Losing Disk Partition Information

Posted on 1998-12-02
Last Modified: 2010-04-27
A Dell Gn+, Pentium 233, PC had one 2GB partition (100% usage) created using fdisk and was running Windows '95.  After installing Windows Messaging during a Novell GroupWise 5.2 installation, the user was prompted to reboot.  When the system rebooted, an error of "invalid system disk" came up.  Upon booting to floppy and running a 'dir' on c:\, I got a message of "file not found" even though it is reporting only about 1GB free.  On closer inspection with fdisk, the partition information now shows usage at 77% (1547MB) even though total disk space is still 2012MB.  How can I change the partition size back to 100% usage (and hopefully preserve the data on the drive) without having to delete the partition and create a new one?
Question by:lisaii

Author Comment

ID: 1013359
Edited text of question

Expert Comment

ID: 1013360
Did you try re-installing 95? I've done this a few times with damaged disks, and only the /win95 directory was modified.  Upon installing it seemed to correct the corrupted partition, and allowed me to get the data off the drive. (although some of the directories were flaky)

Expert Comment

ID: 1013361
It's pretty tough to fix damaged partions without a good disk editing tool like Norton's Disk Doctor.

If all else fails, you can get your machine back to the exact same condition you bought it by running a hidden program from the command line. Run:


This is a hidden file that Dell uses to restore machines to original condition. I thought it was a joke till I checked it out myself. You may not be able to get to it if your FAT table is screwed up.

Anyway, good luck

Expert Comment

ID: 1013362
If when trying to boot from the hard drive you get 'Invalid System Disk', then the Master Boot Record of your Hard drive has been corrupted.

Use an emergancy boot floppy made from the same operating system that resides on your hard drive, to boot the system. When in the DOS prompt. Type FDISK /MBR. This will rewrite your Master Boot Record.

Try then to reboot from your hard drive. If this does'nt work then get back to me, because you will need to rebuild your FAT.

Expert Comment

ID: 1013363
1. Check BIOS settings regarding the Hard drive
2.  Get Norton Utilities (demoversion I believe is available and Disk Doctor can repair the partition information even wit it) or buy  Nuts'n'Bolts
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Expert Comment

ID: 1013364
I suggest that before you do anything much, you find out if there is a virus involved, if you have not done so already. Then test the drive in another machine if one is available.  If you can read anything, get as much as possible off the drive.  You may find

to be intersting.  I just found out about it today here at EE.


Accepted Solution

istal112898 earned 100 total points
ID: 1013365
How can I change the partition size back to 100% usage (and hopefully preserve the data on the drive)
    without having to delete the partition and create a new one?

In response to your question:

HTTP:// and read about partition it I think they have a 30 trial which you can use once and then
    you buy it or choose not to buy. here in you can read about it!

          Easily creates, deletes, moves and resizes hard drive partitions without
          destroying data (like the FDISK utility provided with Windows 95 and
          3.1 does).
          Partition Map provides an instant visual overview of your hard drives'
          Automatically calculates the optimum cluster size for each partition on
          your hard drive using a comprehensive analysis of the files in the
          Move-It(tm) wizard enables you to move applications between partitions
          or folders quickly and easily, and makes organizing your hard drive a
          Hides partitions so you can keep sensitive data private.
          Automatically reconfigures all of your applications for the new drive
          Supports multiple-operating-system configurations.
     System Requirements

          Intel-based PCs or 100% compatible
          80386DX or better microprocessor
          Microsoft Windows 95 or Windows 3.1 (with DOS 5.0 or higher)
          Supports large hard drives up to 8.4 gigabyte in size
          5 MB free disk space
          4 MB RAM (8 MB recommended with Windows 95)
          VGA or higher resolution monitor

     All specifications subject to change without notice.  the one I have used is on check this
    all right this should work, that would be the only way I ve known
    eheheh. you have to spend some more money , it should be worth if the data is so important or format and reinstall
    everything. that would be the cheapest way. It is up to you now. you got to choose

Expert Comment

ID: 1013366
TO make more clear my answer the only thing you need to do is to resize your partition to a bigger size and in a safe manner. with those Partition programs you can do it without lossing data or riksing you FAT. good luck.

Expert Comment

ID: 1013367
If this is still a problem, I believe the CMOS settings for the drive have changed.  Correct this before doing anything else with the drive, or you will have other porblems down the road.

Expert Comment

ID: 1013368
I had the same problem on a system I was working on before. It would lose partions size and also a cd rom would disappear and reappear. What I found by using Dr. Solomons Virus Scan was that I had a monkey c virus. The only way I was was able to get rid of it was with the Dr. Solomons clean par utility.. Mcaffee and Nortons failed miserable.

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