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Error reading fixed disk

By Cowabunga
Jan 6, 2009
  1. I have searched the web and this forum for a solution to my problem. Here it is. I have an old Gateway computer that had 95 OS on it. It has a Pentium II with a 4 GB hard drive. I have not used this computer in years and sometime last year I decided to clean the hard drive of data by formatting it as I was going to give the computer to a family member. I can't remember exactly what I did last year and now I can't access the hard drive. I have a boot disk and have tried to run FDisk from the A drive. That's where I get the message: "Error reading fixed disk". I have looked at the Bios setup Utility and it does see the hard drive. I can hear the hard drive spin very briefly and I have checked the connections to the hard drive and motherboard. I have read the procedure on how to format the hard drive and I know I did not follow that procedure. I think I might have just gone to a command prompt and typed in format C: I know now that was wrong but can I recover from that mistake?
     
  2. Nigitnut

    Nigitnut TS Rookie

    Have you set the jumper to right setting e.g master /slave and plugged it to the right connector on the ide cable?
     
  3. Cowabunga

    Cowabunga TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The hard drive is original equipment and I only opened the cabinet to make sure the connections to the HD and motherboard were not loose. I don't know anything about jumpers. The Bios says the HD is primary.
     
  4. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    Here's your position:

    "If you have no Windows 95 disks to use, you have two chances to repair "as is" ---
    1) to use GoBack to fix things, or
    2) to try an "in-place" (or "over-the-top") reinstallation of Windows 95 using installation files stored on the hard drive.

    GoBack
    To use Go-Back, you'd have to select from GoBack options presented as the computer is powering on. If you do not see any such options, then using GoBack doesn't sound likely.

    In-Place Reinstall of Windows 95
    1) Try getting a Windows98se bootdisk from bootdisk.com
    2) Start the computer with it
    3) From the command prompt, type the following commands in order

    A:> cd C:\Windows\Options\Cabs
    C:\Windows\Options\Cabs> setup

    If Gateway placed the Windows 95 installation files (".cab" - for 'cabinet' files) in that spot, Windows should start to re-install itself. If it asks which directory to install in, make sure to choose C:\Windows and NOT C:\Windows.000 [I haven't reinstalled Windows 95 in quite some time, so it's possible you will first have to choose "Other" before you can put in the correct C:\Windows destination folder]."

    per; http://www.techsupportforum.com/mic...rt/205229-win95-missing-operating-system.html
     
  5. Cowabunga

    Cowabunga TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have the Windows 95 disk.

    There is not a GoBack option on boot up.

    I get the message "invalid drive specifications" when I use the path
    A:\> cd C:\Windows\Options\Cabs

    I'm using a Windows 95 boot disk I got from bootsdisk.com.
     
  6. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

  7. Cowabunga

    Cowabunga TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I tried the method at putergeek.com and the first step in his preferred method where you input "fdisk /mbr", I get the message "The mater boot code has NOT been updated"

    The root problem is getting a command to recognize the hard disk. I'm afraid I wiped all the system files from it. Running Scandisk returns the message "ScanDisk cannot examine drive C." Running Chkdsk returns the message "invalid drive specification".
     
  8. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    Your mobo doesn't appear to be seeing the drive then. Is the CMOS battery functional?
     
  9. Cowabunga

    Cowabunga TS Rookie Topic Starter

    How do I know that? I do see the correct time and date in the Bios utility.

    What is mobo?
     
  10. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

  11. Cowabunga

    Cowabunga TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I've checked the ribbon cable and power cable. When I type FDisk or ScanDisk, I can hear the HD spin.
     
  12. Nigitnut

    Nigitnut TS Rookie

    Sounds to me like the harddrive is faulty, put another bigger one in, 4gb is a bit small anyway, one about 10gb will be better. Look at the jumpers near the ide connector to make sure it is set to master. On the top of the harddrive there will be a diagram telling you which pins the jumper needs to be on, usually the two nearest the ide cable.
     
  13. Cowabunga

    Cowabunga TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The hard drive might be toast. I did contact Western Digital, the maker of the HD, about a possible solution and have not heard from them yet. I was wondering if a low level format might work that writes all zeros. I haven't given up yet.

    CCT; I read the link and it all sounds great but I did not use the method where he starts out making a boot disk and using the format c: /s from the floppy. I'm afraid I used the wrong method to format C: and now I no command will recognize there is a hard drive even though the Bios says there's one there.
     
  14. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    Not much else I can offer - get another small drive if you think the rest of the cvomp is useful for something.
     
  15. Cowabunga

    Cowabunga TS Rookie Topic Starter

    What is cvomp short for?
     
  16. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    'cvomp' is short for computer with a 'v' stuck in there because I can't type worth a darn!
     
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