ok problem solved. I tried the MBR trick and it didnt work. turns out when i fdisk'd with partitionmagic it made the partition an extended and not a primary. I completely overlooked this when displaying the partition settings. I managed to get xp on. service pack 2 on and so far there has been no more probs. Now i just have to recover about 10% of the mp3's i had on there that getdataback didnt seem to find. Thanks for your help guys!