Invalid Partition Table

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Formosa, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. Formosa

    Formosa Guest

    Hi y'all,

    When I attempt to bootup, my pc gives the error message "Invalid Partition
    Table". I caused this by foolishly using the FIXMBR tool in the XP Pro
    disk's Recovery Console in a situation when it wasn't necessary.
    (Details of that now defunct problem in this thread:

    After running it, now when I boot up, the computer just hangs with an
    "Invalid Partition Table" error. Thus, my C: is inaccessible. I can still
    access the D: via the command prompt on Recovery Console though.

    When I ran FIXMBR, it gave a message warning that I had an invalid or
    non-standard partition table signature, and prompted whether I wanted to
    continue. I then did continue, as I wrongly believed that as my system is
    not configured in a particularly "exotic" way, that the default MBR would be
    fine. My googling since has suggested this sometimes happens when you run
    FIXMBR on a system with 2 partitions.

    My setup:
    40G HDD.
    primary partion - C: - 10G - XP Pro - NTFS
    extended partition - D: - 30G - XP Pro - NTFS

    Now I don't know if this is relevant or not, but when those partitions were
    originally created it was done via the Fdisk command on a W98 Startup disk.
    And I have read that their is a minor difference in the way Win9x creates
    the MBR compared to XP.
    ie. "Fdisk /mbr" is apparently very similar but not identical to "fixmbr".

    Could this be the cause of the problem?
    Would using "fdisk /mbr" from a W98 startup disk fix the problem?
    Are there any tools that allow me to view the contents of the MBR? (I have
    read that if the signature "55 AA" is missing, this can cause this error
    Anyone recommened a good data recovery utility? (i'm assuming anything that
    works won't be free, but cheaper the better :)

    Thanks in advance,
    Formosa, Sep 11, 2004
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  2. Formosa

    Ron Martell Guest

    Try MBRWORK from the free downloads section at

    Good luck

    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    Microsoft MVP
    On-Line Help Computer Service

    "The reason computer chips are so small is computers don't eat much."
    Ron Martell, Sep 11, 2004
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  3. Formosa


    Jul 9, 2008
    Likes Received:
    I got this error on a Dell XPS M1330 laptop using Windows XP. Suddenly it didn't boot up and only showed this line on the top of the black screen. I called Dell Support and they told me to run the diagnostics tool because that usually is a problem with the hard drive. I run the tests and no error was found. Dell said that I had to reinstall Windows from scratch. I declined to do that.

    How did I fix it? Follow the steps:
    Boot up from CD with a Windows Millenium edition CD. (I imagine that W98SE or 2000 might work too)
    Select the second option "boot with CD Rom support".
    At the DOS prompt run FDISK
    At the questions to support large drives and NTFS select 'Y'es.
    Select option 4 from the four options "show partition configuration"
    Find out which of the partitions is the biggest one. If you cannot tell just select the first one in the next step and if that one doesn't work, select the second one.
    Press ESC to go back to the menu.
    Select option 2 "set active partition" and choose either the first or second partition to be the active one.
    ESC to exit
    Reboot the Computer with the Windows XP CD and Repair the windows installation. You will see that your Windows XP installation will show up in the list of operating systems installed in the computer.
    Complete the windows repair and reboot. It should work.
    ogonzy, Jul 9, 2008
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