Screwed up Hard Drive!!!

I have a 1.2gb Conner hd.  I am a software developer and have been bashing this hd with installations of dos->win98 and unix and linux.  I have reconfigured and formatted the drive more times than is imaginable.  On this current installation episode, I have installed Win98, starting from dos and up.  The question -->  The system only recognizes half of the hd, 512mbs.  Then upon a recent shutdown and restart, the hd would not boot into any operating system.  Is there something terminally wrong with the hd boot sector?  And is there a way to totally wipe all, information from the hd, including boot sector information??
Without using a specialty program besides fdisk?

Thank you.  
jesse_stewartAsked:
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rmarottaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
>  "Is there something terminally wrong with the hd boot sector?"  

Answer:  Probably not.

>  "And is there a way to totally wipe all, information from the hd, including boot sector information??"

Answer:

1)  Configure the drive correctly using your CMOS setup.
2)  Run FDISK to delete any existing partitions and then create a new one using the drive's full capacity.
3)  Format the drive and install the operating system.

Let me know if you need more.
Regards,
Ralph
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dudleyfCommented:
Why not use fdisk? I've seen a virus survive fdisk and format.
(ripper or empire monkey-forgot which)
If the partition table is really screwed up -- for example if fdfisk says it's a non-dos partition, yet won't delete it because it contains logical dos drives -- Partition Magic will save you.
If you do have a virus, you'll still need a partitioned & formatted drive for the scanner to act on. Likewise for scandisk to act on.
Brian
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jcarloCommented:
before you do anything else and risk REALLY screwing everything up, check this out:

Go into BIOS setup (you usually have to press a certain key after booting up, if you're not sure what this is.).  Go to "Standard CMOS Setup," and be sure LBA Mode is enabled for your hard drive (it's probably Primary Master).  Make ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT LBA IS ENABLED BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE ON THIS DRIVE, AS YOU RISK LOSING ALL YOUR DATA!  LBA is a mode that enables support of drives larger than about 500 MB (which yours is) .  It is a different method of reading info from a disk.  Therefore, your drive is only recognized as ~500 MB, and you are not able to boot up.

AND I REPEAT, FOR FURTHER REFERENCE, IF THIS EVER HAPPENS, DO NOT WRITE ANYTHING TO YOUR HARD DRIVE, AS YOU COULD LOSE EVERYTHING!

Regards,
Jeremy
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jcarloCommented:
In that standard CMOS Setup, the setting under Mode or something like that should be LBA, and not NORMAL.  You may wish to set the BIOS to autodetect your hard drive, whcih can be set under one of the options in Standard CMOS Setup.  In fact, set all drives to Auto, to ensure that all of your info is correct.

Hope that's a little clearer.
-JPC
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WesTCommented:
I have had a lot of problems with Conner drives in the past... I had an 850 drop about 210 megs without any reason, and it was unrecoverable.  I had a 1.2 that lost all data, after sending to conner for a new one, the new one crashed within the month..

In your case, be sure the BIOS is recognizing the drive as a 1.2, since some BIOS' can't detect larger. If it is not detecting it as a 1.2, try flshing your BIOS to the newest one (make sure it's for your motherboard/chipset, because one time, I, well...).. If it does detect it ask a 1.2, run a chkdsk and paste the results in a reply...

-Wes
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jcarloCommented:
Check that LBA is enabled before doing anything else, as you could lose all your data if you try writing to the drive or moving anything!

-JPC
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jesse_stewartAuthor Commented:
rmarotta,

I have done this numerous times and it still allows the os, dos 6.22 or linux, to install correctly and thoroughly with no complications or signs of complications.  But when the system is rebooted for the first or second time, the hd will boot nothing.  It only works when a boot disk is in the floppy.  CMOS is totally enabled and setup correctly.  So go figure...

jsd
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rmarottaCommented:
Try the following from a command prompt:
     FDISK /STATUS
Please post the result here.

Try the following using your Dos boot floppy (with SYS.COM on the floppy):

1)  Boot to a command prompt with the floppy disk. (A:\>)
2)  Type the following command:
     SYS C:
3)  Remove floppy and re-boot the computer.

Let me know how it goes.

Ralph

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dudleyfCommented:
Have you virus scanned it yet? Certain bootsec viruses move the boot info so that the disk, though it can be used as a slave or you can read and write to it, will not boot. I own 2 hard drives that were once infected just this way. We buy used stuff where I work. People bring in drives they think are broken and try to palm them off on us. Once we remove the virus the drive is fine-so we buy it for about 1/3 of wholesale price, and the customer thinks they put one over on us.

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angel1Commented:
well i have a program here if you email me or have icq icq number is 21328605 email me on angels@accessin.com.au
its call ezdrive it helps to copy the data onto the drive or you can try nortons diskdoctor hard drives are limited to the amount of times they can be formated this program ezdrive does not format as such it alows you to copy a start disk just the boot sectors and you can copy a exacted image of a drive as well
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rmarottaCommented:
angel1,

FYI:
Experts-Exchange is here to answer questions and solve problems in this forum.  That's so the solutions can be saved for later viewing by others.  E-mail, ICQ, and other methods of communicating privately, prevent this. (Also, it might not be a good idea to advertize your personal information)
Anyway, the program you speak of is available for download from Western Digital's website.
One other thing:  I think you'll find that there is no limit to the number of times a drive can be formatted in it's lifetime.

Any progress yet, Jesse?

Ralph
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jesse_stewartAuthor Commented:
I haven't had  time to mess with it yet.  Will on MLK Birthday!!  Talk to you then.
Thanks
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