Help re: Windows XP Professional not booting

So I’m getting this apparently infamous “UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME” error upon startup. I followed the MS KB article to the letter and ran the CHKDSK /R program. Everything booted up fine after that.

Figuring my sisters screwed it up with spyware and whatnot, I went through and ran Ad-Aware, HijackThis, etc. and took care of everything I could find. Rebooted again after cleaning, and… UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT VOLUME. Weird. So, I tried to reboot to do the CHKDSK again, but this time, when I booted from the XP CD, it asked for an XP Installation Diskette. Didn’t have one. Rebooted, this time it wouldn’t even boot from the CD.

What would cause a recurring UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME error, after doing the CHKDSK? The error message displayed corresponds to MS’ specification for a “corrupt file system,” but I figured the first CHKDSK would’ve fixed that.

Should I just wipe it out and start all over with a fresh install of XP? How would I even do that, if that’s what it’s come down to?

Thanks guys =)

Chkdsk does very little in most cases. It sounds like you’ve got a possible incipent disk hardware issue. I would re-install the OS, and in addition would blow out the existing partition and re-partition the disk before formatting, however, if you don’t have the XP install disk you are pretty much SOL re doing that.

I have the XP installation CD; what I meant was, it asked for the diskettes.

Booting from the CD has been hit or miss the past few times I’ve tried, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.

How do I go about repartitioning?

Well, the other three possibilities that article lists (IIRC), are an incorrect cable for the HD (unlikely if it was working well before), incorrectly set BIOS settings dealing with UDMA (again, unlikely if it was working before), or failing hardware. Sadly, a second look brings up quite a few results with some slightly different results. Did you check the hex stop and parameter codes?

I’m kinda curious about this “XP Installation Diskette”. Never heard of it. The only disk the XP CD should ask for is qualifying media, and that’s only if you have an upgrade disk instead of the full version, only if you’re trying to actually install, and only if it can’t scan the HD and detect a previous installation there.

You don’t say if you tried the “FIXBOOT” command in the recovery console as the article suggests. If that gets you nowhere, a format/reinstall is in order (booting off the CD, if that’s still a possibility), though I’d be wary of storing important data on it.

If all the above fails, it’s possible that the drive can still be recovered via a low-level format. I’m not 100% sure how you’d do that… I think you can get a utility from the drive manufacturer.

P.S. I see you just answered about the diskettes. That’s still odd… do you have more than one optical drive? If so, try using the other one. Booting from the XP CD should work no matter the state of your HD.
Partitioning is handled by the setup process. Check out this article which has the step-by-step process.

Tried the fixboot; no avail.

Is there any way I can connect my desktop PC (the one I’m troubleshooting) to my laptop, and “boot from the network,” or is that something completely different?

What I mean is, can I use my working computer to access the hard drive of the broken one? To reformat it maybe?

PartitionMagic by Powerquest has always been my favourite.

If your boot sector has been corrupted by software, then formatting the drive should work. If its your hard disk (actual hardware) which is damaged, you’ll need to get a new one

Did it ask for installation diskettes, or specifically the “Emergency Recovery Diskette”?

If it won’t boot from CD, it may be that your hard drive has failed to the point where the Master/Slave jumpers aren’t making any sense to the PC. I’ll explain a little, but there’s tons of info on Google if I totally confuse you.

If you have an IDE hard drive and a CD-ROM on the same IDE cable, they are usually in a Master/Slave arrangement with jumpers (switches) set on each device that tells it if it’s a master or a slave. If you have a Master device (usually your hard drive) and a Slave device (usually your CD-ROM), then usually the slave requires that the master be available and detected before the slave can work properly. I’m thinking your hard drive may have failed to the point where the Master/Slave jumpers aren’t making any sense to the PC, which means it can’t detect the CD-ROM drive either.

This could just be a loose cable in your PC. If you are comfortable with opening your PC open your case TURNING THE POWER OFF FIRST, and locate your hard drive (google for pics if you are unsure). There will be a flat ribbon cable and a power plug that looks like a small plastic plug with 4 wires coming from it (2 black, 1 red, 1 yellow). Make sure that these cables are both snug and then trace them back and make sure they are snug where ever else they plug in.

Put the cover back on and try again.

Read that as Unplugging the PC first.

Righto… My bad. Silly soft switches…