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"disk write error. unable to write to disk in drive C:"

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by jakearcher, Apr 1, 2002.

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  1. jakearcher

    jakearcher Thread Starter

    Apr 1, 2002
    I have recently upgraded one of my PC's to Win 98 SE and ever since then it
    has locked up regularly. It's very frustrating. It seems to happen
    whenever it wants and it is almost every time the PC is on for more than a
    1/2 hour or so. The keyboard and mouse will stop responding and the cursor
    just blinks for a little while then eventually the screen goes to blue
    screen and shows an error that says "Disk Write Error. Unable to write to
    disk in drive C: Data or files may be lost. Press any key to continue." I
    can press any and all keys and nothing happens. I always end up powering
    down. I went to Technet on Microsoft and I found the exact error in the
    knowledge base. However, it mentions that this is caused by use of an
    EherFast network card. This PC is standalone and not networked at all and
    there are no legacy cards in it at all. What else could possibly be causing
    this error? Any help is most appreciated. This is really frustrating.

    Thanks In Advance
  2. ~Candy~

    ~Candy~ Retired Administrator

    Jan 27, 2001
    Hi jakearcher, welcome to TSG.

    Do you have to leave the computer off for a bit before you restart it? Or will it power right back up again?

    Also can you post your IRQ listing?
    Start button, run, then type msinfo32 and press ok....go to hardware, IRQs, edit, select all, edit, copy and come back and paste.
  3. jakearcher

    jakearcher Thread Starter

    Apr 1, 2002
    ACACandy, Hi. Here's what you wanted. To answer your 1st question, I can turn it back on most of the time, but sometimes I do need to let it set awhile. I've also noticed that it seems to do this more often when I'm online. Strange, huh? Heres the IRQ list:

    0 System timer
    1 Standard 101/102-Key or Microsoft Natural Keyboard
    2 Programmable interrupt controller
    3 Communications Port (COM2)
    4 Communications Port (COM1)
    5 Crystal PnP Audio System CODEC
    6 Standard Floppy Disk Controller
    7 Printer Port (LPT1)
    8 System CMOS/real time clock
    9 SupraMax 56i Voice PCI
    10 Crystal PnP Audio System MPU-401 Compatible
    11 Creative SB Live! Value
    11 SUP2750 PCI Modem Enumerator
    11 Intel 82371AB/EB PCI to USB Universal Host Controller
    11 Diamond Viper V770 for Windows 98
    11 IRQ Holder for PCI Steering
    11 IRQ Holder for PCI Steering
    11 IRQ Holder for PCI Steering
    12 GamingMouse (PS/2)
    13 Numeric data processor
    14 Primary IDE controller (dual fifo)
    14 Intel 82371AB/EB PCI Bus Master IDE Controller
    15 Secondary IDE controller (dual fifo)
    15 Intel 82371AB/EB PCI Bus Master IDE Controller
  4. ~Candy~

    ~Candy~ Retired Administrator

    Jan 27, 2001
    Well, you have a bunch of stuff on IRQ 11.....but I think I'm more concerned that you need to leave the computer off for awhile (to cool down?) before you can restart.....can you take a look inside to be sure the fan ontop of the cpu is working, also does the interior seem really warm?
  5. MikeFaraday


    Feb 21, 2001
    I'm having the same problem with a PC that I'm trying to fix for a friend's mother. It's really tricky to try and pin it down as it seems to be doing ti so intermittantly and, of course, never when I'm there. ;)
    Her problem doesn't appear to be related to heat, which was my first idea for the very reasons that AcaCandy is suggesting, but there's no fan on the cpu and the one that's ducted from the power supply is working fine.
    It seems to be caused when she writes to either the floppy or the Zip drive, either directly from Word or something similar or by copying from C: in Explorer.
    I did find another suggestion on the Net that it might be a corrupted swap file. I deleted hers and had Windows build a new one but the problem, while seemingly reduced, is still there.

    jakearcher, is your problem related to the floppy drive at all? Are you doing anything in particular when your machine shows the error?
  6. jakearcher

    jakearcher Thread Starter

    Apr 1, 2002
    All, Sorry I haven't responded sooner. I've been working crazy hours lately. Here's what I've done:

    -I have checked and reseated all cards, memory, power plugs, processor, etc.
    -I have checked and verified that all fans (including the on processsor fan) are working fine.
    -I have also replaced the keyboard and mouse (thinking it may be related to faulty input devices)
    -I have run a thorough ScanDisk and defragged the drive several times (very time consuming!) and come up with zero errors and zero bad sectors

    As with Mike, the error seems to appear whenever it wants. It can happen even if I've never accessed the floppy drive. For awhile I thought it was related to working on the 'net while dialed in. Lately I've disproved that theory because it's happened several times when I have not dialed in at all. It can happen when my kids are playing an intense 3D game or while doing something as simple as typing a letter. The one thing I can get from this, is that it never happens quickly. The PC can be on for as long as an hour or more sometimes before this happens. I recv'd one e-mail from another tech friend stating that he's "sure my hard drive is bad". I don't agree with that, but I'm still at a loss for what is causing this. Could it be an outdated bios or a hardware incompatibility? I checked on Microsoft's site and I'm pretty sure my exact HD is on the HCL so I'm not sure about that either. What makes it even more curious is that you can find the EXACT error message on Microsofts TechNet, but it has some really erroneous fix related to network cards. I just don't get it. I don't want to, but I'm really tempted to take my friends advice and suck up the cost of a new HD. Anymore info would be appreciated.

  7. ~Candy~

    ~Candy~ Retired Administrator

    Jan 27, 2001
    What brand is the hard drive? Most have utilities on their websites that you can download that will indicate if it is about to fail........
  8. Slithy Tove

    Slithy Tove Guest

    Your diagnostics seem pretty thorough, but I did not see a reference to a virus scan. Whenever I encounter strange behavior that is the very first possibility I try to eliminate.
  9. Nick Scott

    Nick Scott

    Dec 11, 2001
    Before you shell out for a new hard drive check out that it really is bad before you spend money on something which, as you have said, seems a remote possibility.

    Download data advisor from here


    Make the boot floppy and test the drive.

    BTW, Slithy T's suggestion is very valid. Random lockups and errors are often caused by viruses.

    Also how are your internal components situated? Look at air flow and ventilation. Is there enough room for air to flow between CD and HD, or between floppy drive and HD. If not consider moving your devices to bays that have one free space between them, especially the HD. Make sure that the air vents aren't clogged with dust and/or hair. Lightly brush over the mobo with a soft brush. All these things may not seem like much, but you'd be amazed what results seemingly small things can sometimes achieve.

    One last thing. The error you are getting sounds slightly weird. "Unable to write to disk in drive C" makes it sound like Windows thinks that C is a removable drive (not Drive C, but disk in drive C?). Check in device manager under hard disks that the "removable disk" setting isn't ticked by mistake.
  10. Jedi_Master


    Mar 12, 2002
    I had a similar problem when I built the pc that I am currently using, had numerous GPF's for no reason even had them while the screen saver was running. The problem ended up being a bad memory chip.
  11. Rick1953


    Feb 15, 2002
    Check your memory with this program. Or you can check your overall system with Sandra.
  12. Slithy Tove

    Slithy Tove Guest

    Rick- I took your link to give it a try. I discovered...

    System Requirements: Win3.1, Win 95/98 only
    Software optimized for: Intel CPU and AMI BIOS
    Compressed File Size: 201 KB or 271 KB
    Software version: V1.45a - 05/31/00 or V2.0 - 08/20/01

    Any additional info ?
  13. jakearcher

    jakearcher Thread Starter

    Apr 1, 2002
    all, great suggestions. I tried ALL of them as follows:
    -performed multiple scans with my Norton AV 2002 (latest virus def files). No viruses found.
    -downloaded the HD tester from the IBM site. Passed all tests.
    -performed a quick test and an over 18 hour burn in test on the memory. Over 100 loop tests. All passed.
    -Datacenter 5 was downloaded, but would not execute. Something about a bad command interpreter (command.com). I'm not going to try and troubleshoot downloads right now.
    -The "Removable Disk" box was NOT selected in the device manager.
    -Sandra is quite an impressive program. Ran system diag's with that program and the only significat issue raised was that I need to upgrade the bios.

    I'm going to try that next, but I gotta' tell you, nothing is failing any of these tests and this stupid PC is still doing the "Zombie lock" dance on me. I guess it's the bios or I start spending some cash.

    Thx all.
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