Operating system missing!!

By DoomsD ยท 13 replies
Dec 5, 2003
  1. I was happily uninstalling norton anitvirus when the screen turned blue and said "write error to hard disc". So i restarted the laptop and it went through the BIOS and then it just says "opperating system missing".

    Does anyone have any ideas. they would be greatly appreaciated.

  2. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    I have no idea at all what happened with that, but i do know that 'No operating system' means exactly what it says. It's what happens when you boot a computer and there's nothing on the hard disk and no system disk in the floppy drive. What OS is supposed to be there? Also, check that it is still looking for the hard drive as a boot device in your BIOS. I wouldn't decide to re-install yet just on my say so though. You may not need to!
  3. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    Of course, that is always the last solution. Even if you reinstall the problem could still be there at a different level and can cause problems again and again.

    Try booting with a DOS boot disk and see if you can't find the data on the partition. You could also try using your Windows CD and rolling back to a previous saved version before you tried to install norton.
  4. DoomsD

    DoomsD TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It was windows ME. and yes it still is looking for the hard drive and the BIOS does detect one.
    Anything else it could be?
  5. DoomsD

    DoomsD TS Rookie Topic Starter

    if i boot with the dos disk it says that "c:\ isnt valid abort, retry, fail" and i never had the windows me disc.
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    If this does not fix it, then your system is toast.

    1.) Create a bootable Windows Me startup diskette

    2.) Boot from the diskette and wait for command prompt to appear

    3.) Type in sys C:

    4.) Type in fdisk /mbr

    If it fixes it, good for you! If not, then you have a larger problem on your hands. I would also investigate the cause. Many times errors like these are produced by bad hard disks or other bad hardware which may need to be replaced.
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Sounds like your partition table is damaged. Once again, possibly due to a failing hard drive or perhaps software problems. Try running scandisk from the Windows Me startup diskette.

    1.) Type in scandisk C:

    You may also want to perform a bad sector scan, which can be done like this

    2.) Type in scandisk /surface
  8. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    I am with Rick. I think if you run a scandisk on the partition, it will fix the errors and your HDD will become bootable again.
  9. DoomsD

    DoomsD TS Rookie Topic Starter

    how can i create a Win ME boot disk without Win ME?
  10. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

  11. DoomsD

    DoomsD TS Rookie Topic Starter

    i booted from the disk and then when i typed "sys C:" it says

    "invalid media type reading drive c:

    when i run scandisk the program loads but ehn it gives me the message

    "scandisk can not examnie drive C:"

    and all i can do is press enter and it takes me to DOS again.

    anything else I can try or do i just have to reinstall win XP and face the fact that ive lost all the data?
  12. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    I don't have the confidence to say for definate, so please wait for sombody else to confirm (I hate the idea of causeing somebody to loose data), but It sounds to me like your OS partition has been deleted, leaving it's contents and format/file stucture unreadable.
  13. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Most likely not deleted, but close enough that it is unreadable (and very badly at that).

    You will need to find a way to fix the the partition structure. Perhaps someone here can direct you towards a good program which can restore such a badly damaged storage volume.

    I suggest using a decent disk utility to find out if your drive is physically good or not before you continue to spend effort towards getting your data back. You can find such utilities here:

    If your disk is physically bad, it is possible to recover bad sectors with HDD Regen ($30) and there is a small chance that it may fix your partition when it recovers these sectors.

    If you do not have bad sectors, then your problem is due to software (perhaps a virus, or Windows choked on itself etc..), or bad hardware (memory, IDE cable, motherboard...). It is more likely to be software than hardware, however.

    You can use a data recovery tool to recover lost files. Many good data recovery utilites ignore the partition table and search for files by reading the raw data of your drive. The odds of getting anything back larger than a word document or picture is usually not in your favor though. But may be worth a shot if your data is really important to you. They are available for DOS and Windows.

    Also, you'll have to contend with the fact you have a laptop. This means your only way to backup your data is by floppy or perhaps zip/super drive. Not having Windows will make it that much harder since you'll have do this all via DOS through the command line.

    I don't expect you to have one, but there are laptop drive to desktop drive adapters which allow you to remove your hard drive from your laptop and place it as a slave or master in your desktop system. You can buy them on eBay for about $5. If you can successfully take out your hard drive (many laptops make it very easy) and get one of these adapters, then you can install your laptop drive in a desktop and work on it from there. This gives you much more flexibility and would make it much easier to deal with.

    Just some suggestions.
  14. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Oh, and hey.. Here's something I'd like you to try.


    Download the freeware version of Active @ Partition Recovery and try it out. It will not let you recover files unless you buy the full version, but it will list files that is sees on your partition though. It is made for deleted partitions and works quite well, but maybe it will work in your case too.

    They also have Uneraser for DOS, which you may have some interest in.
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