Question about Dell Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

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Dell 4550 unmountable boot volume error.

We lost pwer one night and now when the system goes to boot. All we get is the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH. Using the F8 and F11 options it always goes to the same screen with 5-6 different options. And no matter which one you use it always comes up unmountale_boot_volume_error. I know there has to be a work around. But I do not know how. HELP, Bob

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  • stargazer54
    stargazer54 Jun 15, 2008

    Thank you very much for getting me on the right track. What I ended up doing was using the install cd. But I had to use the F12 button and type HELP in the promt. That brought up a list and I used FIXBOOT. About 15 min. later back up and running. Once again Thank You. Bob

  • stargazer54
    stargazer54 Jun 15, 2008

    Thank you. I plan to buy an external hard drive in the morning. I will load a copy of the OS and some important files I have on there. And yes I will disconnect it and LOCK it up. Thanks, Bob



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0) Your hard drive is corrupted by improper shut down,
or the hardware may be physically damaged by
by a power spike.

1) Reboot the machine with hard reset, and press the BIOS
key during the memory test.

Typically this is the DEL key most machines but it could
be F1 or some other key, so if DEL does not get you into
the BIOS, check you system manual or experiment.

2) Once you are in the BIOS settings screen, look for a
TAB or settings page for changing the BOOT priority
for installed devices.

3) Make sure that your CD-ROM drive is FIRST in line, before
the hard drive, but leave the hard disk boot enabled

4) If you do this correctly your system should firs try to boot
from the CD, and only try the disk if the CD is not in the

5) Now reboot the machine from the original Windows setup
CD, and let it do its thing, until you get to a prompt
asking you id you want to RE-INSTALL Windows or
try to REPAIR the installation using a RESCUE DISK

for now, choose INSTALL, and accept the user license

6) Proceed with the installation (only) until you get another
prompt, asking you if wish wish to repair the system
using the


7) Chose the recovery console !!!

(do not continue with a new install)

8) After windows finishes loading, you will be looking
at a black and white text screen, similar to DOS.

9) You may have to login with the administrator password.

10) If your master administator password is lost or unavailable,
and if you are using windows XP, try to get it with
and older Windows 2000 installation disk instead,
This should get you beyond the windows XP password
security and function the same as XP.

11) Once you are logged into the recovery console, you
can try to repair the master boot record on the damaged

12) Type FixMBR at the command prompt

for more info read this Microsoft article:

13) If this does not work, then the Windows partition is
corrupt. The problem is that most tools needed to repair
NTFS require Windows to run, and Windows will NOT run
if the boot partition is bad.

14) To get around this problem, you can install a second
hard drive in you machine, and install a parallel copy
of windows on it.

or if your existing drive is partioned, you could use
a tool like Norton's Partition Magic to adjust the partitions,
such that you could make a new partition for the parallel
copy of windows there, put keep in mind that you Partition
Magic will NOT alter any partition that is damaged, so
you may have a Catch 22 situation.

15) Once you have a parallel copy of windows installed on the
machine, you can use a multitude of tools to try to repair
the damage hard drive, MBR, partition tables, partion boot
records, the file system ... etc

At this point you can also replace key windows system files
by copying them over from good windows to the bad.

16) There are also (expensive) commercial utilities for
recovering corrupted disks. NTFS is more expensive to
recover than FAT

17) Finally is non of the above works, you can sent your
drive back to the manufacturer or a professional
recovery lab, this cost $2000 to $3000 though.

18) Not all drives can be recovered fully, depending on how
bad the damage is.

19) If the hard-drive electronics are damaged from a power
spike, it is often possible to service the hard drive by
replacing its circuit board, from an identical model,
because the data is probably still intact. An electronic
tech can easily do this. This is cheap.

20) Always run you computer from a UPS, uninteruptable
power supply (battery backed up) to prevent such
problems in the future.

Hope this helps


Posted on Jun 09, 2008

  • Martin J Stadler
    Martin J Stadler Jun 15, 2008

    I still very much recommend partitioning your drive,
    and creating duplicate windows installations, as
    well as hidden back-up partitions.

    Use Acronis Tools to do this.

    It will save you a lot of future time and grief.

    Another good idea is to image your internal drive to an
    external USB drive for back-up, and then shut of the external
    drive, and keep in in a safe place until you need it.




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