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Old 16th May 2005   #1
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XP install Disk will not boot


I cannot get any XP install disk to boot on my Dell GX280 with 160GB SATA drive. The problem started on Saturday after various bodges to recover from corrupting the Hard disk by trying to run Ghost 2003. The sytem is dual boot with XP on the primary partition and Windows 2000 Server in a Logical Partion.

I have the Dell XP SP2 ReInstall CD and it ran fine early on Saturday. I then ran Ghost which failed, as it did not handle the SATA drive properly and there was a diagnostic partion which confuses it as well. The Ghost utilities would not run so I had to resort to other things and eventually got a working Win2000 and a winXp that would not boot due to a corrupt system registry.

I tried to reinstall the XP system from the CD by putting the CD in the drive and booting from it. THe CD starts and puts up the message about inspcting the hardware, clears the screen and stops. The CD stops spinning and all you can do is power off to use the machine again. The same thing happens with a normal XP install disk as well. I tried booting a Win 2000 CD and that went into the install proceedure ok, so the problem is WinXp install disks.

I booted from a floppy and ran the install by running WINNT in the I386 directory. The installation would not run from the Dell CD as there were files missing so I used the XP disk I had. The install proceeded ok up to asking for the product code when it would not accept any code I entered, either the code that came with the disk or the code from the sticker on the PC or the OEM code that Dell installed it with!

Has anyone a cure for boot CDs that won't boot and unacceptable Product codes?

Nev

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Old 17th May 2005   #2
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Sounds like a call to Dell Tech Support is in order. They should be able to get you a working product code based on the info you provide them.

Failing in that Microsoft Tech Support could probably help but with an OEM system, they would certainly charge you for the help.

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Old 17th May 2005   #3
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Newt, thanks for the reply. I would not need a Product Key if the CD would boot as the install program on the Dell CD recognises a Dell PC and installs anyway. I was surprised that the key that works when I installed on my home PC would not work on on this PC when installing from the same CD.

I have been onto Dell Support. Their suggestion is to delete the hard disk and start again. I am loathe to do this as the machine is being used for software testing and I have spent a long time setting up Windows 2000 with development software. I tried to take a Ghost image of the Win 2000 partition for speedy recovery after tests. I think I will leave the reformat until I am forced to rebuild Windows 2000.

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Old 18th May 2005   #4
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You may need to get the proper drivers for your SATA drive onto a floppy (at the root level and uncompressed) and when starting the PC to install XP, press F6 when that prompt shows up then insert floppy, load drivers, remove floppy, and continue with the install.

No idea why 2K is able to handle the drive and XP isn't but I do think you've simply run across a case where XP lacks the software to init that drive.

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Old 18th May 2005   #5
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Newt,

The problem is that I have corrupted the hard disk when trying to recover from running Ghost, I could boot the disk prior to that.

Ghost does not properly recognise SATA disks when running from DOS and needs a switch to tell it to use the bios for details of the disk. When running Ghost under Windows it adds a DOS partition to the drive, sets it active and reboots into DOS to do its imaging. When it finishes it runs a utility to make the Windows partition active again and reboots back to Windows.

Because of this problem Ghost never ran and the utilities that reverted to Windows would not run either. Partition magic would not run because .Net was installed on the Win2000 partition and so I used FDISK to make Windows active and delete the DOS partition. I still had problems using the WinXP partition as it told me the system registry was corrupt, so I tried to repair it using the procedure shown in MS KB 307545 using the recovery Console. This made things worse, bsd, so I backed the changes out which had no effect. Because I thought that the problem with WinXP was caused by Ghost corrupting the partition table I ran Fixmbr and FDISK /MBR. Sometime after all this I reformatted the WinXP partition, tried to reinstall WinXP and the CD would not boot.

I have taken a Windows Backup of the Win2000 partition and will now wait until the software I am testing needs reinstalling before I start again.

Nev

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Old 19th May 2005   #6
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At that point, it sounds like a scrub and reload might be in order. Some problems just aren't worth the time and effort to try and "fix" them.

If you do lots of software testing, you might do well to get the Virtual Machine software and do all your testing on a virtual OS load. Just load a core OS that you never mess with and do all the bogus ones.

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