Lost Windows XP

  TOFF 06:07 20 Nov 05

I wonder if anyone can help. A couple of days ago my virus scan (McAfee) announced that it had deleted a virus (I can't remember which). This is a rare event as I have their firewall also. Nevertheless, I ran the scan as they suggested and it came up blank.
I noticed that the computer was running a bit slowly, so rebooted - and there the trouble started.
It would not restart in any mode whatsoever. It kept on rebooting fruitlessly. I changed the drive order in the BIOS and tried to reboot with the Windows CD to see if I could repair. This wouldn't work either and only presented me with the DOS prompt. Typing in Help provided me with a list of commands, none of which seemed to be any good.
I then tried to reinstall Windows, believing it would go on top of what I already had (not ideal but it would get me in, or so I thought). It would not allow me to do this without reformatting my C drive. Curiously, it seemed to suggest that the whole capacity of the C drive was available, suggesting to me that it has been wiped completely!?
I tried to install Windows on the D drive which was virtually empty but it insisted on wishing to format the C drive again. At this point I gave up. Suggestions please.

  Sharpamatt 08:31 20 Nov 05

completley reinstalling XP will reformat your drive removing all information on it, you could try a repair or start in safe mode and use system restore, go back before your virus scan.

It could at the worst be that your drive has been wiped,or a virus has been missed causing the problem

I have never changed the BIOS but have reset it to defaults on others systems when problems have arisen. doing this may help

  VoG II 09:23 20 Nov 05

How to repair click here

Reboot loop #1 click here

Reboot loop #2 click here

  TOFF 21:46 29 Nov 05

Thanks for your contributions. However, I had tried them all already. The upshot is that I have taken the drives to a computer shop which is trying to recover the files. However, it ain't sounding too good from what they say. Is there a professional recovery outfit that might be better equipped than a local computer shop?

  PSF 23:30 29 Nov 05

I had a similar one the other day. The MBR, master boot record, had been modified by a partitioning program. Windows would not start, the repair option would not work as the MBR was pointing to a drive that was not there.

The fix was booting with a Win 98 boot disc and Typing "FDISK/mbr" a new MBR will be created.

The repair then worked ok.

If you can access the recovery console using the XP disc all you need to do is type FIXMBR to repair the MBR.

Some viruses can modify the MBR to stop a pc booting.

  TOFF 14:37 30 Nov 05

Thanks PSF. Unfortunately, the recovery console doesn't seem accessible, despite multiple attempts, so I don't think I will be able to do as you suggest. Therefore, I think I am left with sending it to a specialist. The local computer shop was unable to extract anything but told me my hard frive was dying/dead. Anyone got any suggestions? Is there a programme I can try?

  Diodorus Siculus 14:42 30 Nov 05

If it's not too late, it might help to add a new hard disk as master, install XP and then use the original as a slave - that way you can hopefully access it and its data.

  PSF 17:17 30 Nov 05

If you cannot use the recovery console it is worth trying using a Win 98 boot disk and then use the 'Fdisk/mbr' option. It does work on XP I used it the other day.

Or as Diodorus Siculus says try install the XP onto your D drive. Before you install it change the jumpers on the D drive to master and either remove the C drive or make it a slave using the jumpers. That way you should hopefully be able to access the slave drive after. Good luck....

  ade.h 17:27 30 Nov 05

"Is there a professional recovery outfit that might be better equipped than a local computer shop?"

Yes, though it won't be cheap. click here

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 19:04 30 Nov 05

Drive Rescue click here
file_recovery click here
R_Studio click here
Easyrecovery click here

In order of quality

  TOFF 23:24 05 Dec 05

Thanks to everyone who contributed. I eventually got R Studio to do the job on the drive which had been formatted. Thanks Fruit Bat!

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