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Old 02-05-2005, 02:59 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2004
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Writing to an NTFS volume using captive-ntfs (repairing boot.ini)

The problem
In my newspaper class at school, one of the Windows PCs (XP Pro) was unsurprisingly overwhelmed with viruses and spyware. In order to fix this I decided to boot into safe mode. Since I am a Mac person I wasn't sure how to do this so I did a Google search and found a web page recommending that I run msconfig and under the boot.ini tab check the box for /SAFEBOOT. I did this, restarted, and found that that PC required me to log in on the server (no local accounts unlike the 98 PC I use in that class). I had booted into safe mode before and figured that it would be enabled only temporarily and thus boot up normally upon restart. I restarted and again it booted into safe mode. I recalled that booting while holding down F8 would present me with a menu, and after doing so I saw an option for booting into "Safe mode with networking"; unfortunately it apparently ignored everything I chose via F8 and continued booting into safe mode sans networking. Don't you just love Windows?

Where Linux comes in
I found a bootdisk of DOS with NTFS support (the HD is formatted as NTFS) but that wouldn't allow me to copy the boot.ini stored on my USB thumbdrive (formatted as FAT) to the NTFS-formatted HD, nor would it allow me to edit the boot.ini stored on the HD (boot.ini is just a plain-text file). When I went home I did some research and found two Linux Live CD distros (Kanotix and Insert)that have full support for writing NTFS via captive-ntfs, which uses the actual NTFS drivers from XP. I followed these instructions and manually installed the XP drivers (required with SP1). However, after entering "mount -t captive-ntfs /dev/hda1 /mnt/hda1" the drive that mounted appeared to be a RAM disk. I know hda1 is the correct device because when I mounted it using the NTFS read support that is built into the kernel it showed the HD's files. What should I do?

The goal
To edit the boot.ini stored on the HD or better yet to replace it with one of the boot.ini files from the other, working, XP Pro SP1 computers in the lab. Again, in order to get to anything in WIndows I must login to the network which is impossible because networking is disabled. Opening up the computer myself and putting the HD into an enclosure for use with another computer is not an option at my school.

Available tools
-Two Live CD distros
-One 16MB and one 128MB USB thumbdrive
-Other PCs
-CD burner

PS- The only PC I have access to at home is a laptop running Windows 2000 Pro (no NTFS formatted volumes) but until tommorow afternoon I will be at my dad's. He has a Sony VAIO laptop running XP Home; the PCs at school are Compaq desktops running XP Pro SP1. I am using Kanotix on it right now.

Last edited by macskeeball; 02-05-2005 at 03:03 PM.
Old 02-05-2005, 07:49 PM   #2
bruno buys
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Rio
Distribution: Debian
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Why donīt you copy boot.ini (to be written) in the dos floppy (ntfs-enabled), boot the machine and overwrite the original?
Any linux solution will be troubling, regarding ntfs stuff. I tried to enable insertīs captive driver and do some xp editing also, but no good. Only a few bizarre error msgs.
Old 02-05-2005, 10:05 PM   #3
Registered: Feb 2004
Posts: 58

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To access an NTFS formatted volume from the DOS boot disk, you have to run a program. That program did not support copying files between FAT and NTFS-formatted volumes. If you left that program for access to the normal DOS command line you didn't have support for NTFS.
Old 02-06-2005, 09:28 PM   #4
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Registered: Jun 2001
Location: South Alabama
Distribution: Fedora / RedHat / SuSE
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You should be able to do it from safe mode right.


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