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Hidden Partitions on Install Still Unseen

Posted on 1998-11-02
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I've got a PII 300 system with 2 hard drives and 4 partitions on each.  I'm using System Commander to control everything.  

In order to install Win 95 into my "F" partition I had to hide "C", "E" and "G" and make the "F" partition active.  The install went fine and Win 95 saw the empty partition as "C".  

Once I unhid the partitions and made the actual "C" drive active again Win 95 still does not see the partitions that were hidden during the install.

Win 95 sees itself as being on the "C" drive when I boot into it from System Commander.

Is there a way to re-assign the drive letter so that Win 95 "sees" itself as being on the "F" drive?

Is there a way to make Win 95 recognize the partitions that were hidden when it was installed?

Thanks in advance!
Question by:grpark
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 1759115
So let me get this straigt...

You installed Win95 to a drive that it recognized as C: and now you want it to run from a drive it will recognize as F:?  If so, forget it.  The windows registry is expecting everything to be found on the C: drive, not the F: drive.  You'd have to find a way to hide the other partitions whenever you want to boot 95.

Author Comment

ID: 1759116
I use System Commander to boot into any of my configurations which include DOS, Win 3.11, Windows NT 4.0 Server and now Win 95.  It's not a large concern if Win 95 sees it's installed directory as "C" since I can work around that portion.

How do I get it to "see" the drives that were hidden when it was installed now that they are unhidden?

Expert Comment

ID: 1759117
The problem with what you want to do is that once the other hidden partitions become "unhidden", then all your drive letters will be reassigned. Thus, all the stuff that you installed, including Win95, will not be able to run.

If Win95 "sees" the other partitions as you want, then they aren't really hidden.
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Expert Comment

ID: 1759118
I assume the other primary partitions on your 1st drive that are hidden are used to boot dos, 3.1 and NT? If so, you may not want them to see each other, since it would be easy to make a mistake and trash the bootsector of one of them. As far as I know, dos, 3.1, and win95 have to be booted from the active primary partition on the 1st physical drive. By default, there can be only one at a time, and to see the other drives they would have to be in the extended partition. I have had problems when installing linux where more than one partition on the first drive is marked active - win95/dos will give you a 'bad partition table' message and refuse to boot anything. I think if you want to exchange files or information with the various OS's you will have to put an extended partition on the 2nd drive and make logical drives (FAT) that all the os's can see

Expert Comment

ID: 1759119
Run Fdisk, it works very well.

Expert Comment

ID: 1759120
It sounds like the partitions on your drive with win are all primary partitions.. The problem with this is that Win can't deal with more than one primary partition on a drive.. They need to stay hidden for it to work.. What you need to do is make them logical partitions then it will work as drive f: If your wondering why NT would work its because NT can handle more then oe primary partition..

Expert Comment

ID: 1759121
Padrino's answer is incorrect. Making your hidden primary partitions into logical ones will not work. Windows95 can't bootup from anywhere but a primary partition. He is correct about WIN NT being installed on other partitions though. That is one reason why people like NT over 3.x, 95x, or 98.

Author Comment

ID: 1759122
Right about now you guys have me totally confused.  I need either a fix or a better way to install Win 95 along with what I've already got on my system.  If I have to uninstall Win 95 and re-install another way it's no big deal since I've only got about three programs installed so far.

Expert Comment

ID: 1759123
Ok, tell us what you want to install, (what OS's other than win95), how many partitions you need for data, future expansion, or whatever, and we can suggest a setup. My first step would be to install win95 on the first primary partition on the first drive. Win 95 is the least flexible of all the OS's.

Author Comment

ID: 1759124
Okay, here goes, this is going to be a long one.

I have 2 physical drives.  

Drive one is partitioned as:
C  0-0
E  0-1
F  0-2
G  0-3
Drive two is partitioned as:
D  1-0
H  1-1
I   1-2
J  1-3

I initially had DOS 6.22 and WFWG 3.11 installed on drive C.  

I used System Commander Deluxe to install NT 4.0 server on drive D.  System Commander, since it keeps track of the boot process has left NTDETECT.COM and NTLDR on the C drive.

My program files for DOS and Win 3.11 are all installed on drive C.
My program files for NT 4.0 are installed primarily on drive D, with a few on drive C.

I have no problem with this configuration and it works fine with System Commander.

All my other drives, E through J, contain nothing but archived files. Since I access the files on E drive frequently I want to install Win 95 OEM SR2b on my F drive which still puts it on my primary drive.  I have emptied the F drive and it is totally free.

When I attempted to install Win 95, it recognized that there was another operating system present and refused to complete the install.  System Commander has an "Install Wizard" that analyzes the system in preparation for a new operating system.  Unfortunately, in this instance it says that there are no configurations available to install this version of Win 95.

I've tried two phone calls to the Tech Support department and either these guys didn't really understand my question _fully_ or I didn't fully understand what they were telling me.  I've been told by them to hide the other partitions on my primary drive and make F (0-2) the active partition then use the Win 95 boot disk and install.  By doing this Win 95 sees the F partition as C since it's the only one visible.

This did work, but after the install I was not able to see all my partitions.  Since Win 95 effectively destroys the MBR that System Commander uses the instructions say to re-install the product and recreate the boot record.  Again, unfortunately, trying to re-install on a drive that was visible I got the error message that System Commander was already installed and I couldn't get anywhere on that route.

My next step was installing Partition Magic to make the partitions un-hidden.  After un-hiding the other three partitions that were hidden Win 95 still does not see the other partitions so I can't access them.

What it does see is itself as being on the C drive and my original D, H, I, and J which it has re-assigned as D, E, F and G.

As you can tell by now, this has been pretty frustrating for me.

Now, here are my questions.  How can I install Win 95 so that:

A:  It won't interfere with my other operating systems?  I primarily use NT and need to make sure nothing gets corrupted.  

B:  Will recognize my other drives?

C:  Can I re-assign my drive letters so that Win 95 sees them in some semblance of order that I am familiar with?

Sorry to be so verbose but now you've got the whole story.  Help!

LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Tim Holman
ID: 1759125
  Things are getting a little over-complicated here !
  It sounds like when you installed Windows 95, you were trying to install to F:, but had C: already active and installable.
  To get round this, you must DELETE your 'F' partition using FDISK / Partition Magic etc.. and create a new PRIMARY partition in its place.
  Mark this installable / startable and install Windows 95 - it should have no problems, and will install to C:.
  Now you'll have :

Drive 1 - partition 1 - DOS / WIN PRIMARY
          partition 2 - DATA - should come up as E:
          partition 3 - Windows 95 PRIMARY
          partition 4 - DATA - should come up as F:
Drive 2 - partition 1 - NT - PRIMARY - will come up as D:
          booting from any partition on drive 1.
          partition 2 - DATA - should come up as G:
          partition 3 - DATA - should be H:
          partition 4 - DATA - should be I:
Once all this is done, reinstall your boot manager - you may need to boot up with a DOS floppy and run FDISK /MBR to reset your boot record - this won't do any harm, but it will mean you can install this Norton stuff again.
This will take up an extra partition somewhere along the line - so you need to free up your new E: or F: drive, delete the partition, then install Boot manager or whatever to manage your partitions.
I know this whole process shuffles drive letters around a little - this is something you have to live with, or you could do some further shuffling to try and reinstate things.


Author Comment

ID: 1759126

I worked on this yesterday for about two hours.  I wound up getting to the same place in a slightly different manner.

Once I deleted the "F" partition System Commander's wizard was able to handle the installation.  The drive letter assignments came up as you described.  Since Win 95 destroys the MBR it was necessary to run Sys Com's "scin.exe" to get control again then change the partition with Win 95 to bootable.  Once done, Sys Com recognized it as Win 95 in my selection menu.

Please respond again so I can award you the points.  I might have gotten there a few hours ahead (by luck) but you earned them.

LVL 23

Accepted Solution

Tim Holman earned 800 total points
ID: 1759127
Thanks !

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