Restore boot sector on a HD?

So my C drive took a dump, sort of. I can’t boot from it. I have another formatted and operating drive I hooked up to get running, and I can still access the other drive (it’s drive F now). I don’t think the drive is entirely hosed, most everything on it seems to still work.

The drive is a WD 74G Raptor, I’m running XP home edition. I can boot fine to this alternate drive, but when I try to boot to the hosed drive I get a cycle of reboots back to the BIOS screen. It won’t even try to bring it up.

The computer was just setting here, I went to use it and the cursor wouldn’t move. So I just hit the power button. It came up in a “Check Disk” mode, and ran that. Finally got to a point where it said it couldn’t recover all of the files and would re-start. It came back up, asking if I wanted Safe Mode, so I tried that. Got a screen saying MSVCP60.DLL was missing. Closed that and it re-started to a black screen. Then re-started and that’s when it started looping into re-boots.

I figure the drive is toast, at least not reliable. Just would like to be able to boot to it and try to salvage what I can (I can’t get into any of the documents and stuff in the Windows directories).

Any ideas?

You mentioned that you are able to access files on the damaged drive while booting with the new drive. If you can, it will save you a lot of hassle, simply attach both drives to the computer, boot from the new one and do a basic copy of whatever files you want to keep (it’s possible that you will need administrator priveleges to do so). If you do this, do not overwrite system files on the new drive.

Otherwise, you could try performing a repair install depending on the disks you have.


Microsoft: How to perform an in-place upgrade (reinstallation) of Windows XP

3rd party (a little more readable): How to Perform a Windows XP Repair Install

Note that if you have an OEM version of windows, you will need to visit you computer manufacturer’s website for instructions on how to do this.

Did you make these directories “private” by any chance? If that’s what’s stopping you, there’s an easy way around that.

AHarris has the best idea. Boot up with the other disk which doesn’t have to have Windows running on it, Linuw will be just fine.

If you want though I’d suggest you try HDD Regenerator, a free download which has worked wonders for me in the past repairing bad sectors or at least moving the info in those sectors to other ones.

Before you perform any more attempted fixits on the drive with the bad boot sector I would encourage you to stop, as continuing to move data around on a drive with possible media damage is somewhat risky. If the drive will boot as F pull off all the intact data that’s of importance to you. Then and only then you can try rescuing the drive. If there are bad sectors indicated - trash it. In my experience once an IDE drive starts giving (visible) bad sectors it means that the hidden bad sector buffer is full and media damage is substantial enough that the drive cannot be relied on.

In a larger sense, hardware wise given current hard drive pricing the value of 70 gigs worth of hard drive storage is a few tens of dollars at best. Rescue data and trash drive is (IMO) the best course of action.

have you tried using fixboot from the windows xp recovery console?

OK, I never could find “fixboot”, everything I found tried to fix the drive I was booted from, not a secondary drive. I used the method in AHarris’ second link. That got the drive to boot, but it wiped out all of the stuff I had hoped to salvage (emails, a few things I kept on the desktop, bookmarks, etc.)

So now I start over. I was able to copy all of my Program Files before I did anything, but they are still on the drive. The re-install didn’t bother them. I’ll just rebuild my system off the new drive. I have a 250G HD with a lot of stuff on it, it’s fine.

Have you been to the WD site. Some of the tools there may sort out your problem.
If not then they will likely replace the drive for you under warranty.
Some drive manufacturers send a snoop tool into your machine that checks the drive, will attempt a repair and if that doesn’t work will check if the drive is OK for a warrnty return, they will send a new drive to you and you then send the dead one back to them.
Western Digital 740G Raptor

Secure your data before doing anything else though.