases they simply won't work, and in the worst ones they may be additionally vectors for malware. :ph34r:

 

jaclaz



#21
Moodie1

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Sorry to try your patience, jaclaz. I tried to repair boot.ini, using the instructions on http://support.microsoft.com/kb/289022 but the sample files given were for WinXP Pro and Win2000, nothing for WinXP Home, which is what I have (actual MS upgrade CD of version 2002 with SP1 included). Not wanting to chance ruining my system even more by using the wrong files, I decided not to try any further. Also, the info given in a previous post above on this file didn't mention exactly where this file would reside. And since this file is missing on my system I can't even search for it. So even if MS Support had a sample file for WinXP Home I wouldn't know where to copy it. And I know that Windows can boot without it, that's how I've been able to use my PC all these many months. The 500GB HD I'm trying to install XP on is a Western Digital Caviar Blue (WD5000AAKB) and the 160GB HD with WinXP (installed from the same CD in 2009) is a Western Digital Caviar SE (WD1600AAJB). And I know all about all those programs that "find" problems with your system but won't "fix" them until you pay for them. To return to the issue, I can still use my PC (somewhat, since most of my programs won't run). I can still go online with it, that's how I'm able to post to this forum. What doesn't work right now are my CD/DVD drives. (See below.)

Ver-r-ry strange. The only removable disc drive that's currently connected is my Lite-On SOHW-832S DVD-RW drive. I thought at first that it wasn't working but now I don't know. I've just checked it, it reads CDs and DVDs okay but it doesn't see my WinXP install disc! And yet it did see it when I first started posting to this forum (see section 4 of my January 6th post)! Weird!

Oh, and BTW, in my January 6th post I mentioned that at shutdown that night Windows installed 26 updates. Well, apparently they didn't "take" because the very next night the exact same thing happened, 26 Windows Updates again. So I waited once again for all of them to install so I could make sure the PC shut down normally. So what happens? Today when I shut down the system to connect the previously disconnected BD-R drive along with a couple of my internal HDs I get the same thing! This time I skipped the updates install, figuring that the install wouldn't finish anyway. And on rebooting I once again got the error message about a SATA drive being configured as an IDE drive. I figure it's my BD-R drive which I haven't installed the manufacturer's drivers for yet. (BTW, it's an LG HL-DT-ST BD-RE WH10LS30.)

I'll try installing WinXP once again tomorrow.
 


Edited by Moodie1, 12 January 2014 - 12:02 AM.


#22
jaclaz

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Since you have a *somewhat working* XP, you don't actually *need* to boot from the CD/DVD.

 

As a matter of fact the "best" way to install a NT system has been traditionally that of initiating the install from harddisk.

 

Basically you copy the CD contents to a directory in root of a drive, with a nice, short name, let's say D:\xpsource, then from the booted XP you open a command prompt and run WINNT32.EXE,  (with the wanted parameters).

See:

http://www.msfn.org/...will-this-work/

http://www.microsoft...2.mspx?mfr=true

 

The files needed for booting and that are in ROOT of the active primary partition are:

  • NTLDR
  • NTDETECT.COM
  • BOOT.INI
  • NTBOOTDD.SYS (this ONLY if you have "special" hardware like SCSI/RAID/SATA hard disks)

 

There is no actual differences between the BOOT.INI's of different versions of Windows (except of course the text in the entry).

 

But it would be an additional safety if you can actually boot from CD/DVD.

It is possible that your CD, for whatever reasons, is not bootable because it is an "upgrade" (though I doubt it), but you can make a new CD from the files on it and have it bootable alright.

 

jaclaz



#23
Moodie1

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Bad news and good news. Just this morning I discovered a scratch on my WinXP disc, small but deep. It must have happened in just the past couple of days, while it was out of its cardboard sleeve on my worktable. I figure I must have accidentally gouged it with the corner of one of my disconnected HDs. So maybe that's what's keeping my system from reading it. But a good friend of mine called today and said she'd give me the money for a new OS disc! I suppose that's understandable since I've helped her and her husband out in many other ways in the past, especially with their computer. I've just come back from their place and a computer store with a Windows 7 32-bit full-install disc. So now I intend to disconnect all my other HDs and install Win7 Home Premium on my 500GB HD. If all goes well I'll probably close this topic soon.
 


Edited by Moodie1, 13 January 2014 - 12:39 AM.


#24
Moodie1

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Okay, Win7 Home Premium installed well on my 500GB Western Digital Caviar Blue HD. I've reset my logon for this forum and are now changing drive letters for all my HDs to fit my preferences. One (hopefully minor) problem: Win7 currently doesn't recognize one of my internal SATA NTFS HDs (a 1TB Seagate ST31000528AS). It's saying I have to initialize it first (and probably format it, too). IIRC, this drive got screwed up somehow when I first added it to my system many months ago. Somehow it got two separate letters, one as a normal SATA drive, the other as a SCSI drive (both for the entire physical drive). I could never access the SCSI part but the SATA part worked just fine. It's now filled with files that I'd like to backup to a separate HD before reformatting it. It shows up in Disc Management as 'Unknown' and 'Not Initialized'. Can I just initialize it without formatting it? It was working fine under WinXP. Alternatively, if I format it can I recover the files from it later?
 


Edited by Moodie1, 13 January 2014 - 02:47 PM.


#25
jaclaz

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Can I just initialize it without formatting it? It was working fine under WinXP. Alternatively, if I format it can I recover the files from it later?

NO. :no:
Leave the disk alone, DO NOT DO anything in Disk Management with it, DO NOT EVEN THINK of re-formatting or initializing it.
You need to go on it with some partition recovery tool, please start a new, specific thread, here:

http://www.msfn.org/...e-media-issues/

 

with as much details as you can remember on how the disk was partitioned, and I will try and suggest you a proper recovery procedure.

 

jaclaz







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