Thursday, February 12, 2009

Windows XP Install CD won't boot

Recently, I corrupted my Windows partition by wrongly installing grub on the Windows partition - rather than on the MBR. Either this or due to some reason, my Windows partition got corrupted and was not booting.

In order to install Windows XP, I tried booting with WinXP Install CD. After going through few screens on booting from the Install CD, the install process would forever hang. I had no ideas, why this was behaving so. I even tried booting the Install CD from within my Linux using qemu, with the partition to be installed as the WinXP hard-drive partition. Same problem, Install CD would hang.

By chance, I discovered a trick to resolve this problem. Before booting from the XP Install CD, I went to BIOS setup and disabled the IDE hard disk. XP Install CD did not hang now and went ahead with the Install process. Since the later stage of XP Installer has its own drivers to discover the IDE hard disk, the hard disk was discovered and it installed XP on the hard drive. It looks like the earlier stages of XP install CD, tries to read the existing Windows partitions and got stuck, as the partition was unreadable. After the installation, I enabled the IDE hard drive in BIOS.

Ofcourse, having understood the problem, I realized later that I could have formatted the Windows partition from within my Linux - but if you don't have a Linux partition or a Linux install CD, disabling the IDE hard disk in the BIOS is probably a easy solution.

As a matter of coincidence, in the next few days, my cousin reported that his Windows registry is corrupted and Windows won't boot. He also tried reinstalling Windows XP, but faced the same problem! Once again, the disabling of hard disk in BIOS was the trick that helped him move forward!

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