Cannot set active partition
Posted on 2004-11-04
I have a 20 GB harddrive that is recognized in the BIOS (as HDD 1) but which is not bootable.
Initially it had win2k installed but after I edited the administrator profile I could not boot from it, the NTLDR was missing. I backed up my files, did an fdisk with the drive hooked up to myLinux box and tried to boot with a Linux RH9 installation CD. That did not work. I tried to create a bootable CD for a linux/rh install from RedHat support page instructions but the instructions
>mkisofs -o file.iso -b isolinux.bin -c boot.cat -no-emul-boot \ -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table -R -J -v -T isolinux/
are complicated and I get all kinds of errors, the first one being that the file does not exist. I'm not sure which file (tried substitutions) so I could not create the iso file needed to boot in linux.
I now have the drive hooked up as a slave to a win98 HDD 0 because I thought it might be easier to work with a DOS-based system. I have run fdisk on HDD 1 again. The drive is still not bootable because I am unable to set an active partition for it, even when I set it as master and hook it up to the CDROM IDE connection (separately from HDD 0). I have gone through two floppy drives, they both are bad and I would like to avoid buying another. I tried copying win98 boot files to a CD, but on boot I get the error that the CD is not bootable. The CDROM drive is recognized in the BIOS and in windows, it has the right files on it, and I have checked the contents of the autoexec.bat and config.sys files on my linux box. So I don't understand why the CD is not bootable to a command prompt.
I had previously scanned HDD 1 and there were no errors on it.
When I typed, from win98,
the response was "system transferred" so I may not have a corrupted mbr. In desperation, I tried
and got a warning that the D drive is trying to write to the C drive mbr, and
gave me a warning that the C drive was trying to overwrite its own mbr
...so I can't check/overwrite the mbr until I activate the HDD 1 partition and don't really want to do that anyway.
Finally, also in desperation, I tried other installation CDs (Win98, Win2K) after running an fdisk with the win98 HDD 0, just to see if I could find something bootable from the CDROM, and I always get a "CDROM failed on boot" message, telling me to insert a system disk.
I am trying to understand the boot process as I go along, so pls comment (as youalways do :) If I can set an active partition on this drive without the benefit of the floppy drive, I should be able to solve this. Help!