Windows 7 that is, got no reason to believe it’ll change in Windows 8.
Yesterday I accidently/stupidly right-clicked on Computer and than went to –> Mange –> Storage –> Disk Management –> right clicked on my external HD and selected “Mark Partition as Active”. Realizing this is not what I was looking for, I wanted to undo it but couldn’t found where. I than had to go, and left my laptop running. When I went back I saw my computer has crushed, might be cause of WinDirStat was running in the background but that’s irrelevant.
Anyhow, I started my computer and got this message:
BOOTMGR is missing
Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart.
Restarting won’t help obviously. Googleing this issue gives you tons of info that basically tells you the same two things – use the windows installation CD and if you don’t have it, like in many OEM machines, or you left it in the office, you can download this windows recovery CD from this obscure website and that will cost you 10 USD.
I think it’s very bad, to say the least, that any common user can get himself in such trouble without the ability to easily revert it. Even though I knew it was probably cased by marking the external HD as active I can’t say I wasn’t slightly stressed – no boot record can easily mean HD failure.
This is how to fix it without the windows installation disc and without buying the recovery disc:
1. Go and download Hiren’s boot CD. This handy collection of software’s used to include pirated apps, but I believe that it is now legit (since version 10.1, current is 14.1) and only include freewares and sharewares.
2. (Optional step) boot into tiny-XP to see your HDs and files are intact – hopefully. (I wonder how they include this XP legally?)
3. There are many boot (MBR) fixing tools in Hiren’s boot CD, I’ve used the freeware MBRWizard
The command line I used was MBRWizard \disk=1 \part=1 \inactive. This set my external HD as inactive
It’s easy, once you run MBRWizard you get help on how to use it.
Come’on Microsoft, you ask the user all kind of redundant questions like “do you want to see the files of your C drive” but then let him completely kill the functionality of his machine without the ability to easily revert it. ??!