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Occasionally, it becomes necessary to replace
a user’s hard disk because of space limitations. One potential
problem after you clone the old disk to a new one and try to log on
is that the computer fails to log on and repeatedly displays the
logon dialog box. You might also receive a message that the system
has no paging file or that it is too small.

The likely cause of the problem is that the
Globally Unique ID (GUID) of the new drive is different from the
old one, and Windows has assigned a different drive letter to the
boot volume.

There are a handful of ways to fix the problem,
but the easiest is to boot the computer from a Windows 9x boot disk
and use the FDISK /MBR
command to recreate the master boot record, and then restart the
system. (Make sure the boot volume is the only one in the system
when you do this.)

Here are some other potential solutions:

  • Open Registry Editor on another computer and
    open the problem system’s registry from across the network. Change
    the value of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows
    Version\Winlogon\Userinit:Reg_SZ:C:\WINNT\system32\userinit.exe to
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current
  • If another volume in the computer has been
    assigned the drive letter of the previous boot volume, create the
    folder \Winnt\System32 on that volume and expand a copy of
    userinit.exe from the Windows CD to the folder.

After you are able to log on, follow the steps
in the
Microsoft Knowledge Base article 223188
to change the drive
letter of the boot volume back to its original. (You can omit this
step if you use the FDISK /MBR fix.)

Note: Editing the registry is risky, so
make sure you have a verified backup before making any changes.