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cant boot system

Posted on 2000-04-30
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
i have a pentium 133, 32 mb ram, 2.18 gb hd. i have just installed win 98 on the hd, but i cant get my computer to boot windows. i have gotten a vfat error: (vfat device initialization failed). i do not know how to solve this. all the settings and such in cmos are correct, as far as I know. Please.. if there is any information you can give me, please do. it would be greatly appreciated. thanks
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Question by:sterly
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SysExpert earned 400 total points
ID: 2764680
It sounds like a hard disk problem.
VFAT is the way windows 98 stores info on the DIsk.

In general, before upgrading to win 98 it is advisable to download the newest BIOS for your machine, and check the hardware compatibility list to see if your hardware is suitable.
If you can backup any important data on your hard drive, I would do a total reformat after running
 fdisk /mbr  from a known clean ( no viruses )  boot floppy. You could also have a boot virus, and the fdisk/mbr will get rid of it.
But it may already have affected all of your files.
I hope this helps.


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by:sorgie
ID: 2764694
did you upgrade or is it a clean install??
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by:sorgie
ID: 2764708
This error can come from a missing ifshelps.sys file missing in windows directory or if you upgraded from a previous version your config file could point to the wrong file if you were using one.
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by:sterly
ID: 2764710
Edited text of question.
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by:sterly
ID: 2764721
this was a clean install on the hard drive. i just dont understand what the problem could be. after installing the windows 98, it reboots, but then right after it updates sytem config files.. it shows the vfat error. i checked vfat, it doesnt appear to be missing. i dont know what else to do.
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by:sorgie
ID: 2764729
Have you tried to boot to safe mode by pressing F8 at bootup??
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by:sorgie
ID: 2764735
Also from the F8 menu you can try to use the selective start and DON'T process your autoexec.bat or config.sys file.

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by:SysExpert
ID: 2764752
Again, if you have not chacked for viruses, this is the time, because I have seen VFAT errors caused by boot sector viruses. Please see my previous posting. The only other thing I caould suggest is getting the HD util from the OEM or manufacturing site, and see if it is OK, or have it do a full erase and diagnostics. Maybe the HD is on it's last legs.


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Author Comment

by:sterly
ID: 2764780
It wont even start in safe mode.
I am currently going to check it for a boot virus. Will let you know.
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by:micro66
ID: 2764788
When you say "clean install" do you mean you started with a completely empty and reformatted hard drive?  Was the hard drive working before?  Why were you installing the OS (that is, were you trying to correct another problem)?

If you go back to square one:  fdisk, partition, then format your hard drive.  Then, from a bare hard drive, install win98 starting from a win98 boot floppy with CDROM support (or if your BIOS supports booting from CDROM).  If you have the same problem again, it would sound like hardware failure, but give it a try first.
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Author Comment

by:sterly
ID: 2764807
OK, found a problem, but dont know if it is fixed just yet. There was a boot virus, I used my emergency boot disk, its apparently gone now. Am going to try to install windows again and see if I cant get it to boot properly.
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Author Comment

by:sterly
ID: 2764815
micro66- yes! it was a completely empty formatted hd. i have 2 computers, the hard drive was obviously for one system that wasnt running. i ran a boot scan for a virus, there was one found. used an emergency boot disk from my mcafee virus scan program. after the scan was completed, it said NO virus was cleaned. I am currently going back again to try to format, etc again.
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by:sorgie
ID: 2764824
Good Call SysExpert! First time i've seen a virus cause a Vfat error
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Author Comment

by:sterly
ID: 2764847
ok, to all that offered assistance here, wish to thank you. This one hd is a no go.. cant get the virus out of there. Am going to use another I have hanging around to see if I cant get it to work. Once again, thanks to all that offered advice, etc. And yes SysExpert.. I never thought it could be a virus that caused a vfat error either-- good job!
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Author Comment

by:sterly
ID: 2764851
:-) good job!

im gonna try another h/d to see if i cant get this other system up and running.
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by:SysExpert
ID: 2765893
If you want to try and fix the hard drive, try downloading the manufacturers DIagnosis and repair utils. Every  manufacturer has one on their site for their own drives. This may be able to fix the drive. If not, you may be able to get it replaced if under warrantee ( normally about 3 years ).
Good luck !
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