what is unable to determine cd-rom

Posted on 2004-09-30
Last Modified: 2008-02-07
I have a packard bell 166 mhz.  My son tried to boot it up today and is said invalid system disk. remove or replace strike any key.  however there was no disks in any drives.  So we put in both start up disks, floppy & cd and restarted it, then got this
Unable to determine cd-rom drive.
error level is 100
file not found C;\PBTools\backup\fmtid.dat.
What the heck does all that mean?
Thanks for you quick respone.
Question by:annprobst

Expert Comment

ID: 12196790
I hate to tell you this but it sounds like your hard drive may have went bad.  The recovery disk you are using is pointing to a file on yoiur hard drive and it can't locate the file because your hard drive is bad.  One thing you can try is when you get to the a:\> prompt you can type "C:\" and hit enter.  If it gives you any error your hard drive is bad.  Sorry.

Good Luck.

Expert Comment

ID: 12197134
It should be the problem with your hard drive

1. Replace your hard drive.
2. Go to BIOS (hit delete when start the computer) detect the new hard drive and set the bootup to CD-ROM
3. Use the recovery disk to install the OS (Operating System e.g. Windows 98, 2000, XP.....)

LVL 91

Expert Comment

ID: 12197954
you can test your drive with the manufactutrers utility, here some links :
Download it, put it on a floppy, and boot from the floppy (set your floppy in the bios as first boot device)            Maxtor/Quantu      Fujitsu       Samsung            Seagate                        Western Digital             IBM and Hitachi
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 12198694
Since the computer cannot see either the hard drive or the CDROM, perhaps the cable has come unseated.  Open the computer and check the ribbon cable.  On an older computer like that I'd guess both the CDROM and hard drive are on the same cable.
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 12199377
Another possibility, on a system that old, is that the CMOS battery is dying and your hard disk settings aren't being remembered.  You can buy a replacement for about $3 in Radio Shack.  To see if this is true, boot into the BIOS and see if you can detect the hard drive - usually, positioning the cursor on the Primary IDE row and hitting enter will do it.  If it detects it, it's likely a battery problem, otherwise, it's a hard disk or cable problem.
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 12203432
The floppy and CD you mention seem like a restore set. The process requires hard drive access - which you haven't got anymore. You have some good advice for troubleshooting that problem already. However, if you want to run a HD diagnostic you may have to create a "clean" DOS or win9X boot floppy. Take a look at if you haven't got one lying about.

Expert Comment

ID: 12206885
check your IDE cables to make sure they are installed correctly. The red stripe on IDE cable should be next to the power connection on each device. Check the jumper settings on CDROM and other drives. I would try to disconnect the CDROM and see if the HD is even detected when it boots up or it gets the same error. If the error doesn't happen, then it's either a bad CDROM or jumper settings on CDROM are mixed up. I don't know what size HD you have, but the newer HD's out might give you trouble because the older PC's BIOS was limited to 8.4GB or less. It is possible to surpass this, but you would need to download the HD's manufacturer setup utility. Well since it's having trouble anyway detecting the drive, maybe this isn't the answer. I would try to just start the PC with floppy and hard drive to see if the problem still happens.

Expert Comment

ID: 12211079
The "errorlevel 100" seems to refer to a batch-file execution (.bat file on the bootdevice). If typed correctly, the problem is in C; which should be C:, so this doesn't point to a problem with the CD-Rom. Second, if the harddisk or filestructure on the harddisk is damaged C: would be the drive letter assigned to the cd-rom drive. (I've made my share of DOS rescueboot CD-Roms).
Checking physical connections, the bios settings and battery seems like a good place to start.
After that, you'll need a decent bootdisk and some diagnostic utilities and a datarecovery program.

Blue Rishi

Expert Comment

ID: 12217885

If you are not very technical minded then I would recommend getting some computer professionals to look at it. However if this is not what you wish to do then here are several things you could do.

1/ check all the cables are correctly plugged in as they can drop loose some times.

2/ Watch the screen during startup and see if bios is detecting the HD if it is then you might be alright with some of the tools if not do 3.

3/ Replace the HD

you could try if you are using windows XP and would like to start up and see if you can get any files off the drive try just create it run it and it will boot up your machine and should allow you to view files on the drive (with luck). It will also put you in an environment that I am sure you are much more used to working in with the computer.

jus some ideas not sure if it will be any help.


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