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Problem with partition on hard drive

Posted on 2000-03-09
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2011-10-03
I have a hard drive I pulled from an older system... before I got the hard drive someone messed around with other partitioning software besides F-disk. When I put the drive in my system as a secondary drive I was unable to copy any files to it and dos could not detect it at all... I went into F-disk and all that tells me is "error accessing disk 2" I even tried norton disk doctor... it said it fixed it and I was able to copy some data to the drive... the only problem is it's a 1.6 gig drive and windows says it's only 32mb!!! Right now the only thing that is able to detect the drive is my BIOS... and norton disk doctor still insists that the drive is only 32mb! What should I do!!!
Question by:davsgro
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Expert Comment

ID: 2603647
davsgro, do you want to recover any data from the drive? If you don't want to then I would suggest formatting it and after which using scandisk to see what kind of errors you get if any. I suggest using Partition Magic 5.0, Patition Magic will be able to tell if the File alocation table is formatted to a different kind of file system like NTFS or Linux. You may not be able to use the other partitions because they are of a different file system other than FAT16 or FAT32.

LVL 49

Expert Comment

ID: 2603722
What does the BIOS show the drive as?

Now what is your system?  CPU speed and chip and do you have a CDROM drive in your machine.

Explanation.  If you have a very old machine like a 486 or early Pentium they may not be able to handle a 1.6 Gb drive.  This would explain why Windows and Nortons are saying that you have a 32 Mb drive.  The solution is to use software to lie to the BIOS about how big the drive is.  Someone on EE will recommend software to do this.

I am assuming that you have your drive set as master on the secondary IDE.

Use fdisk to remove all partitioning on this drive.  You may need other fdisk tools if the Win 95 one doesn't work.  Someone on EE will recommend those to you.  Once all the partitions are removed recreate partitions and format.

Expert Comment

ID: 2604034
There is a debug script that will remove all partitions from a drive, no matter what the system reads...direct hardware interaction.  I've got it from my old support documents from my OEM support days.  If nothing else works, let me know, and I'll see if I can find it in my box o' stuff.
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Expert Comment

ID: 2604648
If want to format, go to the website of the maker of the hard drive and download the partitioning and reformating software from the company it self, this may help you out.


Expert Comment

ID: 2604874
Try using a Linux rescue disk, it contains a basic kernel and filesystem.
It has its own fdisk wich is much better that a dos version.
Boot your computer with the disk, log in as root (no password)
Then do: fdisk /dev/hda (for primary master)
or: fdisk /dev/hdb (for primary slave)

press ? for help.
p shows the current configuration
d is delete, it then asks for the partition to delete, type in the partition found with p.
w saves
x quits
reboot and use dos.

LVL 63

Accepted Solution

SysExpert earned 1900 total points
ID: 2605084
Try Ranish Partition manager at
The primer will help you understand what you are doing.
I would put the drive in as stand alone so that you do not accidentally wipe out anyohter hard disks.
I hope this helps
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 2605221
There's a _FREE_ download on the Partition Magic web-site (WWW.PowerQuest.Com) of a program called 'PARTINFO.EXE'.
Download this 128Kbyte program, and run it.
Cut-and-paste the output into this question.

Expert Comment

ID: 2605230
Hi Davsgro

there a few step that I feel that you need to solve your problem.

1) take out the harddisk again, check the jumper setting on the harddisk and make sure that it is in slave mode, if not there will be 2 master drive and there will be conflick.

2)  use F disk again to make sure there is no other files system on the disk e.g NTFS, Linux, solaris, etc.  Or you can actually remove all logical partition on the drive and re-format again.

3)  if the above 2 method can't help, you need to do a low level format, you will need to download some software from the internet that allow you to do a low level format on a harddisk, then you must set all the setting correct e.g cylinder,sector, interleave.  This will definately works because if your bios detect correctly the harddisk electronic is working normally only at software application level then there is an error.  once a low level format is done it is like redraw everything on the harddisk surface.  it can even avoid bad sectors.

thank you
hope i answer your question...... :>
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 2606461
One Sure Fired way to completely delete all information, and all partitions from this drive is to do it manually.  This is done by using the debug command at the DOS prompt.

This will completely wipe out your partitions.  If this does not work, then nothing will because he must have damaged some hardware when he was messing around with the partitions.

This is guaranteed to work every time.

Type the following commands at the MSDos Prompt:

A 100                {Assemble from CS:0100}
INT 13               {Call interrupt 13}
Press the ENTER key  {nnnn in the segment address}
RAX                  {Replace the AX register}
0301                 {Write on sector}
RBX                  {Replace BX register}
0200                 {Start from ES:200}
F 200 L 200 0        {We want to write zeros}
RCX                  {Replace CX register}
0001                 {Cylinder, 0, sector 1}
RDX                  {Replace DX register}
0080                 {First physical hard disk, head 0. (substitute 0081 for this entry if you are clearing the table on the second physical hard disk, 0082 for third etc.)}
P                    {Proceed (debug will display several lines of information.)}
Q                    {Quit back to DOS}

And there you go!

Reboot then go into FDisk, and you'll be back up & running.

Good Luck


Expert Comment

ID: 2606657
That script should do it - it's the script I was referring to earlier, he just found it before I did :)  If it works, give him the points! :)

Author Comment

ID: 2610476
that would work and thanks for your help but there are not partitions on the drive according to norton and fdisk... just to be safe I tried it anyway and when I went into f-disk after restarting it said "unable to assess disk 2" when I tried to make a pri dos partrition it crashed and gave me a divide by zero error...

Author Comment

ID: 2610480
I found pout some more info since I posted the question... My system is a PIII 500 machine with 128 mb of ram and a 20.5 gig drive as the master... I just want this little 1.6 gig thing for backup incase I get a virus or something... the software that was used to "mess up" the drive was MaxBlast... a program intended to format maxtor hard drives.. EasyBios was installed onto the drive and it's not a maxtor drive!
LVL 63

Expert Comment

ID: 2610651
Try the program I suggested. Free and it can't hurt. If not then get the software from the original manufacturer, for testing/erasing the hard disk.

Author Comment

ID: 2610831
I did and I'd just like to say thank you so much!!! windows now recognises my drive as 1.6 gigs and I ca write data to it! with the software I was able to get rid of all the partitions.. there were 3 different ones all saying the drive was a different size!
I still need to make sure f-disk can access the drive without giving me an error... once I'm sure of that I'm gonna accept your comment as the answer!
LVL 63

Expert Comment

ID: 2625309
How are things going ?

Author Comment

ID: 2632204
The program was very easy to use and it did the trick easially!

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