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Please help! Scandisk problem

Discussion in 'Earlier Versions of Windows' started by swortega, Oct 15, 2003.

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  1. swortega

    swortega Thread Starter

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    Hello! I am on Win ME. Right now my computer is running fine , but I have having a problem with scandisk. When I try to run scandisk I have an error telling me that scandisk cannot continue because another utility has locked the drive. I did some research and found this could be caused by my Norton Systemworks. I found this at http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=286810. Apparently my FAT is messed up...whatever that is. Obviously, I am not very good with these things.

    I tried to follow the instructions of the fix, but it didn't work. It just said that my drive was damaged and couldn't repair it. I spoke to Dell support, and they said I just had to reformat my drive & reinstall Windows. I don't want to do that unless that is absolutely necessary( needless to say). A friend suggested I do a dirty install of Windows, but when I try it says there is not enough dedicated memory to do it. I have uninstalled Norton--didn't help. Can anyone help with either fixing the memory thing so I can do the dirty install or tell me something else to do to fix the FAT file? I welcome any suggestion. I do have another computer in the house running ME...could I copy the FAT file from it and replace mine? Help! Please! Please feel free to email me if you have suggestions or need info.
    Thank you!
     
  2. griffinspc

    griffinspc

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    Can you run scandisk in safe mode or at a command prompt and welcome to the board?
     
  3. NiteHawk

    NiteHawk

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    FAT stands for File Allocation Table. It keeps track of where on the HD every file resides. In some ways, think of it as the card catalog in a library that tells you where everything is.

    You may want to read this to help you understand how scandisk works, and in a few cases, some of the problems it may cause.

    http://users.iafrica.com/c/cq/cquirke/scandisk.htm
     
  4. swortega

    swortega Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the responses! No, it still won't run in safe mode. At the command prompt, if I type in scandisk it will ask if I want to run it....then once it starts it stops and says that it has errors. If I tell it "yes" fix the errors it tries then says it can't. It gives some long explanation that there are errors that can't be fixed or the drive may be about to fail. I assume that since the computer works fine except for the scandisk, that the file is just too corrupted? In a related matter or nonrelated(since I don't know how this FAT problem is affecting other things), my Outlook Express has just started doing something strange. If I look at an email in HTML that has a link & I click on it, it just sits there. The link isn't working--it used to until recently. Is there something I can do?

    I really appreciate the info on the FAT & all the help!!!
     
  5. NiteHawk

    NiteHawk

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    Can you give us an example of some of the problems it is finding and "can't fix"?
     
  6. griffinspc

    griffinspc

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    The first thing I'd advise you to do is back up to floppys if necessary, all your important files. I mean, don't pass go don't collect $200.00, now.

    2nd, do you know the manufacturer of the drive, i.e., Western Digital Caviar or another. If you can get the info on the drive you can go to their site and download a drive diagnostic. It will be tuned specifically for your drive and will perform a series of tests to determine if it's failing or healthy.

    Another simple diagnostic, do you hear any grinding noises from the drive, high pitched whines, anything??

    Remember, backup anything immportant to floppy, zip or tape. Burn the files if you have a CD-RW.
     
  7. swortega

    swortega Thread Starter

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    Actually, the hard drive failed in the other Dell WIN ME I have about 6 mo ago & I had to replace it--luckily that one is my son's now so it didn't have anything really important on it. I did have some signs that that one was dying, but with the one I have now I don't have any signs at all. If I hadn't tried to run Scandisk the other day just as a routine thing I wouldn't have known anything was wrong. When I spoke to dell, they had me do a test and it passed. If this can't be fixed without formatting the drive, I am thinking about having a second hard drive installed and copying everything from my current hard drive (C:\)to the new one. The computer place near me said they can do a data transfer. If I did that do you know what would be involved--would I have to reinstall all my drivers, programs, etc or would they just be moved over? Then I could reformat the drive I have now & reinstall WIN ME...& if that didn't work, get rid of it?

    Thanks!
     
  8. griffinspc

    griffinspc

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    This is strange. I've had, over the years, a half dozen machines, a few with 2 drives and only once have I had a hard drive fail and it was about 6 years old. I run over 30 machines at work and in %^$ years have had maybe 2 drives fail and believe me they were used.

    What test did Dell have you run?

    If the drive's bad formatting won't do a thing for you. I'd still recommend getting the drive manufacturer's own diagnostic download. They're quick and easy and accurate.

    If you install a second drive and copy everything to it, it will be a backup of all your files but not a bootable "C" drive in an emergency.

    You can do the data transfer yourself without paying the shop once the drives installed. You can even install a second drive yourself, it's not difficult. We here can help you with it or point you to a written set of instructions.
     
  9. NiteHawk

    NiteHawk

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    To find out the mfg of your HD (and a lot of other things) you can use this.
    For everything you ever wanted to know about your PC, and them some.
    Download the Enterprise System Information version of aida32.exe
    http://www.aida32.hu/aida-download.php?bit=32
     
  10. griffinspc

    griffinspc

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    Something else. When I asked and you responded that you ran scandisk at a DOS prompt, did you do that in a DOS window or in DOS at boot up before loading windows? And what about NiteHawk's question?
     
  11. swortega

    swortega Thread Starter

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    I couldn't give you the steps, but basically it was a test that I got to by pressing in my power button and doing some other things. Once it ran, it said the hard drive passed. Would a corrupt FAT file really destroy a hard drive or is it a symptom of an already ailing system? If it is the whole drive then I am 2 for 2 from Dell and those aren't good odds. The microsoft article I found under my error message said that this behavior could occur whenever you have the speed disk utility from Norton System Works installed (which I do) or it could mean that the FAT table is damaged. It said that I could repair the FAT by restarting the computer in DOS & using the WIN ME emergency boot disk(Dell said to use the resource CD not the WIN ME install disk), type
    scandisk at the command prompt & press enter, then I should see the message "The file allocation table FATs on the disk drive do not match. Scandisk has determined that copy 1 is the best copy. If you choose to fix it, scandisk will replace copy 2 of FAT with copy 1." Then it says to press Y for yes & it will get fixed. When I tried, it didn't come up with that message at all. I really wish I knew more about computers and the way they operate!
    I'm sorry to be such a nuisence.

    So, do you mean that if the FAT is corrupt, reformatting and reinstalling ME wouldn't help or do you mean that it would should that be the only problem but you think it might be the hard drive dying? I will have to call Dell & see who made the hard drive & see if I can download the diagnostics as you suggest.
     
  12. swortega

    swortega Thread Starter

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    I just downloaded NiteHawk's suggested Enterprise software...where do I need to look to see who makes the hard drive, etc? And thanks!
     
  13. griffinspc

    griffinspc

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    No, a corrupt FAT has nothing to do with the physical drive and you're not a nuisence.

    You can use AIDA32 as NiteHawk suggested to find the drive model then go to thjeir site and download the diagnostic tool but I have a feeling it's not your drive. I think you may have some file irregularities being reported such as free space size, boot sector locations, etc.

    This all could be caused by Norton Systemworks rearranging your file clusters and not completing the task. Sorry, another term you're probably not familiar with.
     
  14. swortega

    swortega Thread Starter

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    I did uninstall Norton and reinstall, but it didn't fix it. I really do think it is a corrupt FAT and not the drive dying....simply because I have none of the signs I had with the other one and other than scandisk not working everything else is fine. So in that case, if I did reformat the drive & reinstall ME it would be fixed since reformatting would wipe the corrupt info away and the reinstall would put a brand new one on?
     
  15. griffinspc

    griffinspc

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    Yes but that will mean re-installing everything from scratch. Have you run Norton Disk doctor?
     
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