Solved

Weird Hard Drive Behavior

Posted on 1998-03-10
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
It's like this:

Windows 95 was acting very bad.  Registry errors, forced Re-boots, and other nonsence kept happening.  
So, I reinstalled it one night.  It seemed to work, but if we did a "Shut down and restart computer in MS-DOS mode",
then our C:\ looked fine, but our D:\ showed only ascii symbols.   (We have a 2.5 GIG Seagate partitioned into a 1.5 gig and a 1 gig partition).
I ran Scandisk on D:\ from Windows, and it found loads of errors.  After fixing them all, I rebooted, and tried restarting in MSDOS mode again.  This time, the drive looked empty from DOS, but looked fine from Windows.

I then Removed Windows 95, and did a complete install again.  This time, after it was installed, I coulnd't access my C:\ at all.  I booted from a boot disk, and C:\ was all ascii symbols.  I formatted this drive, installed WIndows again, and now here's the latest status:

If I boot from a boot disk to c:\, I can see all files on C:\ and on D:\, and all looks perfect.
If I load Windows 95, I can see all files on C:\ and on D:\ just fine as well.
If I load windows 95 and then do a "Shut down and restart in MSDOS mode" I see C:\ fine, but can't see any files on
my d:\.  It even says 1 gig free.
If I press F8 on start up, and choose command prompt only, I see c:\ fine, but D:\ is a mirror image of C:\

I have no way of backing up my info on D:\, and would LIKE to save it.   Does anyone know what is wrong with my
system?  If you can help me figure it out before I figure it out myself, I'll make it worth the while (Point wise).
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Question by:ssteeves
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20 Comments
 
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by:kamilo
ID: 1131381
Have you done a low level format and checked the drive for viruses yet?
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by:cymbolic
ID: 1131382
When you are in dos mode and type ver, what is the result?
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Expert Comment

by:rabi_nahman
ID: 1131383
Hi ssteeves!
1] Erase anything you don't really need, or have a copy or can get a copy of. Do a thorough Virus check, not just the start up quickie, with an emrgency anti-virus diskette in DOS.
2] Make sure you haven't fried your CPU.
3] Take a look at your motherboard. Let me know what chipset you have, and what manufacture it is. If you can find or have noted anywhaere also model all the better. If it has a "VXpro", "VXpro+", or "VXproII" chipset, don't bother looking any further. Trash it and buy a good motherboard, with an Intel or VIA chipset. The board manufacturer should be a widely known name with AN ACTIVE website and ACTUAL USER SUPPORT on the site. Otherwise don't buy it. If you do need to buy a board be in touch.
4] If none of the above help you let me know and give more details re: system componenets environment etc..
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by:JBURGHARDT
ID: 1131384
There is  bug in windows 95 and 95a which will cause the problems you have go to www.microsoft.com and download patch save it on floppy then reformat your hard drive format it as 1gb ,1gb and 500 mb then you going to use only 16 kb not 32 like for 1.5 gb partition. Then install windows 95 and all patches.
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by:dew_associates
ID: 1131385
steeves, what version of Dos and what version of windows 95 are you running (specifically: Retail or OSR2\OEM version). If your system has been running before, there's no reason to start looking at new motherboards or anything else, it's just a problem load. If it would help you, I will post a step by step procedure to setup your hard drive, THEN format it and setup 95 from start to finish. Just tell me what components you have installed and I'll lay the whole procedure for you. I already have a pretty good idea what the problem is, but I'll wait for your post. If need be, I'll even send you a magic bullet!
Dennis
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1131386
I'd go for the magic bullet...  :)
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by:ssteeves
ID: 1131387
What's a "Magic Bullet"?
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by:ssteeves
ID: 1131388
I know it's not the mother board  (At least I'm 99% sure).
It's a Pentium 166 Intel Chip on a Gigabyte board.  I made sure I went good quality there.
I'm wondering if I have a problem with my hard drive, because last night I:

Formatted C:\ again.
Installed Dos 5.0
Installed Windows 3.1
Upgraded Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 with my upgrade disk.

(Still couldn't see D:\ from DOS prompt)

and about 3 hours later, I turned on the computer, and it said there was an invalid system disk.  I booted from a floppy, and C:\ was gone again.  Plus,  Scan disk is showing an awful lot of bad sectors the last couple of days...as well as other errors.  It keeps fixing them but they keep showing up again.....
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by:datadesign
ID: 1131389
hmm. do u use FAT16 or FAT32 ?
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1131390
ssteves,
How is the hard drive set up in the BIOS?
You don't need to install Win 3.1 before installing 95 if you have 3.1's first setup disk.
Ralph

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Expert Comment

by:rabi_nahman
ID: 1131391
Hi ssteeves;
1] The board should be OK. (as for the comment that if it worked up till now no reason to suspect it, not neccessarily right in cheapo boards who have small electrolitic capacitors that dry up after a coulple of years & start to wreck havock.) Pentium 166 is a favorite of "remark" shysters, make sure yours is really a 166. If not, it could be experiancing a break after being overclocked for however long you've been using it. If it is a gray ceramic pack it should be 2.8mm thick, if it's only 2.5mm you've been had. If it's a PPGA pack (fiberglass mini board with chip in middle you've got check the numbers top and bottom on the intel web site that shows what the real # should look like or send an email totaly describing the CPU to Joe Goldmeer at <escalate@intel.com> or <support@intel.com>. If the board &/or CPU are flaky the OS won't load right, will deteriorate, won't work right.
2] Sounds very likely you've got a software problem. Are your windows originals or copies? Copies can be off-key & cause trouble. The originals also do have bugs. If copy check it out against orig'l or borrow orig'l, or get an original. Do take dew-assoc's offer for help in loading and settting up.
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Accepted Solution

by:
dew_associates earned 210 total points
ID: 1131392
Sssteeves, your experiencing a version conflict with Dos version 5, which we can fix in a manner of speaking.

Try this entire procedure and don't skip any steps.

If you can get to Windows 95, make to startup disks and copy the following files to it or make sure they are present. Take these from your C:\Windows\Command directory only except for your cd rom driver.

format.com
Fdisk.exe
edit.com
autoexec.bat
config.sys
himem.sys
mscdex.exe
Your cd rom driver  ********.sys

Take one of the startup disks, label it disk "A" and edit the config.sys file so it contains only:

DEVICE=HIMEM.SYS
DEVICE=*******.SYS /D:MSCD000

Note!!! (******.sys is you cd driver)

Take the other disk and label it disk "B" and edit and copy the config.sys as follows:

DEVICE=C:\HIMEM.SYS
DEVICE=C:\*******.SYS /D:MSCD000

Now let's edit and save the Autoexec.bat file, first to disk "A".

@ECHO OFF
PROMPT $p$g
PATH A:\;C:\
A:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:MSCD000

And for disk "B"

@ECHO OFF
PROMPT $p$g
PATH C:\
C:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:MSCD000

Now boot from both disks to test them and make sure that your cd rom drive is accessible.

Boot with the disk "A" and then run Fdisk and remove the partition on drive "C", then add the partition back and make it active.

Now format drive "C" with the "A" disk, typing:

FORMAT C:/S

When your done formatting, copy these files from floppy "B" to drive "C":
format.com

autoexec.bat
config.sys
himem.sys
mscdex.exe
Your cd rom driver  ********.sys

Remove the floppy and restart the system.

Insert the win95 cd rom in the drive and type:

E:\setup  <enter>

During the setup, windows will search for the previous version, 3.xx, just insert the 1st 3.xx disk in the floppy drive and point Win95 to it.

Now, instead of installing an typical install, use custom and choose the components carefully.

If you need more, just ask!
Dennis
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Expert Comment

by:rabi_nahman
ID: 1131393
Hi ssteeves;
Dennis' advice looks good. Along with that a question remains. If I understood correctly your problem, Win95 had been OK but developed it's misbehaviours. If that is so, what caused the breakdown? This must be discovered to prevent recurrence (e.g.= viruses or hardware breakdown. If from the start it did not work right, that was not sufficiently clear from the original question, then Dennis' fix should do the trick.
   Good Luck;
   Congrats to Dennis at dew assoc's!
    Yaakov (rabi_nahman)
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by:ssteeves
ID: 1131394
I'm going to try Dennis's fix tonight....every step.  To answer a comment, from day on the computer was working bad.  That was 4 months ago.  It was very much usable, but about every 1 out of 10 times we started it up, it would just finish loading windows, and then say "Registry Error, Restart Windows", and sometimes this error would just happen randomly as we were using it.  

Then, what really screwed it up was one night last week, we tried to print a document, and it came up with a "Spool32 Error" and wouldn't print.  We rebooted, but every time windows loaded, (even if we didn't try to print) it gave that Spool error.  I re-installed Windows 95, thinking that would correct it, and then, the problems started.   (the problems being I can't see D:\ from DOS MODE.  

So, thanks to all for thier friendly help, and if It still doesn't work come monday, I'll re-open the question.  If it does work, I'll award your points Dennis.....
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1131395
Dennis,
Do you think the magic bullet is he needs the update DISKTSD.VXD?
More info about it in kb at:
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q148/8/21.asp
Regards to all,
Ralph


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by:dew_associates
ID: 1131396
Hi Ralph!  I have a magic bullet program for virus detection and it runs right after initial boot. It checks the Bios, partitions as well as data areas. I can send it to SSteeves if we don't make any progress. There's a few nasty virus's out there that attach the Bios, boot sector or EXE files (antiexe.a). The disk update, presuming that he's running Win95 v.950 or 950a makes sense.
Dennis
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1131397
I was thinking v.950 since he was going thru the upgrade hassle with 3.1.
I'd like a copy of that 'bullet.  Is it real new?
Ralph

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by:dew_associates
ID: 1131398
I can email it to you Ralph! Ask Linda to forward an email to me and I'll send it back via reply. We make up a new one every month.
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Author Comment

by:ssteeves
ID: 1131399
Thanks for the help!  Your answer solved the problem.  Must have been a software conflict or something.  

Shane Steeves
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by:dew_associates
ID: 1131400
Your quite welcome Shane. Version conflicts sometimes do that, especially when you have a system with a Dos version below 6 and try to go to 7.0 or 7.1 in Windows 95.
Dennis
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