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HD not Detect, DMI Freeze, Poss Boot Virus

Posted on 2004-10-18
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hello. my problem is with a couple Hard drives, #1 Quantum FB EL 650 (junk)
and  #2 WD Caviar wd400 enh/ide 40gig (prim).. on a 566 Pentium with 512mb ram, tyan motherboard, award bios.. (and for gen ref. powergraph 4d/10 Video, cmi 8738 Audio, and the oldest MotorolaSurfr56k Ive Ever Seen) now your prob saying yeah that junk sys is the prob,, lol. but hey i believe if it powers up it can work.. and my main sys burned, nice deal on ebay though... buyer beware. ok... here is the foreground.
     I had been running the 40gig WD as i do audio recording in my home studio. (im a wire guy not a circuit guy.) running win98se as i still prefer it for my recording software. but i couldnt get the old modem configed or perfaps my network assigned, so i plugged in the ole 5 gig Fireball from an old gateway i use as a lampstand, it was running 98 not se so i could deal with it, the 650 had been compressed to 5 gig, 2gig c, with win on it, 2 gig d storeage, 800mb e waste of space and 200mb f ramdrive to compensate the old gateway limits,. blah.. the quantum win98 drive loaded the modem, the isp software and got me online,, so for a month i was constantly swithing drives recklessly, no problem.. at all.. surprizingly, sometimes even slaving one to quickly move data.. no prob..
     till one day,., my girl says hey how about some worthless Sims Game Crack, since you download stuff all the time.. i knew better i did, had even just been downloading small ebook files and waiting to scan em before opening... blah... get the crack open it.. reboot sometime later maybe next day.... with same drive and it hangs on DMI before windows loads.... now i hadnt noticed that time on cmos/bios info screen , but the next time i tried i caught it said the drive name all crazy with exclamation marks like some foreign language. so i say blah,, must have deleted a system file, cause im good at that.. so i master the WD (prim) and Slave the Problem drive... ok... i can see all the drives on both Disks.. only thing i notice is that all the system files on the main drive of the slave are renamed crazy things like the volume label was.... like the windows folder is now "Wineows!" i think.. hmm i musta screwed up my system with some language thing, as i had been playing with spybot and i am pretty fanatic about controlling my system registry manually... so i run Scan disk thinking maybe it will actually fix something as i had always seen the "changed file names" opt in settings.. nothing.. big surprise.. i then run SFC and replace all my corrupt files from backup... BTW im Neurotic and Compulsive and therefore purposely leave myself backups and such for problems i create, shame same effort couldnt back up data.. blah... SFC didnt work either, looked like it was gonna, didnt, so i then manually re SYS'ed and it loaded in safe mode a few times with out the Primary Drive,, I Use a USB CDR as my CDROM so in safe mode im just stuck unless the info is on there.. hadnt updated PCCILLAN and couldnt get online.. Well... i left it and made plans to get a regular ide cdrom from a system i lent i friend. turn to the Primary drive to try to get it online Which i had been trying for a month to no avail.. and There it is Now Happening to my Primary... Man ,, Bad News For Me. i really Cant lose that data.. so i put it up and experiment on the Quantum FB for a quick fix, when i should have waited.... i try it all even pulling out the old floppy drives i never use and trying backup disks for 98, 98se... try formatting , fdisk,, nothing,, as it isnt picking up that drive and the c: im looking at is the bogus one the startup disk creates, i cant do anything.. cant even format,, i never dreamt... when i run bios it is there physically.. i can select it, doesnt help, leave it on auto, sometimes i get a message while the backup disk loads saying it doesnt detect any fat drives and it could be from antivirus software, a virus, or the drive could need partitioned if its new.... sometimes as well i get the blue screen of death saying im halted it it missing a fat or fat32 file necessary... now if i try to boot with out disk... it looks ok but freezes reading dmi.. i was able last night when i finally got the regular CDROM to get an even older quantum FB 650 i pulled from a stack of win95 workstations to upgrade to win98, load my modem and get online to be here.. but i need some advise.. sorry for the novel.. im sure i still left out the info you need to help me.. but ill be sitting here probably anyway.. .these are all my points,,, sorry i dont have more.
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Question by:vanitasinutile
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Author Comment

by:vanitasinutile
ID: 12337246
post script.. I Ran my WD data lifeguard tools from the floppy, and the wd drive checked out perfectly,, im in the process of running the maxtor/quantum powermax, to check that drive... im hesitant to slave either of the faulty drives to this one as it took me all night to get this online,,, but i am replicating this drive onto another identical hard drive so that i can try it.. good to keep junk parts around... but i need a perm fix as i cant do anything with the 120 mb im left with on this, and even if i compress a few of em and link em, i wont get more than a few gigs.. thanks... ill post if powermax picks up anything worth mentioning.. im wondering if this a hardware issue sorry if its not... are boot process files hardware oriented or system... <-not the question...see above.. lol
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Author Comment

by:vanitasinutile
ID: 12337458
ok,, ran powermax on quantum fb el .. quick check came back good, extendend showed drive failing error code 6a6c6860, but still ok,, and burn in failed completely.. i dont need the info on that one, so im trying the maxtor/quantum powermax software to try to reformat and it just finished re-written with zeros, passed.. quick check,, still ok, but failing same error code,, full test - same as before, same with burn in.. .im going to flip my cdrom onto that sys and try to load an os, regardless of the failing drive, to see if it will load or partition.. brb
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Author Comment

by:vanitasinutile
ID: 12337754
... nope nothing,, still doesnt pick up the drive,, only the ramdrive created by startup disk.... moving on to getting the other scrap drive running so i can try to slave the newly formatted fireball le drive.... also for some reason the other sys picked up the cdrom as atapi incompatable... it did not do that on this sys.. my test system is some old 100mghz 96 ram gateway, the nightstand in refference earlier... nope,, not picking up msd001.. wierd. ill find a way around it for test purposes.. BTW here is the text of the dos screen the boot disk gives me regarding the drives... Preparing to start your computer. this may take a few minutes. please be patient... Windows 98 has detected that drive c does not contain a valid fat or fat32 partition. there are several possible causes. 1. the drive may need to be partitioned. to create a partition on the drive, fun fdisk from the command promot. 2. you may be using third-party disk-partioning software. if you are using this type of software, remove the emergency boot disk and restart your computer.. then, follow the on screen instructions to start your computer from a floppy disk. 3, some viruses also cause your drive c to not register. you can use a virus scanning software to check your computer for viruses... i think its number 3... if thats the case who offers free virus scan software small enough to load from floppy onto dos.. and how would i scan the drive if it doesnt register... blah.. well hope that info helps..
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Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 12340612
Very genereally:

Does the BIOS pick up your problem drive OK, with the correct size?

If no, not detected at all - drive is probably bad or worse. Try in some other machine to verify.

If detected, but at too small size - you may have had a software overlay, a BIOS helper for large drives in old machines, on this drive and now it's damaged. Tough luck. A data recovery tool may do the trick. Or your BIOS setup is confused. Try to do a new IDE autodetect, see what happens.
/RID
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Author Comment

by:vanitasinutile
ID: 12341537
when i enter into bios it detects it fine but when it runs to my registry it gets lost. i could assign it via bios but  get the same result.. also running a different drive now with same board and bios, im actually running three seperate machines, and toggling around with all, same with all of em , i had been reading other problems, and see mention of fdisk /mba from a boot disk but im not clear if i will lose data or have to format, and thus lose data,, very important for me to save data.. i had seen as well some data recovery software available stating to recover even after format.. i didnt think that possible.. thought writing to zero would write over... really dont think i ever ran a bio enhancer.. definetly didnt on the main drive could have on the old one i have since erased and re fdisked.. but know i never did on the WD in question.. im wondering still if its a bootsector virus, but still cant find portable dos software to check it out, as it doesnt recognize regardless, dont want to lose this system and am just now ready with the other test drive identical to the one im using to try as a slave with antivirus... praying its just a boot sector problem...
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Author Comment

by:vanitasinutile
ID: 12341933
just tried on the test drive, bios still reads it,, size and cyl and everything real close, prob perfect after the bad sectors im thinking the boot sector.. went all through to win98se no prob just not there in my computer... or dos.. right there in bios though... i tried manually entering it as the slave and changing the specs to the origional 64 16000 80g max.. still nothing.
cant run virus scan as hoped as it doesnt see it in windows.. btw ive also switched many ide cables and what not... im about to try cable select though as i hadnt as a jumper... and im gonna try a few different jumper pins maybe ones not connecting or something,, very unlikely...  
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Accepted Solution

by:
rid earned 125 total points
ID: 12342132
For DOS antivirus - look at www.f-prot.com   .
I doubt this is a boot sector virus - they're not too common anymore it seems.

I'd suggest going about this very slowly.

Get a machine that hasn't got an O/S, not even a hard drive.

Hook up ONLY this HD to the primary IDE channel, jumpered for master/single (watch out for some WD drives!). Power up and watch the BIOS detect the HD. If it seems OK, but no boot, use a win9X boot floppy to boot this machine.

Run fdisk, option #4 (show partition info). What does it say?

The best option is to use the machine in which this drive was last known to work; at least the BIOS will detect it in the same way as it was detected when it was working.

If no go at all, you may have to consider a data recovery service.

One other option is to hook the drive up as a slave in a working machine that can understand FAT 32. If you're lucky, the drive is properly recognized and you can sipho off the data you need..

/RID
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Author Comment

by:vanitasinutile
ID: 12343168
checked out the f-prot software.. im looking for something smaller though that i can boot from in dos, so under 1.44mb from my floppy or something that runs without installation.. as the only recognizable drive i get is the ram drive the startup disk creates.. and i can not log to it.. , and yeah i have been testing this with a couple older machines that are stripped down, i have more or less rebuilt them from parts around this, and have been able to program other drives completely... i tried the slave/master using a master fat32 compat, with win98se. when i do this i get the closest, it reads in bios.. assigns as slave automatically, recognizes the correct size and drive type, WD400, full with capacity... once in windows.. it isnt a listed drive in "my comp" but it even shows up in device manager and system info but does not show a drive letter assignment,, i certainly tried to add ne hardware several dif ways with no luck.. when i check the fdisk opt 4 it says no partitions, but it does not say no compatale device or drive... but i havent gotten it to recognize it for a while.. now it just loads in bios and not in dos.. if the partition table and mbr are destroyed will it vanish like this.. i had seen even power surges can damage your first sector, can i reassign another sector to act as the boot... the only way i can use the drive at all is either with a master above it or my win98 and se startup disks... if i go with just the drive it just hangs on loading dmi and doesnt progress.. however it doesnt tell me there isnt an os please insert disk and press key, like it does with a dead drive i have... oh yeah.,. she is spinning purrfectly as well.. not clicking or flashing or anything.. and as far as the bios i have cleared all machines a couple times in my endevours.. so im thinking its not going to pick back up any different.. really frustrating,, i wouldnt care if it didnt spin, or bios didnt see it.. but its there.. its right there... blah.. im going to try for some data recov software.. but unsure how it or an antivirus will do anything if it doesnt recognize in windows or dos... still interested in the fdisk /mbr i read about and i saw on some site about dmi hanging and taking my caches' out of bios and putting them back in, but i cant see the link there.. as far as jumper settings im pretty sure all wd drives go with no jumper for single/master,, but i had hit the site to be sure and it is the case with mine...
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Author Comment

by:vanitasinutile
ID: 12343277
tried WD's alternate jumpers for single as well as cableselect and still nothing.. no valid fat or fat32 drives... fdisk opt 4 "current fixed drive: 1" "no partitions defined", scared to mess much with fdisk and partitions and format related things as i am not willing to part with the data.,.or at the least dont want to do anything i cant recover one way or another, even if it costs $$$, but thats last resort as i wont have the cash for prof servicing before its all obsolete, as i am poor.. still want to be careful not to rule it out as an option though.. formating is frightening. maybe if i added a bios helper? or is there somesort of boot scan before dos, it seems good through mem check and device detection, lists it, then its not there... its just not registering.. could it be my system registry not calling for it.. or maybe compatability for 32bit device or something in my initiations,, im gonna try some different windows boots, already have.. but maybe its in the registry for my local machine.. ill peek around... see if anything looks funny and ill try M$'s reg wiz... what do you think?
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Author Comment

by:vanitasinutile
ID: 12343351
thats odd... it didnt let me try stepbystep, or use my keyboard to scroll up/down the menu in win selective startup menu but it let me hit f5 for safe mode.. .bypassed my startup file... then loaded Microsoft(r) windows 98 (C)copyright Microsoft corp 1981-1998 and took me to A:\>off of the win98se startup diskette.. is it debug,,, or something encoded... some letter are preceded by an ^ when keyed, c hits as ^C then enters down a line.. others hit what i think are greek letters, or symbols... like the pie sign,, going ahead now to reg boot from the disk ill list what it reads in bios first. "ATA(PI) Device(s) = Primary Master" : "Type = Hard Disk" , "Size = 38167MB" , "LBA Mode = LBA" , "32Bit Mode = On" , "Block Mode - 16Sec" , "PIO Mode = 4".....
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Author Comment

by:vanitasinutile
ID: 12343390
i never did compress the drive when i bought it, it listed it as fat32, and started me on a startup screen for it if i opened the app in windows, but im guessing it enabled it as fat32 compatable with in my system as it is a larger than 512mb drive... and im on win98. so then if i lost my mba or partition information... my data is secure right? can i replace the partition info and repartition even as a whole uncompressed partition and keep the previous data secure? could it be a string in my registry that is keeping me from seeing large disks or enabling them or something?
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Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 12705909
Yes... I kind of lost the grip on this one and I suppose the author wasn't helped, really, so I agree that a refund is in place.
/RID
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Author Comment

by:vanitasinutile
ID: 12720242
hey, i was waiting around for a second opinion perhaps.. i have used several data recov softys to limited results, (as suggested by /rid) so he is certaintly entitled to the points.. was kind of looking more for the reason of the problem than the resolution... im a bit different, sorry... give points... i will post knew question regarding data recov software troubleshooting in near future... thank you... /Van lol...
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Author Comment

by:vanitasinutile
ID: 12720299
and it was actually i believe somewhat due to my bios being confused as of the fat file structures... from fat16 on an old drive and the fat32... know im going ntfs with xp in the new drive i bought and using a fat 32 partition to try to sypher to.. i think i do thing in my sleep sometimes while i sit here for days at a time... everything got very cross clustered.. i learned a lot though.. thanks..
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Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 12720397
Thanks for the points!
Hope you get it sorted out OK.
/RID
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