Slave Hardrive Showing Up As Strange Symbols In BIOS

By mrdude
Jan 15, 2005
  1. Hello Everyone.

    I have a new laptop and was trying to transfer files over when I decided that using the old computer's internal Western Digital hardrive with an enclosure case would be a better idea because 1. I don't want to overload my laptop hardrive with my old "junk." and 2. I have more files on the old Western Digital than can fit on the laptop's hardrive. This will work only if I don't have to reformat the hardrive for Windows XP as the new laptop is a Windows XP system and the old tower is Windows 98 SE. Do I have to format the hardrive and delete all of the information on it to be able to use it with Windows XP?

    If I do eventually go with the external hardrive enclosure plan, (which probably will not work as it is due to the different ways that Windows 98 SE and XP manage their files, right?), I still want the old tower to be able to work. For that I have an older Maxtor that was used with the tower until the Western Digital was installed. Now, however, the Maxtor will not show up within the Windows 98 SE device manager or within Partition Magic. In the Windows 98 device manager I see that under Hard disk controllers there is an exclamation point beside Secondary IDE controller (dual fifo). Sometimes the Maxtor will show up in the BIOS as strange symbols, then sometimes it refuses to show up at all. I am trying to start the old tower up as Primary: Western Digital Hard Drive, Secondary: Maxtor Hard Drive/Toshiba DVD-ROM. I have also tried disconnecting the Western Digital and installing Windows 98 SE/formatting the Maxtor with Window's own utility, but I received an error. Would using Maxtor's PowerMax diagnostic program help? I am trying to run it... but it refuses to install to any of my floppies in the A:\ drive in the tower. The laptop doesn't have a floppy drive. I thought that I could run the program on the laptop and burn the PowerMax files to cd and access them in DOS, but the program is written so that it only writes to a floppy disk.

    Any advice that you guys could give is appreciated.
  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    That's a lot of questions you have there.
    That W98 disk can be read/written to by XP without problems. XP is probably in NTFS format, and W98 is FAT32. W98 can NOT read NTFS, unless over a network.
    So yes, you can put that W98 disk in an external USB/Firewire case, whatever your laptop has.

    For the Maxtor to work in the tower (as Master on the first IDE-channel), you have to set its first partition to Primary and make it the Active partition as well (using FDisk or Partition Magic).
  3. mrdude

    mrdude TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I can't seem to get the Maxtor to work right. Neither of the hardrives have jumpers. Is it possible to configure them in some software way to select their jumpers? It seems that the Maxtor is by default (without any jumpers) set to slave. I eventually got the BIOS/Windows to recognize the Maxtor as Secondary Slave and the Toshiba as Primary Slave. Windows formated the drive, but when I tried to install Windows I got an error on C:\ from ScanDisk... ScanDisk cannot read from the last cluster on drive C. This cluster is either damaged, or your system is not configured properly... I have also tried running a debug script from the Windows 98 SE disk. Will debug run from the setup disk? I don't have a "startup" disk. puke:
  4. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Every HD has jumpers (or 6-8 pins to be jumpered), normally between the wide IDE-connection and the POWER connection. On older models these jumpers are very tiny, almost ant-size on the bottom of the HD. Look for imprints on the circuitboard such as CS, MS, SL near one another.
    Give us the exact make/type/modelnumber of these HDs.

    You need a primary, active partition of no more than 2GB for W98 and all its programs. Create an extended partition for the rest of the HD-space, and divide that in partitions of about 10GB each. Use FDISK for this. All partitions should be formatted in FAT32.

    Go to to get the files/images to make a W98 bootdisk.
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