TechSpot

Unrecognized Partition

By Unholywater
May 26, 2003
  1. I have Windows XP, but I decided to try to install Linux Mandrake 9.1 to dual boot. I didn't do the dual booting right, so now I deleted the Linux Partition, and now the Windows XP partition is labeled "Inactive OS/2" or something like that. I can't boot into Windows now.

    How do I fix this so I can boot to Windows?
     
  2. negroplasty

    negroplasty TS Maniac Posts: 537   +12

    Have you tried booting from your Windows XP CD and doing an ASR (Automated System Recovery) and/or reinstalling Windows XP? I would also get a Windows ME/98 Boot Disk and check out what's going on in FDISK - to be sure of what's going on with your partitions.
     
  3. Unholywater

    Unholywater TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    I tried the ASR, but not the Boot Disk thing yet. I'll check that out.

    I'm never going to try to install Linux again...
     
  4. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,574

    Boot to your Windows XP CD from startup. I believe there is a "repair" option. That should fix your problem. This will work if your WinXP partition actually has usable data on it now which it may not. If your Windows XP install is salvagable the repair option should work....

    ....otherwise just do a plain old normal re-install of Windows XP by booting from the CD and installing. Just tell it to install on the partition that Windows XP is currently on. You'll have to delete that partition, then re-create it and format it though.

    Next time you want to remove Linux, do a "uninstall" from Linux. This consists of doing a equivelant of "fdisk /mbr" in Linux shell.
    You can find lots of information on the Internet on how to remove Linux easily without the MBR problems. I had the same problem a few years ago when I didn't know how to uninstall Linux and just removed the partition and wasn't even able to boot because of it since part of the MBR information was on the Linux partition and LILO didnt exist anymore to act as a bootloader. Your computer still has the data but is just confused about what to do.
     
  5. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,928

    I think (if I am understanding you correctly) that you may need to run FDISK from a win98 floppy, and set your partition to 'active' so that you can boot to it. This would have been done by your Linux boot manager before you messed with it by removing Linux. You can get a boot floppy from www.bootdisk.com. You may also need to unhide your partition if it is no longer visible.
     
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,305   +52 Staff Member

    "Inactive/OS2" can also mean your partition is HIDDEN, in which case XP will be unbootable.

    Is it necessary to have XP partitions active? I didn't think it was...
     
  7. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,928

    Rick: The 'active' partition is the one that the computer will boot to. You can only have one 'active' partition present on *each* hard disk, and that is the one that is booted.

    PS: FDISK cannot be used to hide/unhide a partition, and this will probably not be required. I mentioned it just in case, to provide something else to check if things don't work out. I think it would have been a good idea to boot to the WinXP partition prior to deleting Linux.
     
  8. Unholywater

    Unholywater TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    I was unable to boot to Windows XP even when I had Linux. I hope my data is salvagable, because there are many many many important files and documents on that hard drive.
     
  9. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,928

    You won't have lost any data at all. You should be able to get your system up and running again without issue, so no need to panic just yet. Partition Magic would have been a useful tool if you had a copy. Something else worth considering (for the future) is to get a second hard disk with OS installed, to allow you to access your problem drive and act as a backup.
     
  10. Unholywater

    Unholywater TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    I had partition magic, but it went with the inactive partition. I tried installing an OS on a different partition to see if I could use the inactive partition from there, but there was no way to access it.

    When I try to boot from that partition, I get a Fatal System Error about the login for Windows XP. I want to keep the data in tact, then I want to be able to boot on that partition.
     
  11. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,928

    Try installing another copy of WinXP to your 'spare' partition. Then you can load partition magic and put things back to normal.
     
     
  12. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,919   +9

    It's not the first time I hear Mandrake installation has wiped other operating systems out. How did you install it? Was the partitioning process automated? If I was you, I'd check with a hex editor or something if the XP partition is still recoverable.
     
  13. Unholywater

    Unholywater TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    I got it back to be able to boot to Windows XP, but now it gives me a Windows Product Activation error, and then it logs me out.
     
  14. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,928

    Try reinstalling (select upgrade) and then reactivate your installation. At least you now have your data, which you could back up while you can (to a spare partition, or disk).
     
  15. Unholywater

    Unholywater TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    How do I back my files up when I can't get access to them? Once I log in, it gives me the error, and then logs out.
     
  16. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,928

    Reinstall XP.
     
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