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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2007, 05:21 PM
Mark
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Posts: n/a
Default Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

How can it be that after formatting a disk during a Win XP install that,
after the install, two versions of windows are proposed in the startup menu?
On Partition 1 and partition 2? Does this mean that a format is not
complete? Does it imply that the Master Boot Record has not been formatted?
If so, problems with MBR viruses cannot be resolved with a Windows XP
install.

Found a formatting tool for Maxtor drives: called Powermax v4.23
(13/03/2007) Never tried using this a s a solution for this problem, but it
seems that a windows install format does not remove the master boot record



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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2007, 06:28 PM
Mike Walsh
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?


A format will format a partition and will not affect the MBR.
The menu comes from the Boot.ini file created during installation. The menu should include the new installation and any other WinNT based OSs (WinNT, Win2k, WinXP, Vista) that the installation detects.

Mark wrote:
>
> How can it be that after formatting a disk during a Win XP install that,
> after the install, two versions of windows are proposed in the startup menu?
> On Partition 1 and partition 2? Does this mean that a format is not
> complete? Does it imply that the Master Boot Record has not been formatted?
> If so, problems with MBR viruses cannot be resolved with a Windows XP
> install.
>
> Found a formatting tool for Maxtor drives: called Powermax v4.23
> (13/03/2007) Never tried using this a s a solution for this problem, but it
> seems that a windows install format does not remove the master boot record


--
Mike Walsh
West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.A.

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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2007, 06:30 PM
Al Pilarcik
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

Mark wrote:
> How can it be that after formatting a disk during a Win XP install
> that, after the install, two versions of windows are proposed in the
> startup menu? On Partition 1 and partition 2? Does this mean that a
> format is not complete? Does it imply that the Master Boot Record has
> not been formatted? If so, problems with MBR viruses cannot be
> resolved with a Windows XP install.



>
> Found a formatting tool for Maxtor drives: called Powermax v4.23
> (13/03/2007) Never tried using this a s a solution for this problem,
> but it seems that a windows install format does not remove the master
> boot record



Boot from the Windows XP CD. Type 'fixmbr' at the command prompt. Also, edit
boot.ini as required.



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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2007, 09:54 PM
Mark
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

What does that do exactly?



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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2007, 09:57 PM
Uncle Grumpy
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

On Mar 13, 4:54 pm, "Mark" <markantis...@orange.fr> wrote:
> What does that do exactly?


It fixes the master boot record.

DUH


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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2007, 10:14 PM
Rod Speed
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

Mark <markantispam@orange.fr> wrote:

> How can it be that after formatting a disk during a Win XP install that, after the install, two
> versions of windows are proposed in the startup menu? On Partition 1 and partition 2?


Thats normal if you only formatted one of those partitions prior to the new install on it.

> Does this mean that a format is not complete?


Yes, if you only formatted a partition in the installer.

> Does it imply that the Master Boot Record has not been formatted?


Its more complicated than that, the menu comes from ntldr
and the boot.ini and those may well not be affected if you
only formatted the partition you installed XP on.

> If so, problems with MBR viruses cannot be resolved with a Windows XP install.


You can wipe the drive outside the installer to
wipe the MBR and the installer will replace it.

> Found a formatting tool for Maxtor drives: called Powermax v4.23 (13/03/2007) Never tried using
> this a s a solution for this problem, but it seems that a windows install format does not remove
> the master boot record


Thats because that isnt always desirable to do.



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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2007, 10:33 PM
Mark
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

>> How can it be that after formatting a disk during a Win XP install that,
>> after the install, two versions of windows are proposed in the startup
>> menu? On Partition 1 and partition 2?

>
> Thats normal if you only formatted one of those partitions prior to the
> new install on it.
>
>> Does this mean that a format is not complete?

>
> Yes, if you only formatted a partition in the installer.
>
>> Does it imply that the Master Boot Record has not been formatted?

>
> Its more complicated than that, the menu comes from ntldr
> and the boot.ini and those may well not be affected if you
> only formatted the partition you installed XP on.


that seems odd. surely formatting the system drive get rids of all system
info methought.

>
>> If so, problems with MBR viruses cannot be resolved with a Windows XP
>> install.

>
> You can wipe the drive outside the installer to
> wipe the MBR and the installer will replace it.


with a low level format? ps need to find a tool for all drive makes
>
>> Found a formatting tool for Maxtor drives: called Powermax v4.23
>> (13/03/2007) Never tried using this a s a solution for this problem, but
>> it seems that a windows install format does not remove the master boot
>> record

>
> Thats because that isnt always desirable to do.

Why would you want to keep an MBR?

But clearly the answer is no the basic win xp installer does not remove an
existing MBR, only creates one if none is present?

Apparently there is a tool to fix an MBR: 'fixmbr'



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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 03-13-2007, 10:45 PM
DaveW
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

It sounds like you only reformatted ONE partition on a multi-partitioned
harddrive.

--

DaveW

___________
"Mark" <markantispam@orange.fr> wrote in message
news:45f6ddad$0$27373$ba4acef3@news.orange.fr...
> How can it be that after formatting a disk during a Win XP install that,
> after the install, two versions of windows are proposed in the startup
> menu? On Partition 1 and partition 2? Does this mean that a format is not
> complete? Does it imply that the Master Boot Record has not been
> formatted? If so, problems with MBR viruses cannot be resolved with a
> Windows XP install.
>
> Found a formatting tool for Maxtor drives: called Powermax v4.23
> (13/03/2007) Never tried using this a s a solution for this problem, but
> it seems that a windows install format does not remove the master boot
> record
>




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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 03-14-2007, 01:27 AM
Rod Speed
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

Mark <markantispam@orange.fr> wrote:

>>> How can it be that after formatting a disk during a Win XP install
>>> that, after the install, two versions of windows are proposed in
>>> the startup menu? On Partition 1 and partition 2?


>> Thats normal if you only formatted one of those partitions prior to the new install on it.


>>> Does this mean that a format is not complete?


>> Yes, if you only formatted a partition in the installer.


>>> Does it imply that the Master Boot Record has not been formatted?


>> Its more complicated than that, the menu comes from ntldr
>> and the boot.ini and those may well not be affected if you
>> only formatted the partition you installed XP on.


> that seems odd. surely formatting the system drive get rids of all system info methought.


Nope, not if you format the partition other
than the once that has ntldr and boot.ini in it.

>>> If so, problems with MBR viruses cannot be resolved with a Windows XP install.


>> You can wipe the drive outside the installer to
>> wipe the MBR and the installer will replace it.


> with a low level format?


There is no such animal, the drive cant even do that now.

All you can do now is write zeros thru all the sectors.

> ps need to find a tool for all drive makes


Clearhdd can do that and provides a bit of increased
safety to ensure you dont wipe the wrong drive etc.
http://www.samsung.com/Products/Hard...s/clearhdd.htm

>>> Found a formatting tool for Maxtor drives: called Powermax v4.23
>>> (13/03/2007) Never tried using this a s a solution for this
>>> problem, but it seems that a windows install format does not remove
>>> the master boot record


>> Thats because that isnt always desirable to do.


> Why would you want to keep an MBR?


When XP is being installed along with another OS etc.

> But clearly the answer is no the basic win xp installer does not
> remove an existing MBR, only creates one if none is present?


Correct.

> Apparently there is a tool to fix an MBR: 'fixmbr'


Correct.

Its safer to wipe the drive with somethig like clearhdd tho,
that eliminates a variety of other possibilitys too, particularly
a bios overlay that can survive even an fdisk /mbr etc.



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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 03-14-2007, 01:59 PM
Mark
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?


"Rod Speed" <rod.speed.aaa@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:55p1ukF25k2eaU1@mid.individual.net...
> Mark <markantispam@orange.fr> wrote:
>
>>>> How can it be that after formatting a disk during a Win XP install
>>>> that, after the install, two versions of windows are proposed in
>>>> the startup menu? On Partition 1 and partition 2?

>
>>> Thats normal if you only formatted one of those partitions prior to the
>>> new install on it.

>
>>>> Does this mean that a format is not complete?

>
>>> Yes, if you only formatted a partition in the installer.

>
>>>> Does it imply that the Master Boot Record has not been formatted?

>
>>> Its more complicated than that, the menu comes from ntldr
>>> and the boot.ini and those may well not be affected if you
>>> only formatted the partition you installed XP on.

>
>> that seems odd. surely formatting the system drive get rids of all system
>> info methought.

>
> Nope, not if you format the partition other
> than the once that has ntldr and boot.ini in it.


OK, but is the ntldr and boot ini not always on the same drive as windows?
>
>>>> If so, problems with MBR viruses cannot be resolved with a Windows XP
>>>> install.

>
>>> You can wipe the drive outside the installer to
>>> wipe the MBR and the installer will replace it.

>
>> with a low level format?

>
> There is no such animal, the drive cant even do that now.
>
> All you can do now is write zeros thru all the sectors.


Yes I found that

>
>> ps need to find a tool for all drive makes

>
> Clearhdd can do that and provides a bit of increased
> safety to ensure you dont wipe the wrong drive etc.
> http://www.samsung.com/Products/Hard...s/clearhdd.htm
>
>>>> Found a formatting tool for Maxtor drives: called Powermax v4.23
>>>> (13/03/2007) Never tried using this a s a solution for this
>>>> problem, but it seems that a windows install format does not remove
>>>> the master boot record

>
>>> Thats because that isnt always desirable to do.

>
>> Why would you want to keep an MBR?

>
> When XP is being installed along with another OS etc.
>
>> But clearly the answer is no the basic win xp installer does not
>> remove an existing MBR, only creates one if none is present?

>
> Correct.
>
>> Apparently there is a tool to fix an MBR: 'fixmbr'

>
> Correct.
>
> Its safer to wipe the drive with somethig like clearhdd tho,
> that eliminates a variety of other possibilitys too, particularly
> a bios overlay that can survive even an fdisk /mbr etc.


What is a BIOS overlay?
>
>




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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 03-15-2007, 02:34 AM
jameshanley39@yahoo.co.uk
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

On 13 Mar, 17:21, "Mark" <markantis...@orange.fr> wrote:
> How can it be that after formatting a disk during a Win XP install that,
> after the install, two versions of windows are proposed in the startup menu?
> On Partition 1 and partition 2? Does this mean that a format is not
> complete? Does it imply that the Master Boot Record has not been formatted?
> If so, problems with MBR viruses cannot be resolved with a Windows XP
> install.
>
> Found a formatting tool for Maxtor drives: called Powermax v4.23
> (13/03/2007) Never tried using this a s a solution for this problem, but it
> seems that a windows install format does not remove the master boot record


reading a few of your posts, it's clear that you missed the point made
by the first person that replied. I'll expand on it.. Though I may
make mistakes in the process

There is no such thing as formatting a disk
(there may be wiping a disk, writing zeros all over it, but that's not
formatting)

Formatting formats a partition.

If somebody stupidly/misleadingly says format a disk, they probably
mean the disk has one partition, format it.

Chances are that when you had windows xp and then went ahead and
installed windows xp again, it created a new partition, formatted
that, and put windows on there. As oppose to removing windows
beforehand.

I don't know much about the MBR. But from what I understand,
The MBR sits outside the partitions. And It doesn't even know if a
partition is FAT32 or NTFS. One formats partitions. So the MBR won't
get wiped from formatting [a partition].

So, for example, the win98 command fdisk /mbr works on a drive with
win xp, and win xp recovery console command FIXMBR works on a drive
with win98 . The difference between the 2 commands is a slight
technicality discussed somewhere on usenet. I don't think it's OS
related.

The DOS Format command was e.g. format c: So the format command took
a so-called "Drive" as a paramater. But C is really a partition, not a
hard drive. When DOS "help" says Drive I guess it means partition. In
win xp disk management, the drive is called a disk.
The word drive might actually be a bit misleading - 'cos 2 possible
definitions. (is it a partition as DOS can use the term, or is it a
hard drive).








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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 03-15-2007, 07:25 AM
kony
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

On Wed, 14 Mar 2007 14:59:07 +0100, "Mark"
<markantispam@orange.fr> wrote:

>
>"Rod Speed" <rod.speed.aaa@gmail.com> wrote in message
>news:55p1ukF25k2eaU1@mid.individual.net...
>> Mark <markantispam@orange.fr> wrote:


>> Nope, not if you format the partition other
>> than the once that has ntldr and boot.ini in it.

>
>OK, but is the ntldr and boot ini not always on the same drive as windows?


Not necessarily, but there is a handoff from bios to OS
control, in that whatever drive was booting to the point
where NTLDR was found, Windows also needs to know the
controller and drive partition it will use to proceed. It
needs this because that's how they designed it, it could
have kept using the same volume unless told not to but it's
not designed to do that because of some exceptions like
persistent drive IDs and multibooting scenarios.




>>
>>> Why would you want to keep an MBR?

>>
>> When XP is being installed along with another OS etc.
>>
>>> But clearly the answer is no the basic win xp installer does not
>>> remove an existing MBR, only creates one if none is present?

>>
>> Correct.


When XP is installed with another OS already present, yes it
does write it's own MBR, it does not only do this if there
was no other MBR present. After writing it's own that
points to the active paritition, there lies the NTLDR and
boot.ini file to specify the other / prior MBRs.

However, if you had a drive overlay or other memory resident
MBR, properly running because it was loaded from the boot
device, when something else tries to write to the MBR, that
active MBR code will redirect to another location so it
retains control, and that other location is similarly,
continually treated as the alternate MBR location so long as
the boot device is still the one with that MBR capability.


>>> Apparently there is a tool to fix an MBR: 'fixmbr'

>>
>> Correct.
>>
>> Its safer to wipe the drive with somethig like clearhdd tho,
>> that eliminates a variety of other possibilitys too, particularly
>> a bios overlay that can survive even an fdisk /mbr etc.

>
>What is a BIOS overlay?



For the purpose of the discussion, any overlay that does as
mentioned above, which redirects attemps to write an MBR to
an alternate MBR location such that when the device boots it
then loads it's code before redirecting to that location to
boot.

We don't need to consider all of this though, all you need
to do to get rid of the phantom OS entry is to edit your
boot.ini file and delete the appropriate lines which will be
obvious when you look at it.

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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 03-15-2007, 04:26 PM
Mark
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

>> How can it be that after formatting a disk during a Win XP install that,
>> after the install, two versions of windows are proposed in the startup
>> menu?
>> On Partition 1 and partition 2? Does this mean that a format is not
>> complete? Does it imply that the Master Boot Record has not been
>> formatted?
>> If so, problems with MBR viruses cannot be resolved with a Windows XP
>> install.
>>
>> Found a formatting tool for Maxtor drives: called Powermax v4.23
>> (13/03/2007) Never tried using this a s a solution for this problem, but
>> it
>> seems that a windows install format does not remove the master boot
>> record

>
> reading a few of your posts, it's clear that you missed the point made
> by the first person that replied. I'll expand on it.. Though I may
> make mistakes in the process
>
> There is no such thing as formatting a disk
> (there may be wiping a disk, writing zeros all over it, but that's not
> formatting)
>
> Formatting formats a partition.


The aim of low level format for me (knowing that it writes zeros) is for it
to remove the MBR, since I thought that my install difficulties might come
from there (perhaps a MBR virus) and because although each time I installed
I removed and reformatted the partition concerned, problems persisted.

In particular, I was getting a message [during install] saying that a line
in a file was corrupt and I could not understand this, since for me there
was nothing on the drive.
>
> If somebody stupidly/misleadingly says format a disk, they probably
> mean the disk has one partition, format it.
>
> Chances are that when you had windows xp and then went ahead and
> installed windows xp again, it created a new partition, formatted
> that, and put windows on there. As oppose to removing windows
> beforehand.


No as I said above, I removed all partitions and recreated. Removing a
partition must by definition remove any Windows installation (c:\windows)
but not the MBR
>
> I don't know much about the MBR. But from what I understand,
> The MBR sits outside the partitions. And It doesn't even know if a
> partition is FAT32 or NTFS. One formats partitions. So the MBR won't
> get wiped from formatting [a partition].
>
> So, for example, the win98 command fdisk /mbr works on a drive with
> win xp, and win xp recovery console command FIXMBR works on a drive
> with win98 . The difference between the 2 commands is a slight
> technicality discussed somewhere on usenet. I don't think it's OS
> related.


OK. Again, the point is to be sure that when installing on a "second hand
drive" is that its clean. However I dont know if a "normal" format writes
zeros or not. What is the difference between a drive straight out of the
factory and a drive / disk that can store files? What is the difference
between FAT and NTFS? There is one, so a format must be more than just
zeros, and zeros are just to ensure that the disk is "clean" and then
recreate and format after.
>
> The DOS Format command was e.g. format c: So the format command took
> a so-called "Drive" as a paramater. But C is really a partition, not a
> hard drive. When DOS "help" says Drive I guess it means partition. In
> win xp disk management, the drive is called a disk.
> The word drive might actually be a bit misleading - 'cos 2 possible
> definitions. (is it a partition as DOS can use the term, or is it a
> hard drive).
>
>
>
>
>
>
>




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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 03-15-2007, 05:54 PM
kony
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

On Thu, 15 Mar 2007 17:26:02 +0100, "Mark"
<markantispam@orange.fr> wrote:


>The aim of low level format for me (knowing that it writes zeros) is for it
>to remove the MBR, since I thought that my install difficulties


What install difficulties? You seem to have left the
details of this important issue out of the posts, unless I
missed it.


>... might come
>from there (perhaps a MBR virus) and because although each time I installed
>I removed and reformatted the partition concerned, problems persisted.


I doubt you have an MBR virus, for one thing if you boot the
CD instead of the hard drive (to install windows), the virus
could not load so there is no chance windows won't have
written it's MBR in place of the virus.



>
>In particular, I was getting a message [during install] saying that a line
>in a file was corrupt and I could not understand this, since for me there
>was nothing on the drive.


What do you mean "for me there was nothing on the drive"?
If you are installing windows, how can there "for you", not
be anything on the drive since that's what an installation
of windows does, writes files to the drive?

However, even if it wasn't writing to the drive at the time,
a line in a file could mean anything, the files on the CD
for example if your system is instable and it corrupts
something read into memory that was a file on the CD.

I suggest you back up and fully describe the problem because
it seems you are guessing about things and not telling us
the whole story.



>No as I said above, I removed all partitions and recreated. Removing a
>partition must by definition remove any Windows installation (c:\windows)
>but not the MBR


You do not need to remove partitions. Use the partition you
have unless you had some reason to believe it was not
creating properly, initially. We dont' even know anything
about the system though, for all we know it could be a 200GB
HDD on a system that can't support a drive that large.



>OK. Again, the point is to be sure that when installing on a "second hand
>drive" is that its clean. However I dont know if a "normal" format writes
>zeros or not.



Would you please not talk about partitions or MBR anymore
until you have started at the beginning and described the
system, described the method of installing windows, and then
described exactly when you have a problem and what is
onscreen at the time?

A normal format does not write zeros, it creates a
filesystem, and optionally (or by default) checks the drive.


>What is the difference between a drive straight out of the
>factory and a drive / disk that can store files?


Depends on what the factory did. Assuming nothing, that the
drive storing files has a partition table with at least one
partition defined, that partition being formatted so the
operating system which you try to write a file with, can
understand it and write to it.


>What is the difference
>between FAT and NTFS?


Enough that it is not worth getting into, it's not the
problem.


>There is one, so a format must be more than just
>zeros, and zeros are just to ensure that the disk is "clean" and then
>recreate and format after.


If you want a tutorial of hard drive logical structures
there are some found via google, but you're drifting WAY
down a tangent instead of starting at the beginning. Maybe
you did start there but you haven't told us that, instead of
these questions which don't seem like a likely avenue to
solve the problem (whatever it may be).


What is the history of the system? Has it ran previously,
stabily? What's been changed on it since then if it had?
Is it new and if so, have you checked the basics like that
fans are operational, nothing is overheating, ran memtest86+
for several hours to rule out memory errors?

System instability, not hard drive MBR or formatting, is a
far more common source of installation problems. Windows
can check (and does) whether your hard drive is ready for
the installation. It can format the drive too. Once it has
begun copying files, that you should not be concerned about
anymore. At that point it could be a disc read error (you
might put the CD in another system and see if you can copy
off all the files to rule that out) but generally it is a
system instability, or maybe some bios bug.


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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 03-15-2007, 06:04 PM
Mike Walsh
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?



Mark wrote:
>
> >> How can it be that after formatting a disk during a Win XP install that,
> >> after the install, two versions of windows are proposed in the startup
> >> menu?
> >> On Partition 1 and partition 2? Does this mean that a format is not
> >> complete? Does it imply that the Master Boot Record has not been
> >> formatted?
> >> If so, problems with MBR viruses cannot be resolved with a Windows XP
> >> install.
> >>
> >> Found a formatting tool for Maxtor drives: called Powermax v4.23
> >> (13/03/2007) Never tried using this a s a solution for this problem, but
> >> it
> >> seems that a windows install format does not remove the master boot
> >> record

> >
> > reading a few of your posts, it's clear that you missed the point made
> > by the first person that replied. I'll expand on it.. Though I may
> > make mistakes in the process
> >
> > There is no such thing as formatting a disk
> > (there may be wiping a disk, writing zeros all over it, but that's not
> > formatting)
> >
> > Formatting formats a partition.

>
> The aim of low level format for me (knowing that it writes zeros) is for it
> to remove the MBR, since I thought that my install difficulties might come
> from there (perhaps a MBR virus) and because although each time I installed
> I removed and reformatted the partition concerned, problems persisted.


A proper low level format will write a bit pattern over the entire disk, including track 0 where the MBR is.

> In particular, I was getting a message [during install] saying that a line
> in a file was corrupt and I could not understand this, since for me there
> was nothing on the drive.


The file that is being copied might appear to be corrupted on the source media, or it could be corrupted because of e.g. bad memory.

> > If somebody stupidly/misleadingly says format a disk, they probably
> > mean the disk has one partition, format it.
> >
> > Chances are that when you had windows xp and then went ahead and
> > installed windows xp again, it created a new partition, formatted
> > that, and put windows on there. As oppose to removing windows
> > beforehand.

>
> No as I said above, I removed all partitions and recreated. Removing a
> partition must by definition remove any Windows installation (c:\windows)
> but not the MBR


True.

> > I don't know much about the MBR. But from what I understand,
> > The MBR sits outside the partitions. And It doesn't even know if a
> > partition is FAT32 or NTFS. One formats partitions. So the MBR won't
> > get wiped from formatting [a partition].
> >
> > So, for example, the win98 command fdisk /mbr works on a drive with
> > win xp, and win xp recovery console command FIXMBR works on a drive
> > with win98 . The difference between the 2 commands is a slight
> > technicality discussed somewhere on usenet. I don't think it's OS
> > related.

>
> OK. Again, the point is to be sure that when installing on a "second hand
> drive" is that its clean. However I dont know if a "normal" format writes
> zeros or not. What is the difference between a drive straight out of the
> factory and a drive / disk that can store files? What is the difference
> between FAT and NTFS? There is one, so a format must be more than just
> zeros, and zeros are just to ensure that the disk is "clean" and then
> recreate and format after.


It used to be that a format would write over the entire partition, but according to what I have been reading the last few years a format will read, but not write, the partition. A format will always create a file system (FAT, NTFS, etc.) which is what makes the partition usable.
NTFS is more secure than FAT because of permissions etc., more fault tolerant, and is more suitable for large drives. FAT12 and FAT16 work well for small drives. FAT32 supports large hard drives and a duplicate copy of the FAT (File Allocation Table) makes it makes it more fault tolerant.

> > The DOS Format command was e.g. format c: So the format command took
> > a so-called "Drive" as a paramater. But C is really a partition, not a
> > hard drive. When DOS "help" says Drive I guess it means partition. In
> > win xp disk management, the drive is called a disk.
> > The word drive might actually be a bit misleading - 'cos 2 possible
> > definitions. (is it a partition as DOS can use the term, or is it a
> > hard drive).


--
Mike Walsh
West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.A.

Reply With Quote
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 03-17-2007, 08:47 AM
Mark
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

>The aim of low level format for me (knowing that it writes zeros) is for it
>>to remove the MBR, since I thought that my install difficulties

>
> What install difficulties? You seem to have left the
> details of this important issue out of the posts, unless I
> missed it.


OK, yes, I was writing the details of the install problems in another post
on
microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support entitled "Windows XP cannot copy
files during install" which gives quite a bit of detail

But I will repeat some of it here.

The PC came to me first with Windows XP unbootable saying ntfs.sys corrupt.
On reinstalling, at first, it went ok until I started getting various
different setup files which could not be copied onto the hard drive. I
assumed this was a cd drive or physical hard drive problem and so changed
both and used three separate copies of the installation cd.

Then I got a message saying inf\i386\txtsetup.sif was corrupt but before the
installation of xp could even start.

I concluded that since I had erased all partitions, that the only area that
this message could come from was something in the MBR, since this was the
only thing that might have survived on the hard disk.

I repeated with three different installation cds and subsequently used
Maxtor's Powermax v4.23 to wipe the drive (including the MBR, I now believe)
but the problem reoccured.

So I couldnt understand how my installation stalled on this message since
the hard disk should have been clean.

My eventual solution was to install win98 first and then xp but I dont know

a) why this worked, since xp reinstalls not upgrades
b) what the hell the message inf\i386\txtsetup.sif is corrupt means and how
it could come about.

>
>
>>... might come
>>from there (perhaps a MBR virus) and because although each time I
>>installed
>>I removed and reformatted the partition concerned, problems persisted.

>
> I doubt you have an MBR virus, for one thing if you boot the
> CD instead of the hard drive (to install windows), the virus
> could not load so there is no chance windows won't have
> written it's MBR in place of the virus.


In the end as I say above I couldnt boot from the cd stopped by
inf\i386\txtsetup.sif is corrupt
>
>>
>>In particular, I was getting a message [during install] saying that a line
>>in a file was corrupt and I could not understand this, since for me there
>>was nothing on the drive.

>
> What do you mean "for me there was nothing on the drive"?
> If you are installing windows, how can there "for you", not
> be anything on the drive since that's what an installation
> of windows does, writes files to the drive?


As I say, the message came about before launching the installation

>
> However, even if it wasn't writing to the drive at the time,
> a line in a file could mean anything, the files on the CD
> for example if your system is instable and it corrupts
> something read into memory that was a file on the CD.


Are you saying that a faulty RAM module coudl corrupt a file read from the
cd?
It must be in memory corruption and not on cd.
What surprised me was that it was consistently repeatable

> I suggest you back up and fully describe the problem because
> it seems you are guessing about things and not telling us
> the whole story.
>

True
>
>>No as I said above, I removed all partitions and recreated. Removing a
>>partition must by definition remove any Windows installation (c:\windows)
>>but not the MBR

>
> You do not need to remove partitions. Use the partition you
> have unless you had some reason to believe it was not
> creating properly, initially. We dont' even know anything
> about the system though, for all we know it could be a 200GB
> HDD on a system that can't support a drive that large.
>

I tend to remove and recreate partitions during install. I feel happier
about starting afresh
>
>>OK. Again, the point is to be sure that when installing on a "second hand
>>drive" is that its clean. However I dont know if a "normal" format writes
>>zeros or not.

>
>
> Would you please not talk about partitions or MBR anymore
> until you have started at the beginning and described the
> system, described the method of installing windows, and then
> described exactly when you have a problem and what is
> onscreen at the time?


Done

>
> A normal format does not write zeros, it creates a
> filesystem, and optionally (or by default) checks the drive.
>
>
>>What is the difference between a drive straight out of the
>>factory and a drive / disk that can store files?

>
> Depends on what the factory did. Assuming nothing, that the
> drive storing files has a partition table with at least one
> partition defined, that partition being formatted so the
> operating system which you try to write a file with, can
> understand it and write to it.
>
>
>>What is the difference
>>between FAT and NTFS?

>
> Enough that it is not worth getting into, it's not the
> problem.


My point was not to get a lesson on file structures, just to state that a
format is different from a zero-writing low level format
>
>
>>There is one, so a format must be more than just
>>zeros, and zeros are just to ensure that the disk is "clean" and then
>>recreate and format after.

>
> If you want a tutorial of hard drive logical structures
> there are some found via google, but you're drifting WAY
> down a tangent instead of starting at the beginning. Maybe
> you did start there but you haven't told us that, instead of
> these questions which don't seem like a likely avenue to
> solve the problem (whatever it may be).


See above

>
>
> What is the history of the system? Has it ran previously,
> stabily? What's been changed on it since then if it had?
> Is it new and if so, have you checked the basics like that
> fans are operational, nothing is overheating, ran memtest86+
> for several hours to rule out memory errors?
>
> System instability, not hard drive MBR or formatting, is a
> far more common source of installation problems. Windows
> can check (and does) whether your hard drive is ready for
> the installation. It can format the drive too. Once it has
> begun copying files, that you should not be concerned about
> anymore. At that point it could be a disc read error (you
> might put the CD in another system and see if you can copy
> off all the files to rule that out) but generally it is a
> system instability, or maybe some bios bug.


I have more hardware problems (hard disk / cds) than any other
The problem seems to be that faulty memory modules are the one thing that
seem to give inconsistent or incomprehenisble error messages

I think I backed up ok now ...
>




Reply With Quote
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 03-17-2007, 08:55 AM
Mark
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

>The aim of low level format for me (knowing that it writes zeros) is for
it
>>>to remove the MBR, since I thought that my install difficulties

>>
>> What install difficulties? You seem to have left the
>> details of this important issue out of the posts, unless I
>> missed it.

>
> OK, yes, I was writing the details of the install problems in another post
> on
> microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support entitled "Windows XP cannot
> copy files during install" which gives quite a bit of detail
>
> But I will repeat some of it here.
>
> The PC came to me first with Windows XP unbootable saying ntfs.sys
> corrupt. On reinstalling, at first, it went ok until I started getting
> various different setup files which could not be copied onto the hard
> drive. I assumed this was a cd drive or physical hard drive problem and so
> changed both and used three separate copies of the installation cd.
>
> Then I got a message saying inf\i386\txtsetup.sif was corrupt but before
> the installation of xp could even start.
>
> I concluded that since I had erased all partitions, that the only area
> that this message could come from was something in the MBR, since this was
> the only thing that might have survived on the hard disk.
>
> I repeated with three different installation cds and subsequently used
> Maxtor's Powermax v4.23 to wipe the drive (including the MBR, I now
> believe) but the problem reoccured.
>
> So I couldnt understand how my installation stalled on this message since
> the hard disk should have been clean.
>
> My eventual solution was to install win98 first and then xp but I dont
> know
>
> a) why this worked, since xp reinstalls not upgrades
> b) what the hell the message inf\i386\txtsetup.sif is corrupt means and
> how it could come about.
>
>>
>>
>>>... might come
>>>from there (perhaps a MBR virus) and because although each time I
>>>installed
>>>I removed and reformatted the partition concerned, problems persisted.

>>
>> I doubt you have an MBR virus, for one thing if you boot the
>> CD instead of the hard drive (to install windows), the virus
>> could not load so there is no chance windows won't have
>> written it's MBR in place of the virus.

>
> In the end as I say above I couldnt boot from the cd stopped by
> inf\i386\txtsetup.sif is corrupt
>>
>>>
>>>In particular, I was getting a message [during install] saying that a
>>>line
>>>in a file was corrupt and I could not understand this, since for me there
>>>was nothing on the drive.

>>
>> What do you mean "for me there was nothing on the drive"?
>> If you are installing windows, how can there "for you", not
>> be anything on the drive since that's what an installation
>> of windows does, writes files to the drive?

>
> As I say, the message came about before launching the installation
>
>>
>> However, even if it wasn't writing to the drive at the time,
>> a line in a file could mean anything, the files on the CD
>> for example if your system is instable and it corrupts
>> something read into memory that was a file on the CD.

>
> Are you saying that a faulty RAM module coudl corrupt a file read from the
> cd?
> It must be in memory corruption and not on cd.
> What surprised me was that it was consistently repeatable
>
>> I suggest you back up and fully describe the problem because
>> it seems you are guessing about things and not telling us
>> the whole story.
>>

> True
>>
>>>No as I said above, I removed all partitions and recreated. Removing a
>>>partition must by definition remove any Windows installation (c:\windows)
>>>but not the MBR

>>
>> You do not need to remove partitions. Use the partition you
>> have unless you had some reason to believe it was not
>> creating properly, initially. We dont' even know anything
>> about the system though, for all we know it could be a 200GB
>> HDD on a system that can't support a drive that large.
>>

> I tend to remove and recreate partitions during install. I feel happier
> about starting afresh
>>
>>>OK. Again, the point is to be sure that when installing on a "second hand
>>>drive" is that its clean. However I dont know if a "normal" format writes
>>>zeros or not.

>>
>>
>> Would you please not talk about partitions or MBR anymore
>> until you have started at the beginning and described the
>> system, described the method of installing windows, and then
>> described exactly when you have a problem and what is
>> onscreen at the time?

>
> Done
>
>>
>> A normal format does not write zeros, it creates a
>> filesystem, and optionally (or by default) checks the drive.
>>
>>
>>>What is the difference between a drive straight out of the
>>>factory and a drive / disk that can store files?

>>
>> Depends on what the factory did. Assuming nothing, that the
>> drive storing files has a partition table with at least one
>> partition defined, that partition being formatted so the
>> operating system which you try to write a file with, can
>> understand it and write to it.
>>
>>
>>>What is the difference
>>>between FAT and NTFS?

>>
>> Enough that it is not worth getting into, it's not the
>> problem.

>
> My point was not to get a lesson on file structures, just to state that a
> format is different from a zero-writing low level format
>>
>>
>>>There is one, so a format must be more than just
>>>zeros, and zeros are just to ensure that the disk is "clean" and then
>>>recreate and format after.

>>
>> If you want a tutorial of hard drive logical structures
>> there are some found via google, but you're drifting WAY
>> down a tangent instead of starting at the beginning. Maybe
>> you did start there but you haven't told us that, instead of
>> these questions which don't seem like a likely avenue to
>> solve the problem (whatever it may be).

>
> See above
>
>>
>>
>> What is the history of the system? Has it ran previously,
>> stabily? What's been changed on it since then if it had?
>> Is it new and if so, have you checked the basics like that
>> fans are operational, nothing is overheating, ran memtest86+
>> for several hours to rule out memory errors?
>>
>> System instability, not hard drive MBR or formatting, is a
>> far more common source of installation problems. Windows
>> can check (and does) whether your hard drive is ready for
>> the installation. It can format the drive too. Once it has
>> begun copying files, that you should not be concerned about
>> anymore. At that point it could be a disc read error (you
>> might put the CD in another system and see if you can copy
>> off all the files to rule that out) but generally it is a
>> system instability, or maybe some bios bug.

>
> I have more hardware problems (hard disk / cds) than any other
> The problem seems to be that faulty memory modules are the one thing that
> seem to give inconsistent or incomprehenisble error messages
>
> I think I backed up ok now ...


And finally ommitted to say that part of my solution was also to replace the
RAM modules ...
>>

>
>




Reply With Quote
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 03-18-2007, 07:42 AM
kony
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

On Sat, 17 Mar 2007 09:47:47 +0100, "Mark"
<markantispam@orange.fr> wrote:


>The PC came to me first with Windows XP unbootable saying ntfs.sys corrupt.


Are you skipping some steps? At this point I wonder if you
ran chkdisk, or tried to do a repair install, or tried
different hard drive cables. I also wonder what this
hardware is... normally it is best to first list all major
hardware to provide a context, then concisely describe the
problem. By doing so you may avoid having a thread drift
down a tangent in case it was a hardware (like bios) issue
someone knows about.

>On reinstalling, at first, it went ok until I started getting various
>different setup files which could not be copied onto the hard drive. I
>assumed this was a cd drive or physical hard drive problem and so changed
>both and used three separate copies of the installation cd.



So "asssuming" these other pieces of hardware are viable,
you're left with board/components, power, and cabling from a
hardware perspective. "Components" is too broad, could be
memory or bios or board itself is malfunctional, but to
divide and conquer you will have to decide to tackle more
likely things, or easier/quicker things, or cheaper things
first, and it may depend on whether you have other parts
available.


>
>Then I got a message saying inf\i386\txtsetup.sif was corrupt but before the
>installation of xp could even start.
>
>I concluded that since I had erased all partitions, that the only area that
>this message could come from was something in the MBR, since this was the
>only thing that might have survived on the hard disk.


You switched hard drives too, right? What makes you think
different drives would have the same MBR virus? Were they
all susceptible to infection in same environment? I think
we should assume it is not MBR related at all.

Further MBR should be ignored because it is not related to a
corruption message about a file. These are files on the CD,
some of which being written to the HDD, but some not. No
matter what is in your MBR, booting a windows CD and getting
this message will not depend on HDD MBR.



>
>I repeated with three different installation cds and subsequently used
>Maxtor's Powermax v4.23 to wipe the drive (including the MBR, I now believe)
>but the problem reoccured.


Forget MBR and wiping from now on. Assume you should never
have to do it again. The HDD manufacturer's utility CD or
floppy might be useful to check the fitness of a drive, the
menu tests ran, but that is all.


>
>So I couldnt understand how my installation stalled on this message since
>the hard disk should have been clean.


Because it does not depend on whether the HDD is clean or
not. Somewhere early in the troubleshooting process you
have made an assumption about a prerequisite for the HDD,
and what might happen if it wasn't present, that are
incorrect.



>
>My eventual solution was to install win98 first and then xp but I dont know
>
>a) why this worked, since xp reinstalls not upgrades
>b) what the hell the message inf\i386\txtsetup.sif is corrupt means and how
>it could come about.


Just to reconfirm, these 3 discs were all original XP CDs,
it isn't possible they are duplicates of one with something
problematic in the txtsetup.sif file? I only ask because
you focus on this file, really since you had several files
in the error messages I think it not related to this file,
though you could have more than one problem.

Did you ever run memtest86+? I had assumed someone
mentioned this already, it can be important to
systematically address what others post, otherwise they have
to guess what you have or haven't done or just assume you
did instead of repeating things over and over.

Having failures at random points in installation as you
observed is usually from memory instability, maybe something
loosely related generating errors like an overheating CPU,
northbridge, or very poor power. We may still be lacking
crucial info, and posted in a concise easy to follow way -
having an error doesn't tell the whole story, the scenario
in which that error occurs can matter and thus, providing
initial hardware description is crucial.

So far a lot of time has been wasted. It seems we keep
following along with guesses and dispelling them instead of
a logical approach to the problem. Don't guess then have
others go off on tangents, start with concise description of
the system, it's history, the exact environment, the
specific error as observed, then short description of
troubleshooting steps.

You leap from some kind of problem reading, copying, or
running files during an installation to repeated attempts to
do something about a MBR. It makes no sense.

>
>>
>>
>>>... might come
>>>from there (perhaps a MBR virus) and because although each time I
>>>installed
>>>I removed and reformatted the partition concerned, problems persisted.

>>
>> I doubt you have an MBR virus, for one thing if you boot the
>> CD instead of the hard drive (to install windows), the virus
>> could not load so there is no chance windows won't have
>> written it's MBR in place of the virus.

>
>In the end as I say above I couldnt boot from the cd stopped by
>inf\i386\txtsetup.sif is corrupt



Ok but do you come to the realization that it is not MBR
related so you can now get on with looking at other things?



>>
>>>
>>>In particular, I was getting a message [during install] saying that a line
>>>in a file was corrupt and I could not understand this, since for me there
>>>was nothing on the drive.

>>
>> What do you mean "for me there was nothing on the drive"?
>> If you are installing windows, how can there "for you", not
>> be anything on the drive since that's what an installation
>> of windows does, writes files to the drive?

>
>As I say, the message came about before launching the installation


If I wanted to know what you "say", I would've just read
that, which I did, then asked for a clarification or
elaboration. You are working against yourself in solving
this problem. Rather than engage in more of this I will
just let you think about what you're doing, as coddling your
ideas is not being productive. It seems to be more of a
distraction than a solution.

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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 03-18-2007, 07:44 AM
kony
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Does a Windows XP install format the Master Boot Record?

On Sat, 17 Mar 2007 09:55:38 +0100, "Mark"
<markantispam@orange.fr> wrote:


>And finally ommitted to say that part of my solution was also to replace the
>RAM modules ...


.... but did you ever test the memory? Memtest86+, let it
run it for a few hours.

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