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Recovering Data For a Hard Drive with a Damaged Master Boot Record (MBR):

See Also: Data Recovery From an Inaccessible Hard Drive

The Problem:

Most of the time when the MBR is corrupted it is due to a virus. viruses that infect the MBR do so by copying the contents of the boot sector to a different file and then overwriting the boot sector with viral code. When you remove a boot sector virus, the antivirus program is usually smart enough to know where the original boot sector was copied to. It then removes the viral code and moves the boot sector code back to the correct location. Some viruses don't back up the boot sector code before altering it so the MBR cannot be recovered by the anti-virus program. Problems with the MBR can also be caused by programs that alter the MBR in order to work. An example of this is a program like System Commander that allows you to boot multiple operating systems. Any program that alters the MBR runs the risk of causing problems with it.

How to Recover Your MBR:

For Windows95/98/ME, on a working system copy fdisk.exe (available on any Windows installation CD or easily found on the web) onto a floppy boot disc. At the command prompt run the command: fdisk /mbr
This command will repair the Master Boot Record and make the system bootable.

On a Windows 2000/XP system you can boot from the installation disks and enter the Recovery Console. When the Recovery Console loads, use the FIXBOOT or the FIXMBR command to cure the problem.

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