Tuesday, December 27, 2011


So my dad mentioned at dinner that he had his USB flash drive set up to be bootable with some drive recovery software on it.  However, there was something he didn't quite understand about it and asked me if I could help.  So when we got home, I grabbed the flash drive, and it began.

First, I tried to be sneaky/clever and boot it in VirtualBox without having to reboot my computer.  But that failed horribly.  So, I rebooted.

After not finding an option in my BIOS specifically for booting off of a USB drive, I poked around some and eventually noticed that it showed up as a hard drive in the Hard Drive Boot Priority list.  So, move it to the top, save and exit, and bam, it boots.

Now, I follow the standard tech support cheat sheet, and figure out how to do exactly what it was he wanted to do.  It ended up being pretty simple, it hadn't occurred to him to double click on something.  Whatever.

Powered down, gave him his USB drive back, and went into BIOS to set stuff back so I could boot off of my hard drive again.  Except that now it insisted that my boot drive (the IDE Primary Master, remember PATA drives?) didn't exist.

I've mentioned before, maybe on Twitter, I forget, but anyway...  My case fans died recently.  The CPU fan is still good, but both of my fancy red LED case fans, that were in themselves replacements for older fans that had died, died.  Rather than going onto Newegg and ordering more case fans only to have the same thing happen later on in life, I removed the side panel on my computer and pointed a small box fan at it.  This is only relevant because recently I'd decided it wasn't needed and turned it off.  Computer worked just fine without it, content with just the side panel removed.

I don't know if heat played into it, but the drive appeared again after I had the fan turned on for a while.

So now boot up and go, right?  Well, wrong.  It says "NTLDR is missing".  Fuck.  I mean, I've gotten this before, and a black magic three-finger salute has seemed to make it go away.  Except this time it's persistent.  Diagnostic mode, engage.

I get out an Ubuntu livedisc.  Note to self: burn a more recent Ubuntu livedisc, as 6.06 is quite old.  At any rate, it failed to start X or something, which I've never seen before.  Even my shitty laptop with dead battery, hard drive, and LAN card can boot it.  So then I whip out my Arch Linux install disc.  Get into its install environment, mkdir /mnt/sda1, mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1 -o ro (mounting it read-only because I still don't trust Linux NTFS tools), and ls the fucker.  NTLDR is there.  So obviously it's something else that's preventing it from finding that.

I boot back into the BIOS and inspect the Hard Drive Boot Priority list once again, and notice that the drive where Windows is installed isn't the first one in the list.  Shove it on up there, save and exit, and bam, now I'm here writing this post.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I moderate comments because when Blogger originally implemented a spam filter it wouldn't work without comment moderation enabled. So if your comment doesn't show up right away, that would be why.