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Question about Unmountable boot volume


chimpy
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As I mentioned in another post my friend got this blue screen this morning saying "Unmountable boot volume", Googling this seems to come up with a fairly easy fix, that is insert the XP disc, but he cannot find it and as the PC is 6+ years old we are not sure that it came with a disc as its from Dell and sometimes they just preinstall it.

Any way of fixing this without the disc or if he could get his hands of say a friends XP copy will that work or does it have to be his copy to match with the key?

Thanks :)

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Any copy should work. What I'm worried about more is, if the file system got corrupted, as that's one of the causes of this issue, the data might be lost by using the default Windows disk scan program (because it, well, sucks). If you have a copy of SpinRite laying around somewhere, you might want to use that. If you don't care much or don't want to do that, go with whatever solution you deem appropriate. If you're unsure about what to do, please ask.

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He wont have a copy of that and I'm not sure what it is, I don't live that close to him so its via phone calls that I was trying to help him :(

I don't think he will have much data to loose, he doesn't have many photos or films or music that I know of, he just uses the PC to browse and do a little online shopping so possibly any passwords he will have might be lost but I'm sure he can get those back.

I think finding a copy is he only hope, he is phoning Dell in the morning to query it but I doubt they would send him a disc out free.

Thanks for the help :)

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Do you know what might have caused this? Is it just one of those things the XP does? Is it the age or could something like a virus do it?

My younger brother (bobc8) caused the same problem, and after investigation the HD, i discovered that many sectors are corrupt. We resolved this issue by using recovery console with the command "chkdisk /r" then windows was returned to it's normal functionality. If you have any questions post.

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Well Dell were of no help to him :( He definitely does not have a disc but thinks XP came pre-installed, is there a way of accessing the partition it was installed on to get into the recovery console or is there no way to by-pass having a disc?

And what about the licence key? It's been 6+ years since my friend has his PC so how would he find it and does he need the licence key of the XP disc is might borrow?

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I think there's an ISO image of the recovery console but I don't think it's official, and I wouldn't trust it if it's not. So yeah, without a disk, it's going be difficult. Again, using someone else's disk, as long as it's the same OS, should also work, so if your friend can borrow someone's XP disk, it should also work. He's just going to fix the bad sectors anyway, not install anything from it. A live Linux distro to run fsck would be even better for this if he knows how to use Linux, but this is safer if he doesn't.

He might want to check the cables first, though, as that might be the issue as well.

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Ah thanks, the licence key is not needed from him or the person he will borrow the disc from then?

Or the SP as I think he will be 3 but I doubt he can find a SP3 disc.

I will tell him to check the cables too.

Thanks a lot :)

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I'm almost completely sure he won't need the license key. The service pack shouldn't matter too much either. You're welcome, I'm glad I can help. :)

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Ah thanks, the licence key is not needed from him or the person he will borrow the disc from then?

Or the SP as I think he will be 3 but I doubt he can find a SP3 disc.

I will tell him to check the cables too.

Thanks a lot :)

If you dont want to format the disk,and even if you do you should still tell hem when he get's the XP disk, tell him to press "R" on the first page, and when it loads, tell him to type in "chkdisk /r" Before re-formatinh, as the disk may have errors.

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Since this is a Dell computer, the first thing you should do, is turn on the computer and when you see the Dell Logo, hit the F12 Key. When you get your menu, Run a Diagnostics of all hardware and the Hard Drive, and the Memory. It will not do you any good to fix the computer if one of your items are faulty. If you have bad Ram, or a Bad hard drive they will have to be replaced before doing the repair.

Also since this is a Dell, get a hold of any Dell Windows XP CD and use that. Should it ask you for a Key, then use the Key that came with the Label attached to the Computer.

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Thanks, I know he was going to do something with F12 as he knows little about these things like me neither of us knew what to do, I will tell him to run the tests, not sure about getting hold of the key though, he is finding it hard just to find anyone that has a copy of the XP disc and is it his key or the key from the person that he is getting the disc from?:( Though what do you mean "Dell Windows XP CD" is this a different CD from those that do not have Dell PC's?

Sorry about all these questions.

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No most of the CD's are really all the same, the thing with the OEM Windows CD from Dell (and you know they are from Dell cause they will have DELL on them) is when you use those on a Dell computer, the windows gets installed preactivated. If you use this Dell CD on any other computer, it will install but windows will not be activated and then you would have to enter the CD Key. Look for a label on your desktop on the side or the top, it will have the CD Key for your computer.

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Spoke to soon! Its fixed, the CD didn't let him do everything that the instructions on fixing this issue says it should and he doesn't think it installed the recovery console either but hes now back online and thinking of moving to linux :P

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hes now back online and thinking of moving to linux :P

That's nice! Tell your friend not to hesitate to ask any questions regarding the transition to Linux (although it should be pretty easy if he chooses a friendly distro). :)

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Well he knows very little about PCs (I know little too so I can't really help him on that) so is confused about all the distros (I heard puppy and mint were the most newbie friendly) But if he decides on the change I will definitely point him here :) I think he was part worried about surfing and buying online and whether or not you needed to have a windows OS to access some sites, I think only online gaming is that a must and he doesn't do that so I think he would be ok, its just taking that leap into the unknown :P

Thank you all for your help! :)

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Most sites work on any OS, it's more up to the browser, and most things work on all major browsers nowadays (except ActiveX which is not much more than a security hole anyway). Online games work fine, you just need the plugins (as on Windows) but they're very easy to install and as far as I know, Firefox can find and install them automatically. Mint is probably the friendliest distro, yeah. Buying online isn't a problem either.

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