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HP Notebook PCs - "Unmountable_Boot_Volume" Blue Screen Error Occurs During Startup or Boot (Windows XP)

HP notebooks that use Microsoft Windows XP without XP Service Pack 2 installed may display the following error on start up:
STOP 0x000000ED (0xaaaaaaaa,0xbbbbbbbb,0xcccccccc,0xdddddddd) UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME
This error is related to the way Windows XP interacts with the hard drive during an unexpected shutdown. Sometimes, if the contents of the cache are not written to the drive properly, an error appears when the notebook restarts.
To resolve the "Unmountable_Boot_Volume" Blue Screen error, you should:
  1. Clear the initial error message and run the check disc (CHKDSK) command
  2. Install Windows XP Service Pack 2 to prevent the error.
  3. Reinstall XP operating system, if necessary.
For more information from Microsoft on resolving the error, see Stop 0x000000ED Error Message When Volume on IDE Drive with Caching Enabled Is Mounted (in English), and the Microsoft Help and Support article, Unmountable Boot Volume (in English).

Option 1: Clear the initial Unmountable_Boot_Volume error

The first corrective action you should take is to get past the error message and run a CHKDSK /R so that the computer can boot into Windows. Depending on when the error occurred during the start up process, it may be possible to get past the error message by doing one or more of the following actions. Disconnect all peripherals and unplug all USB devices.
  • Restart the computer, and if an option is displayed to either Boot into Windows XP or Start the Recovery Console, select the Recovery Console, boot into Safe Mode, then open a command window and run CHKDSK /R.
  • Restart the computer, press f8 key to boot into Safe Mode, then open a command window and run CHKDSK /R.
  • If you have a later XP notebook model with HP Recovery Manager on the D: hard drive partition, restart the computer, press f11 key to start the HP Recovery Manager, select Advanced options. If prompted, open a command window and run CHKDSK /R.
  • If you have an HP Operating System disc that was provided with early XP notebook models, or a retail version of the Windows XP disc, use Option 1 to restart the computer, select the Recovery Console, and then run CHKDSK /R.
  • If you have an HP Recovery disc that was provided with later XP notebook models, and you cannot access the HP Recovery Manager on the hard drive, it will be necessary to reinstall the XP Operating System and then install XP Service Pack 2.
note:
The HP Recovery disc does not have a Recovery Console, but can be used to recover the original XP image on the hard drive. If you have misplaced or lost your disc please view HP PCs - Looking for Recovery Discs? (in English) to order a new disc.
Once the computer can boot into Windows XP, you can prevent the error from occurring again by running the Windows Update utility and installing Windows XP Service Pack 2, or higher.

Run CHKDSK /R from the Recovery Console

If the computer cannot start in Safe Mode (f8), and it cannot start the Recovery Manager (f11), it may be possible to start the Windows Recovery Console and then run the CHKDSK /R command to clear the initial Unmountable_Boot_Volume error. The following steps explain how to access a command window using the Recovery Console. Once you open the command window in Windows XP, the instructions for using the check disc (CHKDSK /R) command are the same.
  1. Insert the HP Operating System disc, or a retail version of the OS disc, into the CD or DVD drive, and press the Power button to start the computer.
  2. When prompted, press any key to boot from the CD or DVD.
  3. A blue screen will appear and several files will load. This loading process may take a minute or more to complete.
  4. When the setup menu displays on the blue screen, press R to select the Repair a Windows XP installation option.
    Selecting this option opens a command window.
    If the computer had booted into windows, you could click Start, select Run, enter CMD and press the enter key to open a command window.
    Figure : Command prompt window
    Image of the Command prompt.
  5. At the C:\ prompt, enter CHKDSK /R, and press the enter key. This repair process may take 30 - 60 minutes depending on the size of the hard drive and repairs needed.
  6. After the CHKDSK command displays the results of its actions, enter exit at the C: prompt and press the enter key.
  7. Windows will restart. Eject the CD or DVD and allow Windows to start up normally.
These actions correct the initial error message.

Option 2: Re-install the operating system, if needed

This option is needed only if the computer cannot boot to Windows, or you cannot access a command line window. You will need to install the XP operating system, plus the drivers and applications, and all updates.
  warning:
All personal data and software installed on the notebook will be lost during the installation or the recovery process. HP Recovery Manager prompts you to make a backup copy of documents and folders before reinstalling the operating system. The retail version of the XP installation disc does not display a prompt to backup important files.

Re-Install the XP operating system

Follow these steps to reinstall the Windows XP operating system using the HP Operating System installation disc or a Microsoft retail installation disc.
  1. Connect the AC adapter to the notebook.
  2. Insert the HP or Microsoft XP installation disc in the CD or DVD drive and press the Power button to start the computer.
  3. When prompted, press any key to boot from the CD or DVD.
  4. A blue screen will appear and several files will load. This loading process may take a minute or more to complete.
  5. At the blue setup menu, press Enter to continue.
  6. Press the f8 key to accept the licensing agreement and continue.
  7. When the Setup window is displayed, press the Esc key to continue installing a fresh copy of the operating system without repairing.
  8. Press Enter to set up the operating system.
  9. Press the C key to continue setup using the selected partition.
  10. Select Format the partition using the NTFS file system (Quick) using the up/down arrow keys and press Enter.
  11. A caution is displayed that formatting this drive will delete all current files.
    1. Press ESC to cancel the format.
    2. Press the F key to format the drive.
Once the hard drive is reformatted the installation of Windows XP will begin. This installation process may take an hour to complete. The notebook will restart multiple times during and display the Windows desktop but the configuration process is not complete. Follow the instructions on the screen to configure hardware and software settings. The configuration is complete when you are prompted to logon to the computer.
note:
If prompted for the Microsoft Windows product key, refer to the Microsoft Certificate of Authenticity located on the bottom of the notebook.
If your model has an HP XP operating system Installation disc, it may also have a Driver Recovery disc. These additional drivers may be needed to use all the hardware components or connect to a network. Insert the HP Driver Recovery disc in the optical disc drive and follow the on-screen instructions. See HP Notebook PCs - Recover Applications Using Drivers and Applications Recovery Disc (2001 to 2005) (in English)

Recover the XP operating system

Follow these steps to recover the original Windows XP image using an HP recovery disc that you created yourself using the Recovery Manager, or ordered from HP.
For detailed recovery instructions specific to your model see Overview of Repairing or Reinstalling the Operating System (in English).
  1. Connect the AC adapter to the notebook.
  2. Insert the HP recovery disc in the CD or DVD drive and press the Power button to start the computer.
  3. When prompted, press any key to boot from the CD or DVD.
  4. The Recovery Manager screen displays a list of options.
  5. If prompted to Backup important files, insert a blank CD or DVD in the optical disc drive, then click Next and follow the on-screen instructions to back up the files.
  6. If prompted, to Recover the operating system, click Next.
  7. When a caution is displayed that formatting this drive will delete all current files, click Next to confirm the decision.
The recovery process using HP recovery discs will take an hour or more to complete. The notebook will restart several times and display the Windows desktop for several minutes, but the recovery and configuration process is not complete.
It will take time to unbundle and install all the programs and files that are part of the original HP notebook installation. Follow the instructions on the screen to configure hardware and software settings. The recovery is complete when you are prompted to logon to the computer.

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