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Garbage in my CMOS Hard Drive setting

Posted on 2006-10-26
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
Has anyone ever heard of this?  I have a desktop, 2.4 GHz Intel MB, 1 Gig RAM.  It has been working fine for a while.
I needed a machine with W-98 on it, so I FDISK'd the hard-drive, formatted via "format c: /s". Installed Windows 98. All fine so far.
"Suddenly" (while I was installing Soundblaster drivers from the factory CD for Audigy 2, which may-or-may-not have been coincidental) I got the dreaded Blue-screen error (I forget exactly what it said) BUT I couldn't boot after that ... turns out that in the CMOS setting, for hard drive, where it normally says something like "Maxtor 1200", it had garbage (something like "tsw$# aB2 #").  (Changing the setting back to "Maxtor 1200" has fixed everything for now ...)

Has anyone heard of randomly getting garbage in this CMOS setting? Could be a dead/dying battery on the motherboard? I am trying to get a feel if it typically is a software problem (so I can just reformat/reload W-98) OR if I should replace the hard-drive or ???

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Question by:bleggee
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by:garycase
ID: 17816363
Not enough info to say for sure ... but a couple of possibilities:  (a)  CMOS battery needs replaced (I'd do this first;  they're only a couple dollars, and if the system's more than a couple years old that's likely the issue);  or (b)  something got corrupted in the hard drive ==> if so, just "nuke" it with dBan (http://dban.sourceforge.net/) and then FDisk and format it again.   If it's (b), you may have used the wrong version of FDisk and Format ==> unless you've patched them, the versions that shipped with Windows 98 do NOT work correctly with drives larger than 64GB.
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by:bleggee
ID: 17816895
I am going to do exactly that ... battery, nuke, & fdisk. Where to I get a 'patched' W-98 version of fdisk and/or format that will work on my 200 GB hard drive? Do I just use the version from one of my W2000 or XP machines?
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by:garycase
ID: 17816969
Well ... even the patched version does not support 48-bit logical block address, so it won't work correctly on your 200GB drive either (that, in fact, may be what happened to your drive).   There are several ways to resolve that ... the easiest is probably to just temporarily connect it as a slave to an XP machine and use Disk Management to create your partition.   The downside of that is you can't create a FAT32 partition larger than 32GB in XP ==> if that's an issue, post back and I'll suggest something else.
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by:bleggee
ID: 17817065
Good idea. I think then that I'll connect it as a slave, partition it to 120GB (I can use the other 180 as an XP partition), then format it & install W-98. That *should* work ... yes?
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by:garycase
ID: 17817100
As I noted ... you can only create a 32GB FAT-32 partition with XP.  How large is the hard disk?  (You said 200GB, but in your last post you said the "... other 180GB ..." after talking about a 120GB partition --> for a total of 300GB)

Are you familiar with Boot-It NG??  (free demo at www.bootitng.com) ... it will let you do just about anything you want in terms of creating the partitions, etc. (and formating them).   The interface is a bit "geeky" ... but it's an excellent tool.
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by:nobus
ID: 17817836
i would certainly test that disk, since it is the disk info that gets stored in the BIOS.
I would also check the cables and connectors, maybe one loose ?
here the manufacturers utilities for testing :  http://www.disk-utility.com/hard-disk-low-level-format.html
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by:rid
ID: 17819997
I would have thought that the disk info as read by BIOS is not on the platters or depending on logical layout of the disk (partitioning etc). Garbage entries in the drive department of BIOS setup is very probably a CMOS confusion issue. Reset and/or get a new battery. Comments about loose cables/connectors are of course valid...
/RID
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by:nobus
ID: 17824713
imho it is not on th platters but in the logic
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by:bleggee
ID: 17827065
Hi "garycase" - Correction: It is a 300 GB drive, Maxtor 6B300R0 ...

I want to partition it to 120GB to use for W-98 ...

I have connected it as a Slave & partitioned it with XP.

Bought a new UATA cable & CMOS battery, just in case.

What should I use to *format* it, based on your comment "The downside of that is you can't create a FAT32 partition larger than 32GB in XP ==> if that's an issue, post back and I'll suggest something else."
I do have Partition Magic ver 8 if that's useful.
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garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 17827208
I don't use PM but IIRC it can format a drive -- right?    If not, just boot to a Windows 98 floppy and "format" the disk ==> it will REPORT what it's doing incorrectly (because of the drive size) ... but it will WORK fine  (just wait for it to finish).
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