20th April 12:50
"Searching for Boot Record from IDE-0..Not Found" - MBR Problem?
As part of some routine maintenance, I rebooted my NT4/SP6a installation
and got the error message in the Subject line
Searching for Boot Record from IDE-0..Not Found
followed by a request to insert a bootable floppy in Drive A etc etc.
Googling suggested some possible causes
(a) Hard disk failure
(b) Loose cable
(c) Motherboard (IDE controller) failure
(d) Corrupted Master Boot Record
To test these possibilities, I did the following
1. Replaced the hard disk with a spare (which has W2K installed),
and connected it with a new cable.
Result: boots up just fine.
Conclusion: (a) new cable works, (b) motherboard is OK.
2. Installed the suspect hard disk in another machine (with W2K
installed) as a second disk.
Result: all data accessible without any problem.
Conclusion: hard disk works.
3. Switched suspect hard disk back into original machine, with
Result: same error as before, boot record not found.
Conclusion: possible problem in MBR.
Specifically, Test #2 suggested that the partition table is okay, so the
MBR problem, if any, would be in the loader code (from a virus?).
I don't have any MS-DOS installation, and my NT4/W2K logical drives are
all NTFS file systems, so I don't have FDISK.EXE available - not that I
fully understand how that program's /MBR option could help me, either.
(Does it leave the partition table intact?)
So, I tried the repair option with the NT4 Setup disks. It loads the
first two disks and then offers installation options. I chose the
repair option and elected to skip the hardware probe. It asked for Disk
#3, and then the first thing on the status line at the bottom was
"Loading device drivers (ESDI/IDE disk driver)" - or something like
And then the Setup program froze. It's a pretty laconic program anyway,
so I took a walk (went out for dinner actually) in case the freeze was
just a failure to show progress in a long process. But no, when I got
back an hour and half later, it was still trying to load the disk
The only way to get out was to power cycle. I took the opportunity to
check IDE disk detection in the BIOS - it saw the disk just fine.
And lo and behold, this time the machine booted into NT!
So, do I have a MBR problem (in which case, how do I fix it?), or is
this advance warning that my hard disk may fail pretty soon - as in
having mechanical trouble moving the read head to the MBR area?
Thanks for any insights.