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Overview
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Approx. 3 weeks ago my Toshiba A60 failed to boot. I have used several tools to try to recover the drive but it currently fails to boot or reinstall XP and I would appreciate your advice as to next steps.

Start of problem
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The problem started after the computer failed to boot one day. I had not noticed any particularly odd noises etc from the HD although it had always been a noisy PC (suspect the fan - it always felt a bit hot). On trying to boot into XP it simply hung. On trying to boot into the DOS prompt it would list the drivers, stop at atisgkaf.sys and then hang. (I understand that atisgkaf.sys may not be driver causing the problem.) I tried reinstalling XP to the C: drive but same result. (Programs are on C:. Data is on D:.)

Tried XP Recovery and reinstalling XP
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I have run the Toshiba Recovery Disk - hangs. Have tried to reinstall XP via the Windows disk Console but the Windows Installer hangs at the Starting Windows message.

Checked state of partitions
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I used a boot disk containing scandisk to check the hard drive. All good except that I could only access my data drive (normally D:) as the C: drive. That is, the data was OK but it was now shown as being on the C: drive and my programs drive (normall C: drive) was unaccessible.

I used BootMaster and Active@PartitionRecovery to check the status of the partitions and data. All good in that both partitions for C: and D: were shown to exist and the data is generally good. The C: partition is NTFS and the D: is FAT 32.

So I know that the NTFS partition exists and is structurally sound but Windows doesn't boot to it. (When using the Testdisk.exe utility I can access and navigate the NTFS partition though it assigns it to D:)

Checked state of drive
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I ran scandisk - no problems report. Have just run chkdsk (autochk.exe) which did find and correct errors but system still hangs on startup. (This also correctly reported the NTFS drive as C: and the Fat 32 data drive as D:.)

Get me a rubber room
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Am out of ideas and am just about insane. Any constructive suggestions gratefully received.

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Last Post by CocoRustyPat
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Reads to me like the boot sector is shot on what was your C drive. I'd stream off your data from the D partition (if you can - the method I would use is to slave the HDD onto another PC or use a USB enclosure).

Then I would FDISK with the /MBR option to restore the boot sector. The I'd expect you to be able to restore the Toshiba image.

Let us know.

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delete all partitions, and format the machine. sucks, but its what you gota do :( if it still locks at this point, you may be looking at hdd, or motherboard issues. also, as you mentioned the machine is a bit hot, the heat sync may be a bit plugged, it may need cleaning, but if you were able to achieve all these scans, thats probably not the case. you may also with to run a memtest on the machine before formatting, ram could also cause this issue.

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Thanks for that. However BootMaster reports that the NTFS boot sector is OK and is mountable.

The slave option is looking more likely but will be a hassle that I would like to avoid.

I downloaded Registry Viewer to check the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices entry in the registry but it responded that it could not open file. I then found that system.dat and data.dat are missing and that there is a folder in C: called SYSPREP. Maybe the registry has been nuked at some stage of the process.

I wonder if the system is in limbo after a failed Recovery from the Toshiba disk and my attempt to reinstall the XP Pro OS. (I am aware that there can be issues if you mix a standard Windows install with an OEM one but I had previously upgraded the Toshiba version to XP Pro without problems.)

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delete all partitions, and format the machine. sucks, but its what you gota do :( if it still locks at this point, you may be looking at hdd, or motherboard issues. also, as you mentioned the machine is a bit hot, the heat sync may be a bit plugged, it may need cleaning, but if you were able to achieve all these scans, thats probably not the case. you may also with to run a memtest on the machine before formatting, ram could also cause this issue.

Thanks for that. Is it possible just to format the NTFS partition and reload Windows into it, leaving my data on the (currently C: drive) data partition intact?

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Thanks for that. Is it possible just to format the NTFS partition and reload Windows into it, leaving my data on the (currently C: drive) data partition intact?

In a word - YES. And the probability of no damage to the data partition is on the low side.

But everyone will / should tell you that there's many a flavour of Murphy's Law out there waiting to confound you. I would ALWAYS put myself to the trouble of streaming off the data I want to keep - especially if it's client data. Several days have passed since this query arose and there would have been (and still is) opportunity for buying a USB enbclosure and streaming the data off to another PC.

That is professional advice I'm providing.

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Not sure what you mean by buying a USB enclosure. I did buy a 4 gig flash drive and a 500 gig ext. hard drive (Seagate using FreeAgent) but I can't get the usb ports to work.

How another left-field idea. Could I create another partition from the Fat32 partition and create an ISO of my data in that?

Thanks again for your advice. I have been trying to solve this problem for several weeks and am grateful for your help.

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What I was suggesting you do is to buy a USB enclosure from a PC shop. This enclosure needs to be compatible with the type of disk drive you have in the Toshiba. The retailer will advise you especially if you bring the laptop into the shop. They are inexpensive and come with a USB cable.

You take the hard disk out of the Toshiba laptop and place it nto the USB enclosure. You then plug that into the USB port (or ports if it nereds 1Amp current) of a colleague's PC. Use Windows Explorer to find the D: drive (it'll be showen as G: or H: I guess) and stream your client's data off either to the external drive you bought (also USB connected) or to the HDD of the colleague's PC. Or you can stream it to the flash drive. Up to you.

Then you can format the NTFS partition safe in the knowledge that no accident is likely to befall your client's data.

Doing something with the same drive (another partition) still leaves you with the risks I mentioned earlier.

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OK I get that. I will give it a try. Many thanks again. I will let you know how I go.

Cheers,

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