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"Insert Bootable Media..." error msg on startup

Posted on 1999-01-19
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All of a sudden, my PC (HP-Pavilion) won't boot from the C: drive.

I get the message "Insert Bootable Media..."

I've booted using a floppy and executed FDISK to look at the partition info for the C: drive. (FAT32)

FDISK says there is no Partition

The disk was formatted to have a Primary and an Extended partition, with two logical drives in the extended partition.

There are files on this disk that I don't want to loose.

I have a written record of the original partiton info (i.e. Partiton types, MBytes, percentages, etc).

Any suggestions as to how to fix this, short of reformatting the drive?

Anyone know of any tools/utilites that would rebuild the partition table and Master Boot Record?
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Question by:yaateeh
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by:Astor
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Since you have access to drive c:
1.Boot from the floppy
2.At the a:\ (prompt) type "sys C:"
That will make your hardisk bootable again.
Then post here any problems that you find after that (like if you cant get into windows).
Astor.

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by:rmarotta
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I would NOT do that!

Don't write ANYTHING on that disk until you find out what to do.

Ralph
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by:rmarotta
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If you over-write system files on that drive, it might become impossible to recover.
Try this:
Boot with a floppy that has FDISK copied to it.
From a command prompt execute the following command followed by pressing Enter:

FDISK /STATUS.

Please report the results here.
Regards,
Ralph
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by:Astor
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All "sys c:" does is rebuild the boot record making it bootable again after you re-boot), it does not cause you to lose data of any kind and you´ll have a way of testing the pc for problems like maybe the boot partition became corrupt and that would be the end of your problem or maybe you have a virus. The only things you can do besides that is 1.check your bios settings.
2.Check for virus.
3.Run any disk utility program that you have available.
But for starters transfer the system files to the hard drive as I described above.
Astor.
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by:Astor
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rmarotta, he said "FDISK says there is no Partition"
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by:rmarotta
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Thats right!
If there's no partition, you don't know what data the SYS command might over-write.
If the status report shows no partitions of any kind, then we need to determine why before attempting to write anything to that drive.

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by:simetra
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Get a write-protected boot disk, boot off it, and use a dos virus-scan utility. See what that says.  Chances are, if it's a virus, the damage is done and you could have a ruined hd.
It sounds like a ruined hd anyway.  I would call hp and have them replace it.  Most hd's have a warranty.
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by:idt
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Ralph is correct, never write to a drive that is having a problem until you know the problem and can make an intelligent decission.

The problem yaateeh is having could be as simple as a corrupt media descriptor (partitions would not show up), fixable by norton easily, or some other minor problem.

-iDT
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by:wsanchez
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Try this.  I encountered the same probrem that you did on my computer but unfortunately I did the wrong thing. This was what I should've done.

1)  Boot from a floppy with FDISK in it;
2)  At the DOS prompt, type "FDISK /MBR".

I've tried this on some other computers which had the same symptoms as yours did and it worked. Hope it works on yours too.
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by:wsanchez
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I forgot to include:

3)  Remove the floppy and restart your computer.
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by:rmarotta
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How can re-creating a boot record on a corrupt partition help?
Using FDISK /MBR might be just as disastrous.  (If it does write over partition info)

yaateeh, we need some feedback from you.
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by:Tim Holman
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Does FDISK recognise a drive at all ?
FDISK /MBR will not make things any worse, but may cure the problem.
If this error was really just out of the blue (ie you didn't install anything, changed anything etc) then its either a failed HDD or virus damage.
HDDs don't last forever !

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by:trath
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Somthing has happened to corrupt your partition tables. The only things that could cause this are all external factors such as hard drive compression viruses.These cause the exact error that you are seeing. The only other thing that you can try is Norton Utilitys, this has the ability to get back your data even after you loose your partition information. If that dosent work the ONLY option that you have is to fdisk it and start over from scratch.
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by:Astor
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yaateeh and rmarotta, I stand corrected! I completedly over looked this fact from yaateehs description of the hardisk:
"The disk was formatted to have a Primary and an Extended partition, with two logical drives in the extended partition. "
And the fact is:
If you are using Disk Manager or any other disk drive overlay program on a hard disk, make sure that the overlay driver is loaded before you use the SYS command on the hard disk. If the overlay driver is not loaded and you use the SYS command on the hard disk, the drive may not be recognized as being partitioned by the disk drive overlay program and you could experience a data loss or inability to boot from the drive.
But.. since that is not the case (or is it???) any of the above suggestions are valid depending on how you´d like to confront the problem.
Astor
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by:yaateeh
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Thanks to all of you for your advice.

I am soliciting opinions from as many sources as I can in order to make the best decision BEFORE I try anything!

Here is a summary of what I understand each of you is suggesting:

astor:    Use SYS command.
          Some of your colleagues seem to think this is too
          risky.
          BIOS Settings look OK
          I don't quite follow your entry about the
            Disk Mgr/Overlay Prgm.
rmarotta: Determine what the cause is before you take any action.
simetra:  Use a dos virus scan.
wsanchez: Use FDISK /MBR
idt:      possibly a corrupt media descriptor. Norton UTils will fix it.
tim_holman:  FDISK /MBR won't hurt and may help. BTW, Fdisk does recognize the drive.
trath:    Cause is a probably a Virus.
          Use Virus Scanner / Norton Utilities
          LAST Resort: Use FDISK and Start Over from scratch.

Question for trath: By starting over from scratch do you mean...            Reformatting???

Reformatting is my absolute last resort.

I received a response from the author of a document called "Undocumented FDISK" http://www.lyngsoe.com/fdisk/
He suggested using Norton Utilites "I don't think you should use FDISK for this - you may very easily loose all your data."

Symantec has yet to respond.

My plan given all of your input is:

Run a virus Scan
Question: Will a virus scanner repair the problem or just           eliminate the virus?
If it only eliminates the virus
   Use Norton Utilities' Disk Doctor to recreate the
     partition table.

Anyone see any flaws in my plan?

I will accept the proposed answer once I've determined that it fixes my problem. I'm very grateful to ALL of you for your help.

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by:yaateeh
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Thanks to all of you for your advice.

I am soliciting opinions from as many sources as I can in order to make the best decision BEFORE I try anything!

Here is a summary of what I understand each of you is suggesting:

astor:    Use SYS command.
          Some of your colleagues seem to think this is too
          risky.
          BIOS Settings look OK
          I don't quite follow your entry about the
            Disk Mgr/Overlay Prgm.
rmarotta: Determine what the cause is before you take any action.
simetra:  Use a dos virus scan.
wsanchez: Use FDISK /MBR
idt:      possibly a corrupt media descriptor. Norton UTils will fix it.
tim_holman:  FDISK /MBR won't hurt and may help. BTW, Fdisk does recognize the drive.
trath:    Cause is a probably a Virus.
          Use Virus Scanner / Norton Utilities
          LAST Resort: Use FDISK and Start Over from scratch.

Question for trath: By starting over from scratch do you mean...            Reformatting???

Reformatting is my absolute last resort.

I received a response from the author of a document called "Undocumented FDISK" http://www.lyngsoe.com/fdisk/
He suggested using Norton Utilites "I don't think you should use FDISK for this - you may very easily loose all your data."

Symantec has yet to respond.

My plan given all of your input is:

Run a virus Scan
Question: Will a virus scanner repair the problem or just           eliminate the virus?
If it only eliminates the virus
   Use Norton Utilities' Disk Doctor to recreate the
     partition table.

Anyone see any flaws in my plan?

I will accept the proposed answer once I've determined that it fixes my problem. I'm very grateful to ALL of you for your help.

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by:hubman
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Why don't you look in your CMOS it is entirely possible that your battery went dead. This would cause you system to not see the hard drive.
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by:wsanchez
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I think your plans are good but if you still get the same problem, try following the other suggestions before proceeding to reformatting your hard disk.
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by:yaateeh
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A salesperson at a local Mega computer store recommended using
f-prot to scan for viruses. He said they use it at their store over Norton, McAfee, et al.

I downloaded it, booted from the A: drive, inserted the floppy with f-prot but the software was not able to see the C: drive.

A:\>  C:
Invalid Drive Specification.

FDISK reports "No Partitions defined"

The BIOS Sees the drive, reports it Make, # of Cylinders, Heads, Sectors and size.

I reconnected the power to the other drive and changed jumpers on the drives so that the offending drive is now the Primary IDE slave.

I boot up the system and look in
Control Panel
   System Properties
      Disk Drives
         Generic IDE Type01
         Generic IDE Type02    // The offender

Type01: The Current Drive Letter assignment: C:
Type02: The Current Drive Letter assignment: blank

The Bios Sees the drive and Windows knows both drives are present
but it only sees one drive.

Any suggestions?

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by:yaateeh
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Adjusted points to 150
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by:wsanchez
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The symptoms you are experiencing are the very same ones that I experienced with my hard disk.  I believe you should try my suggestion.  But first, did you do anything with your computer before you got the problems?
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by:rmarotta
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The problem you are experiencing can be caused if BIOS doesn't correctly recognize the drive.
I'm assuming that it is over 2GB since you had it formatted as FAT32.

Does your CMOS setup have an option to "Autodetect" the drive?
If so, try that and be sure the LBA option is enabled.
Is the drive then reported correctly at boot-up?

Don't worry, you won't be able to format the drive (or do anything with it at all) until it is partitioned.
Let me know what you find.

Ralph
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by:Tim Holman
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Note that a floppy will NOT see FAT32, unless you make it FAT32-aware, hence the error 'invalid drive specification'.
If you're really concerned, back up the drive first - you can use PowerQuest's DriveCopy 2.0 to copy all the data onto a new hard drive, then work on the copy with the above options.
That way you'll never damage you're original data (which is unlikely anyway!).
Is there ANYTHING you've done recently that may have caused this error ?
I'm not sure what trath's going on about, but he's locked the question so nobody other than those subsribed to will notice it !
FDISK /MBR will not harm your system.
It's just like replacing a corrupt file.

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by:rmarotta
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Tim, that's not entirely correct.

1)  A floppy with FAT32 system files WILL see a FAT32 hard drive.

2)  I don't think you can back up a drive that isn't recognized by the system.

3) FDISK /MBR can/will write to the drive if incorrect partition info is present. (thereby possibly corrupting existing data.)

You are right about the presently proposed "answer".

yaateeh, please reject it if you find that it hasn't solved your problem.

Ralph
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by:rmarotta
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yaateeh, you mentioned exchanging hard drives.

Please explain how you have made the former slave drive bootable. (or is it?)

What version of Windows are you running? (and presently booting the system with)

Has there been any hardware recently added to your system prior to experiencing this problem?

Regards,
Ralph
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by:Astor
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From yaateeh comment "All of a sudden, my PC (HP-Pavilion) won't boot from the C: drive" I assume this drive was working. If changes haven´t been made to the BIOS settings or they are ok, then the problem with the partition should have been caused by a virus or simply corruption. Yaateeh can you access your hard drive after a floppy boot by typing c: or does it say it doesn´t recognize drive c: ?
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by:blang111698
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I have seen this message on a couple of our HP Pavilion PC's.  We found that the arm to the harddrive was stuck and not spinning.  We gave the harddrive a bang and everything is working fine.  Could this possibly be your problem?
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by:yaateeh
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I've rejected trath's answer for two reasons:

A) I was not aware that it locked the question so nobody,
   other than those subscribed to it, will notice it !
   I increased the point count because input from you folks got
   very quiet and I wanted more advice.  
B) I appreciate the comments but I don't have a solution yet.

P.S. Are the points really important to those of you who have
     offered input? And if so, does someone have suggestions as
     to how to fairly compensate or reward each of your efforts.


MORE DATA ON THE Problem


In September, I had an HP customer service depot add a new drive as the C: drive, and move the older drive to become the D: drive.

C: Maxtor 8.4 GB
     Partitioned:
        C: 1 Status=A Pri-DOS  Fat32  3004MB  38%
           2          Ext-DOS  FAT32  5005MB  62%
             Subdivided  E: 3004 60%
                         F: 2000 40%

D: Quantum 6.2 GB
        D: 1 Status=A Pri-DOS  Fat32  6189MB 100%

Remainder of this D: drive was left as a non-dos partition with the plan to install Linux (which has not yet been installed)

C: contained Windows 95 Version 4.00.1111

The system has been running fine from then 'til beginning of January.
I installed "Band in a Box" version 7.0. in the D: partition.
I used it for about 0.5 hrs and the system locked up. (Maybe coincidence)
When I rebooted I got the "Insert Bootable Media" Error.
I inserted a boot disk., typed C:, typed "dir" and it returned
the contents of what was the D: drive as being the C: drive.

To make the former slave drive bootable,
I disconnected the C: drive, changed the jumpers so that the
primary slave became the primary IDE master.
I verified that the BIOS saw only this drive.
I've listied the BIOS Setting below.

I used the HP-Recovery disk to install Windows 95 Version 4.00.1111

I reinstalled my Internet software so I could contact the world.

Eventually I found this site.

Now to Clarify
 Quantum Drive is Bootable with Windows95 V4.00.1111
 Maxtor Drive is the one with the problem

I disconnect the power from the PC and the Quantum and
   change the jumper on the Maxtor so that it is the Primary Master.
I boot and get "Insert Bootable Media..."

Ralph,
   The CMOS has an option to "Autodetect"

Here are the settings
   Primary IDE Master: Maxtor 90840D6
      IDE Device Configuration = Auto Config
      IDE Translation Mode = Auto Detected
      Multiple Sector Setting = Auto Detected
      Fast Programmed IO Modes = Auto Detected

   Primary IDE Slave:  Not installed.
      IDE Device Configuration = Disabled
      IDE Translation Mode = Auto Detected
      Multiple Sector Setting = Auto Detected
      Fast Programmed IO Modes = Auto Detected

Astor,
   The drive has worked fine since September
   I made no changes to the BIOS prior to the crash.
   I added no other hardware since Sept/98
   I agree the problem is due to a virus or simply corruption.

tim_holman,
   There is nothing I'm aware of that I've done recently that may
   have caused this error ?

   I've connected the Quantum, Booted up windows95, then Rebooted
   from the floppy into DOS, typed "C:" then "dir" and it does show the files
   on the Quantum drive.

   However, when I disconnect the Quantum, make the Maxtor the
   Primary IDE drive and type "C: I get "Invalid Drive specification"

   If I can get past this state and have the drive visible from DOS,
   I can run f-prot to scan for viruses.

blang,
   I'm very reluctant to give the drive a smack up the side of it's head,
   Although, from a frustrated perspective, IT IS INCREDIBLY TEMPTING!! :-(
 
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by:wsanchez
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Double check your jumper-settings. Some hard disks have two jumper settings for master such as my Seagate hd.  One setting's for master only or with ATA-compliant slave and one's for master with non-ATA compliant slave.  I once set the jumper of my master drive to the with ATA-compliant slave setting when should have been the other one.  I wasn't able to read my slave hd unless it was made the master.  Then I found out that my jumper settings were wrong.   I don't know if it's the same for Quantum and Maxtor hard disks.
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by:rmarotta
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yaateeh,
There was some confusing info in your last post.

>  D: Quantum 6.2 GB
>        D: 1 Status=A Pri-DOS  Fat32  6189MB 100%
>
>Remainder of this D: drive was left as a non-dos partition with >the plan to install Linux (which has not yet been installed)

As I see it, there is no "remainder" left on this drive. (It is partitioned as one Primary Dos volume using 100% of the drive space.)

Back to the problem.  As you probably know, it is necessary for the BIOS to correctly recognize the drive, partitioned or not, at boot-up.  The parameters of the drive must be set properly in order for Dos to see it as it was originally partitioned.  
It's easy to get the jumpers mixed up when moving drives around, so double-check those settings, and then try this:

Make the Maxtor drive "Master" with no slave attached.  Be sure the BIOS reports the drive correctly at power up.  If it does not, we must determine why.

When that's done, boot the computer using a floppy with FDISK copied to it.

Type the command FDISK /STATUS at the Dos prompt and post the results here.

Ralph
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Author Comment

by:yaateeh
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wsanchez,
   When I first encountered the problem, before I disconnected
   anything, I recorded the jumper settings in a log book.
   The Quantum drive has a jumper seting diagram on its back.
   The Maxtor jumper setings were checked and rechecked
   against a document at their web site.
   I am very confident that these are not the problem.

Ralph,
   I stand corrected. I posted that the 100% of drive D: was
   used in the DOS partition. I failed to record in my log book
   how I subdivided this drive for the non-dos partition.

   I have already made the Maxtor drive "Master" with no
   slave attached and I've posted the settings that the BIOS        reports. I don't see anything incorrect about them.

   I have also posted the results of booting from a floppy with
   FDISK /STATUS. The exact message is "No Partitions defined"

   Given that I have recorded the partition info for this drive
   Can someone explain how can FDISK /MBR corrupt the disk?
   As I understand it, the MBR is a fixed size and is the first file on the disk.
   Issuing this command would just overlay it, wouldn't it???

   I also know the other FDISK commands to create Primary,
   Extended and Logical partitions. They are in the
   "Undocumented FDISK" URL.


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by:blang111698
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I know you are reluctant to try my "smacking" technique but this is what I did with one of the Pavilions today.  I held the computer no more than 2" off the ground and dropped it.  Everything was back to normal.

When you boot up your PC, see if you can hear the harddrive spinning.  If you can, then forget my suggestion.  But if you can't, I would really give it a try.

Good Luck
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by:yaateeh
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blang,
  Thanks for the suggestion.
  I can hear the drive spinning.
  I was also told by a tech that if the drive wasn't spinning
  the BIOS would not get info like the make, # of cylinders,
   sectors, etc.
  what kind of drives are in the HP's you are using?
  Quantum is the stock drive that came with my Pavilion.
  But the Maxtor drive is the one with the problem.

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by:rmarotta
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I don't think the FDISK/MBR command would do anything, because there is presently no partition information recorded on the drive.
Somehow, that info has been lost.  The only thing I can think of for you to try is to re-create it.  If you know the exact size that was assigned to the primary partition previously, use FDISK and try to create it again.
If the same info is used, the drive and data may be visible once again.  If not, I don't think anything will be harmed, because it is already lost.
Good luck,
Ralph
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by:Astor
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yaateeh, from the info you have added, the only thing missing on the hard drive is the system files. Did you format with the /s parameter?.
I think its time you transfer the system to the hard drive (based on the information that you have given, and taking into consideration rmarotta´s warning) it will solve the primary problem savely with out any data loss. From the bootable floppy type "sys c:" and re-start your pc.
Astor.
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by:rmarotta
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Astor, please read the prior posts.

>  .....FDISK /STATUS. The exact message is "No Partitions defined"

You cannot transfer system files to a drive that does not have a partition defined on it.

Ralph
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by:Astor
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Here you´ll find the proposed answer by Maxtor:

http://www.maxtor.com/technology/technotes/tn-9612-008.html

But also give us the exact model type, since in some cases the drivers/utility programs that come with the hard disk may vary
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by:rmarotta
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Astor,
I fail to see (in any of the posted info) that yaateeh has used the "MAXBLAST" software.  Please, don't confuse the issue here with comments that aren't connected to this problem.

yaateeh,
Again, I recommend that you do not write to that drive.  The exception being use of FDISK on the Primary partition, as I outlined above.

Ralph
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by:Astor
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rmarotta, yaateeh had the drive initially installed by a HP customer service, the hard drive it self "had!" to be prepared through "maxblast" (this issue should be explained by the HP customer service). The above page contains the following information: Restoration of a Master Boot Record (MBR) using MaxBlast
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by:rmarotta
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Astor,

The MAXBLAST software is intended for systems that don't have LBA support.

From Maxtor's website:

"Software solution:
For those systems that do not provide the LBA BIOS feature, Maxtor has had a solution since 1993, that is to use the MaxBlast software. Software translation is an effective, non-conventional means of translating sector addresses of large capacity hard disk drives. Instead of loading a driver in the start-up files, MaxBlast loads drivers before the operating system is loaded. The latest version of MaxBlast can be obtained from Maxtor’s Internet site, www.maxtor.com. "

I don't understand why you seem to be stuck on the fact that there MUST BE an overlay program installed on this drive.
The fact is that use of LBA in BIOS eliminates the need for such a program.  If you are confused about it, please don't offer advice about using it until you understand the potential outcome of what you are offering.

yaateeh, can we have some feedback from you?

Ralph
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by:jcarlo
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Yaateeh,

Can you tell us whether you have LBA enabled in your BIOS or if you are using a drive overlay program?  We need to know this before going any further.  Look in your BIOS setup and see if you can find something about LBA in your hard drive or IDE device setup section (sorry I can't be more specific, as I don't know your BIOS).   Usually it will be under something called "mode" or something like that in a table where IDE Primary Master, IDE Primary Slave, etc. are listed.  If there is a setting for LBA, select that one.  If you do not see anything about LBA, please tell us, because then it's likely you have a drive overlay program (maybe someone else could be of more help, as I've never had occasion to make use of a DO!).

A word of caution... If there is a problem with your drive overlay or with LBA (or anything else in the BIOS or dealing with drive addressing for that matter!) ANYTHING you write to the hard drive can quite easily overwrite something important.  DO's and LBA are needed by your computer to recognize a drive larger than 500 MB; they change the way that hardware physically addresses and allocates space on the drive.  So, as Ralph has repeated over and over, please do not write anything to the drive (anything at all!) until you have verified that LBA is enabled and working properly or that your DO is ok.

Regards,
Jeremy
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by:uilleann
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>I've posted the settings that the BIOS        reports. I don't see anything incorrect about them.

You stated all drive params are AUTO.
Please go into the bios and select autodetect harddrive from the main menu, choose the one (if one comes up) with LBA mode
save and boot.
run fdisk /status again
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by:yaateeh
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 Primary IDE Master: Maxtor 90840D6 == Model #
   
BIOS Info:
   American Megatrands    Ver: 1.00.01.DT0L
   Extended ATI Tech      Date: 05/02/97

LBA?
   Under Primary IDE {Master/Slave} is a setting
       called "IDE Translation Mode"
       Possible Settings ={ Standard CHS,
                            Logical Block,  // ?? LBA ??
                            Extended CHS,
                            Auto Detected}

      Current Setting: IDE Translation Mode == Auto Detected



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by:mwakefield
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Looks like the drive is using LBA mode...which is a technical way of "drive translation"...hence "Ide Translation Mode"....of course I'm assuming alot here since every bios is different therse days...and it deppends on what you have installed on the PC...it can change parameters in the bios...

So...very sticky stuff here....seems the drive can be seen by the PC...but fdisk shows no partitions...is this correct?

Do you have Norton Utilites or Norton SYstem Works?

there is a utility included called "Disk Edit"...since you seem to be pretty savy...I think you can use this utility yourself...however....read the documentation that comes with the software thouroughly before attempting to use this as it is as powerful as debug!!!

I think you may need to recover your partition information...

There is another freeware utility that will show you if there is any data avail on the drive...its called "Directory Soop"...it won't help you recover the data...but it has some interesting info in the help section for the app...

I won't offer any technical aspects to do this...since I have posted this kind of info on other questions and it seemed a little to technical for thew user so they didn't even attempt to use the information...so i'm not going to waste my time again...

If you do a search on previous question answers I'm sure you can find it...
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by:rmarotta
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I agree about the confusion in the disk translation descriptions.

Try selecting the Logical Block option in CMOS setup.
(Hopefully, the auto-detect option isn't working properly and you'll be back in business.)

If not, be sure that any disk utility you're going to try is capable of working with FAT32 drives.

Ralph
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by:wsanchez
Comment Utility
If FDISK/MBR won't do anything, then why not give it a try anyway?  Then we can see if it helps or not.
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by:jepe
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Yaateeh, I believe I had almost the same problem.(but I made it worse)
I tried to install a second HD 'externally' but this operation failed. After resetting everything to the previous state, I got the same ugly startup message.
I wondered what's going on?
I looked into the BIOS, and there it was Primary Master : Quantum Bigfoot ...etc (everyting OK I tought)
Reboot the thing -> still that ugly message
Reboot using FAT32 bootable floppy -> no C: drive???
Next tried FDISK -> No partition definitions???
Than I did wrong.
I used fdisk just to see if it would be possible to create a partition (I wanted to be test if the disk isn't actualy damaged). But when you tell fdisk to create the partition it does this immediatly and not after closing fdisk. Thus my HD was FDISKed. Ever heared off Unfdisk??? Me needer.
This is when I started to find something about recovering data.
I can tell you, there are a lot off data recovery company's and most of them are VERY expensive (VERY!). But I found something that was suitable to me. It is called TIRAMISU. You can freely download a demoversion of this software at: www.recovery.de .This demo-version will tell you if your data can be recovered. If it can recover what you want to recover you'll have to register the software (I believe 99§ for 7 day's or app.200$ for an unlimmited version) unlezzzz...
The thing about Tiramisu is; it can only recover data from a defective drive, it can not restore the drive (FAT, MBR,...). After recovering your data to a new medium (2nd HD) you still have to repartition and/or format your HD.

I did it wrong remaking the partition.
Maybe you still have a chance using one of the mentioned options, however I believe some don't work if you don't have a partition defined. I think your best shot (with fewest harm, if it works) will be to try fdisk /mbr.

Good luck,
Jepe
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by:jcarlo
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Problem is, if your hard drive is not recognized correctly by the hardware, FDISK/MBR will overwrite old data to create a new master boot record.  The hard drive MUST be recogized correctly (not only that, but the same way it was recognized earlier, when all your data was put on) in order for whatever data is there (if indeed it is there) to even possibly be seen.  The point is, if some CMOS setting has been altered, the computer will not see any valid data on the hard drive, even if it is there, since the computer is trying to read from the drive in a different way.  So if your drive is not configured correctly you will write over perfectly good data.  Therefore, you should only try writing anything to the drive if
-You know that the drive is configured correctly in the CMOS for a fact
-You know that your data is already fouled up for a fact and that your hard drive is configured correctly in the CMOS
-You have a backup of your drive on another physical drive (so you can reinstate your data from the backup if you mess up) and your hard drive is configured correctly in the CMOS.

I don't want to sound like a broken record, so I won't say what should be the logical thing to do here.  

Regards,
JPC
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by:wsanchez
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any updates, yaateeh?
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by:jaredc071598
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I can't promise anything from this. But with the partition info I have been able to rebuild the drive - by recreating the partitions EXACTLY as they were before hand, I'm not certain whether windows FDISK can do this, the linux version is quite good for that. most likely none of the data is lost and can be restored, if it is a FAT16 I have some utilities that can allow you to look at the actual data on the drive and edit things...

what you can do definately is there are programs around which allow you to copy the drive to another drive which is what I would suggest as a first step because that gives the backup which you didn't have in the first place.

I will send your problem to a friend who is very good at this sort of thing and see what he says...
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by:sapphire007
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yaateeh,

Well I've read all the messages here.
One of your messages gave me a clue.

Can you try something for me.

Disconnect the NEW drive
Leave the OLD drive as it is.

Don't adjust any settings in BIOS, don't change any jumpers on the OLD or NEW drive.

Just disconnect the NEW drive.

Now start the computer and tell what error you receive.

thanks

sapphire007
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by:waynemcdougall
Comment Utility
One comment that has been made in passing, but not spelled out in full, and may have been overlooked.

To access a drive formatted under Fat-32 you must oot from a floppy that was formatted on a Fat-32 machine.

Assuming the fault isn't physical, you will be able to boot from a Fat-32 disk. If you can't then get a directory listing and copy off your files, use a disk editor (I prefer Norton Utilities) and you will be able to access the data (either by cluster, or physical sector in a worse case).

Do this before worrying about FDISK.

When you come to use FDISK, note that some corruptions to the boot block will stop FDISK from writing updates to it. You need to use a little debug routine to fix this. See http://www.ww.co/nz/home/wayne/business.html for the code.

I'd say run that debug code, use fdisk to relay down the boot record (form a fat-32 fdisk).

But get your two critical files off first.
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by:yaateeh
Comment Utility
I've been out of town for the past week.

Here's the outcome of my situation.

A couple of techs I've spoken to this week were reading me the last rites.
Today, I installed Norton Utilites on the working drive.
Made a rescue disk.
Connected the bad drive
Booted from the resue disk
Rescue disk wanted to restore CMOS Info & Partition Tables.
I selected restoring CMOS Info and turned off restoring the Partiton tables.
Reason: I wanted to see if the utility could find the old partiton info instead of blindly           hoping the utility would/could recreate it.
I typed NDD /REBUILD     /* Norton Disk Doctor  Rebuild */
One by one it found the correct info for each partition
Once the partition info was rebuilt the drive and its data were intact.

I did a virus scan of the HD using f-prot.
Result: No viruses were found.

I know this sounds like trath's answer, and I was leaning the same way even before that answer was posted. However, I figured I had just one shot at recovering the disk and I wanted to make that shot count! In order to do that, I needed opinions and the timing of trath's answer prevented opinions from pouring in. Being a newbie to this forum, I thought you folks lost interest, so I increased the point total.

Thanks to EVERYONE that offered any comments at all.
I especially appreciated the ones that suggested a cautious approach.

Now, I have one last problem. How do I fairly reward you folks?



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by:yaateeh
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I've been out of town for the past week.

Here's the outcome of my situation.

A couple of techs I've spoken to this week were reading me the last rites.
Today, I installed Norton Utilites on the working drive.
Made a rescue disk.
Connected the bad drive
Booted from the resue disk
Rescue disk wanted to restore CMOS Info & Partition Tables.
I selected restoring CMOS Info and turned off restoring the Partiton tables.
Reason: I wanted to see if the utility could find the old partiton info instead of blindly           hoping the utility would/could recreate it.
I typed NDD /REBUILD     /* Norton Disk Doctor  Rebuild */
One by one it found the correct info for each partition
Once the partition info was rebuilt the drive and its data were intact.

I did a virus scan of the HD using f-prot.
Result: No viruses were found.

I know this sounds like trath's answer, and I was leaning the same way even before that answer was posted. However, I figured I had just one shot at recovering the disk and I wanted to make that shot count! In order to do that, I needed opinions and the timing of trath's answer prevented opinions from pouring in. Being a newbie to this forum, I thought you folks lost interest, so I increased the point total.

Thanks to EVERYONE that offered any comments at all.
I especially appreciated the ones that suggested a cautious approach.

Now, I have one last problem. How do I fairly reward you folks?



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by:khemicals
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if you would like to give the points to one individual just ask them to post an answer... if you want multiples post a question for 0 points in the EE customer service area for linda explaining what you want done and how many points for each and the like
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by:wanchic
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Looking at your rejected Answers, I'm going to assume that you either tried that solution, or you know a lot about what you are doing. The simple Answer is: No. Your hard drive is toast. But, if you have the Money (and I mean money!) and desperatly need the information off of the HD, then there still is one more solution. I have heard of companies that will take your HD and retrieve as much information as they can off of it, and store it onto a new HD. How is this done? We'll they have this machine that goes in from the outside in, and from the far inside - out, and scans as much as it can until it reaches the problem(weither it is a smoke particle, scrach, etc.) I don't know any names, but I'm sure you can find them on the internet.
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by:rmarotta
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wanchic,
Why don't you bother to READ a thread before attempting to participate?
The problem drive is not "toast", as it has been repaired.
Posting a bogus "answer" serves no purpose that I can see.......
Ralph
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by:yaateeh
Comment Utility
To quote Ralph,
" The problem drive is not "toast", as it has been repaired. "
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My name is Mud earned 150 total points
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Try restoring the partitions with NDD
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by:rmarotta
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yaateeh,
This question continues to attract "experts" in search of points by any means, rather than earning them.
If the question is left answered for a period of time, the computer at EE will autograde it, and assign the points for whatever "answer" that has been proposed.
Please reject the current answer and close the question properly.
You can go to Customer Service on the home page for help if you need it.
Regards,
Ralph
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