Okay, so I was preparing to use CDEx on my XP machine, but I hadn't used it on this one yet. I get the ATAPI complaint that I previously solved with an ATAPI update/install utility I had downloaded. Problem might have been compatability with XP. Whatever the case, the utility runs and prompts for a reboot. That's fine. But on the way back up I have no more boot at all apparently. "Get out the CD and use the (R)ecovery option" (paraphrasing) So I do, and from the Rec. Con. I can see my USB devices including the external HD with a partial backup I had recently run (not quite full though, left off some files, and a few days old - ie, I would lose some .PST changes). But when I look at the boot drive there appears to be nothing, no files at all. I run FixBoot on it because I have more comfort with that for whatever reason. That changes it to "Can't find NTLDR" message. So I copy NTLDR and NTDETECT.com to the C: drive, reboot, still get "Can't find NTLDR". It's a big drive so I think I'll go for a WIN reinstall without format (not sure if that's possible in this case) but then I get a "not enough space" message. No way the C drive has been wiped out of course. But when I ran FixMBR I got a scary warning message about possible partition destruction and whatnot and got cold feet. I have no floppy in this system to put a boot floppy into. I'm a little nervous about trying to put XP onto my external since it has my only backups at this point. Obviously something about the boot record or something has been written to incorrectly, but the data remains I think. I just can't see any sign of it from the Rec. Cons. It could be a lurker virus, but I have no reason to believe that and every reason to believe it was the utility I just ran (which is non-virus and used many times in the past, possibly just not NT friendly). I mean, run software requiring reboot, system messed up, not too hard to piece together. Will FixMBR really F me up here, or is this the most logical step to take next? I could get another HD to install a boot too, but this is a new desktop and I hate to spend the money on that sort of fix (plus the trouble of it).