Microsoft KB Archive/172952

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Article ID: 172952

Article Last Modified on 10/31/2006



APPLIES TO

  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition



This article was previously published under Q172952

SUMMARY

Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) ALPHA-based RISC computers rely on a small (less than 4 GB) FAT-formatted SYSTEM partition containing boot files. This SYSTEM partition can also contain the Windows NT operating system, but must be FAT. RISC computers use the system's firmware and the ARC paths defined in NVRAM to read the SYSTEM and OSLOAD partitions. The firmware loads boot files from the SYSTEM partition; the SYSTEM partition loads the Windows NT operating system files from the OSLOAD partition. If the SYSTEM partition is damaged, corrupted, or deleted, the system will no longer start. The SYSTEM partition can have any partition number, but is usually Partition-1.

Typical Disk Configuration

    _________<4GB______________________________________________

   | SYSTEM PARTITION - FAT   |  BOOT PARTITION - NTFS or FAT  |
   |                          |                                |
   | \Os\Winntxx\Osloader.exe | \Winnt\System32\Ntoskrnl.exe   |
   |            \Hal.dll      |                                |
   |            \*.PAL files  |                                |
   |__________________________|________________________________|
        SYSTEMPARTITION (1)            OSLOADPARTITION (2)
                


The SYSTEM partition contains Os\Winntxx directory (xx = Windows NT OS version). The OSLOAD partition contains the Winnt directory or a user- defined directory for Windows NT.

Until the SYSTEM partition can be rebuilt, use the article below to help return to Windows NT:

172806 Creating an NT Boot Floppy for DEC ALPHA RISC Machines


After you are in Windows NT, you can try to run Chkdsk.exe to recover the partition. If Disk Administrator shows the small SYSTEM partition as unknown, Windows NT 3.51 will allow you to reformat or delete and recreate the SYSTEM partition.

Disk Administrator in Windows NT 4.0 will not allow you to delete or reformat the SYSTEM partition. If you try to do so, you will receive one of the following messages:

Windows NT cannot format a volume containing Windows NT system files

-or-

Disk Administrator cannot delete the active partition on disk 0

MORE INFORMATION

To rebuild the SYSTEM partition, you must either run a built-in program contained in the ALPHA firmware or use a utility called Arcinst.exe from the Windows NT installation compact disc's Alpha directory to delete and then create the SYSTEM partition.

DEC has two different kinds of firmware: the new AlphaBios firmware and the original ARC MULTIBOOT firmware. Depending on the model number and age of the computer, either kind of firmware could be in place.

NOTE: The screens and menu items may vary from one firmware revision to the next. Use the appropriate section below for instructions on deleting or creating a new SYSTEM partition.

Deleting and Creating a SYSTEM Partition Using AlphaBios Firmware

To delete a system partition and then create a new one, use the following steps:

  1. Turn on power to the system.
  2. After POST initialization completes, press F2 to enter SETUP; the menu will look similar to the following:

          Display System Configuration
          Upgrade AlphaBios
          Hard Disk Setup ...
          CMOS Setup ...
          Install Windows NT
          Utilities
          About AlphaBios
                            
  3. From the AlphaBios SETUP menu, click Hard Disk Setup.
  4. A map of the drives and partitions will be displayed along with selections for deleting and creating or formatting partitions. The map will resemble the following diagram:

          -----------------------------------------------------------
          Disk 0  QLISP10x0    SCSI  ID  0      4091MB
                Partition 1                   4081MB FAT
                Partition 2                     10MB UNKNOWN
    
    
          Insert=NEW   DEL=Delete   F6=Format   F7=Express   Esc=Exit
          -----------------------------------------------------------
                            
  5. Select the damaged SYSTEM partition, and then either press F6 to format, or choose DELETE and then create a new partition and format it.

    NOTE: If you are recovering a Windows NT 3.51 installation, it will be necessary to start Windows NT using the boot floppy as described in the following Knowledge Base article:

    172806 Creating a WinNT Boot Floppy for DEC ALPHA RISC Computers

    This is necessary because the Windows NT repair process fails to copy the Windows NT loader files if the Os\Winnt351 directory structure is not found on the newly-created partition. After you manually recreate this directory structure on the SYSTEM partition, copy the six boot files manually from the Windows NT installation compact disc, or perform a normal shutdown and then continue with step 5 from within the AlphaBios SETUP menu.

  6. Go back to the main menu, and then click Install Windows NT.
  7. At the first Windows NT Setup screen, press R to repair.
  8. When you see the following menu, select only this repair option:

         [ ]  Inspect registry files
         [ ]  Inspect startup environment
         [x]  Verify Windows NT system files.
                            


    By selecting this option, Windows NT 4.0 setup will recreate the Os\Winnt40 directory structure on the newly created SYSTEM partition, and then prompt to replace the following files from the Windows NT installation compact disc:

           - A221064.PAL
           - A221066.PAL
           - A221164.PAL
           - A321064.PAL
           - Osloader.exe
           - Hal.dll
                            


    NOTE: If you have any Windows NT service packs installed, it is very important that you only allow Windows NT to replace the above six files, then select F3 to exit repair after they have been replaced. Do NOT select A to replace all files during Repair.

  9. After repair is complete, restart the system. The system should start up using the re-created SYSTEM partition.

Deleting and Creating a SYSTEM Partition Using ARC Multiboot Firmware

  1. Insert the Windows NT installation compact disc into the CD-ROM drive.
  2. Start the system. The first menu will be the Boot menu, which will appear similar to the following:

          Boot menu:
    
             Boot Windows NT Server Vx.xx
             Boot an alternate Operating System
             Run A Program
             Supplementary menu...
                            
  3. Click Run a Program on the menu. Type the following path, and then press ENTER:

          cd:\alpha\arcinst
                            


    Arcinst.exe will load from the compact disc and give you the following choices:

          CONFIGURE PARTITIONS
          EXIT
                            


    Click Configure Partitions. Next, you will see this menu:

          CREATE SYSTEM PARTITION
          DELETE PARTITION
          MAKE EXISTING PARTITION INTO THE SYSTEM PARTITION
          EXIT
                            


    Click Delete Partition, and then select the small ~4 MB FAT partition. Click Create a New System partition; the program will prompt you to enter the size of the new partition:

          ENTER SIZE IN MB (1-4)
                            


    After the partition is made, it will be automatically formatted.

  4. Exit Arcinst.exe and go back to the main Boot menu.

    NOTE: If you are recovering a Windows NT 3.51 installation, it will be necessary to start Windows NT using the boot floppy as described in the following Knowledge Base article:

    172806 Creating a WinNT Boot Floppy for DEC ALPHA RISC Computers

    This is necessary because the Windows NT repair process fails to copy the Windows NT loader files if the Os\Winnt351 directory structure is not found on the newly-created partition. After you manually recreate this directory structure on the SYSTEM partition, copy the six boot files manually from the Windows NT installation compact disc, or perform a normal shutdown and then continue with step 5 from within the ARC Multiboot menu.

  5. Select Run a Program from the main Boot menu. Type the following path, then press ENTER:

          cd:\alpha\setupldr
                            
  6. At the first Windows NT Setup screen, press R to repair.
  7. When you see the following menu, select only this repair option:

        [ ]  Inspect registry Files
        [ ]  Inspect startup environment
        [x]  Verify Windows NT system files.
                            


    When you select this option, Windows NT 4.0 setup will recreate the directory structure os\winnt40 on the newly-created SYSTEM partition, then prompt you to replace the following files from the Windows NT Installation CD-ROM:

           - A221064.PAL
           - A221066.PAL
           - A221164.PAL
           - A321064.PAL
           - Osloader.exe
           - Hal.dll
                            


    NOTE: If you have any Windows NT service packs installed, it is very important that you only allow Windows NT to replace the above six files, then select F3 to exit repair after they have been replaced. Do NOT select A (replace all files) during Repair.

  8. After Repair is complete, restart the system. The system should boot using the re-created system partition.



Additional query words: RISC ALPHA BOOT SYSTEM

Keywords: kbhowto kbsetup KB172952