View Full Version : Reinstalling OS (Issues? Suggestions? MRB?)

04-05-2007, 02:48 AM
Long post, so apologies in advance but I'll give you a play by play of what I've done so that hopefully you can offer some insight on how to resolve this issue.

Working on a HP Pavillion, pretty much stock, about 5 years old. Acquired a virus that didn't seem to be malicious in terms of deleting files, etc but it would reboot the machine every few minutes. Ended up formatting both drives and attempted to install XP Professional. It would start the setup, format the partition, copy the necessary files to the Windows Install folder, and then reboot as it should. However, upon rebooting, you would not be taken to the blue Windows screen where you begin to 'customize', instead, it was stuck in a circle and went back to restarting setup. It was *not* booting off the CD, setup was just not happening.

Thought perhaps BIOS had issues or the motherboard was on the way out so I found another PC to work with (Sony) and moved that hard drive onto my computer. It booted up perfectly and worked fine. To me, that says it's not my computer. So I purchased a new hard drive and attempted to load XP onto that with my machine. No go. Moved the new hard drive onto the other machine and attempted again. No go. Switched to the other hard drive I had (originally D) and tried to load XP on that on the other computer. No go.

I had a suspicion that perhaps my CD was a bit off so I acquired XP Home with the SP2. I first tried to load that onto the new hard drive in the other computer. I was able to get through the complete install (or so I thought/think), yet when I arrived at the Desktop, I was only allowed to "Turn Off" or "Reboot" as "Standby" was grayed out. It reboots fine, but it cannot boot from the hard drive after it is powered off. It asks for a boot device. I tried this CD with both of my hard drives on both of the computers, same result.

This is where it goes above my head as I am unable to narrow down to where the problem is. The latest suggestion that I was given was issues with the Master Boot Record, that somehow it was turned off. I will be acquiring software to deal with that in the next few days, however, I was hoping that some of you may have some other insight.

I don't want to spend a few hundred dollars to have someone 'fix' this when I could easily buy another low end computer, but frankly, I don't have the money to buy either a new computer or pay someone to fix this. And honestly, it's just frustrating to think of paying someone to look at this when it doesn't seem (logically) to me that there should be a problem. I can handle a nasty file killing virus that destroys something beyond my ability to fix, but this, no-- (not sure if that made any sense).

Congrats if you've made it to the end of this. I would appreciate any and all suggestions (oh, and sympathy is also welcomed) :D

Paul Komski
04-05-2007, 05:04 AM
First thoughts are that it is a BIOS issue or possibly bad/loose cabling/connections from the motherboard to hard drive.

No harm to get a new cmos battery and clear the cmos by leaving the old battery out while you go to get a new one; also swap in another or a new data ribbon cable and use a different 4wire molex power connection.

Wipe all partitions off the drive using fdisk from an msdos boot floppy or the manufacturers diagnostics or a third party application and try reinstalling by booting to the installation CD. If that fails again you could try installing from the hard drive (http://www.iol.ie/~krakowangus/winnt.htm).

The mbr can be corrupt or overlaid with DDO but wiping the drive should render it, to all intents and purposes, back to a new drive. Running
fdisk /mbr
would rewrite new standard code to the mbr but wiping/zeroing would be needed to remove any overlay.

PS Sympathy for the vagaries of PC life of course. But I also forgot to ask if WinXP was on the PC before your problems began. And which Pavillion model is it?

04-05-2007, 12:21 PM
It's a Pavillion 520n and yes, XP was there when all of the fun began. I'll give those two commands a try later re the MBR. Never heard of the install from the hard drive you mentioned ...I'll be reading over that page and seeing what I can figure out. I'll be back, thanks :)

04-06-2007, 12:28 AM
Well, after using the 'fixboot' and setting the HD to master (duh), I have successfully reinstalled Windows. However, I cannot see the second slave drive now. Any ideas on this? It's not showing up in the disk manager either :(

Paul Komski
04-06-2007, 03:33 AM
When a drive wont show in Device Manager the next thing is to check whether it is seen in the BIOS setup. If it is not in the BIOS setup then its setting under the host controllers needs to be set to auto. If that doesnt detect the drive you need to check its jumpers and cabling. After that it is probably dead and trying it in anther computer would be a way to confirm this.

04-07-2007, 03:49 PM
Alright, let's see...

It does not show up in BIOS. I changed the pin settings around and even tried for the auto-detect but whenever I did, it couldn't find the slave or the master. When I rebooted and checked BIOS the first time, my options were as follows: 'User type HDD' or 'Other Atapi device' in addition to the usual CD-ROM, etc.

So... guess it's time to stick it in the Sony as the slave to check it?