84. How Do I Remedy An Operating System Not
There are many error messages that appear on your
screen that make your heart flip, but I suppose the
one that is certain to bring you out in a cold sweat
is when you boot up your pc and a message appears
saying Operating System Not Found!
You have good reason to get into a cold sweat
with this error message because, nine times out of
ten, there is a serious problem and that problem can
be one of many, such as:
- The BIOS hasn't detected the hard
- You have an incorrect Master Boot
- The hard disk itself is damaged.
- One of your partitions is marked as
'active' when it shouldn't be.
- The partition containing the Master
Boot record is no longer set as Active.
Those are the general causes of the problem but
how do you get your pc up and running again.
- The first line of defense is the
BIOS (Basic Input/Output System).
- Reboot your PC and, at
the appropriate time, tap the Del key
or whatever key your pc requires to enter the
- Check in the Standard CMOS Setup
that your hard drive is listed.
- Assuming your Hard Drive is listed then
you can rule out the BIOS as being the problem.
- If it isn't listed in the BIOS you will
need to check your PC manual to see what
settings you need to alter to auto-detect the
hard drive. If this fails you may need to
manually insert the hard drive settings.
- Once you have ruled out the BIOS you
should start to look at the Master Boot
Record. Insert your XP CD
into the CD-ROM and allow setup to begin. At the
Welcome to Setup screen press
'R' to open the
Recovery Console. This is a command
line interface. You will need to select which
operating system you are using from the
available list and then insert your
administrator password. If you are using XP Home
then ignore the administrator password (unless
you have set one yourself) and simply press
- Recovery Console will now run.
- At the command prompt type:
fixmbr and press Enter.
- If fixing the Master Boot Record
doesn't do the trick it may be worth checking to
see if the partition that windows is installed
on is actually Active. Obviously, if you only
have one partition on your system and that
contains Windows XP then that will, naturally,
be set as the active partition. This option is
more for those users with dual boot systems
where you have an operating system on drive C:
and drive D: If you have used a third party
application, such as Partition Magic to create a
partition you may have inadvertently made the D
drive active thus cutting off the C: drive which
contains the start up files. A quick way of
finding out is to try booting up with an
Emergency Start-Up Disk (see Windows XP
FAQ - Question 10). If you can boot up with the
Start-up disk go to Control Panel and click the
Administrative Tools Icon
followed by the Computer Management
icon. When the Computer Management window
opens click the Disk Management
option on the left of the disk management pane.
In the disk management window -
lower half - make sure that the C: drive say's
'Healthy System' Also, if you
can boot from an Emergency Start Up Disk you
know your hard drive hasn't expired.
- If you can start you machine with an
Emergency Start Up Disk go to
Control Panel, click on
Administrative Tools followed by
Computer Management. Finally
the click the Disk Management
option. Now right click on the
drive you want to make Active
and select 'Mark partition as active'
from the drop down menu. Alternatively, if you
have a copy of Partition Magic you can use this
to actually reset the correct partition as the
Active system drive.
- If none of the above rectify the problem it
is, unfortunately, safe to say that your hard
drive is on it's last legs and is in need of