nicoljmh
1 Copper

latitude cp non-standard bios? HIGHLY TECHNICAL!

I have migrated my WinXP-Pro system from a 6G drive to a 30G drive and it will not boot. Blank screen, blinking cursor. Recovery Console fixboot and fixmbr don't help. Recovery Console can browse the partition just fine, as will XP when I added the drive to a different computer. There's just something wrong with the boot process. I verified that both the MBR and the PBR match both the examples in the XP Resource Kit, and those of the other computer, and that the partition table is fine, with dskprobe. I verified that the one and only partition is active and not hidden. I renamed ntldr to ntldrbad, tried to boot, blank screen, blinking cursor. I did NOT get the "NTLDR is missing" message, so I am led to believe either the PBR boot code isn't running, or the MBR boot code isn't running. Original disk still boots fine. I tried a clean install of XP onto the new disk, works fine, copied my old XP partition over, updating the partition table, won't boot. Since the MBR and PBR boot code is/are fine, I'm wondering if the BIOS is looking for something in one of the unused sectors 1-62 and going astray. Two sectors in that range are not blank. Sector 1 leads off with a "AF 00 04", and sector 10 has a "28 96 C4 17" at 0x190- and "FD FF FF FF" at 0x1A0-. Significant, or grasping at straws? The original disk had already had a clean install of XP-Pro, so neither of the Dell partions remain (the diagnostic partition, nor the recovery partition.) As far as I know, access to those partions went through a Dell custom MBR, not from the BIOS. But is there something else the BIOS is doing? Since a clean install onto the new disk works, if the BIOS is doing funny business, the XP-Pro install task either knows about it, or by blind luck doesn't trip it. Other info: doesn't matter if I copy the original XP-Pro partition sector by sector into an exactly sized partition, or into a slightly larger one (8.5G) or into the full 30G. Same result. I defragged with PerfectDisk in each case, so the MFT was in one fragment. Disk diagnostics show no bad sectors. Chkdsk is happy. Just won't boot. Latitude CP m233st, 128M Ram, BIOS A16. What am I missing? jmh
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3 Replies
Axeman098
2 Bronze

Re: latitude cp non-standard bios? HIGHLY TECHNICAL!

Okay, if you can hook up the drives to an outside source PC with Adapters or such, try first formatting the 30G before anything to start with a truly clean slate.  6G should be on Primary IDE, 30G on slave. Use a product called Acronis True Image Boot Disk.  Can be easily found from many places. Boot to CD, and Acronis will bring up a menu. One of the Options is to "Clone" a drive. Tell it the source and destination drives, and it  should do everything automatically for you, including automatically resizing the partition and completely configuring the new drive as the boot drive.  If you start with a clean drive and that cloning process doesn't work....either the drive has issues, or the laptop simply cannot properly recognise the drive. I've almost never had an Acronis clone not work unless there is something wrong. We use Acronis at work to reimage machines and it is very good. If ANYthing can make the clone boot properly, the Acronis Boot CD is the one to do it.  If that doesn't work, verify the bad drive by using a program called Speedfan 4.33.  It is a very handy free program that not only show fans speeds and thermal sensor information, but also allows you to scan the SMART status of any drive on your system with in depth Online Analysis in a graphical format also showing overall drive health and performance percentages.
 
If the drive has issues, the SMART check will most definitely reveal them, especially the online analysis check. If it passes that, then I'd say its a compatibility issue.
 
Let me know how it goes 😉


Message Edited by Axeman098 on 11-13-2007 12:08 AM

Message Edited by Axeman098 on 11-13-2007 12:17 AM
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nicoljmh
1 Copper

Re: latitude cp non-standard bios? HIGHLY TECHNICAL!

The Maxtor DiscWizard is relabeled Acronis software. I did the clone with its bootable media, again on the desktop, NTLDR is missing. In searching for more info, I found this: since there is no standard CHS to LBA translation, hard drives are generally not interchangeable between BIOSes, and the problem gets worse for an older BIOS. So I think I'll have to do the entire cloning on the CP, and that means I'll have to get a front bay hard drive caddy. Stay tuned. jmh
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nicoljmh
1 Copper

Re: latitude cp non-standard bios? HIGHLY TECHNICAL!

That was it. I got a front bay hdd caddy with a 40G Hitachi drive in it on ebay. Unfortunately, it goes in the same bay as the cdrom. So I had to squeeze in the maxtor/acronis software onto the old 6G drive and run it from there. But it won't work unless at least one of the drives is a Maxtor. Grrrrr.... Found a USB->IDE cable and an old Maxtor drive, now the software is happy. You don't have to USE the Maxtor drive, it just has to be there. Do the clone operation (including booting into the software's blue screen standalone phase.) Did a clone with expand into the 40G. Swap drives, the 40G boots! So let this be a lesson to all ye who want to clone drives. HARD DRIVES ARE GENERALLY NOT INTERCHANGEABLE BETWEEN BIOSES! Especially older bioses. Case closed. Thanks to all who responded:)
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