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Tech Helproom


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PC Won't start, HDDs have swapped drive letters


Lightman

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My PC, which is running XP SP3, has been playing up for the last month or so in that it has been reluctant to start up and has usually taken 2 or 3 attempts to get it past the mother board splash screen and into proper boot up. Yesterday, after several attempts at came up with a black screen and the words “Boot disk failure, Insert system disk and press enter” I put a system disk in which then gave me 3 options, install windows, repair windows or exit. Not being really sure that I wanted to do either of the first 2 I opted for install windows just to see where it took me. I showed that the drive letters of the 3 HDDs in the machine had changed drive letters and that the C drive was now D which would explain why it thought there was a boot disk failure. Bearing in mind the fact that the machine won’t start is there any way I can reassign the correct drive letters? I did try Acronis boot disk which gave me the option to check the system which confirmed that the drive letters had been switched around.

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Strawballs

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If you are using Acronis can't you just use your last back up to sort it?

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gengiscant

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I am not sure what you have done ,whether you have installed windows XP again or not.

Depending on what you have done you could have disconnected the 2 backup HDD's leaving the C drive which you then could have repaired or a better option to do a complete new installation, I know it is time consuming but you get a nice clean OS. Then after installing all your drivers, motherboard, graphics card etc and installing SP3 and other updates then connect your 2 back up drives and they should be given letters by your new OS install and you should have no further conflict.

You can also sort out the letters that have been assigned by right clicking my computer then click manage then disk management and if you then right click your drives one by one you can change the drive letters. But it sounds if you have other issues which a clean install,though a pain in the bum,would probably solve.

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Lightman

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Strawballs, I cannot just use the Acronis restore because it no longer knows which drive is which letter and the newly named C drive contains all my data.

Gengiscant - I have actually done nothing, I just used the Boot disk to see what was where and once I'd done that I backed out quickly for fear of treading in areas where I don't know what I'm doing. I would like to avoid reinstalling everything if I can as the whole system was a clean install only 4 months ago.

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gengiscant

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Disconnect the 2 backup drives and then boot your PC,I am not sure why the drive letters have change about but you might need to do a repair install,see what happens after you disconnect the drives.

You haven't been dual booting at any time,have you?

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robinofloxley

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Partition Wizard Bootable CD will allow you to swap them back.

Right click the partition/Change Letter. Click 'Apply' top-left.

Make a note of what is reported before making any changes, in case of mistakes.

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Lightman

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gengiscant - the PC is at my partners house, will be going around there tomorrow so will try your suggestion then.

robinofloxley - tried to create Partition Wizard Bootable CD, it took nearly 45 mins to download. Copied to CD and when I tried it in her PC, it didn't recognise it. I will try to download and create the CD again and have another go tomorrow.

Thanks to both.

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silver78

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Your first post mentioned 'Boot disk failure' then 'Insert system disk' This suggests to me that either your 'C' drive has failed, the master boot record had corrupted or a lead to the drive had worked loose. If the drive had failed this could account for the re-allocation of drive letters. Is the drive 'seen' in BIOS? If not then drive failure is a distinct possibility.

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Lightman

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I used Partition Wizard Bootable CD which showed me that the contents of the re-letterd drive C were intact and readable so presumably nothing was physically wrong with the drive. I disconnected the other internal drives and rebooted and hey presto we're back in business. Reconnected the other drives and switched on again just to make sure everything OK and it is. Only niggle in the back of my mind is that I don't know what caused it to go wrong to start with.

Anyway, all's well etc.

Thanks to all

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silver78

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I've had similar probs in the past and it turned out to be a dodgy conn to one of my drives

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