BIOS detects hard drive, but bootable partition not found

By jlstrauss3 ·
I've got a machine running xp here that just recently started giving me the message "disk read error, press ctrl + alt + delete to restart." I tried to run the recovery console to repair the boot sector, but the only partition option I get is the h: drive, which is the recovery partition put in by hp, no c: drive. BIOS detects the hard drive fine, and there are no options in BIOS to change the bootable partition. But then I put in a copy of UBCD, and it could not detect the bootable partition either. At this point I am not sure what my options are other than attempt to reformat the disk, but I am hoping there is something else I can do.

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All Answers

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Sounds like....

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to BIOS detects hard drive, ...

... C is gone. You probably need to run the HP recovery instructions. You don't want to 'reformat'. Based on my past experiences, if there are any personal files left on C, even though it's not bootable, the HP recovery will leave them in tact when it does the setup. But, you will need to re-install all after market software that you've put on it since you bought it. Just in case though, if you can get your hands on a copy of a Linux Live CD, you could boot to that and copy any personal files off to CD.

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disk read error again

by jlstrauss3 In reply to Sounds like....

When I go to run the HP recovery, I get "disk read error press ctrl + alt + delete to restart" again. Looks like both partitions are shot. I don't think the hard drive is bad though, because like I said, BIOS still detects it.

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BIOS may detect it....

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to disk read error again

... but that doesn't mean the drive is good. It only means the controler is able to talk to the drive itself. It's entirely possible for the platter/heads to be totally shot.

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SOunds to me like the Master Boot Record has been

by Deadly Ernest In reply to BIOS detects hard drive, ...

corrupted and needs to be rebuilt. I used to do this occasionally using a DOS command after booting from a WIN98 Boot disc, but not sure how that will work on one of the bigger modern hard drives as I haven't tried to run that version of DOS on a system with anything bigger than a 40 GB g hard drive.

The command was, from memory, Fix MBR - I usually selected from the various help options I got after loading the DOS into RAM.

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Not that

by jlstrauss3 In reply to SOunds to me like the Mas ...

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I had already run FIXMBR as well as CHKDSK to no avail. I am not even given the C: drive as an option when I do run the command

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grrr. Another good one shot down.

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Not that

OK, the only time I've ever seen a deive NOT recognised in the manner you mention and it's NOT been a MBR issue and the other partitions on the drive are recognised, it's been a case of the drive format NOT being recognised by the operating system boot code.

Two things to check, which you may have done but not mentioned yet.

Can you run FDISK, if so, does it show the C partition as being formatted and as being set to ACTIVE.

If it's not set to ACTIVE, set it to ACTIVE. If it doesn't recognise the format, you could be in big trouble.

Best thing is to get a LInux Live CD that reads NTFS and FAT32, then examine the disc using Gparted or a similar program to determine the active status and the partition format.

If there's no data on C you wish to recover you can skip this and try a format C; and OS reload. But I think that's where you're headed now. I recommend the Linux Live disk to recover data or remove the drive to be a secondary in another system to examine it through that one.

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A couple of checks

by Jacky Howe In reply to BIOS detects hard drive, ...

Check the memory.

You can test the memory by running Windows Memory Diagnostic that can be downloaded from http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp. If memory problems are found, try re-seating the RAM. If it doesn't work, replace the defective RAM.

You can use the Hard Drive Makers Testing Utility to Test the Drive which can be downloaded from below.
<a href="http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm" target="_blank"><u>Hitachi / IBM</u></a>
<a href="http://support.wdc.com/download/index.asp#dlgtools" target="_blank"><u>Western Digital</u></a>
<a href="http://www.fel.fujitsu.com/home/drivers.asp?L=en&CID=1" target="_blank"><u>Fujitsu</u></a>
<a href="http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools" target="_blank"><u>Seagate</u></a>
<a href="http://www.samsung.com/Products/Hard...ties/hutil.htm" target="_blank"><u>Samsung</u></a>

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How did you get on

by Jacky Howe In reply to A couple of checks

The drive is being detected in the BIOS

The hard disk or the hard drive partition is damaged.

Sector 0 of the physical hard disk drive has an incorrect or malformed Master Boot Record (MBR).

An incompatible or damaged partition is marked as Active.

A partition that contains the MBR is no longer active.

To mark the Partition as Active. Boot from your XP CD and press the first R to enter the Recovery Console.

At the recovery command prompt type in these commands pressing the Enter key after each one.


select disk 0

select partition 1


Now type

EXIT to exit the diskpart session



Restart the PC with the XP CD removed.

Take note of any errors that you may encounter and let us know.

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same problem

by jazzzman71730 In reply to How did you get on

what if you don't have a windows xp cd... my computer did not come with it...

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Had the exact same problem...

by Breezer85 In reply to BIOS detects hard drive, ...

... Tried various solutions but to no avail. I just swapped out the HDD and started from scratch! If you have important data i suggest you try and connect it as a secondary/slave drive and see if you can recover any data!

Sorry i'm not much help but it certainly saved faffing about!

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