Doublespace hangs while scanning disk

My laptop's having some problems.  I have doublespace on my HP omnibook 300 and yesterday MSWord said my file (most recent novel chapter -- eek) was hosed.
I saved as much as I could and tried chkdsk /f, which apparently has a
doublespace call tacked onto the end of it; it got to "doublespace is
checking drive C:..." it reported a bunch of problems and then hung there for nearly 20 minutes.  Thinking it had gotten stuck, I    
rebooted.
On rebooting doublespace reported "bad CVF, see the Doublespace section of
the README.TXT file and hit <return>".  I have several README.TXT files on
my machine, but none which have anything to do with doublespace.  Has      
anyone
met up with this problem before?  I know, "check the manuals," but they're in California (and I'm in Scotland...)

An easy question?  Could be, could be hard to.  I'll call it easy for now.
smqAsked:
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CheckCommented:
I don't think it is possible to recover from that but it's been several years since I've messed with windows 3.x.  I CAN give you a little bit of info on what it's talking about.  When you use doublespace to compress a drive it creates a HUGE file on your drive that contains all your files and all your empty disk space.  This file has the extention of .CVF which stands for Compressed Volume File.  It then tells your C: drive that it is actually something like E: and makes the system think that that large file is now your C: drive.

Bad News: You will probably end up having to re-install your operating system and all your programs and files.

Good News: You might get lucky.  If you can get your hands on a copy of Norton Utilities version 7.0 or above, Norton Disk Doctor might have the magic mojo to repair the problems.  DO NOT use version 6.0 or below as they were released before doublespace hit the market and as such they will completely fry the doublespace drive (I've had it happen to me).  If DiskDoctor can't fix the problems, you still MIGHT be able to grab that last chapter before pronouncing the files dead and re-formating the drive.  Norton Utilities 7.0 also has a utility called diskedit which will let you go in and look at your disk directly without going through the file system.  If you try that method, you can search for a block of text that you know was in your latest chapter.  When you find it, since MS Word stores it's files as mostly text, without much compression, you MIGHT be able to salvage the text of that chapter.  Of course the chances of that working are greatly diminished by the fact that it was stored on the compressed volume in the first place.  

In summary:  Try scandisk c:
Try chkdsk again
Try to get a copy of Norton Utilities 7.0 and try Disk Doctor.
Try Norton Utilities Diskedit to look for the text of the files manually.
Punt. :(

At your earliest convenience, get a bigger hard drive and eradicate the scourge known as doublespace from your machine.  It's nice when it's working but when it goes, it goes GOOD!
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smqAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the advice.. I'm sure it was spot-on, but I was unable
to find a copy of Norton for Windows 3.1 (it's been discontinued,
they say, and if the biggest software store in Scotland doesn't
have it, no one will).  So I decided to reformat my drive, having
been able to backup almost everything.  My novel yet lives!

Unfortunately, the computer doesn't.  

After a lot of pretty unconflicting advice ("doublespace==EVIL, hope to God you have backups, and only reformatting will fix it"), I tried to deinstall doublespace (no hope), format the C: drive (doublespace won't do it -- it's the startup disk, and when I change the boot drive to the ROM D:, it still complains that C: is the startup disk).  Then when I realized what you'd said, that doublespace had moved my drive to E:,I tried to
format E: via DOS.  The format gets to 10% done and then says
"format terminated."  And now my disk is completely hosed.  Wonderful.

Uh... What can I do now?

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CheckCommented:
You need to re-partition the drive.  That should wipe away all traces of DoubleSpace.  There is a utility called FDISK.  Run that and remove all the partitions on your hard drive.  This is a  DOS utility that should be on any DOS installation disks you have or in the DOS directory on just about any working machine.  Once you've deleted all partitions, you will need to create a new primary dos partition.  Once that partition is created and your system booted from floppy, you will need to format your C: drive.  Type FORMAT C: /S   That will format your C: drive and make it bootable.  You should be able to take it from there.  Good luck.
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smqAuthor Commented:
Thanks.. I tried all that.  fdisk lists the partitions (1 of them) and asks me if I want to delete everything.  (I don't see any menu that lets me select or edit partitions but I'll take a closer look.)  The first thing fdisk does is try to install Doublespace again, which fails ("not enough memory"??) but that's fine.  However, format again fails after just a few seconds of running.  When this is done, I DO have a C: directory, but I can't entirely trust it.  Copying too many files onto it, I ran into a similar disk error.  I haven't run chkdsk after this but I will tonight; I'm not betting it'll finish.

I found SCANDISK.EXE somewhere and installed it on the system, but it wouldn't run on DOS less than 6.0 (mine is 5.0).  I am considering buying NU for 3.1 directly from Symantec, but it's 80 bucks and takes 3 weeks to deliver... would you, could you, O kind internet advice person, be willing to check around for NU's diskdoctor program and email it to me?  If it works I'll buy it; if it doesn't, I'm getting a new laptop!
Rob (email: robertch@dai.ed.ac.uk)

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CheckCommented:
Does that mean that you DID delete everything with FDISK?  FDISK "shouldn't" have anything to do with DoubleSpace.  Let me make sure I understand this.  You deleted ALL partitions with FDISK and then created a new primary DOS partition right?  Then rebooted from a floppy that had the FORMAT.EXE file on it and typed A:>format C: /s  right?  And THAT messed up?  This is sounding like a very odd version of DOS.
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smqAuthor Commented:
Yup, that's just what I did; I have DOS and lots of other commands on my Omnibook's ROM drive, which is D:; unfortunately it doesn't have a floppy drive, but I'm able to transfer files if necessary onto the partially-working C: drive using laplink.

If it's a problem neither fdisk nor format can fix, then is there hope for DiskDoctor?

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CheckCommented:
It doesn't have a floppy drive?  I think you just went beyond my knowledge.  In order for the format command to work properly, you have to be booted up from the version of DOS that you want to format which means booting from a floppy.  That's the only way format can transfer the needed hidden system files.  If you have no way of booting off of floppy then I have no idea how you are going to re-format the drive.  It sounds like you have doublespace loaded on that ROM drive also and that it's forcing you to load it onto the C drive.  You're past my knowledge now.  Sorry.
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smqAuthor Commented:
Hmm.. it's really just a drive on a ROM card, has all the command files and those Windows files which don't need to be configured, .exe files, etc.  Booting from it is the closest I get to having a floppy on the thing.  But it works fine, the only problem being that I can't install a new version of DOS. Well, I could, actually, but the old one is still there.  Anyway, trust me that it works.  Do you know anything about DiskDoctor or anyone who might have it?
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CheckCommented:
Try running chkdsk again and give it all the time it wants (could be a while, possible even an hour).  If you can get chkdsk to run with no errors then you won't need diskdoctor.  Here's the problem with the ROM card/no floppy.  To remove doublespace from a machine, you can fdisk the drive and then format it with a non-doublespace floppy.  If your ROM drive didn't have doublespace, it would work fine also.  Since it does though, the only way to get rid of it (that I know of) is to format it (or do a sys d:  or sys c:) WHILE THE SYSTEM IS BOOTED WITH A NON-DOUBLESPACE DISK!  Since you don't have a floppy though, you can't boot from a non-doublespace disk, hence the problem.  So this system has no way of upgrading the operating system???  Doesn't sound like that great a design.
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smqAuthor Commented:
I suppose I could upgrade it by buying a new ROM card from HP; I could also just install a new DOS on the C: drive and use that to boot. in the meantime, it's been a wonderful computer up til now.  Anyway. I ran chkdsk and it DID work!  It found about 700 unreferenced clusters, too.  The question is, has it scanned the whole disk, or just the parts of it that were allocated to files?  Is there a format error still lurking around somewhere that'll bite me tomorrow?  I'll give it a try, and I'll still keep an eye out for DD, and thanks for all the help!
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CheckCommented:
The problem is that without booting from a floppy, you CAN'T install a new version of DOS.  It's a chicken and the egg type thing.  In order to install a new DOS you have to be RUNNING that version of DOS.  Normally that's not a problem because when you boot up with the DOS installation disks, you are then RUNNING the new version.  Just copying the files over won't work.  It doesn't copy the hidden system files and doesn't tell the boot sector on your hard drive what to do.  For that to happen, you have to be running the new version and then either do format c: /s or sys c: to copy the "SYSTEM" over, not just the DOS support files.  Hopefully though, chkdsk found all the problems so you can now format the drive again.
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smqAuthor Commented:
uhoh.  After chkdsk worked fine, I rebooted only to have an unreadable C: drive again.  Argh!  Another fdisk and format and it's fine and on rebooting it's dead once again.  Unless you have further suggestions, I'm going to take it into a shop; this can't be a software-fixable problem...
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CheckCommented:
That depends.  If you did a format c: /s and those problems happend, take it to the shop.  If you forgot the /s then try that first.  I'll be offline until July 28th.
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smqAuthor Commented:
Hmmmm.  I *did* try /s first, but it gave me some kind of error (I'll try it again and post the error here.)  The (latest) problems came after trying format without the /s and then booting.  Enjoy your holiday, and thanks for bearing with me on this!
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