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XP Home is there, it works, but BIOS can't see it...

By Electric Ray ยท 7 replies
Jul 28, 2005
  1. Here's some weirdness. I have just rebuilt my PC completely:

    - Motherboard: ASUS A8N-E (for horrid Dell Micro ATX)
    - Memory: Geil 2x512mb DDR (for horrid Dell 256mb RDRam)
    - CPU:Athlon 64 Socket 939 (for Pentium 4)
    - Graphics: Radeon x800 PCIe graphics card (for NVidia X400 AGP)

    XP installation didn't survive - I tried a repair install but no joy at all. No matter - instead I have clean installed XP on my second HD (160gig Maxtor IDE) and made it into master. When I try to boot to it, I get "BOOT DISK FAILURE: INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER".

    I don't get it - XP is definitely installed on the disk, and it is a perfectly good version - I know this bc if I set the bios to boot to the (corrupted) C Drive, then F8 into Windows Advanced Set Up, I can access it - in fact that's the only way I can find to access it.

    All I can think of is that my BIOS [bold]thinks[/bold] it is looking at the D Drive (that's what the BIOS seems to say) but actually it's looking at something else when it gives the failure.

    The other odd thing is that if the BIOS is set to boot to the D Drive, I can't event get F8 to work - it gives me the Boot Disk Failure before I get a chance to.

    My last resort is purchasing XP Professional and installing it over the top in the vain hope that will make a difference - but this seems to be a BIOS error and not an XP error?

    Thoughts gratefully received

  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +419

    So you installed XP clean to a seperate hd? Well that shoudl work, unless you switched something up afterwards.
    Put your 160 gig hd on the primary channel, and set it as master. If you have done that and it didn't work, completely remove than 2nd hd (your old one). Will it boot now?

    I'm not sure i see your logic in thinking buying XP Pro is going to change anything.
  3. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 669

    When you say you made the drive into master, you mean you've set the jumpers so that its now master when it was slave, right?

    Well first thing you can do is remove the old drive from the system. Check that BIOS is set to auto detect the drives. And see if the issue remains. Other than that you can edit the boot.ini file on the old drive so that it lists the new operating system installation on the D: drive (160Gb maxtor) and load it from there.

    EDIT: haha, SNGX is faster than me, but the advice still stands.
  4. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Come on guys!
    The all-important bootloader is on the corrupt C-drive and the OS is on the working D-drive.
    To make the second harddisk the master, switch jumpers to Master, connect that HD to the end of the IDE-cable. Check BIOS.
    Then reinstall from scratch.
  5. Electric Ray

    Electric Ray TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks RealBlackStuff.

    Just out of curiosity, why reinstall from scratch? (I'm happy enough to do this as i want to upgrade to XP Pro anyway, but am curious)

    Thanks all - this is one mighty helpful place. Thank heavens for the Internet and people people like you

  6. urbandragon

    urbandragon TS Rookie Posts: 231

    well you could try physically setting the "good" install as the Primary Master on the first IDE controller then booting to your xp cd and running the recovery console and doing fixmbr and fixboot.

    But like realblackstuff explained your bootloader is on the corrupted C: partition and not on the d or "good" install version because when you had the hdds daisy chained and installed on the second hdd the boot.ini was updated on the c drive and is not located on the "good" install version.

    windows was designed to only operate if the bootloader is located on c only.... that is why you get the invalid system disk message.

    fixboot and fix mbr may fix it.. otherwise you are looking at a new install
  7. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Those fixes do not change any of the registry entries, that all point to programs on the (former) D-drive.
    That's why you must install from scratch, so everything points to the C-drive..
  8. Electric Ray

    Electric Ray TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK - I have done everything you've suggested and I have a brand new, happily booting, roaringly fast, Windows XP Pro pc. One happy camper indeed!

    Once again, many thanks to you all - and a glass of the Real Black Stuff raised to RealBlackstuff

    Electric Ray
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