Windows boot hang resolved!

This one took me weeks.  My laptop runs a dual boot mac/windows system, which is nifty and all… but managing partitions, and especially fixing partition problems, brings in a world where every step can require an hour with dd to fix.  But anyway.

Making a long story short… I mistakenly booted up my laptop with an eSATA drive attached that contained an old exact mirror of my Windows install.  Something seemed wrong about the files on the desktop, so I shut down and rebooted without the drive… to discover that the Windows boot now hung at the blue ‘Welcome to Windows XP’ screen.  (The MacOS boot was fine.)

During a rescue install, I noticed that Windows now seemed to think that the MacOS partition was the C drive, and the Windows partition was the D drive.

I eventually fixed this by adapting instructions from http://winhlp.com/node/66 to modify the registry on the Windows partition.  I booted into Puppy Linux to access the windows files, then copied the registry ‘hive’ to another windows machine to edit it.  I tried deleting the entries for \DosDevices\C: and \DosDevices\D: as suggested, but what finally worked was to *swap* the values associated with these entries.

The first thing I did on seeing the problem was to use Puppy Linux and dd to make an image of the problem partition.  So I was able to backtrack from the various failed rescue installs I tried, by restoring the image, but each step took hours.

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