A friend's XP system needs rescuing. When it boots, a message comes up right
away "No operating system found". Since I use Linux, he asked me to help
restore the system.
The first thing I did was mount the hard drive on my Linux box and I made a
complete image of his C and D drives. He's using NTFS.
I now have images of his entire hard drive, so now I'm trying to rescue the
system. I don't know much about Windows, so I'm a little lost, but I assume
the problem is either:
1. MBR got corrupted
* Could be a virus
* More likely, it has something to do with software he was installing at
the time. He was trying to use Norton something-or-other which
wanted to be rebooted into DOS mode. That's when things went south.
2. Missing system files
* autoexec.bat, config.sys and msdos.sys are all empty
* maybe some other crucial file is missing. I'm not familiar
with Windows. I thought there should be something named
C:\command.com, but it appears to be missing.
Did some Google searching. Apparently, the Windows XP disk has a rescue
console, and it sounds like it does exactly what I need: rewrite the MBR and
install a few crucial system files. Unfortunately, (fortunately?) I've never
had the need for XP, and don't have it. I really don't want to buy a copy,
Apparently, there's a DOS utility called SYS, and doing:
is supposed to restore some crucial boot up files, but when I boot a DOS
disk, it doesn't seem to know about the hard drive. I take this to mean that
DOS doesn't know how to access NTFS.
I'm still Googling, but I figured I'd throw this out in case someone here is
knowledgable about this kind of thing.
Any ideas on how to rescue the MBR without a Windows XP disk?