Lost MBR? Need SATA controller, chipset, BIOS - I don't know!!!

By ptg ยท 10 replies
Nov 21, 2007
  1. Hi, I have a really convoluted problem, which I think boils down to me having lost the control sector in my HDD after a format. I think!? I'll explain the sorry chain of events.

    I have 2x Maxtor 6L30050 and an ASUS A8N-SLI Premium. I had an install of Vista on the machine, which was not working out for me - went to XP, but that install messed up due to the disc (not all data wrote). Went for an install of 2K I had lying around just to get something on there and in formatting the disk for this 2k install, I think I lost something.

    Originally, the OS setup screen looked like this:

    C:partitional (NTFS) xxxxxxMB xxxxxxMB
    Unpartitioned Space 8MB

    D:partitional (NTFS) xxxxxxMB xxxxxxMB
    Unpartitioned Space 8MB

    The 2k format I did for the (failed) 2k install was NTFS to NTFS (Vista to 2k stylee I guess?), but when looking at the HDDs in the OS setup after the 2k instal format, I then got this:

    C:partitional (unknown) xxxxxxMB xxxxxxMB

    D:partitional (NTFS) xxxxxxMB xxxxxxMB
    Unpartitioned Space 8MB

    I'd lost the first unpartitioned space on C, and it's saying 'unknown' as the file structure.

    Long story short - the 2k install didn't work. I got a better copy of XP, but when trying to install this, after selecting the disk (C:) and copying the install files - after the reboot, a message comes up 'A disk read error occured'.

    So I have no o/s on there and the HD seems unusable.

    Have I broken my HDD? Or do I need to sort the MBR? Mobo, what?

    Please, please, please help. I am totally stuck.

  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Looks like the C drive has gone bad or it needs an all 0's write. How is the boot sequence set in the bios? The A drive needs to be OUT of the boot sequence entirely. The sata controller needs to be enabled in the bios too
  3. ptg

    ptg TS Rookie Topic Starter

    How would I do an 'all 0's write'?

    Boot sequence is 1st boot device HDD, 2nd boot device CD-ROM

    HOw do I make sure the sata controller is enabled in the BIOS?

    Don't large HDDs have a control sector? Was that not the 8MB section 'unpartitioned space' which is now gone?
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Go to Maxtor (Seagate) website and dowload and install and run Maxblast software...

    "Don't large HDDs have a control sector?"...

    Only after a format. The internal hard drive electronics handle all the data housekeeping. An all 0's write will "restore" the drives ability to store data, as long as the drive is operating normally. Maxblast will test the drives electronics and it's data storage areas for errors...

    "How do I make sure the sata controller is enabled in the BIOS?"...

    Look in "Integrated Peripherals" in the bios for SATA/RAID controller
  5. ptg

    ptg TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, I think I'm halfway there. After a bit more Googleing I found Killdisk and '0'd the drive. I got a fresh install of XP on there now, which boots fine. Thanks for your help so far!

    I installed the o/s to 'C:' in the o/s install options. When booting XP and looking in 'mycomputer' - my 'C:' was labelled 'D:' and my 'D:' was labelled 'F:'!! I may be being fussy, but I don't like my machine doing things I don't undertand or feel I can't control, plus I think I have slight OCD, whereby I feel it's tidy to have C: have the O/S on, D: = Backup etc.

    Any idea how this happened, or how I can ensure proper drive labelling? I didn't see any options, other than which to install to, hdd 1 or hdd 2. AS far as I'm aware, you can't change the drive name via the o/s once it's on - it depends on what the install allocates??
  6. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    check where your boot ini file is
    check manager and note what is boot and active system drive??
    I only have 1 drive in and 1 partition formated when loading xp
    don't know why it will write boot ini to last formated disk
    or partition
    thats probably why your letters have changed
    remove the 2nd drive make sure any data on 2nd partition of first drive is backed up
    delete all partitions make new ones format 1st ntfs and load xp to this
    I have repeated this stupid thing it does 3 times just to try and stop it it will not>>anyone know how to fix this install issue???
  7. ptg

    ptg TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, I've done this Samstoned, but after 'all 0 writing' both HDDs, and installing XP to the 1st HDD, the o/s now can't see the second HDD. How can I format the 2nd HDD without going through the o/s install process on it?
  8. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    you format the other drive right from xp or vista
    after boot go to :: right click my computer(XP)I don't know Vista
    go to manage
    drop down menu storage go to disk management
    you will see drive there should be able to right click and format may take a while
    or find a good 3rd party disk manager like acronis can format with that
  9. ptg

    ptg TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks Sam. Worked a treat. Everything is working fine now - I just gotta get my Ethernet working now I've re-installed the o/s. I can't connect to my hub as my network card doesn't have the correct drivers. I've no idea what the card is, can I get a generic driver?
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

  11. ptg

    ptg TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Tmagic. I found those before. I thought I posted a reply to close the thread, but I think that was another fresh thread I started thinking about it! Sorry, and thanks for all your help. It is all sorted now.
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