invalid system disk with a twist?

By vinnievinnie
Jan 28, 2007
  1. Hello
    thanks in advance for any help offered.
    Searched for info, but counldn't find exactly what I was looking for.
    I have filled in user profile for system info.
    I have been using winMe on an single primary HDD set to cable select. I recently purchased a copy of xP and decided to try it out on a spare drive I had. this was installed as primary slave on cable select. Installed xP. Quite pleased, especially with the dual boot option for the half way house time. Now I've decided to go for xP in on the main HDD but I assumed I would be able to boot to the slave while installing on the primary. Not so. Even having removed the winMe drive and replacing it with the xP drive as primary on it's own it still gives an invalid system disk response. I realise I could go ahead and install xP on the winMe primary drive anyway but I just wanted to be sure I had a fall back position if for some reason the install went wrong.
    I've now read about bootloader setting up and emulating the winMe boot on the main drive. NTldr is present on the winMe primary and it also seems to me having investigated that there is no boot file as such on the slave with xP. Any suggestions for a simple fix to this?


  2. ok4life

    ok4life TS Rookie Posts: 16

    Boot off of the XP CD then select recovery console. Select you windows XP installation to log into. Then type help "press enter" at the command prompt this will give you a list of commands helpfull for repairing boot issues I believe there was a fixboot command and one other command they will also tell you what each one does. What you will want to do is rewrite the boot sector on the primary hard drive. what has probly happened is XP replaced the boot sector on the ME drive during setup in order to dual boot.

    I wouldn't really worry about it if there is no other data needed on the hard drive just format and load the OS the drive you want to use for the OS and then add the second one if you need it.
  3. vinnievinnie

    vinnievinnie TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi ok4life

    Thanks for the advice. Sounds logical. Will give it a go. Let you know how things turn out after the event.
    If I was to install xP on the primary HDD ok and then place winMe on the primary slave afterwards (just for old times sake) would the winMe install affect the xP boot on the primary?


  4. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,090

    With ME being such a terrible OS. Why wouldnt you just back up any needed files you have and reformat and just have XP?
  5. ok4life

    ok4life TS Rookie Posts: 16

    If you leave the drives attached It probably would. Depending on what needs you have of ME would depend on how I would do it.

    1. If you need ME weekly or monthly I would just hooK up the ME drive as primary Master leaving XP drive disconnected. Get that running as needed. Then change it to a primary slave and place the XP drive as primary Master. then Install XP. This will make the ME drive bootable by itself and make the XP drive bootable by itself and bootable with the ME drive attached you will be able to choose which OS you wan't It will ask for the os regardless of the ME drive being attached.

    2. Load each drive byitself and use the bios to choose were to boot.

    Also in order to repair the boot on the ME drive boot from a ME bootdisk then use fdisk /mbr (Fdisk can remove partitions the /mbr just simply rewrites the master boot record)
  6. vinnievinnie

    vinnievinnie TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you

    Dear Halo71

    Thank you for your opinion.



    Dear Ok4life

    Thank you again for your direct and clear advice. I will take it on board. You are a good advert for Techspot.


  7. vinnievinnie

    vinnievinnie TS Rookie Topic Starter


    for information purposes
    the attempt to make the primary slave a bootable hard drive when connected on it's own resulted in an error message saying ntldr file missing.
    It was reconnected to the dual boot process by utilising the bootcfg with /scan , /list and /add commands from the command line.
    Having installed Xp on primary master and continuing with dual boot process the primary slave is now reformatted to NTFS offering compression and has Xp installed as a stand alone exercise which means it is now capable of both booting in a dual process and booting alone if the Primary master should fail.

    Thanks very much for all help offered.


  8. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    This error message appears when your boot drive does not have a valid MBR (aka: boot sector, master boot record). With any luck, fixboot and bootcfg /rebuild will fix this problem, using the Recovery Console on the XP install disc.

    The easiest thing to recommend would be to use the XP install disc to delete, recreate and format a new partition on your drive. Reinstall XP and you should be golden.
  9. vinnievinnie

    vinnievinnie TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thank you

    dear Rick

    thank you for your input.


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