Dell Desktop will not Boot Beyond Segmented Bars?

By Foggier ·
A relative's WinXP SP 3 Dell Desktop will not boot beyond the segmented bar. I have slaved the hard drive to my laptop (via a USB IDE device), and it IS recognized and I can access it, and run Malwarebytes and AVG scans against it. I've cleaned up everything they found (rootkits, viruses, trojans), but it still doesn't get beyond the segmented bar. So, at least, I WAS able to recognize the drive. I put in a WinXP master disk (not one that went with this particular PC), and ran the Recovery Console, then the FIXBOOT and then BOOTCFG /REPAIR commands. No change.
I want to run the FIXMBR command, but it gives me a scary "this may make your disk partitions unreadable" statement. Since I don't have the ability (at this time) to backup all the data on the HD, I'm a little afraid to run the FIXMBR.
I've done some research on-line, but I'm not feeling comfortable. Any suggestions?

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All Answers

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So when this HDD is in a Computer

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Dell Desktop will not Boo ...

And you try booting in Safe Mode where does it hang?

That will give you the last device installed.


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Reponse To Answer

by Foggier In reply to So when this HDD is in a ...

Can't get that far to try to go into safe mode. I get to the "Dell" screen with the F2 Setup and F12 Boot menu options, and when I try to either let it boot, or select an option from the Boot Menu, it goes to the black screen with the segmented bars, and immediately hangs. Doesn't even scroll across the segments.
Is there a boot log file I can look at when it's slaved?

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Did you notice any partitions on the drive when you "slaved" it?

When you had the drive slaved to your laptop, you should have been able to see any
partitions on the hard drive. If only one partition exists (which is probably how it was
set up) then you could probably use FIXMBR if the HD is not bootable at present.

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Reponse To Answer

by Foggier In reply to Did you notice any partit ...

Two partitions: the primary with the system and a much smaller secondary, recovery(?) partition. Frankly, I'm not worried about loosing the data in the secondary partition as it doesn't appear to have been actively used by the users, but I'm afeared of rendering the primary partition unreadable. I've seen nothing in my research indicating much risk in using FIXMBR, but the statement that came up when I ran the command makes me hesitate. I gather there is some risk of the new boot record incorrectly setting the partition parameters. How much of a risk is that, do you think? The properties of each partition seem to be read correctly when I slave the drive.

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Since you can access the drive when slaved

I would copy any data, documents, etc. from the drive onto backup medium. Then
run FIXMBR from Recovery Console. As a precaution, you might want to remove
any other hard disk drives, unless you make sure you target the correct drive to
fix the MBR on. There is some risk of losing partition data, but at this point, since the
disk is not booting, and you'll have everything backed up, including the emergency
repair/reinstall partition, your risk is probably out-weighed by the benefit.
Good luck!

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