Imaged drive in windows, took original drive out, now new drive hangs on login screen

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by oryan_dunn, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. oryan_dunn

    oryan_dunn n00bie

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    I'm working on my sister computer and put in a new hard drive. I imaged the drive in windows (using xp) and all seemed to go ok. I took the original out and now windows will book ok, but will hang on a screen that resembles the windows login screen, blue background with a windows xp logo on the right side. The mouse still works as well as the numlock lights, but it will go no futher. I've tried changing drive letters with the old drive installed, but somehow, i've fubar'd both and now both drives hang at this spot regardless of whether or not the other is plugged in as well. I have a feeling, from research i've done on the web, that windows is looking for system files on a drive letter that doesn't exist. The problem now is that i cannot boot into either install of windows, nor thier respective safe mode options. In safe mode, i get the same screen as i do when booting into normal mode. How do i get either one of these drives to boot? I know the data is still there and the data is fine, but I need to make windows boot. I've also tried using the recovery console to do a fixmbr and a fixboot, but neither helped (I didn't figure they would as the address different aspects of the boot than what i suspect to be the problem). Any ideas?
     
  2. hulksterjoe

    hulksterjoe older and wiser now

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    have you tried booting from the cd and running the repair option? --um--nevermind
     
  3. Grimmda

    Grimmda 2[H]4U

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    I'd give the repair option a shot with is different from the Recovery Console, just act like your installing windows off the bootable cd but then there will come a point where it will repair the install.

    If that DOESN'T work then I would suggest this:

    Hopefully one of those two drives doesn't have "data" that you want to keep on it. SO just reinstall windows on THAT hard drive totally fresh with an NTFS Quick format and all and let XP reinstall. Then just take a look at the other drive that has the "data" and copy it onto the new working drive and repeat the process if you want to actually use the other hard drive as the O/S.

    Just a thought.
     
  4. Sid

    Sid Limp Gawd

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    Just a suggestion, stick the original drive back in and since you have not been able to log in try using the "last know good configuration". If it comes back up use ghost and image drive to drive.
     
  5. oryan_dunn

    oryan_dunn n00bie

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    Alright. I decided to try the repair option on the new drive. It went through and acted almost like a new install was taking place. Since I had used a slipstreamed sp2 disk, it put sp2 on for me (something i needed to do anyways). When I had done the image in the first place, the original hard drive was labeled C:, the cd was D: and the new hard drive was E:. I then booted into the new install of windows on drive E: and i changed the drive letter of drive c: to z: so that i could free up c: for the new windows. Well, the next few reboots were booting into one or the other os trying to straighten out the drive letter situation until the new one would boot successfully on its own. While I was working on this, the original drive was primary master and the new drive was primary slave. After the recovery option finished, the new drive was able to boot successfully while it was the only drive connected to the computer. The problem now is that it is still labeled drive E:. I would like to change that back to C:, but I can't since it is the boot drive, and I am afraid to-even if i could change it- because it may render the drive unbootable again. Does anyone know how to successfully change the drive letter of the xp boot partition?

    Also, does anyone know the proper way to go about changing these drives around without running into this problem. Take this situation for example: Have a computer with two hard drives, the original c: and the other is e: I install a second copy of windows fresh onto e:, but it doesn't put any of the boot information there as it just adds the information to c:. How would I then go about making drive e: bootable as well as making it bootable with drive c: removed? How would i change that drive letter to c: before removing the original drive?
     
  6. oryan_dunn

    oryan_dunn n00bie

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    In the interest of trying all options, I followed "How To Restore the System/Boot Drive Letter in Windows" on the Microsoft KB. I reassigned drive E to drive C as it was free. I then rebooted and I got the same hang as before. Upon futher research, the screen that is shown when it hangs is the same screen that windows displays on shutdown when it says "Windows is saving your settings" and "Windows is shutting down", except that there is no text, just the windows icon. At this point, it seems that Windows 9x dynamically assigned drive letters work much better than the 2k/xp statically assigned letters. I am still in shock that something so simple can be so complicated to work out.
     
  7. Grimmda

    Grimmda 2[H]4U

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    ACK DUDE! What a mess, who know's what happening at this point...

    Do whatever you can to get Windows back, even if it wants to use E: instead of C:

    Take a drive that has nothing on it, or format it so it has nothing, make that the slave.

    Then boot into Windows (assuming you can get back to that point) and then put your "data" there.

    Then take that slave/data drive out put it on the shelf.

    Install XP w/SP2 slipstreamed and wax everything on it. Totally clean install.

    THen when everything works re-install the apps and shut down

    Put the data drive back in as a slave and copy over the necessary data.

    And voila you're done.
     
  8. Ranma_Sao

    Ranma_Sao 2[H]4U

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    You cannot redo the drive letter of the System drive in Windows XP. If it's E, it stays E. If you do change it, you won't boot, as you figured out.

    It's all controlled by the HKLM\system\MountedDevices registry key.

    The reason you cannot boot is certain components of windows used a hardcoded path since boot time. Note the next version of windows should allow you to do this. Unfortunatly, even if windows did let you change the system drive letter, almost every application on your box would be broken, since they all hardcoded paths.
     
  9. oryan_dunn

    oryan_dunn n00bie

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    Grimmda, I know I have that option, but I want to figure this out becuase in future situations, I may not have the luxury of having a second drive available. I wanted to get the imaged drive to work properly.

    Ranma_Sao,
    I understand that logic and it would make sense except for the fact that drive e is actually an image copy of drive c. All of the apps on drive c (if they had a hardcoded path) would point to c:\app path instead of e:\app path.

    The next thing I need to determine how to do is how can I edit the registry of an xp installation without booting into windows? Is there a way with the xp cd to boot and edit files on a hard drive? If I could edit the registry, I could at least make unbootable drives exhibiting this problem bootable, regardless of the drive letter I end up using.

    On a side note, how did windows 9x handle this situation? I seem to remember that the system would function, even after chaning a drive letter of a system volume.

    void rant(){ //begin rant
    The more i dig into the depths of windows, the more i appreciate the logic and organization of linux. Problems such as this are easily solvable when encountered in linux. If I could convince my sister to use linux (beyond impossible), then I would switch her over to it.
    } //end rant
     
  10. Ranma_Sao

    Ranma_Sao 2[H]4U

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    You absolutely positive the machine it came out was C? (Since I hear that all the time, and then look at the source and show them it was actually X where X is a drive letter other then C)
    If the drive was C, then I would be amazed it was booting from E, but there is a way to edit the registry from other machines or the same machine.

    BartPE will let you edit on the same machine:
    http://nu2.nu/pebuilder/

    Remote Registry Service will let you edit from machines on the network.

    Next time sysprep before pulling a drive and you'll be alot happier... ;)

    And I think Windows is a hella lot easier about imaging then linux is, but that's just me.
     
  11. oryan_dunn

    oryan_dunn n00bie

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    Thanks for the tips, but I've got a few more questions. When you say sysprep, I assume you are refering to the Microsoft tool by that name, and if so, do you have some links that would explain how that could have helped in a situation such as this? Does the BartPE disk work only on the machine it was created on, or does it work in all machines?

    My comment about linux was just that if i were having a problem with a mount point or something, I could easily boot from a floppy and edit the exact file i needed to to fix the problem. With Windows, one must use a bunch of tools that may or may not work to try to fix the problem. I've never actually imaged anything in linux before, so maybe imaging a linux drive would be more complex, but I bet if I ran into problems, I would be able to solve them relatively easily compared to this windows problem.

    Yes, I am positive the original drive was C:.
     
  12. Ranma_Sao

    Ranma_Sao 2[H]4U

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  13. Phaedrus

    Phaedrus [H]ard|Gawd

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    have you tried repairing the master boot record? If its a mirror of the old drive you still might need to re-do the master boot record just to give it a kick in the pants. after you make it the primary active(if you need to). FIXMBR will repair the startup partitions master boot code. FIXBOOT will write a new master boot record. These are available at the recovery console.
     
  14. oryan_dunn

    oryan_dunn n00bie

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    That was on of the first things I tried. But the problem does not lie there because the bios is able to pass control on to the boot loader and it is able to find the ntos kernerl and can boot. Its when windows is loaded and is preparing to load the user settings or whatnot that it hangs.
     
  15. Ranma_Sao

    Ranma_Sao 2[H]4U

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    Did using BartPE and redoing that registry key work for you?
     
  16. Grimmda

    Grimmda 2[H]4U

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    Here's the deal though. You should never GET this type of problem. I'm always one for figuring problems out, but what you've done is a method that shouldn't be attempted. If you had originally made backups and then imaged a fresh disk then installed what you needed and restored the backups you'd have been done with your sisters computer days ago. Stop trying to "figure it all out incase it happens again" and get it done. It's a "best practices" situation. Sorry, I don't mean to sound snippy on the topic, I'm "just saying" is all ;)
     
  17. oryan_dunn

    oryan_dunn n00bie

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    I agree that I should not get this problem, but I disagree with you in the fact that it is my fault. If Microsoft had coded better, it could figure out where the system files are and continue to boot. The programs that use a hard coded path would also not be affected; because, when they were originally installed, they had a hard coded path of C:\. I imaged that drive to another and tried to boot, but it hung at the login screen. My original intent was to not have to go through the process of redoing the OS, I just wanted to put her drive image onto a bigger drive.

    Anyways, havn't tried the bartPE yet. I'm going to give it a go later on today after I get off of work.

    Ryan

    PS. "Stop trying to 'figure it all out incase it happens again' ". I actually have fun doing this kind of troubleshooting. Its like a game that needs to be solved. She doesn't need her computer for a few weeks (we have several others in the house), so I get to mess around with it on break.
     
  18. oryan_dunn

    oryan_dunn n00bie

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    I tried the bartPE, but when running the regedit under that, it edits the registry for the bartPE environment. It seems that there should be some way to go in and edit the registry of the windows installation from bartPE. I'll do a little more digging and let you guys know what I find.
     
  19. Ranma_Sao

    Ranma_Sao 2[H]4U

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    Click on hklm
    Click load hive
    Navigate to the system folder on the disk C:\windows\system32\config\system
    double click it
    it will load
    make mods
    unload hive
    done

    The drive letter got reassigned since you left the old disk in the machine. (I am assuming here since that should be the only way you'd get into this situation)

    It maps the letters by signature, and goes, hey he assigned that disk signature C, so I need to assign this drive a letter that isn't C. (Done by Mntmgr.sys) Unfortunatly, mountmgr assumed that you properly prepared the drive before moving it. If you didn't, you are in the situation you are in now.