Swapped drive won't boot when swapped back

s4lty

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Jul 20, 2006
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18,510
This problem seems like it must have happened to lots of people, I have seen posts that describe similar symptoms with variations on context. Any way here goes:

Essentially, this is what happened:

I just built a new PC and wanted to copy my files across directly from the HDD (now I wish I'd just used my removeable drive instead!) so I swapped the drive from my old to my freshly installed WinXP SP2 setup (both drives are boot drives in their respective machines and were assinged to C: and are dynamic volumes using NTFS). In order to 'see' the drive on my new PC I had to import the old drive using disk management as a 'foreign disk' and then add a drive letter - which I duly did - I think this is a quirk of dynamic volumes?. I copied the files I needed across and then removed the drive and returned it to my old PC. Hey presto, my old PC won't boot WinXP anymore - it gets as far as btkrnl.sys and promptly reboots or freezes regardless of Safe Mode options etc..

Now this must happen all the time?? How do I get my original drive to boot again as normal? After significant hunting I have seen many similar problems but not found a solution but I am fairly sure that there is no hardware problem here, I believe that it was caused by 'importing' the drive on the new PC. I think that this has changed the drive allocation on the boot sector so that it is no longer the C: drive and when it tries to boot back in its original machine it can't see the C: anymore and hangs - can anyone confirm this?

I have tried the repair console malarky with fixmbr etc.. to no avail. When I boot using the WinXP disk, I cannot read the hard drive, so I cannot run bootcfg or check the boot.ini or rewrite the ntldr files etc... Though other utilities I have downloaded can see the partition no problem and when I return it to my new machine after re-importing, I can read the files again no problems and scandisk finds no errors.

Clearly I can just try and copy all the apparently important files from this disk and blow the partition and start over. However, it's not always easy to be certain that you have copied all those important files and secondly it takes days to reconfigure a PC with all the software after a full reinstallation. Though I am seriously considering this option, I'd just like to know if there's a way to cure this silly problem just for peace of mind if nothing else! :roll:

I can't believe there is not a simple solution to this problem out there, I am hoping one of you guys has the answer! Many thanks for reading this if you got this far. :wink:

Cheers all,

s4lty

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AMD Barton 2500+
Epox KRA3+
1G DDR RAM
120GB Seagate Barracuda 7
GF5700 Ultra 128MB Video
LG DVD and DVD-RAM
400W PSU and Case
(Old machine)
 
I've never had to "import" old drives via disk management... I simply plug them in and they work or Windows installs drivers, asks for a reboot, then they work.

I open My Computer, double-click the drive, and everything is there. I'm not sure exactly what you did with disk management, but you shouldn't have had to do anything at all.
 

s4lty

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Jul 20, 2006
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I think that basic drives don't need importing and a drive letter is automatically assigned when XP boots. But because I had previously upgraded the drive to a so-called dynamic volume under XP it did not autmatically appear and therefore I used the disk management tool from computer management applet to 'import' it as a 'foreign' disk. I suspect you have not had to import any disks because you haven't 'upgraded' any basic drives to dynamic before? And before you ask, I checked on ms kb and one cannot downgrade a dynamic disk back to basic without losing the contents :(

Any other ideas?

Cheers,

s4lty