Vista + XP MBR = Bad Combo. Please Help!


So, last night I got this brilliant idea to try out the new Vista Beta 2. Well, turns out it wasn't so brilliant after all. I tried to install Vista to a spare 2nd drive which I had installed on my machine and found out after it had rebooted that the install had actually gone to my main (c:smile: drive. So, after trying many things to get it working, and following the advice of someone else (in efnet #windows), I tried to use the Recovery Console that is included with the Windows XP install CD. I ran FixMBR and FixBoot. Up until this point i was able to boot into a command prompt (which I assume was part of Vista) and see the 2 seperate systems and all my files appeared to at least be listed OK.

After the FIXMBR and FIXBOOT i am no longer able to boot into that command prompt nor to see my files. I installed Windows XP pro on a 2nd drive, and tried to mount the vista drive as a 2nd non system drive with the hope I could at least access the files. No such luck.

So... I'm basically at the point where I have run out of ideas. I have a working (sorta) install of Windows XP pro, but would like to get my data back if at all possible.

A bit of additional information: the installation of Vista did not complete. After the reboot it said it could not locate the drive that vista was attempting to be installed on (I have an IDE card which I presume it did not have the drivers for and therefore did not recognize it.)

I suspect that the only thing vista installed was the setup files. Either way, it would not let me boot into my original system and was using the vista boot loader.

Anyone have ideas on how I could get my data back?

** Yes I should have backed up my files beforehand.

*** Yes I'm gullible (an idiot some might say) for assuming the installer of Vista would work as promised. However, in my defense, I was attempting to install to a 2nd (completely clean) drive and did not think that the installer would HOSE my system and ignore my request to install to the aforementioned 2nd drive.

**** Any help is appreciated.
OK, couple of questions:
1) Did you install Vista as a clean install, or did you attempt to upgrade your XP?
2) Can you tell me exactly what you get on boot?
Can you boot into XP? Vista?

The install was meant to be a clean install ... but I'm not entirely sure what happened.

The setup I had was this:

1. 40GB spare drive for Vista attached to the computer via an IDE controller card.
2. 250GB main drive for Windows XP pro

I booted into windows XP and tried to install from there and I think this was the first mistake. I did a custom install and told it to install to the (1) drive. It started to go fine and when it got to the end of the first part (copying files) it rebooted. It tried to boot and told me that it could no longer find the drive it was installing to. In addition, it told me that the install had failed. This was partially after the setup files had been copied (which i found out later) to the main system drive (2).

So, at this point, I would have been OK had I found your guide to follow. Unfortunately, I went in search of help elsewhere (#windows on efnet) and was told to try to run FIXMBR and FIXBOOT from the Windows XP recovery console. This is pretty much where I am right now.

I can no longer "see" the windows directories, new or old. I no longer have the Vista boot loader.

So basically, I'm back to square one without the square, lol.

I ironically managed to get Vista to install to the (1) drive though hoping that somehow Vista could "see" the drive. Unfortunately, this did not work because of the steps I took earlier removing the MBR that Vista had added during the original botched install.
OK, put your Vista DVD in the drive, and boot to the Vista Recovery Environment (on the first screen click the "Advanced" button).

Let me know when you're there.
Wait, in you're case, the best thing to do is take out (1), put in (2) and boot to Partition Magic or Acronis Disk Manager actually.
OK, does the drive show up in PM?
Does it have any partitions on it? What are the filesystems?
Yes. The drive shows up as being a NTFS partition that is named *=

Its size is 238,472.7MB and used space is reported as the same. Unused space is reported as 0.0. Its status is "Active" and it says its "Primary"
1) Shutdown the PC
2) Add drive (1) back.
3) Boot into Vista again.
4) In Vista open the Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Disk Management.
5) You should see the drive listed there.
6) Right click it and assign it a drive letter.
7) Open a CMD window, and do this:
cmd X: /f

It'll take a (long) time, but you must leave it to finish.

Lemme know what happens.
a slight problem
in order to add the vista drive back ... i'd need to have it on the main bus
and that would mean the (2) drive would be on the 2nd IDE card
which vista doesnt see
also, tried doing the vista trick and vista didnt see the drive
prob due to the missing Vista MBR

aight, its 12am here now ... I'm gonna head to bed and hopefully wake up rested enough to begin day number two of this ordeal. Either way, i'll let you know what happens.

Thanks again for the fast replies.
OK. An Update. I've reconnected the drives so I'm able to put them both on the same bus as a master and slave. Automatically after Vista got to the desktop, it noticed there was new hardware and attempted to install the drivers for it. It did so successfully and asked me to reboot. Upon reboot, I tried accessing the drive and it gave me the following error:

E:/ is not accessible.
The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.

This is before running the above command, so hopefully it'll fix this.
Update 2. I decided that since you were afk that the command you most likely meant was chkdsk /f since we had discussed this prior via pm. Unfortunately, when trying to run this while booted into Vista direct it told me that access was denied. I booted into Safe Mode with Command prompt.

running this command: chkdsk e: /f

resulted in:

The type of file system is NTFS.
Corrupt master file table. Windows will attempt to recover master file table from disk. Windows cannot recover master file table from disk. CHKDSK aborted.

So, back to square one I think.

Any ideas on what to try?
OK, this means that Vista seriously corrupted your MBR.
You have two options

1) Get Acronis Disk Director 10, boot from the CD, and delete the partition, and use the "Partition Recovery Wizard"
2) Delete the partition, and use a freeware tool called TestDisk w/ PhotoRec by CG Security to attempt to recover the partitions.

The first is the more reliable method.

Best of luck!
The most reliable thing to do would be to DL TestDisk, wipe the MBR with it, boot into Acronis Disk Director 10 via the recovery CD, and attempt the recovery wizard from there.

It should work - no guarantees of course, but provided it's only the MBR that's fried I've never seen it fail.

Good luck.