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The wrong volume is in the drive

By paulchxp · 14 replies
Jun 19, 2009
  1. We have a Systemax desktop machine running Windows XP Professional SP2. All Microsoft Updates are current (except we're still running SP2 instead of SP3, and have not yet upgraded to IE 7), and we have done full scans with Symantec Anti-Virus, PC Tools Spyware Doctor, and Malwarebytes. No infections or other problems are reported by those tools.

    The problem is that, when shutting down Windows, we see a message: "The wrong volume is in the drive. Please insert volume in drive C:."

    [Drive C: is the physical drive on which the operating system is installed. Note that the message does not specify "which" volume to insert.]

    Clicking Retry does nothing, and clicking Cancel allows the machine to shut down. On each subsequent restart, Windows insists on running chkdsk.

    We've run chkdsk /r /f from safe mode, with no egregious errors reported.

    We also have uninstalled the only program installed within the last couple of months, and subsequently run a Registry Cleaner (jv16 Power Tools). The problem persists.

    I suspect that this is a self-perpetuating problem that originates with the "The wrong volume is in the drive" error, but I can't figure out how to cure that.

    Any suggestions will be appreciated!
  2. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    You need to look at the event logs for entries concerning this.

    Also what does Disk management have to say about this?

    Is this a Raided system?

  3. paulchxp

    paulchxp TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Nothing in the Event Log refers to this error.

    All Disk Management says is "Healthy (System)." Is there something else I need to look at here?

    This is not a raided system ... a single 500-GB drive.
  4. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    Hold down the Microsoft/Flag key and tap the Pause/Break key (end of top row).

    This will bring up the System properties. Click Advanced - Startup and Recovery - Settings, then Advanced - Ediit. Copy for pasting the Boot.ini

    Paste this to the thread.

  5. paulchxp

    paulchxp TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Here is the boot.ini:

    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Very strange problem indeed!

    Of course, the system re-running chkdsk is probably due to the error message you reported. Am I correct that after running chkdsk your machine continues to boot up normally?

    1) Just a bit of detail (and fyi): There's a "dirty" bit associated with each disk volume. The repeated failure on shutdown is probably setting it each time. You can query/reset this bit using command fsutil

    2) As mflynn suggested, a look at your Event Logs might provide a hint. To provide us a look at recent log entries (just in case it's a "subtle" hint) please click Start->Run, enter cmd to open a command window then copy/paste the following command into the window. Then attach the events.txt file it puts on your Desktop into your next post (use the paper clip icon to attach a file)
    cscript "C:\WINDOWS\system32\eventquery.vbs" /l application /l system /r 35 /v  /fo table /fi "Type eq error OR Type eq warning" > "%userprofile%\desktop\events.txt"
    3) It sounds like (so i will assume for now) your A/V scan was pretty thorough. So, one thing to try next time you shutdown and you get the "Insert volume" prompt: Ctl-Alt-Del to bring up Task Manager. Try killing each application (not process) you see running (one-at-a-time). See if that aborts whatever is prompting it (and which app it is). Let us know if it traces back to an application or not. If not, i have some other ideas to try trace it back to a process.
  7. paulchxp

    paulchxp TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Very interesting ideas, thanks!

    You are correct that, after running chkdsk on startup, the machine continues to start normally and is generally fully functional thereafter. I say "generally" because there are a number of other, minor peculiarities going on -- such as not being able to login to Amazon, etc. But that's probably beside the point here.

    Running fsutil just prior to restarting the computer reports that the volume is not dirty.

    The extract from the App and System Logs is attached as events.txt, as you requested.

    We weren't able to try what you suggested about using Task Manager to see if killing a running app would make the error go away. The problem is -- and I probably should have been more clear on this earlier -- that the "wrong volume" error appears after the desktop unloads, and as the "Windows is shutting down" message appears.

    However, checking Task Manager just prior to a shutdown or restart does not show any entries on the Applications tab.

    Thanks very much for your interest in trying to solve this puzzle!
  8. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    you'll need to help me a bit to understand what i'm seeing in the logs wrt timing of when the problem occurs.

    Specifically, I'm looking at Event Log entries about 7:55am - 7:58am on June 21. I see
    >> Application Log: a few Application Hang messages at that time
    >> System Log: Many, many Disk Error messages at that time

    1. would that have been about the time of the shutdown/your problem occurred?
    2. Can you recreate your problem and verify it re-generates similar messages when it occurs

    /* EDIT */
    The disk errors relate to an issue with your pagefile. Let me know above. Also rt click My Computer->Properties.
    >> On the General tab, How much memory does it say you have?
    >> Click Advanced tab, performance Settings button. Then Advanced tab, Change button. Could you capture a screen shot and attach a .jpg?
  9. paulchxp

    paulchxp TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Your assistance is very much appreciated!

    In the original events.txt file, the restart was at about 1:01 pm, so those disk errors you point out occurred during startup that morning. I have generated another events.txt file (attached as events 2.txt), but note that the query of the System Log failed, for some reason (I tried twice).

    The screenshots you requested are attached.

    I'm wondering if the Application Log error, "Windows saved user SYSTEMAX\Cheryl Hoover registry while an application or service was still using the registry during log off" is an indicator of the real problem? Thing is, I can't figure out what application or service is the culprit. Just prior to restart, the Applications tab in Task Manager is blank. We've tried killing different services -- such as the PC Tools Spyware Doctor -- prior to restart, but it has no effect.

    Again, thank you!

  10. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    It;s not clear if it's THE problem (though this might well be the reason) but your virtual memory settings should be modified!
    >> Your virtual memory is currently set to Custom and
    >> It's currently set to 2046MB (equal about 2GB) which is small as you have 2GB of physical memory and
    >> Not surprising, the display indicates Windows is already recommending a larger size of 3058MB (about 3GB)

    Your virtual memory (which really translates to disk space vs. physical memory which is real memory - which may all sound confusing but that's Windows! :) ) need be larger. I'll recommend 4GB to be safe and err on the side of caution (for not just now but in the future as well) plus some disk cleanup performed and i'd advise updating to XP SP3 (you're current SP2) as well

    this is just an fyi for now. I'll post again within next 24hrs with more detail on what to do/specific steps to address issues above. Then we can see if the problem stops or continues

    Just as good measure (if you don't do so already, advise you backup all your stuff for safe keeping before fixing this problem)
  11. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    So we’re going to do several things. We'll cleanup your disk a bit and change your virual memory settings. Then address the registry unload message you saw in the event log file (which btw pertains to apps not shutting down!)
    1. Download and save PageDefrag tool (we’ll use it a bit later)
    2. We’ll cleanup some misc and junk files on your hard drive (“HD”) Download/run CCleaner
      >> Close any open Internet browser windows
      >> In ccleaner, under Windows tab, under Internet Explorer
      ===> Uncheck Cookies under Internet Explorer
      >> If you use another browser as well (e.g. firefox) click Applications tab and uncheck Cookies as well
      >> Then click Run Cleaner
    3. Next we do a Windows disk defrag. Start->Programs->Accessories->System->Disk Defrag. Click Defragment
    4. When defrag is done, we reallocate your virtual memory. Rt click My Computer->Properties->Advanced. Click Performance Settings button. Virtual Memory Change button
      >> Custom should still be checked
      >> Set both Initial size and Maximum size to 4000
      >> Click Set button
      >> Reboot your computer
    5. Next run the PageDefrag tool we downloaded earlier. Click Defrag at Next boot. Click OK. Reboot again. The page defrag will run after you restart
    ==> Now check if the problem is same or any different. Including if you can generate system and app event log files
    ==> If still a problem, does it happen in both normal and safe mode?

    Next, to address the registry error message you noted see this MS KB You experience log off problems on a Windows XP-based, Windows Server 2003-based, Windows 2000-based, or Windows NT 4.0-based computer Follow the directions there to try cleaning your registry hives etc.

    Then give me an update. (btw.. do you also have your Windows installation CD should it come down to needing to do a Windows repair?)
  12. paulchxp

    paulchxp TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I apologize for my delay in responding. I'm on the road at the moment working with a customer, and I don't have easy access to the problem machine. But I'll be home tomorrow evening, at which point I will pursue the steps you have outlined in the last two posts. I will post a further response as soon as I can get my hands on that *#$%@ rascal.

    Thank you for your patience! ... and for your thoughtful suggestions.

  13. paulchxp

    paulchxp TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Finally got a chance to get back to this.

    1. Installed and ran ccleaner. It removed about 481 MB of junk. I also ran the registry cleaner, which fixed a bunch of stuff ... not that much, however, as I had run the registry cleaner in jv16 PowerTools on this machine not long ago.

    2. Ran the Windows defragger. It reported that the drive did not need to be defragged, which makes sense, since we'd run in only a few days ago after moving a huge bunch of data files off the C: drive to a backup, in anticipation of possibly having to rebuild the machine.

    3. Reallocated virtual memory to 4096 MB initial and max. Rebooted (and got the "wrong volume is in the drive" error, and chkdsk ran again).

    4. Ran the PageDefrag tool and set it to defrag on next reboot. Rebooted (and got the error again), and again Windows offered to run chkdsk. Let it run, and the machine subsequently loaded Windows without any evidence that PageDefrag had run. Rebooted again, and this time pressed the spacebar to abort chkdsk -- and then saw a message about PageDefrag, but it showed "scan aborted." Rebooted yet again, and let chkdsk run -- again, no evidence that PageDefrag had run.

    5. At that point we're still seeing sporadic instances of the Event 1517 warning (see the attached events.txt file). So, downloaded and installed UPHClean. It shows as running, although it's interesting that Symantec is reporting that it is blocking it. Also interesting that the Event 1517 warning has not returned after installing UPHClean.

    Unfortunately, we're still getting the error on shutdown or restart, and on each restart chkdsk is running. Chkdsk is reporting different errors, and on different files, each time, but usually it starts with ntuser.dat or ntuser.dat.log, where the first allocation unit is not valid -or- the size is not valid -or- cross-linked on allocation unit 'x'.

    For variety, we've tried logging in with a different user (a profile that existed prior to this condition developing), and the same sequence of error-followed-by-chkdsk occurs. We also created a brand new local user account and logged in with that one, but the same sequence of events occurs.

    I'm about convinced that we need to start over with this guy. We have the manufacturer's System Restore disk. We also have a legitimate install CD of Windows XP, but I'm wary of using that approach because of the possibility that it might not have the specific drivers that we need.

    Any other ideas?

    Thanks in advance ...
  14. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Curious -- I've never heard of this happening before.

    Have you taken a look at what Disk Manager has to say?
    Start > Run > diskmgmt.msc

    Check out Disk 0 (assuming you have XP installed on the first disk). Does it say its "Removable" above where it lists its capacity in GB? If not, what does it say? For example, your C: should probably look like:

    Disk 0

    480GB NTFS
    Healthy (System)

    Whether or not a drive is considered removable by Windows is determined by a bit in the drive's firmware... At least this is true with USB drives. I'm wondering if your hard drive itself might have some sort of firmware/electronics related issue. There's still room for software problems too, but it just seems very strange.
  15. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Hmm... Somehow marked as removable media? Good thought/thing to check on!

    If i might give another easy method to look into and report back detailed info about your disk volumes (including info about Fixed vs. Removable as Rick points out). Install System Information Viewer.
    >> When it opens see the buttons along the bottom of the window
    >> Click Volumes button, then click Copy button. Now you can paste the info directly to your TechSpot post

    Good thinking to plan ahead. But fyi, if need be, you can also use a freeware tool like DriverMax to first backup all your drivers so you have them handy and available if needed after a reformat and reinstall. Then you only need focus on having the right disk driver to complete the install (all the remaining drivers can be then reinstalled from the driver backup)
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