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reformating hard drive

Posted on 1998-06-23
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I can not reformat my hard drive.  I have a 486 DX2 66mhz with 16 mg.  I loaded Win95, and it locked the computer up.  I reformated with MS-DOS reloaded Win 3.1 and it will not read any drive.  I have to boot with a system disk, and when I try to reformat with MSDOS disk "1" it gives me a disk error message. When I reboot with the system disk to get a: prompt, it gives me an error and gives the retry, abort, ignore message.  WHAT CAN I DO?
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Question by:spm062398
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1019413
First, go to CMOS setup and be sure the hard drive parameters are set correctly for the drive.
Then, when booting with Dos floppy, press F5 key at the "Starting MSDos" message.
Will it then boot up okay?
Let me know how if you need help with the CMOS setup.
Regards,
Ralph

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Expert Comment

by:kmarf
ID: 1019414
You may also have confused your disk management software.  In these cases, you are still able to install the operating system, but unable to use it (annoying, yes).

Your boot floppy should also have an FDISK.COM - this will provide information about the partitions.

When fdisk loads, type 4 for disk information.  
-  is there more than one partition?
-  what is the file type?  (ie. unknown, fat16)

If your hard drive is smaller than 2GB, you should be able to remove all partitions, then recreate and be OK.  If you're uneasy about that, get more detailed instructions first.  ;)
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Expert Comment

by:747
ID: 1019415
kmarf is almost correct IMHO.

I am assuming that you have not been able to reformat since the W95 installation.

I think you probably tried to install Win95 OSR2 and it formatted the hard drive using FAT32.  

FAT32 is not recognized by MS-DOS, so you would need to run fdisk and delete all the partitions, create new FAT16 partitions and then reformat and re-install.

Good Luck
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Expert Comment

by:kmarf
ID: 1019416
astute, 747, that hadn't occurred to me.  Of course, the 16 vs. 32 question depends on whether the desired end-result is win 3.1 or 95?
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1019417
I think we need some feedback from spm now.
From his original question, I get the idea that he can't boot at all now.
That's why I suggested trying the clean floppy boot.
Regards,
Ralph

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Expert Comment

by:mikecr
ID: 1019418
Hey guys, if he didn't Fdisk the hard drive to begin with and set up Fat32, then he didn't format Fat32! You have to create a Fat32 partition first to be able to have Fat32. I think he's having a different problem. He may be using drive overlay software.

Spm, did you install Win95 using a Bootup disk or did you upgrade from a Win95 CD over an existing version of Windows?

Mike
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1019419
"...if he didn't Fdisk the hard drive to begin with and set up Fat32..."
Mike, you can't format a drive that hasn't been partitioned.
You also can't get FAT32 from the Win95 upgrade.
FAT32 is available only from full-install OSR2 or later.
You're right about  "He may be using drive overlay software."
We won't know without feedback.........
Ralph

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Expert Comment

by:mikecr
ID: 1019420
The point I'm trying to get at Ralph is what version of Windows 95 did he try to install? I know the part about partitioning, it's you just can't format Fat32 unless you partition it as Fat32 so if he's locking up after a Win95 install, it sounds to me that he may have some type of drive overlay software loaded that "hosed" his pc. I know Windows 95 can crash a computer and do funny things but not by that description! It ain't that dangerous!
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Accepted Solution

by:
ris earned 100 total points
ID: 1019421
I think you need to run FDISK, delete all partitions, create one master partition, reboot, format your hard drive, and reinstall windows 95.  That should pretty much solve whatever problems you are having. If you still can't get anything to work, you may need to do a low level format (sometimes called "initializing" the drive).  The only way to do one of those that I am aware of is to go into your CMOS setup and do it there.  You have a 486 which may be old enough to still allow you to do that.  I wouldn't bother trying the low level format though unless fdisking and reformating doesn't work.
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Author Comment

by:spm062398
ID: 1019422
Thanks for the great response.  I appreciate the assistance. I will try and answer everyone's questions before I actually try anything.  I am not as good in DOS as I used to be and have forgotten a lot. Please excuse my ignorance.  Here goes:

I am unsure what CMOS set up is. I definitely need help with this.

My hard drive is 640K.

I installed a WIN 95 upgrade, it locked up my computer, bought a new one (I'm using it now), sold WIN 95 to friend, decided to wipe my hard drive clean and reload Win 3.1, then sell the computer.  I have had a lot of problems with it since I bought it new in '93.  I reformated my hard drive by putting in MSDOS disk "1" and at a: typed format c:

I can not boot at all.

I hope this clears up all questions.  Look forward to your reply.

Thanks,
SPM
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Author Comment

by:spm062398
ID: 1019423
Thanks for the great response.  Before I try anything I will try and reapons to everyone's questions.  Please excuse my ignorance, as I have forgotten a lot of DOS, but did not want to take the computer in for someone else to fix something that seemed simple.

Here are answers:

I am unsure what CMOS setup is. I definitely need help with this.

My hard drive is a 640K.

I installed a upgrade version of Win95 on top of 3.11 (this was recommended to me by my internet provider.  The computer locked up.  I bought a new computer (using it now), got rid of Win95 upgrade, and want to wipe computer clean reload 3.11 and sell computer.  I got to wiping computing clean and got stuck.  I put MSDOS disk in at a: and typed format c:, reloaded 3.11, now it will not read a drive.  I use a system disk to get to a dos prompt.  Main goal is to sell computer.

I can not boot up at all.

I think this answered all questions.  I look forward to your response.

Thanks,

SPM
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Expert Comment

by:mikecr
ID: 1019424
Well, at least you should be operational now.
You probably locked up during the Win95 install because you had to many device drivers or TSR's running that caused the computer to lock up. Your working now and that's all that counts.

Mike

P.S. Don't go to you Service provider for reccommendations, come to us!
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1019425
Mike,
As I understand it, he can't boot the computer. (He has two.  He's talking to us on his new one!)

spm,
If I'm right, and you can't boot, what is confusing to me is why did you accept the answer?

Anyway, will computer boot from Dos disk-1 floppy?
If so, from A:\ prompt type the following and press enter:
     SYS C:
Let me know....
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:spm062398
ID: 1019426
rmarotta is right I'm using a completely new, other computer now.

I accepted the answer because I thought I had to.

I can not boot from Dos disk 1 floppy.  I made a system disk at work on an old 3.11 computer, and with it I can get a Dos prompt.

Any suggestions.

Thanks,

SPM
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1019427
First, you should be satisfied that a proposed answer is the solution to your problem, before accepting it.  You are under no pressure to grade any question until you are satisfied.
The points are awarded when you grade the answer.
You cannot re-open the question for another expert to submit an answer once you have graded it.
Okay, don't worry about that now.
After booting from floppy, is the hard drive recognized? (Type DIR C:)
What happens?
Ralph

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Expert Comment

by:mikecr
ID: 1019428
I think I misunderstood him Ralph, sorry!

Now Spm, your saying you can boot to a floppy that you made bootable but you can't boot to a Dos install disk, right? Put FDISK on the bootable floppy, put it in the computer and type the command FDISK /STATUS and tell me exactly what you see. If I didn't know any better Ralph, I would think his MBR is corrupted on his hard drive, but I don't get why it won't boot to the Dos install disk unless it's bad.

Mike
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Expert Comment

by:kmarf
ID: 1019429
which convinces me it's one of those overlays.  I've done this - learned the hard way.  ;)
If you boot from a floppy, you can
"reformated with MS-DOS
    reloaded Win 3.1 and it will not read any drive", as spm said, and still not have a valid format of the drive, then it will not boot without the floppy.  OS is installed, but the pc just can't see it.  We really need that FDISK info.
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1019430
Guys....
It is also possible to format a hard drive without using the "/S" switch! (Rendering it unbootable)
That is why I asked if SPM can read ANYTHING from it.(DIR C:)
If no error and Dos returns with "no files found", we may be able to SYS it.
I'm convinced that your Dos floppy is corrupt somehow, making it unbootable.
The next thing I'll ask is:
After booting, can anything be read from the Dos disk-1, even though it's not bootable? (Dir A:)
If so, try to run SYS.COM from it to make Drive C: boot.
But I'm jumping the gun....
Ralph

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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1019431
SPM,
To transfer the system files to the hard drive do this:
After booting the computer, insert Dos disk-1 and type the following from the A:\ prompt:
     SYS C:
Then press enter and follow the prompts.
If you get a message that system was transferred successfully, remove the floppy and reboot.
Let me know what happens.
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:spm062398
ID: 1019432
I got it !

Rmarotta,

I did have a bad Dos disk!  I borrowed one from work, rebooted and used the "/s" switch. It took, and I overwrote some files, reloaded my original auto.exe and config.sys files, reloaded WIN 3.11, and in the process of reloaded my drivers and software.

Everything seems to working fine :]  I have taken a break from loading the cd-rom driver to respond, and let you know I got it.

Thanks for the help!

SPM
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1019433
Glad to help!
Let me know if you need more.
Ralph

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