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Windows/HDD problems

By Sandman28 ·
Howdy guys,

This will be a long one.

To start off with my computer is:
ABIt IB9 Mobo
2gb Ram
e4400 (2.0ghz o/c to 2.6ghz)
Seagate 500Gb HDD - 4 parts. one contains windows
Seagate 320Gb HDD - 1 part (problem drive, see later in problem for details)
Seagate 320Gb HDD - 1 part

The most recent changes I started making around my computer were a few days ago. I started to customize the pc by changing bootscreen, log-on, cursor effects, icons and the such (via Stardock) and encountered no problems. Later on I start up my computer and try to sign into my msn, which subsequently freezes the whole pc needing a forced (manual) shutdown. This kept happening so I uninstalled/reinstalled msn and the such until I found it was probably a problem with Zone Alarm. Anyway I used a system restore to go back before I had done any customisation or any possible problem ZA updates. The restore worked but now Zone alarm was no where to be found, it was in the start menu but wouldn't run/open from there, however the zalarm process was running in Task Manager. So Uninstall and reinstall for Zone Alarm fixed this, however the computer was still giving me trouble (some files has dissapeared after restore, weird ay?)

Anyway got sick of that an tried to restore back to a closer date just after the modding had occured,got a failed restore. Ok try a different restore point, another failed restore.... It turns out I had less than 200mb of space on my windows disk (when I had over 8gb before any of this business) so I removed some stuff then restored. BTW I dont know if this is normal but when it failed to restore to those points they then subsequently dissapeared as points that I could use to restore to.

At my new restore point I uninstalled ZA and MSN Live and then reinstalled both, but windows was still a bit iffy so I tried to do a system repair with the windows cd. This didnt turn out so well, the first time I went into it it displayed all the drives thats cool, but wouldt allow a repair, next time I went into the install, my drives (7 in total) were now 3, all of the same incorrect size and unrecognised format.... So I decided to go back into windows only to be greeted by unending Explorer cannot write memory errors which ended up freezing the computer, so I booted into safe mode and uninstalled all the Stardock ( cusomize programs) and anything recently installed. Out of safe mode and now XP works again, however when I went to check my files one of my hdds (320gb) is now unformatted and asking me to format it..... lame...

Anyway none of the other drives have this problem, and when i go to view the drive in Computer Management (Admin Tools) it actually says its a health working drive with 128gb formatted (but unable to access even via righ-click explore in Comp Manag. as it asks me to format the thing) and 170gb unallocated.

Anyway I was reccomended to run Test Disk which I did, finding all my other disks are in order but Test Disk cannot find any partitions/files on this disk and what is worse is its telling me its in FAT format (which I have/will never use), and at this point reading online I suspect the MBR of the drive.

I was going to go into the Windows repair console (via the install cd) to do the whole fixmbr command but wanted to get an idea of you guys first, even if i told it to fix it would it just 'fix' the fat mbr or would it restore it to ntfs or make the drive completely unaccessible? Also the install still sees my 7 partitions as just 3 drives same as above, wierd?

(BTW tried the bad drive in another computer and still got the whole unformatted thingo)

Sorry about the long post, Thanks in advance and looking forward to hearing from you!!!


(Btw I changed my user name if anyone is confused)

Update: As of this morning my Zone Alarm is doing its funny trick of not being present in the system tray and will not open at all from nay shortcut or target, however the zlclient.exe process is running but not vsmon.exe, any ideas, is it possible this is all done by a virus?]

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All Answers

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Try this

by Jacky Howe In reply to Windows/HDD problems

and let us know how you get on.

Partition Find & Mount


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The scan found no partitions

by Sandman28 In reply to Try this


Thanks for the fast response!

Ran the deep scan and the intellectual scan but it found no partitions, same as testdisk. Is it possible that the MBR could have gotten a virus or massive corruption, I am saying this because when I run test disk it tells me that the drive is in Fat format/has a fat MBR, when it was in NTSC before.

Anyway cheers

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See how you go with this

by Jacky Howe In reply to The scan found no partiti ...

If you are having problems with the Primary Drive remove the other two Drives until you get it sorted out.
Download the Drive manufactures testing tool Seagate "Seatools" it will let you know if there are problems with the Drive. If you need to wipe the drive use Dariks Boot and Nuke.
Works with Seagate drives only

Darik's Boot and Nuke.


Autonuke should do it by running it at least 3 times.

Recreate your Partitions.
Let us know of your progress.
< add a bit >

heck this out too. MHDD32


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Seatools says all good

by Sandman28 In reply to See how you go with this

Howdy again,

Yeh I ran seatools on all drives doing all tests (both short and long generic/self and the SMART test) and they all passed, I am going with the assumption that somehow the MBR on my drive ( 320gb the one that appears as unformatted) has been corrupted. My C: ( 500gb windows drive (with three other partitions)) is still operational but I will re install/format windows once this other drive is fixed (windows is operational, so i'll continue to use it as I dont have any other good comps to use). Any idea how to fix the MBR, especially if it is being read as FAT rather than NTFS or even if its not being read at all. I know i could easily format my d: but I would like if we can find a method to restore it?

Also I mentioned in an edit to my original post that ZA is dissapearing again, I always thought this was a good sign of a virus infection but having run the online scan from Kaversky it tells me this isnt the case, any ideas?


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What did seatools

by Jacky Howe In reply to Seatools says all good

pick the drive up as NTFS or FAT32. You could try booting from the XP CD to the Recovery Console and at a command prompt type fixmbr and press Enter. Then resart and go back into the Recovery Console and type chkdsk c:/r

If that doesn't work use Darik to **** it away and start again. It's beyond repair if MHDD32 can't bring it back.

Do an online scan with Bitdefender.


BitDefender RootkitUncover


RootkitRevealer v1.71


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Run the AV scans

by Jacky Howe In reply to What did seatools

in Safe Mode with Network support.

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A couple of questions?

by ComputerCookie In reply to Windows/HDD problems

Why overclock, I suspect the only thing you're achieving is to overheat and reduce the life of the processor! (you will gain a lot of performance if you adjust the L2 cache to 2MB instead of 256kb that XP often defaults to)

Do you have a XP SP2 disk, as opposed to XP or XP SP1 disk?

Fix MBR will only fix the boot record, this does not include the details of other hard drive or partitions.

I suggest an inplace-reinstallation, go to this link; http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315341

scroll down to, Method 2: Repair install of Windows XP by starting your computer from the Windows XP CD
and follow the steps.

Post back if you have any queries.


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Setup won't allow for some reason..

by Sandman28 In reply to A couple of questions?


Thanks for the fast response, I have tried to do that method (that was what I was attempting when I was inserting the setup cd in my original post) but the problem is as I saios above that when I enter setup with the cd (I have both a home, pro and a prosp2 version) and press enter then go past the liscence agreement I am presented with three drives of the same size (which isnt possible) that are in an unregcognised format, displaying none of their partititons, they also all act like they do not have windows installed on them, ie when I select any of them they ask me about formatting it and dont give me the 'r' repair option (which I have done before and remember the process). So I am at a loss as to what is causing this, wether the floppy that i have put my MOBO Sata drivers on is faulty or what but yeh.

As in the original post all 7 partitions came up fine the first last time, but after that they now do this.

About overclocking, I replaced my orginal 3.0ghz cpu with the current one I am using now and was greeted with very slot boot times (excess of 5 mins) before I even got to the desktop, it was reccomended I overclock which I did and the problem was reduced/not present. The CPU runs at a 19-27C when not overclocked (27C at high loads) but with overclocking it runs at 26-35C even at max testing, so I doubt any overheating is going on. But I dunno, input would be helpful.

Thanks for the fast response, any further ideas, as I think the window drive really needs the repair done to it. Or any idea about my lost drive/partition?


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A couple of points,,,

1). What wattage is your power supply?.
2). Memory. (only 2gb?). The better option is to get 2 x 1gb and 2 x 512mb. this will bring you up to the max on your board plus it will give you an extra 1gb of ram to play with, bare in mind it will be more stable.
3). Why have four partitions on a drive?. Everybody has their own set up i suppose.
You do not need to overclock, you will do better with more ram.
The better option is to do a full install otherwise it will take you days to sort out bits and pieces of which goes where with the software. Put in extra fans if possible.
Hope all goes well. :)

Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.

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by Sandman28 In reply to A couple of points,,,


firstly thanks for your fast response, here are the answers to your question:

1) 500W
2) Sorry not to say it earlier, my ram is actually 2x1gb, I used to have an additional 512 stick in there but my parents comp needed it more than mine. Probably will invest in some more soon though.
3)The four partitions are, Windows Drive, Anime (A-L), Anime (M-Z) and another storage partitions to backup data to all about 100G each. Howeverethis isnt the drive that has partitions missing/unformatted and this works fine except the weird info display in system setup.
Overclocking was due to me replacing a 3.0ghz cpu with the current model and my boot times fore some reason then exceeding 5mins before the desktop, looked around and was reccomended to overclock, as for temps (runs at 19 normal, 27 when full load when not overclocked) now runs at 26-35(full load) at overclock.

Most system temps seem normal but I am thinking of extra cooling for the summer. What do you mean by do a full install? Like a reformat and reinstall of windows or do a repair install? if thats the case I mentioned in my original post that when I get into the setup screen it tells me that I only have three drives no partitions (rather than 7 partitions), that they are the exact same size and all unrecognised format not containing windows, therefore if I reformated any I would have to say goodbye to the whole drive rather than reformating and replacing windows partition.

Once again thanks for the fast response!

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