Disk boots XP but when connected to another PC, I'm told the disk isn't initialized

RebateMonger

Elite Member
Dec 24, 2005
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A friend's XP computer suddenly wouldn't boot XP. I scanned it with Seagate's DOS version of SeaTools and it passed the short and long scans. SMART alarms had not been triggered. I also scanned the disk with F-Secure's Rescue CD and it said the MBR and 60,000 of the files on the disk were without finding malware. I stopped the F-Secure scan about 60% of the way through.

I booted to an XP Professional SP2 Install CD and opened the Recovery console and tried both FixMBR and FixBoot commands. Those completed, but the PC still wouldn't boot.

Next, I did an XP Repair Install. This went fine and after it was done, the PC was now booting. After startup, Avast! did report that traces of a Rootkit had been found in three files in the Internet Temporary folders. And the Avast! logs said that two weeks ago the Ultra.sys file used by the Promise TX2 disk controller showed signs of the same Rootkit. By the way, the disk is running on a PCI Promise disk controller because the built-in disk controller on this (cheapie) ECS motherboard was giving weird results with several disks when I first built this PC. In desperation I stuck in the PCI controller and it's behaved itself for two years now.

The current disk is a special WDC 180 GB PATA disk sold by CompUSA several years ago. The disk was barely used when XP was installed on it several months ago.

What's strange is that when I attached an IDE-to-USB adapter to the disk and plug it into my Win7 PC's USB port, Disk Management says the disk has not been initialized. I've been using that IDE-to-USB adapter for a couple of years and the only other time I saw that result was a disk that had similarly malfunctioned (apparently losing its boot records) and that disk completely died a few days later.

Anybody seen something similar? I suspect there's a reason why the disk suddenly lost its ability to boot. Probably a failing disk. But I find it strange that both the F-Secure Rescue CD and the XP Install CD were able to read the disk and files just fine and that the XP Repair operation went perfectly.

And it's especially strange that my Win7 computer can't read the disk at all, asking me to initialize and create a partition. One other thing that occurs to me is if it's possible a rootkit, running in that Ultra.sys file, could modify the file system so that Windows could still be repaired and boot, but another PC would think the disk wasn't initialized.

Thanks for any insight.
 
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Old Hippie

Diamond Member
Oct 8, 2005
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Now I may be wayyy in left field here but you don't suppose that he installed that Windows update with the Promise drivers do ya?

I'm not even sure if XP would get that update but everybody else did and some definately got screwed.