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Can't get Windows going, and my hard drive is speaking in tongues...

Discussion in 'Earlier Versions of Windows' started by wyvie, Feb 17, 2005.

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  1. wyvie

    wyvie Thread Starter

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    Hiya! Normally I can handle most of the things my pooter chucks at me, but this one has me stumped (I've never had a harmful virus, so have no idea what I'm doing on that front). Appreciate muchly any help. :D

    Last weekend, Windows 98 se crashed, and crashed, and then crashed some more. So, I tried reinstalling, formatting my c: (but not my d: because my cdroms don't work in dos - should really put my other one in), and doing it all over again with no luck. I've done it about six times with varying results, but every time it crashes and dies within a few restarts. Usually, it claims that all sorts of system files are missing, and upon checking everything in dos, it's all in gibberish (uh, can't remember what it's called, but the smilies, and lines going in all directions - it sometimes just substitutes some letters and not others).

    Thought I might have a virus, so on one of the successful installations, I updated nortons and Windows to max, then ran a full disk scan - came up with nothing (and then died about five seconds later).

    Figuring that maybe my c: was just dying, I tried installing Windows on my d:, hiding c in the bios. That goes smoothly enough, but never loads after installation - I get a blue screen of death and some exception error. I didn't notice any gibberish on that drive at first, but it's there now, so my idea of dying hard drives just doesn't fit to me.

    I will admit that I was at a site that was quite heavily infested (I just restarted rather than put up with Nortons quarantining everything, and that was probably my downfall... shall I go put on the stupid hat now?) the night before all this happened.

    So, any thoughts? I'm going more than a bit nuts without my ol' pooter's glow to keep me warm at night. :p

    Ta!
     
  2. JSntgRvr

    JSntgRvr Moderator Malware Specialist

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    Ussually when you see special charaters in MSDOS means the hard drive has gone thru an inminent failure. Run ScanDisk in MSDOS and let us know the results.
     
  3. wyvie

    wyvie Thread Starter

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    Forgot to mention the scandisks. Probably because it was scary. Can't sleep, scandisk will eat me...

    First time I ran them, came up fine. Then it would keep coming up with a different error - size incorrectly reported, files badly named (they were in gibberish, after all), bad sectors. D: was fine whenever I was trying to run windows on C:, but once I hid c: and tried to install on d:, the same thing happened after a bit.

    I reformatted c: yesterday, for the upteenth time, with the idea of sticking in my spare cdrom and installing from that. Scandisk ran swimmingly, not an error to be seen... Too bad the cdrom doesn't work in Dos. Got three, and none of 'em do! Actually thinking it might be my startup disk (but that still won't help me if I've got something that a format won't get rid of).

    I stuck a few files from a floppy onto c: to see how that goes, whether the filenames turn gibberish or not. I reset a few times and wandered around to see if that did anything, but when I left it, all was well.

    I'm a bit terrified to stick my drive in someone else's pooter to copy over the win98 files in case I do have some virus that Nortons doesn't pick up. Especially when the people whose computers I can use come to me for their tech support!

    So, it only sounds like hard drive failure so far? (Aside from the fact that my d: is doing it too) Thanks, by the way. :eek:
     
  4. JSntgRvr

    JSntgRvr Moderator Malware Specialist

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    That's what it is. Had a similar case recently. The hard drive lost the ability to read and write and need to be replaced due to a corupted FAT partition. In fact, if the volume label also reflects gibberish characters, you will not be able to repartition the disk drive.

    I can't tell you if all this was due to a virus, and if whether or not may affect someone else's computer. All I know is that in order to backup those important files, is the only way.

    Run the following commands in MSDOS:

    Fdisk /mbr --> this will eliminate any Boot Record Virus if present.
    Fdisk

    After running the last command you will be presented with the following:

    The first screen you will see will ask you - Do you wish to enable large disk support?

    Press Y and then press Enter. This will enable the FAT32 file system

    After you press Enter, the following fdisk Options menu is displayed:

    1. Create DOS partition or Logical DOS Drive
    2, Set active partition
    3. Delete partition or Logical DOS Drive
    4. Display partition information
    5, Change current fixed disk drive

    **Note** that the 5th option is available only if you have two physical hard disks in the computer.

    Select 4 (Display partition information )

    You will be provided with information about the partitions in the disk drive. If the Volume Label contains gibberish characters, you wont be able to repartition or reinstall the operating System in this disk drive.

    I wont push you to backup your data, but this disk drive appears to be bad and should be replaced.

    You mention a D:drive. Is this a secondary hard drive or a logical partition?
     
  5. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

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    When my HP N5495 computer started displaying gibberish in white letters on a black background during startup, I wound up having to replace the hard drive. The repair technician advised that the platters had "gone south". :(
     
  6. wyvie

    wyvie Thread Starter

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    Oh, helpful people! Yay!

    Will definitely give all that a go, ta JSntgRvr. And yes, the d: is a physical drive, not a partition. I would've just gone instantly with the "my hard drive is dead" idea if it wasn't for d: acting funny too. I mean, it is just someone else's throwoff, but so long as it's set up right in the bios, it always worked smooth as. So, like I said - one hard drive is a failure, but two just makes me nervous.

    Thanks again for replying. I tried asking on some other forum, and some woman said "oh, it's because you don't have enough ram". I swear I wanted to slap her up the back of the head for that one. Gees! Oops - sorry, venting, venting...
     
  7. JSntgRvr

    JSntgRvr Moderator Malware Specialist

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    Provide us with the Information on both disk drives.
     
  8. wyvie

    wyvie Thread Starter

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    Well, it's a bit comforting that at least I'm typing this on my own computer this time. I reinstalled yet again, and so far it's going all right - but then it always did before for a while too. I really think we should've killed Murphy.

    By the by, c: is currently reporting no problems, and the only hitch I've had since installing this time has been my mouse refusing to admit to being there. My spare came up with teh same prob, but a good jiggle seemed to work. What's weird on that front is that a friend's computer had the same prob... Ran bitdefender last night, and came up no probs.

    The fdisk info...
    c:/d: (well, f at the moment)
    partition 1/1
    status a/a
    type pri dos/pri dos
    mbytes 7560/3032
    system fat32/fat32
    usage 100%/100%
    total space 7560/217

    Well, the d: report isn't exactly comforting. Dammit, I wish I could afford a new computer! Is it possible that it's some other hardware, like a motherboard, that might be causing things to be incorrectly reported? (Gonna go research that one right now, till my computer crashes and I have to go all big and green and destroy some stuff)

    I'm sure this is annoying for you, too. Remote troubleshooting sucks.
     
  9. JSntgRvr

    JSntgRvr Moderator Malware Specialist

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    Whats wrong with the information? When you run a command in MSDOS, your secondary hard drive will read as D:. That Same drive will read as F: in Windows, as the D: drive may be assigned to the CD_ROM. There is nothing wrong with that.
     
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