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Can't get HD to boot

Posted on 1998-01-25
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I'm trying to setup an old computer for a friend.  It's an AST Advantage 486 SX/25 with a Quantum ELS 170 MB HD.  I got it to boot fine from the floppy, then I FDISK'ed it as the primary DOS partition (active) and formatted the drive. I then copied over the system using the SYS command, but then when I try to let it boot up from the HD it just writes "LI" on the screen after the initial system check.  It then freezes and won't respond to the keyboard.

When I boot from the floppy I seem to have full access to the HD, so why won't it boot from the HD?  
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Question by:thartin
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by:jrhelgeson
ID: 1753846
What Version of dos are you using?
Try typing fdisk /mbr at the dos prompt, then sys-ing the drive.
If it still does not work, try re-creating the partition and formatting with the /s option. -- I know, it's the "same" as sys-ing the drive, but sometimes just doing that will work.

I would also check your bios settings, try auto-config w/bios defalts, or w/setup defaults.

Some simple steps to start with.

Joel
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Accepted Solution

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adamgg earned 300 total points
ID: 1753847
There are three likely reasons this is hapening.

1)     Are the BIOS settings correct?  Look on top of the HDD, more often than not the heads, cylinders & tracks are printed there; use these settings instead of doing an auto detect.

2)     Is there a virus on the system?  Scan your system with the most up to date virus scanner you can get.

3)     Hardware fault.  If you have access to another HDD try using it in the 486 and see if that works.  If it doesn't either your IDE controller or your IDE cable needs attention.  If it does work the logic board on the HDD is probably at fault.


Good luck!
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by:j2
ID: 1753848
There are "leftovers" of a linux installation on the disk, run
"fdisk /mbr".
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Expert Comment

by:arlenes
ID: 1753849
when you format try format /s to install the system files
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Expert Comment

by:j2
ID: 1753850
Nope.. /S does NOT remove the LiLo, but /MBR does.
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Author Comment

by:thartin
ID: 1753851
j2 was right, this computer used to be Linux box.  The FDISK /mbr command did the trick.  Question: why doesn't FDISK and FORMAT completely clean off the disk, and what does the /mbr switch do?
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by:j2
ID: 1753852
Well, even tho i didnt get the points, ill explain :)

/mbr is a undocumented feature that reinstalls the "master boot record" (the very first piece of info on the disk) Linux entire bootstraploader lives in this area. MSDOS doesnt have a bootloader in the same fashion, and /S only replaces the system files, not the MBR, because it would be a shame to delete a custom bootloader everytime the systemfiles was tranferred :)
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