HELP!! My hard drive will not boot!

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ehc68

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I have built several computers (including this one) and have swapped out hard drives NUMEROUS times over the years, but this time I need to seek help....I'm stumped!!

I bought this Western Digital about 5 or 6 months ago and used it as a single , Master drive and it worked fine then. Later on, I decided to re-install my old drive (20 gig), set IT as a master drive and use it only for the operating system then delete the OS from my new drive (80 gig) to free up space and use it strictly for data storage.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine needed a hard drive so I decided to give him the old one. I finally got around to backing up all files in my old drive on cd's and dvd's as well as the files on my newer drive. Then I re-formatted the old drive to clear everything off so he could have it. Now I was ready to pull the old one out and connect the new one as a master drive (no jumpers needed when setting as master on this one).

After installing the new drive, I ran the Data Lifeguard hard drive installation CD, then I planned on re-formatting and installing Win XP.
First, I tried booting from my cd rom with the XP cd inserted....[DR DOS], or something like that loads up which eventually gives me an "A" prompt (A:\).
I tried typing in D:\SETUP ("D" being the drive letter to my ROM), but of course it doesn't work because of being in DOS mode.....I get across the screen something like ...Cannot run program in DOS! .

After a long while of trying any combination I could think of, with no success, I used an old computer (with XP installed on its HD) and connected my drive as a slave. Then I right clicked on My Computer, then Manage, then Storage, then Disk Management, then clicked on the drive letter of my new drive, then format. Then I formatted the drive for NTFS file system. Then I ran the Win XP cd then during setup I was able to select the drive letter for the new drive to install to that drive. I rebooted the computer and during bootup, had the option of selecting between the two hard drives (as normal) then, of course, I selected the new one and it ran WINDOWS!!!

I thought I finally had it, but then I disconnected the other drive and tried running the new one by itself and it won't load Windows, I just get the black screen that says "unable to load OS". Again, this was done on an old pc. The other curve ball is that when I try the same thing using my newer PC (the one I actually want the new HD installed on) it won't even work using TWO drives. If I try to boot from the new drive, a blue screen will flash REALLY quick and the pc will automatically reboot. Then when using the new drive by itself, it will do the same as on the other older pc and display "unable to load OS".
It just has me really confused as to why on an older pc am I able to at least get the HD to boot windows with two drives installed , but unable to do this with a newer much faster pc....especially when that's how it was set up before and worked fine when using the new drive and the drive I gave away.

ANY suggestions are GREATLY appreciated!!!
Are there boot files that didn't get installed or something.
 

Brinson

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I'm a bit confused as to what you're saying.

You can't move a windows install between PCs easily. You need to reinstall.

Have you tried putting in one hard drive, set to master, and using an install disc to reinstall windows xp, then adding the other HD as a slave after install?
 

ehc68

Solid State Member
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I'm a bit confused as to what you're saying.

You can't move a windows install between PCs easily. You need to reinstall.

Ok.....well I've been able to swap hard drives from one pc to the other in the past and the OS worked (I can also install the HD from my old PC in my new one and the OS works), but that may very well be part of my problem in THIS case......I'll try re-installing again on the PC that it's actually going in and see what happens.

Have you tried putting in one hard drive, set to master, and using an install disc to reinstall windows xp, then adding the other HD as a slave after install?

Yes....that's what I tried with the new HD and rather than windows setup running on bootup, something called Caldron DR-DOS booted up and all kinds of script goes up the screen then eventually gives an A: prompt.
 

superdave1984

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Does the BIOS find the HD that you want to install Windows on? Does it find your CD drive? Swapping HD's works only when one mobo is very similar to the other mobo. Otherwise if it worked you got lucky. It sounds like the boot order is incorrect and trying to boot from HD, then floppy.
 

ehc68

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The XP cd still doesn't autorun at bootup. I even tried an an old win 95 and 98 cd and they didn't autorun either. I also even tried using a different ROM drive....still didn't work. With the cd in the rom, my pc will boot and you'll see the cd rom light flashing, but then I'll just get "error loading OS".

Should I install my floppy drive and put a win 98 boot disk in then at the A: prompt type in FDISK and delete partitions. then reboot with disk still in the drive and at the A: prompt type in FORMAT C: and start over that way?

Or will that do any good since cd's do not autorun making Windows setup unable to run at bootup?
 

ehc68

Solid State Member
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Something else I noticed was when I tried to run the same cd's (Win95, Win 98, and Win XP) on my wifes new, perfectly healthy PC, they still didn't autorun at bootup.
The boot order is set on her pc for CD, Floppy, HD.

This doesn't make sense to me!

Why in the world aren't they working?¿?
 

phucng_10

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Some help from Law. He helped me quite a bit, but my Maxtor 300GB still wasn't working so I just went to return it and got a Seagate 300GB SATA.

Credits to Law:
Possibly a bad hard drive, RAM, CD, or optical drive.

To test your hard drive just find out who the manufacture is and get it from this link Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities (Storage) - TACKtech Corp.

Use memtest for your RAM.
Memtest86.com - Memory Diagnostic

Swap your optical drive.

Check your CD for any defects or scratches.

Well if your computer can't boot to Windows then the obvious thing to do is go on another computer and download those diagnostic tools that I posted for your hard drive. Download (your hard-drive model) onto a working computer with a CD burner and burn it as an image to a CD using this software The Official ImgBurn Website . Use it on the computer that has the bad hard drive. These diagnostic tool are not meant to be run on Windows..they are bootable CD that you boot into.
 
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