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I'm currently trying to recover a friends ATA100 hard drive, that suddenly started giving an 'ntldr not found' error. I've got it hooked up to a ATA->USB converter, and can read the contents.

Can anyone recommend a tool to check whats wrong?

Will this work with the USB setup?


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Viewing the MBR, even editing it, is a very cool idea.. I don't know how you'd go about that. I may have viewed a HDD MBR before with Roadkil's sector editor but I didn't do anything with it. And I don't know of documentation on it. If somebody provides that and knows what they're talking about then that's impressive!

But if you want to fix it like a mere mortal, then best thing is to boot off say a win xp CD to a recovery console, and run FIXBOOT, FIXMBR, BOOTCFG /REBUILD. Then it'll have the right MBR and files.

Alternatively, 2 ideas you could try
You can put a 3 file boot disk in there(there's a boot disk with ntldr boot.ini and ) and it can boot off that instead and possibly work around that error and get into windows. There is also a set of 6 disks which I vaguely recall might be able to get you to a recovery console, if you don't have the CD.

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Thanks, I'll probably try some of that this weekend when I'm back at my friends. Right now though, all I have is the drive, hooked up via USB to my laptop. I was hoping there was something I could use to check the drive without actually trying to boot from it. – UpTheCreek Jan 13 '11 at 20:59
@user17381 Well, check it has these 3 files at c:\ , it should do., ntldr, boot.ini and check if boot.ini looks unusual(like, not the default). They are hidden files so for example, dir /ah would show them if they're there. – barlop Jan 13 '11 at 21:36
They are all there, and look the same as my working xp machine – UpTheCreek Jan 13 '11 at 21:42
@UpTheCreek How about you try to boot from USB on the laptop and boot the HDD off USB. It won't get into windows ('cos it's a Win NT) but see if it gets past or hits a problem-that error- at the NTLDR stage. (i haven't tried it but maybe it's possible but perhaps unlikely, that it's not so great for windows to try to let it get in and fail to get in on another machine.. in case it tries to amend itself.. but this is worth a try. you can always do a win xp repair installation if windows is corrupted in that unlikely theoretical case which probably wouldn't happen anyway) – barlop Jan 13 '11 at 23:44

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