Total system failure

A friend of mine recently purchased a 450MZ Pentium II at a computer show with Windows 98 installed. While working in Windows, the computer would occasionally just shut down. He then either tried scandisk of the disk defragmenter program.
The computer stopped part way through and its been dead ever since. I used a boot disk to get in and looked at the root directory. There were no folders there and only 1 file with over 2 gigs of info in it. The DVD Rom is gone. Since we didn't have drivers for the DVD, and couldn't find them on the Internet, I tried to install drivers using his old Windows 95 recovery disk. I just picked the fastest CD rom drive there. It seemed to work as the CD drive letter appeared. I then tried to install Windows 98. It started initializing and then told me I couldn't proceed any further without doing something. I had no idea what it meant.  
I also tried using a Win 95 format from a floppy disk but it told me that it was an incorrect dos version.
Is it possible that the hard drive wasn't formatted properly or maybe something to do with partioning?
Also, when I tried to copy files directly to the root directory, a lot of gibberish appeared there.
I wasn't sure if this was a Win 98 problem, a hard drive problem, or a hardware problem.
Any ideas?
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rmarottaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I'm afraid it is time to start over.

Likely, the hard drive was partitioned with FAT32 and you have tried to write to it with FAT16 system. (your boot floppy)
Obtaining the Win98 CD and startup disk will yield the easiest  install.
Let me know what you have to work with and we should be able to get you running again.
ronc021698Author Commented:
Basically, all we have is the Windows 98 disk. We have no startup disk for this computer. I think that my friend found DVD ROM drivers on the internet.
Any ideas what the initial problem was? Why the computer kept shutting off? I told him to keep an eye on the CPU fan and he said it was always running.
It might be hardware-related, in which case I would seek warranty help.
However, errant programs or faulty hardware upgrades can also cause lock-ups and re-boots.

1) Did the DVD come installed in the the computer?

2) Does it also have a CD-ROM drive?

3) Does your Win95 startup floppy have a driver on it to allow access to the Win98 CD?

Answer these, and we can continue.

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ronc021698Author Commented:
DVD came installed on the computer.
No, it doesn't have a CD drive also.
It seems so. I used the win95 disk to install a CD driver and it seemed to work.
Okay then, all we need to do is get the Win98 CD to create a startup floppy.
Try this:

1) Insert the Win98 disc, boot with the startup floppy you have and from a Dos prompt type:
Follow the prompts until asked to create a startup disk.

2) Insert a new floppy in the drive and allow setup to create it, and then exit setup when complete.

3) Re-start the computer using the new floppy, format the hard drive, and run setup from the CD again to install Win98.

Let me know how it goes.

Hi Ronc: <Hey Ralph> Just gonna sit back and watch this one! Here's a tip for you in building that startup disk in Win98.

To make a Windows 98 Startup disk from MS-DOS, use the following steps:

1. Restart your computer, press and hold down the CTRL key until the Windows 98 Startup menu appears, and then choose Command Prompt Only from the Startup menu.

2. Insert a blank, formatted floppy disk into drive A.

3. Type the following commands, pressing ENTER after each command:
      cd windows\command
      bootdisk a:

NOTE: Smartdrv.exe is not required to create a Windows 98 Startup disk. It is used only to speed the creation of the startup disk.

4. Follow the instructions on the screen to finish making the Startup disk.

This may help!
Patricia Siu-Lai HoCommented:
Hi,ronc,(1)for motherboard that can be supported for PII-450 is mostly bios supported for CD booting. DVD rom can also be read as CDrom like normal one. Thus, Go the the CMOS of your bios just after booting up yr PC. Find the setting that stated-booting seek - turn 'c:' to enable 'CDrom,c:,a:'. Assuming that you have a full version win98, insert the win98 disk into the DVDrom drive for clean installation.
(2)For formating drive, use the Fdisk in your win95 disk to partition and format the drive. If you need details,pls advise us.
3)then start a clean installation of win98 again. After installation, you can set the CMOS booting seek back to 'C:,a:,cdrom'.
4)During installation,remember to switch off or 'disabled' the virus scan and power management setting in the CMOS of your bios.
5)If win98 back again, go to the intel site as intel in December '98 announced that they have bug in intel PII for 400Mhz and over. Computer will shut down like yours. Go and get an upgraded version for your Intel PII-450 bios.
If need more details, pls advise.      Pslh
Boot off the Windows 98 CD and run Scandisk, perform a surface scan on the disk.. if it has bad sectors, reinstalling Windows wont help.

>  ".....go to the intel site as intel in December '98 announced that they have bug in intel PII for 400Mhz and over."

Interesting.....     Can you post a URL to that information?

Patricia Siu-Lai HoCommented:
To rmarotta, Intel posted updated specification of Pentium II December 09'98 in following URL. But I think it is too technical to ronc to read it through. Perhaps you can help him,too. Pslh
Moreover,supposed ronc got an Intel 440BX AGP chip set.
It is a 24333721.pdf 628793 bytes that can be downloaded from nearest server. What I concentrated is their latest fixed errata mentioned in the later part of the whole document.
Mainwhile,hope ronc get his/her Pc win98 back so as to deal with his problem again.    Pslh

ronc021698Author Commented:
To pslh, We're back in business. Your ideas worked. The only problem I had was that I was getting the fdisk command from dos and it kept coming up "wrong dos version". So I copied from the windows\command directory and I was in. I changed the CMOS setting making the CD rom the boot disk and I basically just followed directions from there. The win98 disc setup just took over and scandisk was run. A hard drive format was next and the computer is running again. We'll have to look into that Intel fix if the computer keeps shutting off.
Thanks to all of you.
I have been all through the Intel PDF file mentioned, and maybe I'm a bit slow today, but I haven't seen anything relating to this issue.
Patricia Siu-Lai HoCommented:
To ronc, using'Fdisk'from Dos-getting 'wrong dos version' error, yr dos perhaps is MsDos6.2. Install win98, shd use 'Fdisk' packaged together with the win98CDrom that should be in Msdos version 7 or above. You can aslo use that of win95-SR1 or win95-SR2 (ver 4.00.950 b or c) but don't use win95 (ver4.00.95a).Pslh
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