Bootup Problem with Win 2003, not sure which is best solution

By RichardFX · 8 replies
Nov 3, 2009
  1. I have what appears to be a simple situation, and would love some help, as have been bashing my head against the wall for well over 30 hours. I have windows installed on C:/ (8gb SCSI drive), and I want to install it on to the D:/ (74GB SAS drive), and want to be able to remove the 8gb SCSI drive, and have all the boot files on the 74GB SAS drive (and it now the C:/ etc). The problem is that I have no access to a CD ROM drive or Floppy to do a windows repair to fix the ntldr and ntdetect files etc afterwars. I also fear that I only have one attempt, so wanted to ask a second opinion if anyone has the time to help me.

    Scenario: Bought a Poweredge 4600 2nd hand for a great price as it had no CD or Floppy drives (I can see why now). Turned out there were no IDE or SATA ports on the motherboard. It had an unitialised 74GB HDD in it that I couldn't use. Couldn't boot from USB, so only weapon was an old P2 motherboard with a SCSI port and old SCSI 8gb HDD that was compatible between the two systems. I used the old P2 to install DOS 7.1 and the i386 folder onto this 8GB SCSI HDD, and installed windows successfully (I didn't think at this stage to just fdisk the D:/, hehe, but still would of ended up in the same situation). I then initialised the D:/ (74gb SAS drive) from Windows disk management on C:/ (8GB SCSI drive). The old P2 didn't have a port for the 74GB SAS drive, only the SCSI style with seperate power input, so this is why I couldn't just repeat the process on the
    74GB SAS drive to put windows on the same way (even if I did an fdisk on D: before), because I can't get DOS onto the 74gb without a CD drive (used CD from P2 to put it on 8gb, but stuck with 74gb).

    **So I am stuck trying to get windows onto the 74GB drive without leaving the boot files on the 8GB drive (DOS is on 8GB and has boot menu etc).

    Other points- Pentium 2 died today aswell, so I am stuck with what I have at the moment to work with, which is an 8GB HDD (with windows 2003 (working), DOS 7.1, and the i386 folder on it),USB 1.1 access from windows, no CD/DVD or FDD, and no IDE or SATA ports. Has 1 PCI slot, but from what I have read, people have had trouble booting off drives attached to SATA/IDE cards (only some brands worked), plus don't really want a SATA card after job is done. We are dealing with Server 2003, but the boot files and way it works appears exactly like XP.

    Things I have tried:

    1) Booting into C:/DOS (8GB) and installing Windows onto D:/ (74GB HDD) from C:/i386/winnt (8GB HDD). Results – Windows works fine on 74GB HDD, but boot files remain on C:/ (8GB) and won't boot without this drive still attached.

    2) Made a 5GB FAT 32 Partition so (DOS could see it) on 74GB HDD and put the i386 folder onto it (accessed from C:/Win2003), then booted into C:/DOS (8GB) and loaded D:/i386/winnt. Windows setup detected the installation on C:/, so presume the same thing would happen with boot files remaining on C:/ if I installed it onto D:/, especially it won't boot at all at this stage (2nd reboot into windows setup after copying files) if the C:/ detached at this stage.

    3) Installing DOS onto an IDE HDD from CDD on another PC, copying these files to USB, onto Win2003 SCSI 74GB drive. Result – won't boot into DOS off 74GB HDD. The CD ISO for DOS 7.1 must do more than just copy all of those system files (yes I unchecked the box), it must write to the mbr or something.

    4) Can't do a windows repair from 74GB HDD to fix boot files, as the HDD won't boot without the 8GB HDD with the boot files (inc DOS) on it. Even if I could get DOS onto this 74GB HDD I would have something to work with.

    I also adjusted the boot drives properly in BIOS to correspond with the drive I am trying to boot off.

    Two possible solutions, but don't know how to do it:

    1) Install freshly from D:/... Need to get DOS installed properly onto the D:/ (74 GB HDD) so that I can boot of it without the c:/ (8GB) drive attached (it is no problem copying the i386 folder to D:/, I just don't know how to get DOS on there without installing off a bootable CD-ROM .iso file. I tried extracted the files etc, or copying them over through USB as I mentioned above).

    2) Install Windows 2003 onto the D:/ (74GB HDD) from booting into C:/ (8GB HDD) and installing from there like I did above, and then somehow moving all of the boot files onto the D:/74GB HDD and somehow adjusting the MBR on it to boot properly. I did see a code somewhere, but lost the link, where there was a CMD command such as "extract mbr d: c:" or "edit bcd" or something.

    Can anyone help me with either of these two possible solutions or think of another way to do this. Other posts around the internet seem to point to the obvious such as doing a windows repair from a CD drive etc. I have been beating my head against the wall for over a week trying to do this before asking for help, so any help would be muchly appreciated. Thanks in advance :)
  2. RichardFX

    RichardFX TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I am not sure if my post above was too long for people to read, or if nobody is able to answer my question.

    They were pretty simple questions, but I could of explained them better, so here they are again in an easy to read format, hehe.

    1) How do I move the boot files from C:/ to D:/ so I can remove C:/ and be able to boot off D:/ (have Windows on both drives in multiboot currently). The boot files are exactly the same as XP (ntldr, ntdetect etc). I have no CDROM to do a windows repair on D:/ to fix it, and if I boot into C:/Dos 7.1 use C:/i386 to repair, it still writes bootup entries to C:/ because C:/ has a version of windows on it too.

    2) Can I put a version of bootable DOS onto D:/, however I have no CDROM to install the ISO straight to D:/, and have to go through C:/ somehow. Would be ok if I could just use daemon tools to mount the CD image, but it needs to boot of it at startup to install from CDROM to HDD.

    If nobody is able to answer this post, I would like moderators to delete this post so I can try asking this questions in other forums, without looking like one of those people that post the same question in several forums at the same time etc.
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Your first goal should be to get the right equipment. Optical drives sell for about the same price in Australia that they do in US and Great Britain... which is not much. I cannot believe you would be unable to borrow a drive for the time and effort that it takes.
    What you are attempting can be done once we know your experience level, but is difficult to give guidance in the space available... It may be that some explanations are forbidden because the carry over into details that are forbidden by a hardware or software manufacturer.

    You can simply stop posting to this forum... If others are not interested in working up the reply needed, your post will die of its own weight. You can easily word your plight differently for another forum, but I suspect you will face the same issue... not enough space, or not quite kosher info.

    Once you learn how, come back to TechSpot with a full explanation which might benefit other members of the forum.
  4. RichardFX

    RichardFX TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your reply, I was feeling ignored, hehe. Since I am new to the forum, I apologise, I should of introcuded myself and said a few things about my background.

    So a big greetings to you all :) I have been impressed with this forum for a while and have used it a lot for work but have never joined.

    I am in my mid-30s, in Australia, and for the last 3 years I have run a small PC sales/repairs/upgrades business from the front part of my house. I am pretty good with PCs, but fairly new to Server equipemnt, although have had experience with Windows 2003 and 2008. I have a little network consisting of 2 gaming PCs for the kids and myself (I like RomeTW and CoH, hehe), a laptop, a work PC, and a forex trading 24/7 PC, and a few test PCs lying around for work, but no server as of yet.

    I had a little giggle, yeah I have a pile of optical drives in the cupboard. I thought the same when I bought the machine, that it was no problem without a CDROM or FDD. However I think I mentioned in my longwinded post above somewhere breifly, hehe, that this PC ened up having no IDE or SATA ports on it unfortunately.

    I have done my research on the DELL support page, but it appears that I am missing a unit that encloses the CDROM and FDD and has a unique looking connector which was different from the SCSI ones. Because a replacement unit would cost a lot more than I paid for the unit, and will be useless to me once I get it going, I am not willing to buy the CDROM and FDD unit.

    Unfortunately the Pentium2 I had lying around which had an SCSI connector on it, died yesterday, so I am stuck with the files on the 8GB drive to work with, but they are all there luckily.... The P2 was luckily alive long enough for me to install DOS from a CDROM and transfer over an i386 folder to the 8gb SCSI drive that was it in. The server also has SCSI ports. This 8gb SCSI drive has been the only way I have been able to boot into anything on the PC (Poweredge Server).... I hope that is clear so far...

    (note:Unfortunately the 74GB drive had a connector that had 'power and data' in the one cable (ie no 4 pin molex), so it was not compatible with the P2, otherwise I would of been ok. This is where my knowledge falls down a bit. I think it must be a SAS drive or something. The SCSI drive had a SCSI a connector for data and a 4 pin molex for power. )

    So on the desired PC (Poweredge Server), so far I have got Windows onto both the 8GB drive, and from there I have been able to initalise, and install windows on the 74GB drive which is the one I want to keep. However all of the boot files remain on the C:/ which unfortunately is the 8GB HDD that I want to take out. I don't have a CDROM drive to just do a windows repair on the 74GB drive after taking out the 8GB one, and I couldn't boot from USB-DOS either to reinstall windows that way.

    I don't want to repeat myself too much, however I am a bit stuck and would love some help, and will try and help out in other posts where I can now that I am a member too. I will post the solution if I come across it.

    I need to either install DOS somehow onto the 74GB drive, or move the boot files across from the 8GB drive to the 74GB drive, and then clean up the boot.ini file.

    There might be a way to install DOS properly onto the 74GB without booting from a DOS.iso CDROM (eg installing it from a virtual CDROM drive in windows), however I am not familiar with these new DOS versions (whether DOS 7.1 or Freedos etc). Moving the files over doesn't seem to be enough unforunately (and yes I selected show system files etc when I moved the DOS files over). To be honest I was lazy and just opened the .iso file with winrar (rather than mounting with daemon tools as can't boot of it etc), and tried a few of the files to see if it would come up with the DOS installer menu... I might be just be not clicking the right .exe file or something, cause a cmd prompt windows comes and goes quickly without it pausing for anything when I click on anything. I even tried installing DOS onto a spare IDE harddrive I had with another system, and tried copying all of those files over through IDEUSB adapter into PC (Poweredge Server) onto the 74 GB drive without any luck. I am a bit of a noob at installing DOS I realise without booting from it.

    Alternatively there might be a way to move the install files over with EASYBCD or something. Copying system files over manually certainly won't work, it has to write something to the mbr. I am not keen to try methods such as cloning Win2003 from 8GB to the 74GB and then resizing the partitions unless someone recommends it, because I am not sure if it will clone the MBR.

    If I had a CDROM, I could remove the 8GB HDD and do a windows repair on the 74GB, however if I had that luxury I wouldn't be in this position in the first place.

    I hope people aren't put off with the equipment and server 2003, however for all intents and purposes at this stage of the process it is exactly the same as working with XP boot files (ntldr, ntdetect, boot.ini etc) and a normal PC (without any CDROM or FDD). I was just really really lucky that this version of windows had the right SCSI drivers for me, otherwise I would be asking how to slipstream the drivers into a .cab file in the i386 folder, hehe...

    I'll leave a little more time for other members to find this post. Thanks guys in advance for the time reading, I wish I were better at writing concisely.
  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    You don't need a floppy drive for that unit. I will send you one free if you think you do.
    A very good optical drive that is a DVD-RW will cost $19 to $32 at a number of online stores... (Avoid HL and HLDS) and a repair shop will sell you a working used one for $5.00
    Talk to Dell and verify you are the owner. They will send you the current disk set with Windows and SP 2 at no charge or certainly less than $15.
  6. RichardFX

    RichardFX TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I apologise if I was unclear above. I did mention it a few times though. This PC doesn't have any IDE or SATA ports, and other people haven't had much luck booting of PCI SATA/IDE cards in the one PCI slot that it has.

    Optical drives are CD/DVD ROM drives, according to my wholesaler anyway, hehe. I have a pile of FDDs, HDDs, DVDROM drives, it was not the point, there are no ports for them anyway.

    I never said I needed a FDD, although would be handy to get into DOS that way after removing the 8GB drive. I said I was glad Win2003 had my SCSI drivers, so I didn't need to install them from FDD at windows startup or slipstream them etc.

    Just incase, and for other readers, SCSI drives have totally different connections on the back of the HDDs, and have their own controllers.

    However I do not have a hardware problem, I have a software problem. Let's focus on what I do have on the system (DOS, i386 folder, 2 versions of Win2003 one on each drive), not what hardware is missing.

    Thanks for the tips about Dell. I have the download links for their drivers and support though, but good point about ownership, I bought it off ebay from a server reseller though.

    I am thinking of either doing a clone disk, and hoping it moves the boot files... or some how making a fat32 partition in the 74gb drive, and installing a boot manager like GRUB there... however I need to do it from within windows, rather than from a CD ISO... Should be possible the same way as can put boot mananger onto a USB though from within windows...

    Anyway I will keep plodding along.... thanks for trying to help mate :)

    You don't need a floppy drive for that unit. I will send you one free if you think you do.
    A very good optical drive that is a DVD-RW will cost $19 to $32 at a number of online stores... (Avoid HL and HLDS) and a repair shop will sell you a working used one for $5.00
    Talk to Dell and verify you are the owner. They will send you the current disk set with Windows and SP 2 at no charge or certainly less than $15.
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    I think you better explain to us what the motherboard is... who made this machine and from what ports...
    Please give us the numbers off the board.
    Is it merely a server with only SCSI ports?
    You have to have either SCSI, IDE, or SATA ports...
    Brand and model of machine, or motherboard number..
  8. RichardFX

    RichardFX TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the reply again.

    Yeah I was spewing when it arrived with no IDE or SATA ports. It is as you say, a 'server with merely SCSI ports'. I couldn't beleive it either, I know where you are coming from.

    In future I may buy this unit which is around $250 AUD which is a 3xSATA HotSwap HDD bay with a SCSI connector on the back of the unit. This will be great for future as SATA drives are so much cheaper. However I don't think I will be able to boot of this thing anyway, because this is a very fussy machine, and won't boot of USB, or SATA/IDE PCI cards (I have read only some brands of these work on this machine, and not willing to try hit and miss).

    It is funny I am not concerned about the hardware at all. To me at this stage of the process, it is just like working on a normal PC (with no FDD or CDROM) with Windows XP (Windows 2003 has exactly the same bootup files and method). If you are interested it is a Poweredge 4600 ( however I am not willing to buy hardware for it that I will not be using afterwards, especially while there are software options available. I am just wondering which method I should try because I can't afford to risk killing my 8GB drive that is the only boot drive at the moment.

    I have done the messing around and have all of the files I need on the 8GB drive. I just need to install Windows on the 74GB drive (which I know how to do, and it all works fine), without leaving the boot files on the 8GB drive. This happens because the 8GB drive has the boot files on it.

    I couldn't prepare the 74GB drive like I did with the 8GB drive, because the 74GB has the SCSI connector with power built in, and is a very long connector etc.

    I'll keep at it.... either clone drive, easybcd, a GRUB boot partition on 74GB HDD..... have a few things to try....
  9. RichardFX

    RichardFX TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, I have completed the task at hand.

    I spent a long time trying to find a program that would install a Linux boot manager such as GRUB onto a partition, but installed from within Windows rather than off a CDROM. However I had no luck.

    In the end, I used a clone disk utitility to copy over the boot partition on the 8GB HDD with DOS and the i386 folder onto a partition on the 74GBHDD. From here I could remove the 8GB HDD and just boot into the 74GB HDD. I booted into DOS and loaded up winnt.exe from the i386 folder, and was able to load up the windows setup to partition the rest of the HDD and install Windows freshly.

    I used an open source program called Self Image ( I was unable to find a commercial one that was suitable. I was really impressed with this program. It let me clone a partition to another volume (boot sectors and all) from within windows on the partition that I was using which was really cool. Hope this may help someone in future.

    Out of interest, I did have win2003 installed on the 8GB HDD too (along with boot files which I was after), and it cloned over successfully, however when I booted up into it and went to the event viewer, it had an error message there and couldn't load any events, so I wouldn't use a clone disk under normal circumstances where a windows reinstallation is possible. However it was perfect for my needs to copy over the boot partition with DOS and an i386 folder.

    Thanks for your time and support guys, much appreciated. We can close this thread now, hopefully it may come in handy for someone else in the future.
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