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On a Windows XP Home system that wouldn't boot and gave an error that said "Error loading operating system", I ran fixboot from the XP install disk. It seemed to successfully fix the boot sector after reporting that it was corrupted.

I then exited from the Recovery Console and ejected the disk. The system booted successfully into Windows. After shutting down and restarting, the error returned. I've run a virus scan with a recently updated AVG.

Reading the S.M.A.R.T. data on the drive, and running the quick diagnostic shows no errors.

Any ideas on what may be causing this and what to do about it?

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Update: Spinrite showed no errors. Also, subsequent boots are OK. A new drive is on the way, just in case. – Dennis Williamson Sep 16 '09 at 18:58
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I am dealing with a laptop right now that has a similar issue.

I think you may need a new hard drive - It does its best to try to fix it, however it just doesn't stay fixed for long!

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Ditto, had a friend that had the same issue. – J. Polfer Sep 15 '09 at 21:41

Have you followed up fixboot with a fixmbr ? That about has always worked for me

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This is definitely worth trying. – pave Sep 16 '09 at 13:13

When you start losing sectors on a hard drive, the hard drive needs to be replaced. The reason, I think, the fixboot results are not staying fixed is that other sectors are dying over time. Think dominoes.

Back up your data and reinstall with a new hdd.

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  1. Backup your data now.
  2. Buy a new replacement hard drive.
  3. Copy your data to the new hard drive.
  4. Run SpinRite to attempt to salvage the old drive.
  5. Do not run the old drive in a production environment -- it's not worth the trouble of losing it again!
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