Cannot boot from HDD after XP installation

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Problem :

I am not expecting an exact answer here but a just a list of things to troubleshoot would be good. I am trying to fix a friend’s computer and thought I almost had it. Here’s what has been done up to this point:

The graphics card was loose and the hard drives were not being recognized – could not load windows. I secured the graphics card and after searching around discovered that if I take the drives out of the RAID they were in and put them into ATA mode then they are detected. So far so good.

I then insert a copy of Windows XP Media Center 2005 as was on it before and boot from CD. I select one of the two hard drives to install windows on. I format the drive and it proceeds into copying the files – all done with no complaints. Then, it must restart, it says to leave the CD in the drive and press enter to restart or it will do it itself after 15 seconds. Here is where I am having trouble. Normally, it starts up (this time it should want to boot from the HDD if the boot order is correct in the BIOS – is this correct?) and we progress to Windows Setup etc. However, all I’m getting is a too-quick-to-read flash of an error ‘Cannot read C:/Windows’ I think. Then automatically restarts and repeats. If I boot from disk I’m back into the beginning of installing windows.

Just in case the install was bad I formatted the drive again and let it copy the files but the same thing happened on restart. My copy of Windows is spread across two disks but I noticed it never asked for the second disk, I thought it might be needed once we get into the Windows setup part.

Now when I power up I am getting nothing. No too-quick-to-read error message nothing but a flashing underscore and no response. In case it indicates anything, one press of the power button does not shut it down I have to hold it in for the full 6 seconds.

There are the facts. If anyone can Sherlock Holmes some ideas about what might be wrong I will be very grateful!!



Solution :

My first suggestion would be to double check the BIOS to make sure you’ve changed the HDD config from RAID to ATA, also check your pinout on both drives. Chances are that although you can read/write Windows to it during install, the drive you installed it on may be set to “SLAVE” or not set at all. Hope this helps.

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