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Cannot write to Drive C error

Posted on 1998-01-21
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
Using a scheduling program I have several utilities that run during the night.  At 12:01 AM Norton Image runs.  At 12:02 Norton Anti Virus 2.0 completes a full scan.  At 12:20 Norton System Doctor (2.0) runs.  

Once or twice a week I will awake to find the dreaded blue screen with the error message that drive C cannot be written to.  I end up needing to reboot the system.  I checked and found that based on time/date stamps that image was running properly.  A check of the logs for anti virus indicated that scans had not been completed.  This led me to believe the AV was the culprit.  I disabled that from running but still got the occasional error.  So I enabled AV and disabled System Doctor.  I still get the errors.  This now has me baffled.  I do NOT get this error during normal use.  I have run both AV and NSD manually with no trouble (although as I noted this is NOT an every night problem).  Nothing else runs other than these programs.

I have run a through check of the drive surface, file intergrity, etc.  No issues.  I have a FIC PA-2007 motherboard with 64 megs of DRAM, STealth 3D video card, SB Awe64 Value sound card, USR 56K modem, Maxtor 4.3 HD and Maxtor 1.2 HD.  The Maxtor 4.3 is the master and is partitioned into C, F and E.  I am NOT using any screen savers.
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Question by:Kuba
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by:magigraf
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Kuba...

1) Do you do an unscheduled download from the web??
2) Do you copy files from floppies during the day that are not checked for viruses??
3) You don't run any backup program??
4) Do you delete a bunch of directories everyday, then create bunch of others??

Unless you answered YES to all of these, I think that you are doing too much schedule things to the system.

Norton image will only help to restore critical files to get back your system recover from a crash or accidental format, while a backup would spare you doing that also.

Norton anti virus, could be run if you download files or copy files from floppy, you don't need to run it every night,

As for System doctor, it should be run ONCE a week to check on drive errors and you could use defrag also as a habit once a week.

I understand that this is not related to your problem here in writing to DRIVE C, but just a thought: Your schedules are running very close one to another in time  Spread them to a least half hour schedule.

Hope this helped.
Regards

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dew_associates earned 70 total points
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Hi Kuba!

1. If you have either WordPerfect or Word 7, 97, Office 97 or Office Pro 97, disable their find fast indexer. It's the indexer that keeps track of where documents are kept and their characteristics.

2. Disable Norton on the taskbar by clicking it open and then terminate it from running in the background.

No let your system run normally overnight and let me know what happens.

Dennis
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by:busuka
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Hi all !!! I have another quess: it's APM dirty tricks. HDD spins
down, but not spins up on HDD operation. Enter BIOS setup and
disable Advanced Power Management (especially HDD spin down).
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by:magigraf
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I thought I posted it as answer???
Well!!
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by:Kuba
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Magigraf-  I do run a backup program, but only twice per week.  It runs well before the other things so I have not considered it in "the mix."  Actually I don't think I have had any errors on the nights backup runs.  Maybe I should backup nightly <G>.  I do scheduled EMAIL a couple of times a day, but no ither Internet stuff.

Basically I run those programs every night because I could think of no reason not to.  I have done it this way for quite sometime.  It is since this motherboard/HD that the problem has creeped up.  I run the times farily close together because the programs get the hard drive spinning and kick the monitor on so I figured I would do that during the same time period rather than stretching it out.
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by:Kuba
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Hi Dennis,

I do have Office 97 but I do not run Fast Find.  It sounds like you are recommending elimating both the Virus program and System doctor from running at night (I do not have them running beyond that)?  I'll give that a shot.  It will likely take several days since the error only occurs a couple times per week.
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by:Kuba
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busuka,

I am going to try the "not running anything route" first, but a question about the APM.  I wondered myself if that could be the problem but decided no since:

1.  The hard drive powers down all the time and I have no troubles during the day.
2.  Image seems to be running fine and since it runs first the HD should be spinning for the other apps.

Correct logic??
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by:magigraf
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Kuba...

This is what I was trying to point to.

In my opinion you don't need to run the antivirus every night.  You just run it on demand whenever you download files from the net, or someone comes with a floppy, etc...

Running the image is fine.

Now running Norton speed disk, is once a week, and you could schedule it to do so at night.  Give it a try and let me know if you still experience the errors.

To recap:
1) Norton Image runs everyday
2) Norton speed disk every week
3) Norton anti virus, just on demand.

This would be the best pattern to use, unless of course you don't share my opinion which is fine.

Hope this helped
Regards


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by:Kuba
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Magigraf,

Let me toss a couple thoughts back to you.  The reason I run AV at night is that I do a lousy job (a virtually non-existant job to be honest) of scanning downloads.  I realize that this is fairly foolish, but my "compromise" has been to at least do a full scan nightly.  I do download files with some regularity and from pretty secure sources.  Were it not for this I would rarely run AV as I almost never put a floppy in that isn't mine.

To clarify, I am running System Doctor nightly NOT just speeddisk.  Fragmentation is checked but I don't defrag until 90%.  All that is likely to be done is cleanling up any lost clusters, etc.  

That being said I certainly could run it only once or twice a week, since nothing much is generally done anyway.  What I don't understadn is how either of these programs could cause the error (based upon their frequency) since I had it this way for a good year with no issues.
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by:magigraf
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Kuba...

I understand your question perfectly, and you're right why they were working for quite sometimes.  Now if you have them working at close range in time the way they are apart now, that would make me believe that it is something that you installed lately, that is interfering with one of these schedule procedure.

Another direction also would be like under NT, if we change permissions, and have Norton Utilities installed on the machine, we have to give it rights to the SYSTEM folder or we will get a similar message to NOT BEING ABLE TO WRITE TO DRIVE C:\

Now that said, maybe somehow under win95, Norton Utilities thinks that he has no right to modify or overwrite a system file.
( That would be the logic behind it ).  I do not know Norton for Windows 95 very well, but maybe somewhere, you have modified something or changed swicth that does not allow Norton to write to certain system files.

Just a thought
Regards
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by:dew_associates
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Kuba, I presume that you have one of the later Norton utilties, 2.*  etc. There's a program within Norton that runs when certain parameters are met, and it is "sysdoc32.exe". This scans your entire system at will. If scandisk oe something else attempts to run and then this programs kicks in read/writes by scandisk are prevented. It's almost like the old scandisk, everytime it started something else would attempt a read/write and after 10 or so of these interrupts, bang it's over!
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by:rebranger
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Anybody have any experience with the "LOCK and "UNLOCK" command?
Go to dos and type <lock /?> see what it says. Then try <unlock C:> or whatever drive yo're having trouble with. This command allows direct access to your drive. Locking it preserves long file names so they can't be overwritten in dos
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

I am running NU 2.0.  By scandisk do you mean the MS product or are you refering to speeddisk?  I do not have scan disk scheduled to run at all.  In any event I have had the error when I have NOT had NU running at all.  

Here is what I find interesting/baffling:

I first suspected the AV program since the logs indicated that it had not run.  Logic tells me that the error occurs while it is running, hence no entry in the log.  But when I "de-scheduled" the AV program I would still get the error.  Now I presume that the error is coming when Norton System Doctor is running, 'cause nothing else is schdeuled to run after that.  But "de-scheduling" NSD doesn't eliminate the problem.  Of course the common denominator is that they are both Symantec products.


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by:Kuba
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rebranger,

I tried the unlock c command and was told that it failed.  I assume this to mean that the C drive is not locked.?.
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by:dew_associates
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Kuba: Is Nav being called at all in your autoexec.bat file?
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by:Kuba
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Yes, via:
@F:\UTILIT~1\NORTON~1\NAVBOOT.EXE /STARTUP

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by:dew_associates
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Okay, try REM'ming that statement out and then run your off hours programs. By the way, this statement causes antivirus to remain active, therefore you do not have to run it as a scheduled program.
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by:Kuba
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I have not had the error in a couple of weeks, but then I'm not running both programs as I did before.  I do wonder if it has anything to do with my *D* drive.  I have found that when I try and manually defrag D my system hangs everytime.  Virus scans of D hand about 50% of the time.  I moved every file from D to F and was able to scan/defrag F with no trouble.  I omoved a couple files back to D.  I still hang on D.

Now the system seems to be hung but I wonder if what is really casuing those C errors has somehow been related to this issue.
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by:dew_associates
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Kuba, if you can, move the files off of D again and format the drive and then try it.
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

Will do.  Last night I started a write test on the drive before bed (using Scandisk).  Woke this morning to the cannot write to C error.
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by:busuka
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Hmmm, your Win95 on C: right ? How much space you have left on C: ?
Try to remove ALL files and directories in \Windows\Temp folder.
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by:Kuba
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Busuka,  Win95 is on the C drive and there is something like 900 megs of space on C.  I routinely clean my temp files.

I have now formatted the D drive and checked the partition info ).  Scandisk (set to thorough and to perform a write test) locks up on the (empty) drive.  Can this have anything to do with the TX-pro bus drivers and this being a few year old IDE?
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by:Kuba
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Some additional info;

The D drive causes the system to lockup with both Scandisk and NDD (while doing surface checks, there are no files on the drive).  However both NDD and Scandisk work fine in DOS mode.  Neither detects any problems with the disk surface.
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by:dew_associates
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Kuba, use your "Ctrl"  "Alt"  and "Del" keys and open the Close Programs dialogue box and close all running programs except Systray and Explorer and then try running scandisk on drive D again. You may want to disable the antivirus as well.
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

Sorry for not mentioning this before but I have already done that with no success.  
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by:dew_associates
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Okay then there's something causing a conflict with Windows then. Copy and paste your config.sys and autoexec.bat files here and we'll review them.
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

I do not have a config.sys file at all.  The only thing in autoexec.bat was the line to load NAV and some sound card info.  The line for nav was already remmed out and seeing as how I don't really need that sound card stuff in there I renamed autoexec.bat and rebooted without it.  I could still hang the system during a surface check.

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by:dew_associates
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Kuba, is this the same computer as the other question you have posted?
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,  No this is a different system.  I have now found that both scandisk and NDD can complete a surface scan if I start in safe mode.  I have already tried using the W95 S3 drivers for video with no change to the lockup problem.  Any thoughts on the likely suspect driver:

TX-Pro Bus drivers
Sound Blaster Awe 64
Zip IDE Insider
USR 56k modem
MS Intellimouse
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by:dew_associates
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Kuba:

1. If the TX driver has been properly installed, that's out.
2. Sound Blaster 64, generally if there are no errors and no device conflicts, I'd say no here too.
3. USR modems, once their working, that's a no!
4. That leaves Intellimouse and Zip.

Id start by uninstalling the Zip drive and give that a shot, or at least disabling it and then reboot and try the system.

The IntellMouse software has also been known to cause certain problems, but I've never had it cause problems with drives. Give the Zip a change and try it.
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

I have tried disabling the mouse and the Zip drive, but I still lockup.  Although I have shut down other programs via CTRL-ALT-DEL I also tried making sure that nothing loaded via the start menu, win.ini or the registry, but I still locked up.  I did another check in safe mode and had no trouble, so it has to be something that is loading that is bothering the drive.
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by:Kuba
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By jove I think I've got it.  I was researching my problem on the other system with the HX drivers.  Tyan's site warned against chaining a non UDMA device with an UDMA device as you lose the benefit of the UDMA drivers.  I recabled the D drive to become a secondary master instead of a primary slave.  This seems to have elimiated the problem.  I say seems becasue doing so reassigned all my drive letters so I did not have easy access to all the utilities that were casuing problems.  I ran Scandisk for about 8 minutes without a problem.

So it seems I need to get D out of the slave position and then see if my write to C errors disappear as well. I am pretty optomistic about that as I haven't had an error in quite a while and I have had D "out of the loop."

I have 4 IDE devices, the 2 hard drives, the Zip and the CD-ROM.  Can either the Zip or the CD be chained to the master drive without losing the benefits of the TX-Pro drivers?
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by:dew_associates
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Sure Kuba, make the cd rom drive a slave to the hard drive on the primary bus. The zip should (I hate those damned things) work as a slave on the secondary channel.
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

I did some hardware swapping around.  The way I had the drives setup in the case made cabling an issue.  I decided to swap my Zip scsi (the one being used in the system that you are assisting with with the new motherboard "Can't get W95 running) with the Zip IDE in THIS system.  That allowed me to cable the slave D drive with the CD-ROM and leave the Maxtor master on it's own.

The good news is that the Maxtor seems peppier (I think I'm getting the benefit of UDMA now?).  The bad news is that under this configuration I can still hang the system.  I don't know if my original cabling test was a fluke or if this method of cabling still creates an issue.  Any thoughts?
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by:dew_associates
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Okay, tell me what you have cabled where, what devices are primary and secondary and on which bus. As for the SCSI devices, what kind of card and devices are there?
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

The Maxtor 4.3 is thr primary drive and is cabled alone.
The CD-ROM is a master cabled with the Maxtor 1.2 (the one giving me problems) as the slave.  The Zip drive is the only SCSI device and is on a Zip ZOOM adapter card.
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by:busuka
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Errr, can you swap on Secondary IDE CD-ROM with Maxtor ? So Maxtor
going to be Master and CD-ROM Slave. Just for curiosity ...
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by:dew_associates
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Kuba, in an effort to see whether the CD Drive or Zip is influencing anything, why don't you physically pull both out of the box and then run the test. If no hang, add back the cd rom drive, then the Zip. I know Maxtor's had some firmware problems with their drives, but that was with the 5.6's and up.
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

Looks like maybe I had just lucked into a "non-hang" test the one time.  Even with the Zip and the CD-ROM out of the loop the system hangs when defragging.

To recap: I have found that I can complete a surface test in safe mode (defrag will not run in safe mode).  I have tried taking the Zip drive, CD-ROM drive and mouse being out of the loop but it hasn't helped.
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by:dew_associates
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Kuba, it's entirely possible there may be a bad cable. There sure is something your system doesn't like though.

And when you use the close programs dialogue box and close everything except Explorer, you still get a hang right?
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,  The bad cable seems unlikley as this has been twoo seperate cables.  I have not been successful shutting down everything beyond Explorer.  I have also trie dremoving everythig from the start folder, win.ini load, etc. and that hasn't helped either.
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by:dew_associates
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Kuba, reduce the system to just the "C" drive and try it. If your system still hangs, then the problem will be with either the larger drive, the motherboard hardware or the Win95 install.
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

I must be missing something.  How do I reduce the system to just the C drive?  The C is partitioned into C E and F and I would interpret what you mean to be not having the E anf F partitions active?  If you are referring to removing the pHysical D rive so that only the master remains it will not tellus anything as the master drive has no trouble with utilities running on it.
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by:dew_associates
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So the "D" drive is the only one you can't run the utilities on? And you have checked thoroughly the settings for the "D" drive in Bios?
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,  The BIOS setting are correct, and yes it is only the D drive.  I am also no 99% positive that somehow this is what was causing the "Cannot write to C" errors.  For the last week or so I have been running everything as I normally did EXCEPT for virus scans of D and defragging of D.  Have not had a single error.
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by:dew_associates
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Kuba, how about fdisking "D" and then formatting it using the Windows 95 startup disk?
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

I just did so with no success.  Froze right away on the next surface scan.  I had a heck of a time moving files off of D this time (the last time I did this I don't recall it being an issue).  The system froze probably 6 times while moving the files to another drive.  
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by:dew_associates
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Kuba, Does this motherboard have Smart Drive in the Bios enabled? What options are available in the Bios setup for hard drives?
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

The only options for the HD in BIOS (beyond cylinders, etc.) are for auto/manual detect of mode (which is correct) and power management.  Here's what i think I'll do next;
I have a couple of old 540 meg drives laying around.  I'll take the 1.2 out and replace it with one of the 540s and see if I have the same problem with a different drive.
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by:dew_associates
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Makes sense. I trust you have tried it both at Auto and manual?
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

On one hand I am happy on the other I am crying.  I found that a different drive worked fine.  Great!  End of issue.  I decided to give the "new" drive a fresh start (it had some old files on it from when it was a master) a fdisk, reformat, etc.  Unfortunately (and I won't go into my tale of stupidity) I managed to format one of thepartitions on my master drive rather than the slave.  Here I am MINUTES away from screwing the cases shut on both my systems and I shoot myself in the foot.  ARGGGG!!

One last question if I might.  The drive that is now my D drive is a 540 meg drive.  BIOS sees it as a 540.  When I format it tells me that it is formatting 515 megs.  When I check disk free space I am told that I have 540 megs free.  This is the same in both DOS and W95.  Do I need to be concerned about this??
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Kuba:

"One last question if I might. The drive that is now my D drive is a 540 meg drive. BIOS sees it as a 540. When I format it tells me that it is formatting 515 megs. When I check disk free space I am told that I have 540 megs free. This is the same in both DOS and W95. Do I need to be concerned about this?? "

No, not really, it's normally part of the cluster/sector checking. Dos checks the sectors marked bad by the manufacturer and creates a list so that you don't write something into a bad sector. If you've formatted it and then ran scandisk, you should be okay.

Did you run fdisk and repartition this drive?

By the way, in the event you ever format a drive in error, as long as you don't write anything to the drive, it can be recovered using the unformat command or if you have Norton Utilities, you can reregister the first bit on the Fat and everything will still be there.

Let me know on the above.
Dennis
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by:Kuba
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Dennis,

>>>>By the way, in the event you ever format a drive in error, as long as you don't write anything to the drive, it can be recovered using the unformat command or if you have Norton Utilities<<<<

When I screw up I try and make it BIG.  My first mistake was deleting the partition and then reformatting without a new fdisk after a reboot.  That's how I screwed up and did the wrong "drive" as the slave didn't have a drive letter assigned to it.  I could see that the drive had been formatted at 1.3 megs, but couldn't figure out why so I reran the formatting.  It was still being formatted at 1.3 so I loaded W95 to wee what it thought of this.  That's when I discovered that the reason it was 1.3 was that I had been formatting a partition on the master drive.

I knew I could try and unformat the drive but since I had reformatted twice, and seemed "this close" to having my last little problem corrected, I decided I would just start clean.  I had just backed up my data files a couple of days eariler so I would just go ahead and reload.  Only a dozen programs or so.  Then, to add insult to injury, I discovered that the path in my backup program for my database program was wrong and those files are now history.

Oh well, at least the weather here is dismal so I won't be missing much as I recreate things.
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by:dew_associates
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Yup, been there done that!
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