disk write error / pri master HDD error

When I turn on the computer I receive disk write error message (unable to write to disk in drive c). When I continue as prompted I have a Pri Master HDD Error. However, if I run setup I can start W95 in safe mode. Then if I shut down windows and choose restart it will run in normal mode. If I boot from a floppy I can write to drive c (eg. mkdir). I also reinstalled W95 (no change). My question is: what is causing the problem and how do fix it so that when I turn on the computer it will start in normal mode every time?
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Most probably, there is a loose connection between
your HardDrive and the motherboard.  Open you computer
and tighten the connection.  The other possibility is
your hard drive will die soon.  Did you run scandisk?
Were there bad sectors?  I suggest you to backup all you
file on this hard drive...

bryan_kayAuthor Commented:
I've run scandisk; no bad sectors (new HD). I've opened the computer; all connections are tight. Suggestions??
First: how big your Pri Mater HDD ? Enter BIOS setup and post what
mode your HDD set (Normal, Large, LBA, CHS, ...).
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bryan_kayAuthor Commented:
Att'n busuka: mode Large. size 3.2 GB.
Ah-HA !!! This is a cause: Large. On stabile systems it prevents
Win95 from using long filename (LFN). In less stabile systems it
may lead to not-load or bad load of Win95 (your case). I'm afraid
that you need to force type of your HDD to LBA and reformat it
(it's imperative to reformat it to prevent future loss of data).

Hope this helps.
bryan_kayAuthor Commented:
busuka- In Setup I have always had LBA turned on. How would I force my HDD to LBA?  B.
Oops. I thought you said by 'Att'n busuka: mode Large. size 3.2 GB'
that your HD in Large mode. Anyway, right after POST (Power-On Self
Test) BIOS outputs on screen table with your hardware. This is
table jumps before message 'Starting Win95' and usually pass very
quickly, so it's quite hard to catch it, but try and post how BIOS
really detected this HDD.
BTW, usually in BIOS setup -> Configuration (or Normal config) you
have type of your HDD Auto. I meant change it to LBA.
Bryan: This should resolve your problem if it doesn't, let me know. If it does, I would appreciate your rejecting the proposed answer so that I may post the following as the answer.

First, if your using the retail version of Windows 95, v.950 or 950a, it doesn't matter whether LBA is active or not, you will not be able to access the entire 3.2g as one drive. Retail versions of Windows 95 have a drive size limitation.

PSS ID Number: Q127851
Article last modified on 07-15-1996
5.x 6.00 6.20 6.21 6.22 95

kbtool kbnetwork kbinterop kbsetup
The information in this article applies to:
 - Microsoft Windows 95
 - Microsoft MS-DOS operating system versions 5.x, 6.0, 6.2, 6.21,
Microsoft Windows NT supports the creation of primary partitions and
logical (physical) drives of up to 4 gigabytes (GB) using the File
Allocation Table (FAT) file system, but Windows 95 and Microsoft MS-DOS do
not support these drives. The limit for drives using the FAT file system in
Windows 95 and MS-DOS is 2 GB.
Both MS-DOS and Windows 95 use a 16-bit FAT for logical drives larger than
15 megabytes (MB). The maximum number of clusters for a 16-bit FAT drive
is 64K, or 65,536 bytes (where 1K = 1024 bytes). In addition, the maximum
cluster size in MS-DOS and Windows 95 is 32K, or 32,768 bytes. Therefore,
the maximum logical drive size in MS-DOS and Windows 95 is calculated as
   32K x 64K = 2048 MB = 2 GB
Windows NT uses a 64K maximum cluster size on 16-bit FAT drives. The
maximum logical drive size in Windows NT is calculated as follows:
   64K x 64K = 4096 MB = 4 GB
NOTE: On a FAT drive, space is allocated by clusters. That is, a file that
is smaller than the drive's cluster size will still be allocated one full
cluster, thus wasting the additional space in the cluster. Similarly, a
file that is large enough to fill 3-1/2 clusters will be allocated four
full clusters. Using a smaller cluster size will typically result in less
wasted space on the drive.
The cluster size for a FAT drive is determined when the drive is formatted
and varies depending on the size of the logical drive. For more information
about cluster and logical drive sizes in MS-DOS, please see the following
article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
   TITLE: FAT Type and Cluster Size Depends on Logical Drive Size
   ID: Q67321
Windows 95 and MS-DOS use the FDISK utility to partition a disk. When it
accesses a hard disk, FDISK uses the system AT ROM BIOS INT13h interface,
which has a maximum of 1024 cylinders, 255 heads, and 63 sectors per track.
FDISK can access any drive within the limits imposed by the AT ROM BIOS,
which means that FDISK can access drives of up to 8 GB, calculated as
   1024 cylinders x 255 heads x 63 sectors per track x 512 bytes per
   sector = 8,422,686,720 bytes, or roughly 8 GB
The original IDE hardware interface is limited to 16 heads, which reduces
the maximum drive size to 504 MB. Newer IDE (ATAPI) technology, however,
uses a translation scheme called Logical Block Addressing (LBA) to exceed
the 504-MB limit as imposed by the system AT ROM BIOS and IDE specifi-
cation. SCSI and ESDI hard drive controllers use similar translation
methods that are usually built into the controller card's ROM BIOS to
exceed the 504-MB drive size limit. For more information about the use of
large hard disks with MS-DOS and Windows 95, please see the following
article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
   TITLE: Windows 95 Support for Large IDE Hard Disks
   ID: Q126855
The FDISK utility in MS-DOS and Windows 95 can create an extended partition
larger than 2 GB. FDISK can then create multiple formatted drives of up to
2 GB in this extended partition that conform to the AT ROM BIOS constraints
mentioned earlier. FDISK will not, however, allow the creation of a primary
FAT partition or logical drive in an extended FAT partition that is larger
than 2 GB. Note also that, as mentioned earlier, logical drives larger than
504 MB cannot be accessed using MS-DOS or Windows 95 unless LBA or geometry
translation is used.
Windows NT allows you to create 4 GB FAT drives, either as a primary
partition or as a logical drive in an extended partition. Because MS-DOS
and Windows 95 have a maximum partition size of 2 GB, FAT drives larger
than 2 GB created using Windows NT cannot be reliably accessed using MS-DOS
or Windows 95.
NOTE: Microsoft does not recommend using MS-DOS or Windows 95 with a 4 GB
FAT drive created in Windows NT. If you use Windows NT's dual boot feature
to boot MS-DOS or Windows 95, you should be able to access the drive, but
you may experience unexpected behaviors. In particular, some applications
or utilities may incorrectly report that 0 bytes of free space exist on the

If you partition your new hard drive into two partitions, one 2g and one 1.xg, you won't have the problem any longer.
bryan_kayAuthor Commented:
I checked my version of Win95. It turns out to be 4.00.950B.
According to the help screen it will support HDD up to 2TB.
bryan kay,
You said it is a new HD.  Did you format it with FAT32?
You would have to run FDISK first using the version that came with Windows 95B.
If so, starting from another operating system or version other than Win95B can cause problems with the FAT32 drive.

bryan, I have another guess. Recently, I heard in one of discussions,
that 2 HDDs, one Ultra-ATA (UDMA) and second non-Ultra-ATA  can't
sit one one IDE line, so if this is your situation, move your
slave on Secondary IDE Master.

Hmmm..  maybe something is trying to write to a read-only file?
Do you run a config.sys or autoexec.bat file?
If so, please paste them here for us.

Bryan, would you post your motherboard make and model, Bios type and version as well as the 2 hard drives your using.
bryan_kayAuthor Commented:
Problem Solved: I simply replaced the HDD with another one.The new one dosn't give me those errors. According to the technicians who replaced the drive, the original probaly has a manufacturer's defect. I did not try every solution proposed so I am not positive that this was the only solution. However, it was one that worked. Thanks for all the input guys.
    The closest solution to the one I used was the answer from q2quo which I rejected (hard drive will die soon). Terry: if you think this was a reasonable solution, post it and I will transfer the  points to you.
Hey, this is the cause for your problems:
you MUST partition AND format your harddisk with LBA turned on!
This is because the LBA makes other remarks in the partition table than LARGE or others. So try following: Wipe ALL DATA from the harddisk. Delete ALL partitions.
Save this blank partition table !!!
goto BIOS and turn on LBA.
Partition your harddisk and format it. And now: PROBLEM SOLVED.
So every new harddisk will work if it is not partitioned. If you create new partitions on this new harddisk you do the same as described above.
Try with your old disk, you will be supprised.
bryan_kayAuthor Commented:
I exchanged the HDD which was giving me problems for
another one. I no longer have access to the old disk
so I can't try your suggestion on it.

Glad for you that you solved problem. Now you can delete this
question and refund your points. Just post into Customer Service
0 pts question with question ID and subject: please remove my question.

I'm posting bryan_kay's comment to what the solution was so everyone can see what solved the problem.

Problem Solved: I simply replaced the HDD with another one.The new
                         one dosn't give me those errors. According to the technicians who
                         replaced the drive, the original probaly has a manufacturer's defect. I did
                         not try every solution proposed so I am not positive that this was the
                         only solution. However, it was one that worked. Thanks for all the input

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