PC won't boot after HDD contents copied to new HDD

  cyberphobic 08:29 09 Mar 2004

In an earlier threadclick here

I was looking for a way of copying the contents of an existing HDD on to a new HDD which I duly did. The PC is usually left switched on and has worked fine, but whenever it has been restarted it has struggled to boot although it always gets there in the end. Now though I can't get it to boot at all. I get messages searching for a Boot Record and then I'm asked to insert a Floppy to boot it, which I duly did only to have a message appear saying I/0 error. Could someone point me in the right direction please?

  Diodorus Siculus 08:45 09 Mar 2004

The floppy you need will be a boot disk. But it will be no good now.

What OS are you using? If XP, you will need to boot with the XP CD and choose a repair install - the boot record was not copied over for you.

  temp003 09:13 09 Mar 2004

Make sure there are no CDs and floppies in the drives.

If both hdds are still on computer, go into BIOS settings and double check that for boot devices, the first hdd to boot from is the master hdd (the new hdd). This is to exclude the possiiblity that somehow the computer is trying to look for the boot files from the old hdd (which may no longer be there).

If that is not the cause of the problem, you can try the following before the repair installation as suggested by Diodorus above.

If you don't want to try the following, go straight to the repair installation.

Try XP's Recovery Console if you have the installation CD.

Go into BIOS settings again and make sure that the CDROM comes before the hard disk in boot sequence or boot device priority.

Insert XP CD and restart computer. If you see the message "Press any key to boot from CD" or something like that, just press any key on keyboard.

Files will load from the CD, and at the XP Setup welcome screen, press R to enter Recovery Console.

CD will scan your hdds for installations of XP. It should show at least: 1. C:\WINDOWS

Press 1 and Enter. Enter the Administrator password. You will then get to the C:\WINDOWS> prompt.

At the prompt, type:


and press Enter. This will display information about the drives and partitions on your computer. Double check the C drive against its size and make sure that it is the new bigger hdd. If not, post back.

Also note that the C drive, if of the right size, should also be described as \device\harddisk0. Again, if not, post back.

Note the letter of your CDROM drive.

If drives and partitions look OK and as expected, at the prompt, type:

copy x:\i386\ntdetect.com c:

and press Enter. If asked whether to overwrite file, say yes. Then type:

copy x:\i386\ntldr c:

and press Enter. Say yes to overwrite. Then type:

bootcfg /rebuild

and press Enter.

Say yes to add the installation at C:\WINDOWS to the boot list (If you still have another copy of XP on the other hdd, it's up to you whether to add it as well).

When asked for load identifier, type and enter:

Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition

When asked for load option, type and Enter:


Then type:

fixboot c:

and press Enter. Confirm action. Then type:

fixmbr \device\harddisk0

and press Enter. Confirm action. Then type:


and press Enter. Computer will restart. Remove CD, and see if it will load XP.

If it doesn't, reinsert CD and reboot from CD. At the XP Setup welcome screen, press Enter to go into Setup. F8 to accept user agreement. Then highlight your C:\Windows copy of XP and press R to repair the existing installation.

A repair installation will keep data and programs intact. You will need to reapply all Windows updates afterwards.

Before you try the repair installation, it may be a good idea to download to disk and burn to CD (or save to floppy) the Microsoft Blaster patch for XP. After the repair, apply the patch before going on the internet.

  temp003 09:19 09 Mar 2004

Just to make it clear, if you're going to try the Recovery Console commands, note that in the commands, there is a space after:






Also note the directions of the different slashes.

Excellent advice and clear instructions!

  temp003 12:55 09 Mar 2004

Not so clear. In:

copy x:\i386\...

x stands for the letter of the CDROM drive.

  Rigga 13:10 09 Mar 2004

added to my postings, as I may be trying something simliar real soon.!

  cyberphobic 13:30 09 Mar 2004

Many thanks for your lengthy response, I have gone into the BIOS and changed it so it boots from the CD-ROM first and then inserted my XP PRO CD. It then goes into setup and loads a lot of files, when I get to the point where I select R to repair I get a message saying that no hard drives have been detected on the PC!! I have checked all the connections and they seem fine and as I said before the PC works fine once it has booted and all the transferred files are present. Where do I go from here?

  Big Elf 13:48 09 Mar 2004

Perhaps try another IDE cable just in case there's an intermittent fault.

I did have a vagualy similar problem last year and it turned out that the hard drive was failing. It ran for a couple of weeks with the problems before it finally failed.

Visit the disk manufacturers website and download the disk testing tool which is run from a floppy.

  temp003 14:08 09 Mar 2004

Did you get the error after you pressed R for repair, or did you not even get the chance to press R?

What I mean is, after the files are loaded, there ought to be a list of options: press Enter to enter XP setup (or install XP), press R for repair, press something else to exit?

click here: and scroll down to How to Access Recovery Console to get a screenshot.

If you did not get that menu, and all you get was the error message about hard drive not detected, then the most usual cause is you need to give XP Setup a driver for the hard disk controller.

Usually if the hdd is on the motherboard IDE channel, XP does not require a driver (unless it's SATA - but yours can't be SATA).

Is your hdd on an IDE PCI-adapter? If so, you would need the driver for the PCI adapter. The driver needs to be on a floppy.

If you have the floppy, what you do is, as soon as the CD boots up, and you see the first text appearing, you press F6 (a prompt appears at bottom of screen - very short time for doing it).

After the files load, you will be asked for disk controller driver. Press S to install driver. Insert floppy, and press Enter. Files will continue to load, and you will then get the list of options for setup, repair, quit.

If that is the reason for hard drive not being detected, then I'm afraid you must get over this first, because whether you use Recovery Console or repair installation, you will need this driver.

See if you have a floppy for the PCI ide adapter/disk controller, whatever it's called. If you can't find one, see if you can see the brand and model number of the PCI IDE adapter. Then you or someone else can search for a driver for XP for you on the web.

If your disk is connected to an ordinary ide channel on the motherboard, then I don't know why you get this error.

  cyberphobic 20:16 09 Mar 2004

I get the message "no hard drives detected on this machine" when I press R to recover or when I press enter to load Windows XP. I have changed the IDE cable but it makes no difference. I would strongly suspect that the HDD had failed were it not for the fact that it was working perfectly yesterday and I knew I would struggle to get it to reboot having switched it off to move it. Not sure where to go from here.

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