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Portege 3410CT - cannot reload windows

Posted on 2004-03-21
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Last Modified: 2007-12-19
Hi there,

I have a portege 3410CT, and when I try to reload windows 98 off the backup cd that came with it, I get to the point where it says choose which os you want to install, I choose 98 , then start installation. It says installing software, but then keeps saying 'invalid drive specification', reboots and goes to a command prompt. All I have on C is cmd.com.

I've just repartitioned and reformatted again from the recovery cd .. seems to partition and format ok, once it formats, i noticed 'cannot find c:\tools\ ..' then it says invalid drive specification, invalid directory, bad command, RMADRIVE does not exist, then it sits there at a c prompt. If I do a DIR it lists tools, config.sys, autoexec.bat, and command.com. If I go cd tools, it says 'invalid drive'

Any ideas of what I should do?

Cheers, Rog
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Question by:Rogero
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Accepted Solution

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rid earned 200 total points
ID: 10644589
How do you boot the machine (floppy, cd or even hard drive)?
The generic 98 boot floppy will create a RAMdrive, that will get the C: letter if there is no valid FAT or FAT32 partition on the hard drive. If, however, the HD has such a partition, the RAMdrive will be first available letter after C: followed by the CD unit on the next free drive letter. (only one HD partition assumed).

If the restore CD assumes your system has a partitioned HD, and it hasn't, drive letters may be mixed up, rendering "invalid path" messages. And the other way around....

So, determine if your HD is properly recognized by BIOS, check with fdisk if there's any partition on it and see if the error messages make any more sense after this.

/RID
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Author Comment

by:Rogero
ID: 10645206
Hi there, thanks for the reply.

I'm booting from cd, can't seem to get the floppy going. Tried to run fdisk but hard drive doesn't recognise it as a command. I think the partition is ok as the first thing the backup cd did was partitin, then rebot and format. All looked ok till i noticed the messgage 'cannot find c:\tools' .. probably it's trying to load tools into here?

I've tried to look at drive D (ramdrive) but it doesn't exist, plus that message I got before said 'no ramdrive'

What do you think?

Rog
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Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 10645265
I have very limited experience with restore disks. If there is a C: drive and it hasn't got a "tools" directory on it, you'll get this error message. The question is, what does the system think constitutes the C: drive?? A RAM drive? The hard drive? The CD?

You must realize that MS operating systems up to win98 allots drive letters in a certain order:
A: and B: are reserved for floppy drives (all normal BIOS's allow for 2 FDD's)
C: will be the first drive that can be recognized by the O/S after floppy drive. This can be a hard drive partition or a unit accessed by drivers (such as a RAM drive or a CD unit).

So, if you have a valid partition on the HD, this will be the C:
If you have no HD partition, the C: drive will be either a RAM drive or a CD unit.

You need to diagnose your system, by getting a proper win9X boot floppy (see www.bootdisk.com) and booting from a floppy to run fdisk. Inside fdisk you need to run option #4, show partition info, to see if the HD is indeed partitioned correctly.

Tell us the story.
/RID
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Author Comment

by:Rogero
ID: 10645532
Progress ..

I've managed to boot & load win98 of a normal win98se cd ... Fdisk is ok and I can get into safe mode, so assume these are good signs. I can't get into full mode though as I need to get the portege version of win98 for drivers etc?

Any thoughts?

Rog
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Expert Comment

by:rjones119
ID: 10646507
Dear Rog,

If someone hasn't responded to your question by now, I would check the Device Manager while in Safe Mode and see what looks out of place.  If you can get on the network, you can probably download appropriate or missing Portege drivers.  I have an old 3015 Portege myself.  I called Toshiba a couple of years ago and they sent me the original boot up floppy and the restoration cd.  Comes in really handy.  Maybe they still have what you need.

Try it,

rjones119
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Author Comment

by:Rogero
ID: 10647469
Ok thanks for replies so far, I'll try what you say and let you know

:D

Rog
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Author Comment

by:Rogero
ID: 10648422
I spoke to Toshiba who said they will restore my laptop for me for £50, does anyone have any other ideas? Is this my only option?

Cheers, Rog
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Expert Comment

by:rjones119
ID: 10650063
Rog,

I believe they sent me the restoration disks for free or either a nominal fee. I can't quite remember but if I paid, it was a very small amount and then I restored the OS myself.

I told them that I had no disks and that is why they sent them to me.  Of course, they would rather restore it for you and charge you $50, but you can do it yourself if they will send disks to you.  I have a spare set but it is for the 3015 Portege.

Just try talking to them in a "desparate" sort of way and they might respond.

rjones119
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Author Comment

by:Rogero
ID: 10650249
I've tried my best!! I phoned again, but 'cos it's win98, they will not send cd's out. My only opton they say is the £50 one. If it was windows 2000 or xp, they would send me the cd no problem.

If the laptop kind of takes the standard win98 to a point (safe mode) - do you think my hard disk is ok? I might see if I can get my laptop to the partitioned and formatted stage, then create the tools folder, then try loading the backup cd again (without formatting etc) see if that will work. That's the wierd thing, I do have the backup cd, but it falls over on install with this no ramdrive message

Cheers,

Rog


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Expert Comment

by:rjones119
ID: 10651553
I looked online for a 3410 CT and couldn't find it. Is it one of the 3400 CT series?  
One thing you might consider if you have enough memory in your notebook is taking Toshiba up on their offer to supply you with WIN 2000 or XP recovery disks.  Then you could install them and have a working system.  You could then install WIN 98 as a second system and remove the 2000 or XP.  Just remember XP requires at least 64 megs of memory and more is really better.  XP does also support 2 OS at one time, so you could have both.  I don't know what type of memory you have on yours but I am thinking about adding more to my 3015CT which has only 32 megs.

Also, another company that supports Toshiba parts and is like a sister-company is Targus.  You might contact their site and get a phone number to talk directly with a tech and explain your dilema and they may have recovery disks for your system.

rjones119
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Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 10651923
I suppose a laptop like this could use a standard win2000 installation CD, which, in conjunction with Toshiba-supplied drivers, would make up a proper installation. Perhaps an easier way to go than this seemingly useless recovery deal.
/RID
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Author Comment

by:Rogero
ID: 10732591
Tried loading standard windows 2000 cd ... gets so far ok, but crashes after reboot!

Thanks for all your help so far, any other ideas?

Rog
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Assisted Solution

by:rjones119
rjones119 earned 300 total points
ID: 10732984
Rog,

Does your laptop have enough memory to support Win2000?  That may be the problem.  It is trying to reboot and reload all drivers and possibly background programs that may be too much for your system.  

If you could just possible install the 2000 and then reboot into safemode (which loads minimal drivers) then it might work.

Meantime, since Toshiba offered help with 2000 or XP, you might tell them this problem and they will be equipped to walk you through now that you are installing a more "up to date" system.

rjones119
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