Please Help - Bricked System!



I have a big problem after following the "Windows XP after Vista" guide at

I had a working Vista installation with much important information on a 750GB HD and two other empty drives, 150Gb each all of them SATA drives.
I first installed easybcd on the vista system just to read the doccumentation, I did nothing at that moment.

1) I skipped the first section because I wanted to install XP on a separate disk.
2) I booted from Windows XP install dir.
After a few minutes it loaded all the drivers and asked where I wanted the new installation to be done. I had previously labeled the hard drives, so im sure I selected one of the 150Gb disks.
3) Windows told the drive was not formatted properly so it needed to format. I chose NTFS complete.
4) After it finished formatting, it rebooted and it could not boot, giving the error "NTLDR can not be loaded"
5) I booted with the Windows Vista Recovery cd and run diskpart to list the current partitions, and found that my 750GB drive has now only one partition that is RAW and 150Gb size. The other two drives where not formatted.

I cant boot any system now, and I can not afford to lose all the important information in my C drive.

Can anybody please tell me what can be the problem and how can I solve it to recover my C drive to its original NTFS file system and 750Gb size?

Any help will be deeply appreciated

Thank you very much



Finally after 6 hours of high suffering I got it working again.
I used a little application named testdisk mentioned in another thread, wich did some magic from my point of view and recovered the lost partition.

I suggest adding some steps in the guide, like backing up sensitive information and what to do in case such errors happen because it can really give you a hard time.

I will give up trying to install both operating systems... better luck for those of you who try to do it.
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Hi Pablito, sorry you had such a traumatic time, but it wasn't EasyBCD that caused you any problem.
EasyBCD is just an editing tool for the Vista BCD. It can't prevent you putting your system in the wrong place.
You say you labelled the partitions first, so you're pretty sure you got the right one.
If you mean you assigned disk letters E:\ for example, from within Vista for the partition where you wanted XP, remember that that's just what Vista stores internally for its identification. Once you'd booted the XP installation disk, it would have assigned letters sequentially to all the partitions it found, which would bear nothing but coincidental relationships to what Vista calls them.
It's up to you to identify the partition you want by its physical position and size as being the one you really want.
The XP installer can't remove a working Vista installation. When running the installer you will come up against the newer version error fast there. If you happened to have selected the Vista primary the mbr was the likely item effected there.

With a primary to see XP go onto once selected you wouldn't have seen the system restart right after the installer went through the format process but instead would have seen the now ready to restart once all setup files had been copied to the selected partition. At that time XP would load up while you wouldn't see Vista run due to the new entries into the mbr on the Vista drive.

That's when you boot up with the VIsta dvd in order to use the startup repair tool found there. Once in Vista you then verify the XP boot files are present at the root of Vista's C and proceed to add XP into the VIsta boot loader using the EasyBCD tool.

Here I first unplugged the Vista drive(ide) running a pair of sata drive to see XP installed as a stand alone on the first. Once running the boot files were copied over and the Vista boot loader was edited. Later when moving Vista to one of the sata drives with the ide removed XP also saw a reinstall both done with the other drive unplugged.

When both were up and running the boot files were copied as before and the Vista loader edited again. The difference however was the tool used namely the Hide'n'Seek tool that hides Vista from XP in order to protect the system restore points for the new version. When in a dual boot and booting into XP that version will cancel out the Vista points.

The latest build for the HnS tool seems to a success story for the tool still in beta form. You might want to consider using that since it will download the latest 1.7.2 version of EasyBCD when going to use it. You can even restore the Vista boot loader while in XP if EasyBCD is installed there as well as on Vista surprisingly enough.
Thanks for posing guys,

Actually I labeled the drives before starting. I changed the label of the empty drive where i wanted to install XP inside vista, I labeled it "Windows XP Pro"
Then when I started the XP installation it saw the three drives and the correct labels, so I selected the drive named "Windows XP Pro" with size 150Gb, i did not trust on the drive letter.
What is strange to me is that after formatting that drive (NTFS complete) when I booted with Vista repair, that partition was still visible with all the information inside, and the other one (my original C: 750Gb) was now RAW 150GB.

Fortunately no information was lost, because after running "testdisk" it restored the NTFS partition and all files where there and i could boot vista again.
But I have no explanation for this behavior

It sounds like you first repaired the Vista mbr prior to seeing the XP installation complete itself. When the system rebooted Vista wouldn't start anyways.

Before the repair you first have to see XP up and running normally then boot with the Vista disk to perform the startup repair. From there you download and unpack the rar file for the HnS tool and easily create a desktop short cut by right clicking on the UI.exe file in the folder you create for unpacking the files in. There's no installer and no registry keys made for the HnS tool while EasyBCD has an installer of it's own.

As for the 150gb being raw that's how the other 150gb sata would appear without partitioning. That's not the 750gb drive being seen there unless you split that into multiple partitions. One tip here for seeing XP go on and then later see that added into the Vista boot loader goes as follows.

For seeing the Vista drive remain the primary boot device make sure that's plugged into the first sata port namely the sata master to avoid confusion. You can easily set the secondary slave as the default but this is simply done not to get lost. The XP drive as primary slave with the third as secondary master on the third port. Easily done.

Nect unplug the Vista primary(750) and even the third drive to avoid any mistake of seeing the XP boot files ending up there. Proceed to install XP on the one remaining drive until running normally with all drivers/software needed on. Once in good shape replug the other two drives in.

The third step is the key. Once those are plugged back in first go into the bios to set the Vista drive at the top of the list of drives in the onboard configuration section. You will likely need to refer to the user manual for the board to get familiar with the bios for this.

Once set as default and you are booted in Vista you are ready to work with the HnS tool that utilizes EasyBCD as well. With the desktop shortcut you can create to make things easier you simply double click on that to see the screen appear with options for adding new entries, managing boot loaders, renaming OSs, and setting the amount of time the boot options will be displayed before the default OS loads up.

Once you have the XP boot files copied over to the root of the Vista primary you are ready to begin adding XP into the boot loader there. Once you have done this a few times the process is ridiculously easy as child's play to use the gui for either program.
Sorry to have doubted you pablito, no offence intended, but 1st time posters are an unknown quantity obviously, so stating the obvious is sometimes appropriate.
I don't know whether this problem has anything to do with Vista's partition manager using newer (different) partition boundaries than the legacy systems. I've read that it can cause weird problems with dual boots, which I haven't experienced because I used an old 3rd party manager to set up my system partitions before installing either.
I've been using the live for cd version of GParted or the Gnome Partition Editor a Linux drive tool for both XP and Vista alike. The partitioning tools included with both versions tend to leave some 1-8mb of unallocated space often noticed when looking in the Disk Management tool.

With the platform independent releases the creation, deletion, resizing, moving, or even copying partitions is readily available. Vista now sees the option of formatting primaries and then canceling the rest of the installation leaving the NTFS 5.0 primary available for XP if needed since 2000, XP, and Vista use the same partition type.

Are the 150gb sata drive WD Raptors by chance? The Raptors come in 36, 74, and 150gb sizes with a new 320gb model available soon. As for the dual boot with Vista and XP the problem addressed with the dual boot there is generally XP canceling out the Vista restore points with that being addressed with the HnS tool.

The problem there however sounds like an incomplete setup where the installation of XP hung for some reason while disabling the Vista startup. That's why the longer description of trying a different approach would most likely see XP go on and work there.
I think I finnaly found the reason of the problem.
I started a fresh XP install on the 150Gb disk alone, disconnecting the other two. XP recognized the drive and apparently formatted it correctly and copied the installation files, but after the reboot it could not load.
I tried loading an old SCSI driver during XP install (F6) that I used for a previous motherboard that did not recognize SCSI disks, and surprise!!! everything worked fine and XP was installed.

So my guess is that this same thing happened when I was installing XP first time. IT really had nothing to do with EasyBCD but with the motherboard BIOS and XP installer. So I apologize to the people at neosmart for my post title.

Thanks a lot for those who posted and helped
The board there obviously requires "sata controller" drivers where a floppy driver disk is quite common. Another option to try when the XP installer won't see a sata drive is to press the S button for special devices seen on the second screen by passing the F6 option. It really depends mainly on the chipset the board has since the old 939 board needed a floppy while the AM2 model now used sees XP go right on without any fuss.

When first trying to install XP there you had all three drives plugged in and the Vista drive as default seeing that mbr effected while the setup fles never made it to the intended drive. Glad to see you have that worked out. Keep in mind the option for a dual boot using the HnS tool as well as EasyBCD. Or you can simply use the boot device menu option if the board has that to choose a one time boot from the drive you select from a list of all.
If you are absolutely positive you selected the correct partition during install, you are not the only one who has apparently experienced the problem. Microsoft has documented an issue of symptons like these when a user attempts to install XP onto a system that is already loaded with Vista.

The support atricle on the matter can be found here:

Once again (thanks MS!) it appears that the differences between how XP and Vista do things are causing negative consequences. :frowning:
Yes, that's the problem I was referring to. Though to be fair to MS (I'm not normally an apologist for them), the new partitioning standards are industry led, and a consequence of the newer gigantic HDDs we can all easily afford now. Vista just happens to be ahead of the game in adopting the new standards, and the 3rd party managers are a bit tardy in following suit. (and obviously Legacy OS's will not be forward compatible - like the "XP overwrites Vista boot"problem)
The secret to avoiding the problem is pre formatting with an old partition manager (Vista is backward compatible), like I did by pure fluke, without even knowing of the possible problem.
The problem seen there was a simple lack of not using a sata driver disk. The installation couldn't proceed until elpablito loaded the drivers while only the one drive was plugged in. That saw a working stand alone where you can then copy the XP boot files over and create the new entries in the EasyBCD tool to see a working configuration.

I've done that several times here already rearranging and removing drives with the HnS tool as well. When getting to performing a repair install or another fresh install of XP since I have some type of problem with the MS mouse software I'll lose the Grub entries on the second sata for ubuntu.

That's the one item that I haven't been able to see working with Neogrub since the installer automatically installs Grub into the mbr instead. Once ubuntu 8.04 is reinstalled in no time again followed by the Vista startup repair build 47 will be used since HnS will have to be redone again.
What I was referring to there is when installing from a live cd the installer automatically uses Grub. This wasn't one of the install only releases you download to the drive or burn to disk and then select either Grub or Lilo. But I'll be looking at the Wiki there again anyways.

The present installation is working with Grub seen only on the second XP drive and simply the XP/Vista dual boot is inplace with the HnS tool. I made a few attempts to add ubuntu using the Linux tab in EasyBCD but didn't get too far unfortunately. One thought here would be seeing a way to add ubuntu into the Grub4Dos since that's how the dual boot is working well here.
PC Eye, even when you boot from the Live CD and use the installer from there the instructions in the wiki remain applicable & prevent GRUB from taking over the MBR.
I originally selected the root partition to see Grub installed there and yet it went into the main mbr on both drives for some reason to become the default OS. I reviewed the Wifi then before ubuntu even went on simply to get familiar with the older 1.5.2 version.

Apparently the installer went ahead and did it's own thing at the time. With the next attempt I'll have to force it to go on the root there.