Thanks to all who have taken time from their precious lives to read this.

1st the problem (briefly) will be listed, then how I may have gotten it and finally all the steps I’ve taken thus far. [Since this here below is long I have omitted all the googling I have done in trying to solve this problem.]

OS: Windows XP home OEM
Hardware: Computer: no brand name --OEM
AMD 64 Athlon 3500+,
MSI ‘K8N Neo4 motherboard, nVidia chipset based
nVidia GeForce LE 6600 Graphics card.
RAM 2 gig,
DVD: LiteOn DVD-rwSHM Lite-on
CD: Lite-on LTR-52246 (CD-rw)
Floppy: none
BIOS: Award ver. V1.D 052206 11:35:51
Note: in BIOS Standard CMOS settings IDE Primary Master and Slave are set to [none]. The Secondary Master is the DVD drive and the Secondary Slave is the CD drive. While the IDE Third Master is the HD ‘WDC WD1600JS-60MH
Kitchen Stove: Just kidding ;-)

Brief description, if you don’t have time to read the rest:
Windows XP home begins installing then after it reboots it begins the process again as if it never formatted or began installation. If I change the boot order (from CD 1st to HD 1st) It will read “Invalid Partition Table”. Prior to this attempt at installing Windows, it would not start neither in safe mode, safe mode with command prompt, previous installation, etc.

How the problem may have come about:
All was working relatively fine (‘relatively’ because I was having a problem with the computer hanging when going online possibly due to some ignorant use of a registry cleaner). Anyhow, all was working ‘relatively’ fine for the last 2 months, then after a torrent DVD download was complete I, on my uTorrent client, accidentally clicked on “Delete Torrent and data”. I then proceeded to use about 15 unerase/recovery programs most of which gave negative results—One found what I had lost but being trial I was not able to retrieve these files without payment. During this process the computer was rebooted 3X without problems and hung during the use of one program called ‘iRecover’ [It had previously warned me that my nVidia Chipset may cause problems and that a hanging may occur and if it did to change to the windows driver. Therefore after the hang I did reboot and unistalled this software]. The reboot was normal.

After this reboot and uninstall I ask myself the question, “Is it worth it for me to pay for this software for only this one DVD?” Saying no I made my big mistake-perhaps. I go to serial/hack pages trying to find a serial key. As I go from page to page I decide this is not a good idea.
Meanwhile uTorrent downloading stuff; I continue to do email; use “Microsoft Word”, listen to music, and view pictures. This goes on for hours.

The following day, having realized that I haven’t rebooted my computer in a day I do so but now it hangs. I wait about 5 minutes and force a shutdown. It did not reboot. It went to the step ‘Windows is loading’ and nothing further. I rebooted a few times to no avail.

My 160 gig HD is divided into 4 partitions—C, D, E, F, where ‘C’ is where the OS was. C and D were NTFS partitions and E, F were FAT 32.

I place my Windows XP Home Edition CD (OEM legitimate copy) in the DVD Drive rebooted changed the boot order to choose DVD drive first but nothing happened. By this I mean nothing—the computer did not start, did not recognize the CD etc. It stopped at a dim light-blue screen—not the usual bright blue screen.

Remembering a past trick I placed a “Windows 98SE” CD and it did boot up to it. And here I saw something funny it said that Volume drive label C was my E, that Volume drive D was F etc. subsequently a ‘dir’ command did show that in fact the files in C were actually those of E etc.(In seeing this I asked is this correct or is this Windows98 thinking wrongly).

I then did a ‘chkdsk’ and had many prompts warnings of a sort whereby I chose one of them. [My apologies here for not being able to give more details for my memory fails me]. Thinking this was a bad idea. I rebooted.

Luckily, or so I thought, it now did recognize the Windows XP Home CD. But then the next bad news—there was no “C” drive. I chose the 1st top as the place to put my NTFS installation—which then became “Partition1 [New RAW]”. BTW the size for the partition was already there.

The copying files and all that begins—I am happy but worried since Win98 CD said that C was E (Was I. I asked myself, therefore formatting and deleting my E drive contents since C was maybe E?). The initial copying finishes and the PC reboots. But it won’t recognize that an installation has begun and instead the process of installing Windows begins. I did so again and again and….but same story. Each time changing the BIOS setting for the boot sequence.

One may note that it took a very long time, about 10 minutes, for the PC to reboot and recognize the cd. Then on the 2nd reboot I waited about another 5 minutes and this time I got the 3 choices, -1- install, -2- Recovery Console -3- reboot.

I chose recovery console and in the black screen a ‘dir’ command showed the 4 partitions normally (unlike windows 98 but do recall a formatting of ‘C’ has happened by now).
I formatted the drive and through RC (recovery console) formatted the C drive again and reinstalled, again after the reboot Windows did not recognize that an installation had begun.
Back to the long wait and RC. This time I do the following command (without the quotes, naturally”): “format C: /fs/ntfs” And nothing, all is the same as before. Back to RC and I do the following command on all 4 drives: “chkdsk /p /r”. RC finds irrecoverable errors on C, finds and recovers some errors on the other 3 partions. (a future ckdsk on c: I ‘think’ did not find irrecoverable errors)

On reboot the screen asks for installation/setup; I do so and this time there is a ‘C’ drive so portioning/formatting is done on this C drive. But again and again the computer doesn’t recognize that an installation had begun. If I go to my BIOS and choose to boot from the HD (and do so) I see the following, “Invalid Partition Table”.
Back on RC (Recovery Console) I did a ‘Fixboot’ command and still nothing. I hesitate to ask, “Where did I go wrong” for your list may be endless.
Note: On my PC details above I showed that the IDE Third Master is my HD. When I boot up I don’t see this IDE Third Master—the screen goes up too quickly and pressing the pause key on the keyboard doesn’t seem to work—so maybe it’s there or maybe it isn’t all I do get to see is the DVD and CD drives. Going on the Recovery Concole however does show the drives and its contents so, one could assume the hard rive ‘is’ there.

I have thought of formatting the other 3 partitions as well but I really need the stuff (stupidly unbacked up) on them. If I must, I can repartition/format my ‘D’ [ ‘E’ and ‘F’ have important personal info, like letters, and other stuff.].

One Google search showed that the problem may be bad RAM, the PC is 4 months old, and to the best of my knowledge and according to a RAM testing software it is fine. If it is a boot virus I have no clue how to do anything about this.

There is one command on RC that I question if I should use—‘FIXMBR’. A help on it says, If FIXMBR detects an invalid or non-standard partition table signature, it prompts you before rewriting the master boot record [MBR]”. I tried the command and it said, that ‘it may damage all my partition tables. This could cause all the partitions on the current hard disk to become inaccessible.” So I cancelled it. Finally, in rebooting I do get a short beep, which, according to A BIOS website may mean, “DRAM refresh failure’.

So what does one suggest? I do have an external 30G hard drive (USB connection) and a 1Gig flash drive, and my 4-year old Acer TravelMate 270, all of which I hopefully can use to help this if necessary.

You have read this far, you are a hero and worthy of praise.
Thank you.

I have read, ”How To Ask Questions The Smart Way” and hopefully have understood what was said and complied. I’ve Googled and also made searches here such as : Windows won’t install, Windows will not complete installation. I have searched the windows Knowledge base (whereby solutions where too techie for me, or not understandable or I was unsure of). Some of your answers are incomplete, may apply to specific name brand PCs only, are too old therefore may no longer apply or are not answered-total post pgs read—about 50 here and the same elsewhere)

Thanks to all who have taken time from their precious lives to read this.

Hi, this rdukette and I think I might have the solution for you.
First, get a 98 floppy startup disk and boot from it.
Next fdisk your nfts partion and recreat it as a 32 fat partition.
Then restart your computer with the start up floppy still in the drive.(make sure that your Bios is set to floopy as your first boot.
Then format c: and after format is complete, copy smartdrv.exe to c:.
Next go to c: and type smartdrv and press enter. Then press the F3 key and the enter. Now go to your cd drive letter containing the ex cd.
Type cd i386 and press enter. Next type winnt and again press enter.
Your installation will start.
If your system fails to reboot after or during instalation, you might want to try a different video card. This some time is the problem because xp uses generic driver and can cause conflic in the install procedure.
I havee also found that fat 32 is less troublesome than nfts.
Good luck and I hope this solves your problem.
Rmember if at first, you don't succceed, keep on sucking till you do suckseed. A little bit of humor will hopefullu brighten your day.

Thanks, truly thanks for your advice.

I realize that my help request was very long and therefore liable to be read quickly, but had you not read quickly, you would have seen that my PC does not have a floppy. Therefore I can not do what you suggested (I do have a USB flash drive though--can this do?)

Also, I hesitate to do what you suggested since, when I did use my Windows98 SE Cd, as written, the CD did not recognize the drives properly, whereby C: contained the folders and files of E: and D: contained the files and folders of F: etc.
So I fear that if I were to do what you suggested I would be writing over E instead of C and therefore deleting my much needed files.

Do you perhaps know how can move or copy my files from this PC (remembering i only have recovery console to go by) to an external drive (with a firewire or USB plug) or to my laptop?----Or perhaps use the laptop to take the files from the troubled PC?

Thanks again


The answer is yes. If you can, take a second hard drive and intsall it in you computer as a master, then change your master to a slave. It is easey to do if you look in the back of your hard drives, the jumper settings determine master or slave.
Now install windows and when complete, copy your files to the new hard drive. You can also install a floppy drive. It is also easy. Don'tbe afraid this how best to learn. You can do this.

Hi if your still having this problem feel free to message me thanks, I'm sure i can help.


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