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Forum Index : Microcontroller and PC projects : W10 MBR Problem

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Chopperp

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Joined: 03/01/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 843
Posted: 01:53pm 11 Aug 2020
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Hi,

My main PC played silly buggers trying to boot this arvo. HDD LED stuck on.

Went into the BIOS & noted that another drive was in the boot list, not C (disk 0).

Changed to C & got the message that OS not found or something similar.

After a lot of ginning around, I found that the MBR (Master Boot Record) was actually on my E drive (disk 1) & not the C drive so I actually needed both drives connected to boot up.

I had downloaded the latest W10 ISO & got nowhere in trying repairing the PC using the repair options from the disk & following stuff off the NET.

My conclusion is that I will probably have to reformat the C drive & re-install W10 & all my programs. (with no other drives connected).

If I do nothing about it & E drive crashes, I won't be able to boot up.

Bugger!!!!

It is behaving itself again with all disks connected but doesn't boot with E disconnected.

Brian
ChopperP
 
Atomizer_Zero
Senior Member

Joined: 04/07/2020
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 134
Posted: 02:44pm 11 Aug 2020
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You should be able to install windows 10 over the top of the current windows 10 on the drive. It'll put your current win10 into a folder on the c drive. It *SHOULD* retain all settings and installed programs and such..

Also theres a linux boot image you can get that will let you rebuild the MBR. I can't remember what its called right now though..
 
MikoKisai
Newbie

Joined: 10/07/2020
Location: Germany
Posts: 6
Posted: 02:52pm 11 Aug 2020
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Assuming that Windows itself actually is on the C drive, you should be able to create a new boot partition and recover that way without a full reinstall.

See e.g. this post on Microsofts forums on how to install a new boot partition.

You might have to shrink the existing partition first to fit it on the drive - the boot partition should generally be something like 100-200MB. I don't remember if Windows lets you do that from the recovery environment, but otherwise you can use a different recovery environment like SystemRescueCD to shrink it and then install the bootloader afterwards.
 
HellbentHorse
Regular Member

Joined: 08/07/2020
Location: Australia
Posts: 55
Posted: 10:37pm 11 Aug 2020
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I have used this method a few times and it has sorted out broken W10 machines.

Fix the MBR in Windows 10
Edited 2020-08-12 08:37 by HellbentHorse
 
Chopperp

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Joined: 03/01/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 843
Posted: 12:29am 12 Aug 2020
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Thanks for the replies guys.

I just have the normal MBR & no EFI (as far as I know).

The Fix MBR guide was one of the things I did (several times) without success. "Element not found" message or something similar.

I seem to remember ages ago playing with MBR's & to change it, it meant reformatting the drive but I could be wrong.

PC booted OK this morning. May use the problem as an excuse to update the SSD & put the old one into a sluggish laptop.  

More playing

Now comes up with BOOTMGR missing.

Followed some instructions using DISKPART on the recovery disk but would not accept the SET ID=...... command

Still booting up OK with all disks connected.

TBC

Brian
ChopperP
 
Chopperp

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Joined: 03/01/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 843
Posted: 12:44pm 23 Nov 2020
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FYI

Finally got around to fixing this problem. Getting worse. Was at time having to get into the BIOS & resave it before it would boot up.

Got a new SSD for it (500GB) & re-installed W10 on that being sure to disconnect all other drives beforehand.

The fun part was going through all my programs to find out all the install details, Files & passwords etc. I got most of them I think.

Ccleaner was a help in getting an installed list for a start.

Now slowly going through deleating MS crap & reinstalling some of my programs programs.

The only major problem I've had so far is that MS wouldn't accept my password. Had to update it, & I can't map one of my laptops yet.

Boot up time seems OK for a fairly old 3MHz Quad Core.

Brian
ChopperP
 
Grogster

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Joined: 31/12/2012
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 7478
Posted: 06:16am 24 Nov 2020
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Now that you have everything working, download Macrium Reflect, and make an image of your new SSD, that way, if something goes horribly wrong again, you can re-image your SSD using the image file and another computer with Macrium Reflect on it, then you don't have to re-install W10, activate, install all the drivers, install all your programs, copy all your data from the backups etc....  Makes life much less stressful if you have to do a full system restore.
Smoke makes things work. When the smoke gets out, it stops!
 
Chopperp

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Joined: 03/01/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 843
Posted: 08:58am 24 Nov 2020
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Thanks Grogs.

Downloaded & installed Reflect. Will wait for a bit before using it to make sure all is OK.

Brian
ChopperP
 
Paul_L
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Joined: 03/03/2016
Location: United States
Posts: 696
Posted: 06:21pm 24 Nov 2020
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@Brian ... I've been using Macrium for over a decade. It actually works. I've had to restore the full disk a few times thanks to Microsoft breaking older drivers with their updates. Other image software, including microsoft's,  would not restore the disk. Make sure you create a boot disk or thumb drive, and test it.

Paul in NY
 
Womble

Senior Member

Joined: 09/07/2020
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 264
Posted: 11:42am 25 Nov 2020
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@Paul_L ... I can second that ++

Another option which works is to use the "Boot Menu":

I used to use Acronis (for Win7 and earlier) but Macrium is now my goto imaging software.
 
Chopperp

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Joined: 03/01/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 843
Posted: 12:21pm 25 Nov 2020
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Thanks guys (Paul & Womble & Grogs of course)

Looks interesting. Will follow up on the suggestions.

Had a bit of trouble with my 2TB D: drive. Did one disk repair. Windows Explorer having a slow time with it periodically.

Got everything off it & reformatted it. I tried a old version (V6) of GPARTED.ISO but obviously didn't like the 2TB size as it wouldn't recogise the 2TB drive. OK on 500GB. Had to download & burn the lastest ISO file which had to be on a CDR & not a DVD. (I do have one of those units).

Worked OK. I also now have my drives in order of the SATA ports which I don't know why I didn't do the last time I was playing with the PC. They now come up in the proper order in Disk manager etc.

Slowly putting things back on the D drive as well as reinstalling programs on C.

I certainly have built up / downloaded a whole lot of crap, I mean stuff since my last rebuild.

I should look at the E drive with GPARTED to see if there is a boot partition on it.
I only had D drive connected when I ran GPARTED in earnest.

Brian
ChopperP
 
Chopperp

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Joined: 03/01/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 843
Posted: 07:06am 08 Dec 2020
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Update:

All now appears OK.

E drive was listed as a boot drive. Now a normal partion & the intermittent problem with the D drive turned out to be a power lead adaptor. Working OK since being replaced.

Now to continue on with sorting out all the crap I have scattered across the various drives.

Brian
ChopperP
 
Paul_L
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Joined: 03/03/2016
Location: United States
Posts: 696
Posted: 09:21pm 08 Dec 2020
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Brian ... Get yourself multiple pairs of suspenders (braces??) to add to your belt.

I use an external USB drive for all backups and I disconnect it except when I'm updating the backup data. I've never seen any malware that can mess with a disconnected drive!

Make frequent Macrium image backups of the C drive.

Run ROBOCOPY from a batch file to copy ALL changed files on C to your backup drive every day.

Run Belarc Advisor, MSifo32.exe (part of Windows), Produkey and LookInMyPC after every major update or program addition. Save any information they produce on your backup drive. You'll have a whole lot of data about software keys, and installed gadgets which will help enormously if you ever have to rebuild the whole mess again.

Paul in NY
 
Chopperp

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Joined: 03/01/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 843
Posted: 11:55am 09 Dec 2020
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Hi Paul, thanks for the tips.

I do have a couple of USB drives which I do use for backups, but are not always disconnected.

I haven't used ROBOCOPY for years. Must have another look at it.

Still sorting stuff out. I've found I have backed up lots of rubbish at times.

Have a good holiday season (or whatever the politically correct term is for this time at the end of the year)

Brian
ChopperP
 
Paul_L
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Joined: 03/03/2016
Location: United States
Posts: 696
Posted: 11:03pm 10 Dec 2020
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Hi Brian,

Storage is so cheap today you should not worry about backing up rubbish. Amazon is currently advertising a 4TB USB 3.0 Elements drive for $94.99. ROBOCOPY will take hours to fill it.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=4+tb+usb+external+hard+drive&crid=3SY2KRDZTUXOC&sprefix=4+tb+usb+%2Caps%2C478&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-a-p_3_9

Paul in NY.
 
Chopperp

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Joined: 03/01/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 843
Posted: 12:53pm 13 Dec 2020
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Thanks Paul

Not a bad price (AU$146). Just purchased & paid almost as much as a normal 4TB HDD to replace the one I though was faulty. Only money.

Re Rubbish. Should do some house keeping at least once in awhile  

Keep safe
Brian
ChopperP
 
lizby
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Joined: 17/05/2016
Location: United States
Posts: 1264
Posted: 01:55pm 13 Dec 2020
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  Chopperp said  Re Rubbish. Should do some house keeping at least once in awhile  


If I did that I wouldn't have been able to find the C code linked list sort and binary search that I wrote in 1987 and recently found a need for. Reconstructing it would have been hard for me at this point.
 
Paul_L
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Joined: 03/03/2016
Location: United States
Posts: 696
Posted: 04:32am 14 Dec 2020
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Rubbish is all that stuff Windoze does on the system drive. I can run CCleaner and five minutes later it will find a couple dozen brand new junk files. I NEVER SAVE ANY OF MY DATA ON C:. I have a separate mechanical drive where I keep my stuff.

I lost the priceless C source code for Clipper Summer 86 decades ago when I had a nearly simultaneous failure of two drives. That was a good six months of intensive work gone in a flash. I will not let that happen again.

Paul in NY
 
Grogster

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Joined: 31/12/2012
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 7478
Posted: 01:51am 16 Dec 2020
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I'm building a NAS for a buddy of mine(Linux, naturally!) and he wanted 2x 4TB, and they are only NZ$218 or so in our money at the moment.  Amazing value when you consider that the first new HDD I purchased as a twenty-something back in the 1990's, was a Seagate series-5 5400RPM, 20GB capacity and cost about $250 at the time.

I have a special NAS box that is dedicate ONLY to system images, but a good external USB3 HDD also works well as Paul has indicated.
Smoke makes things work. When the smoke gets out, it stops!
 
Paul_L
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Joined: 03/03/2016
Location: United States
Posts: 696
Posted: 05:39am 16 Dec 2020
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@Grogster ... forget Linux. Most modern routers have built in Samba server functionality. Just plug in a USB 3.0 drive and go. The WiFi link will slow it down a lot. It works pretty well when you connect to the router using Ethernet wiring. I have a 1.828 GB copy of the movie "Fiddler On The Roof". As a test I just copied it to the Samba drive using 5 GHz WiFi in 1:35. Then I copied it again using Ethernet in 0:19. It makes a big difference when you are replicating an entire internal drive using RoboCopy.

Paul in NY
 
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