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HDD boot problems - black screen

This is a discussion on HDD boot problems - black screen within the Hard Drive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hi, I have run into a problem even though I routinely copy my boot drive to a backup drive using

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Old 01-10-2006, 07:23 AM   #1
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I have run into a problem even though I routinely copy my boot drive to a backup drive using Western Digital (WD) Data Lifeguard. My system HDD is a WD 80 GB with 2 partitions. Always ran well. The backup drive is another WD 80 GB with 2 partitions (slightly different size than the system HDD).
After performing some MSoft "critical" patches and updating to Office SR3 I ran into many problems. So I pulled out my old backup and inserted the HDD into my system as the master drive with the old master now set as slave. All jumpers were correct. The system booted up to the configuration just before the MSoft updates. All seemed rosy.
I used the WD Data Lifeguard tool to "set up" the slave as a new boot device and copy the data from the current master to this new slave. It took a while and when finished I disconnected the master (the backup drive) and reinstalled the original drive. When I tried to boot I got an error "the following file is missing or corrupt c:\windows\system32\config\system".
Here's the real kicker. I put the backup drive back into the system by itself. It started to boot and gave the exact same error. In case you're wondering I did make sure that I didn't mix the drives up. One has a large #1 marked on top and the other has #2. Also, the difference in partition sizes and the fact that WD DLG won't let you "set up" your current c:drive pretty much makes the swaps fool proof. It worked in the past without issue.
On one drive I used a W98 boot disk to run fdisk/mbr. Now that disk gives a black screen when it is installed in the system. Strangely, if I boot using the W98 boot disk, I can see all the files on the hard drive. I tried fdisk again to set the active partition and it said "data could not be written to drive". Also, when booting the drive shows as 10 GB but fdisk shows the partition sizes as correct with the total drive size as 10GB.
The other drive that still gives "the missing or corrupt file" error also seems to have all the data files in place. One time and only one time in the middle of a dozen reboot attemps, the drive booted up as normal when I chose "last known good configuration". After that I am still getting the file error. Running Win2K setup, Repair installed a lot of stuff (seemed like a new install) but the problem persists after rebooting.

So there are 2 problems:
1. Drive that has missing/corrupt file.
2. Drive that gives black screen

Any suggestions would be grately appreciated.

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Old 01-10-2006, 03:28 PM   #2
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I would install which ever drive you figure is your best shot / boot the computer into the recovery console using the Win 2000 CD

once in the recovery console try the fix mbr & fix boot commands

here is a How to of the RECOVERY console

let us know if this helps

in the future >>>> i dont think WD lifeguard is meant to be what you are trying to do this with !! its gernally meant for a one time clone of an existing drive over to a new drive >>>>> try xxclone (in my signature >>> they have a free version and it WILL do exactly as you have been thinking >>>>> I have done it 100's of times without ever one failure !!)


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Old 01-11-2006, 01:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information. I was not comfortable when I looked at the Recovery Console command prompt before my post so I hesitated to type any commands. Thank you for advising on what to do there.

For reference, I was able to find a Microsoft "fix" in the knowledge base for the exact error message of: "the following file is missing or corrupt c:\windows\system32\config\system". That fix said to use the Recovery Console to rename the file named "system" in that config directory to "system.old" and copy in its place the file named "system" from the c:\windows\repair directory.

After doing this, Win2K booted (less any service packs, drivers, and no Office 2K). So at least I can use explorer to recover some files.

A couple of questions remain.

1. Can you give a short explanation of what fix mbr and fix boot will do?

2. Was my using a W98 fdisk/mbr a bad idea since the drive was 80 GB?

3. If Win2K disk management and explorer show the drive/partition size correctly should I ignore the fact that fdisk and my bios (during the boot sequence) show the drive as 10781 MB (recall it is an 80 GB drive)?

4. I cannot set up a dial up account in explorer or using the link to dial up in control panel. (The modem querry looks good.) During the account setup the system tells me that the name I've chosen for the account is invalid. I've tried a dozen different names and even left it as what it defaults to, "Connection to 3954014". Any ideas?

Thanks again.
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Old 01-11-2006, 01:35 PM   #4
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I took a look at the Recovery Console link you provided and it answered my first question. And I will look into XXclone.


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Old 01-16-2006, 10:24 AM   #5
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I looked into XXClone and found the help file usefull but not completely straight forward. Being familiar with Ghost, I was under the impression that XXClone would make a file that I would restore to a drive when needed. It looks like XXClone will create a direct copy of the drive that I choose as source. If I only have one HDD can I copy my primary partition (C:) to one of my storage partitions as a backup? (I want to run a test first) If I check the boxes for make bootable, boot.ini, etc will this work when the data is written to the storage partition of the drive? It seems to me that when using XXClone I will need a completely separate HDD for it to write to. Correct? I've repartitioned my HDD with several partitions to reduce backup time. If using XXClone to copy these partitions to another HDD do I have to exactly match up the size of the source and target partitions? Is XXClone just copying the data or is it copying the entire partition including empty space?

The reason for so many questions is that I will be writing over my working backup HDD when I first try XXClone and I'd like to be sure I am without a backup for as little time as possible.

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