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Thread: Invalid partition table/hard drive faults?

  1. #1
    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Question Invalid partition table/hard drive faults?

    Is it possible to have a fault on a hard drive which would prevent it from being bootable but not prevent any problems in use as a data drive?

    I've been trying to install windows on my new computer, and it all seems to go OK at first - I can create partitions, format them etc. but when it comes to the first time I have to restart during the install process, it hangs with a message of 'invalid partition table'. I really don't want to have to completely wipe the whole disk, as I've got a FAT32 partition of useful data at the end of the disk that I'd like to keep.

    Also I'm failing to get my floppy drive working, so I can't boot off floppy to muck around in fdisk, but I can take the hard drive out and put it in my old machine which has an old version of partition magic.

    The closest I've come so far is to use partition magic to set up the disk so it had a large chunk of nothing at the start, then the rest of the drive as an extended partition, within which there are two logical partitions, both FAT32, the last one having my data. WinXP boots of the CD, detects the raw space and lets me create partitions. I choose one for the installation, it formats and starts installation. Then fails on the prompted restart as listed above

    Any help most welcome

  2. #2
    The late but legendary peterb - Onward and Upward peterb's Avatar
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    It could be corruption of the first track on the disk (that contains the MBR) You could try re-creating the MBR - you will need to do a bit of research on how to do it, but you can do it with Fdisk, or with Partition Magic. However you may be better getting a second disk and using that as the system disk, then backing up the other disk and re-formatting it completely. The latter solution is going to be a pain, a bit more expensive, but much much lower risk, if the data is valuable.
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  3. #3
    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    *nods* Thanks.

    I would love to try using FDisk.. but I can't get the floppy drive working at the moment either - if I put the hdd back in my old computer fdisk is going to see the mbr on *that* computers hdd isn't it? (The old computer boots of another HDD, but it's tiny).

    I've backed up the most important data, but if I can't get the floppy working I might try moving the dvd writer to the old comptuer and making a full copy of the partition before formating

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    You can always try booting off the XP CD into the recovery console, and then running fixmbr on the troublesome drive. However, assuming the MBR is currently on a pooched portion of the drive, and that it can't be relocated to a working portion, I don't see how your FAT32 partition is picked up at all, since its key information (Such as where it is on the disk) is also stored in the MBR.

    I think it's more likely that your machine is attempting to boot off the FAT32 partition, which as you say, doesn't have an OS. In that case, the fixboot recovery console command might be what you're looking for. Alternatively, you could manually set the bootable flag on the correct partition. Fdisk, which I think can also be found in the XP recovery console, probably supports this.

    Hope you come right.
    Last edited by eldren; 11-11-2005 at 12:30 PM.

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    A bootable partition needs to be set as "Active" which you can do from Partition magic IIRC. If it isn't flagged as active it will not boot but will be OK to use for data (which is the effect you are seeing).

    Hopefully this is the answer

  6. #6
    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Fantastic, thanks for the help. I'll give them a try this evening.

    Repair console's just brought up as one of the options when I boot of the CD isn't it? (something like 'r' instead of 'enter')

    I haven't seen a way in partition magic to set a partition active on another drive than the drive I want to use as bootable (on that computer). But it's easily done in fdisk which if I can run from the recovery console should sort things out. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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    • blueball's system
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel
    I haven't seen a way in partition magic to set a partition active on another drive than the drive I want to use as bootable (on that computer).
    I think it is on the tools menu when you select a partition or you could try right clicking on the partition to see if it appears in the menu?

  8. #8
    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    No amount of fixmbr, fixboot or diskpart helps things

    Everytime I ran fixmbr it said my computer has a non-standard or invalid master boot record, even after it had supposedly successfully created one.

    Is there a way to format the disk to help fix this?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel
    No amount of fixmbr, fixboot or diskpart helps things

    Everytime I ran fixmbr it said my computer has a non-standard or invalid master boot record, even after it had supposedly successfully created one.

    Is there a way to format the disk to help fix this?
    The only other thing I would have tried would be to run "fdisk /mbr" from a floppy or bootable CD.

  10. #10
    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Floppy drive isn't working but I can look into creating a bootable CD.

  11. #11
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    • blueball's system
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    Don't know if this will help but here is the MS Resource Kit article on your problem:

    http://www.microsoft.com/resources/d...d_tro_evwd.asp

  12. #12
    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Breakthrough! Creating a sub 1024 cylinder partition and setting it active through partition magic on the old computer worked. It does mean that windows is in a pokey 2.5gb partition though. Now need to find some partition resizers that work on NTFS...

  13. #13
    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueball
    Don't know if this will help but here is the MS Resource Kit article on your problem:

    http://www.microsoft.com/resources/d...d_tro_evwd.asp
    Thanks

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