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My Dell machine running Windows XP SP3 can't start Windows : Unmountable Boot Volume.

I tried using the original Win XP disk to do a Repair, but it stops at 'Examining ... Disk 0 at Id 0 on bus 0 on Unknown'.

I then ran a Dell diagnostics test which reported 'Msg: Block 16980047: Uncorrectable data error or media is write protected'. The tests took in excess of 7 hrs.

Is there any way that I can run chkdsk /r to 'repair' this drive, since my XP disk cant get me to a command prompt etc?

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migrated from Mar 2 '11 at 21:26

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Before you do anything you might try booting from a Linux LiveCD, something like Ubuntu, and see if it will mount and if you can get anything off of it.

Ubuntu Instructions HERE

Or possibly System Rescue CD which may not be as user friendly to get to a nice gui desktop, but seems to have some pretty handy tools. In any case I would see if anything can be copied to an external drive before attempting something which might be destructive.

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Try to boot off your installation disk (change your boot order in the BIOS to force boot off CD). You can then get to the Win XP "repair" tool and run chkdsk from there. It sounds like your disk might be dead though.

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Do not assume that a HDD is bad, just because you see a blue screen.

Without making any assumptions, let's diagnose whether the possible causes exist:

  1. Check if the disk is still properly working, check SMART table and do an error scan. Back-up if not...

  2. Try to run chkdsk /r on the partition(s) and check if the I/O cables are connected properly.

  3. Do a memory test, ensure that there are no errors or else replace it.

  4. As a last resort, back-up your data then do a format and reinstall...

Try an installation medium and hit SHIFT+F10, an alternative could be Hiren's Boot CD with which you can do all of the above steps as they are all provided by Hiren's Boot CD...

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Downvoter, please explain? – Tom Wijsman Apr 23 '12 at 15:55
I agree, when people downvote and don't give a reason, I think it should be invalidated... – nicorellius Apr 29 '12 at 17:44

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