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Solved: Hard Disk issue similar to "Help! Broken Hard disk" Thread

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Greg Bruce, Jul 25, 2005.

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  1. Greg Bruce

    Greg Bruce Thread Starter

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    I will try to keep this as brief as possible and yet give you wise and wonderful tech persons all the information you need to help me out. I am intelligent, but NOT a super-user.

    I have an e-machines desktop computer. It is old. A Cyrix MII 266 processor with upgraded memory. I have a 10gb Maxtor hard drive which is the issue at hand. I am running Win2000. My home computer (the e-machine desktop) is networked through a router with my printer and my business laptop.

    The problem: Win2000 loads and boots. It LOOKS like it's functioning properly. However, it cannot read any of the files on the disk. When I try, it tells me C: is inaccessible. I can't search, explore, etc. The files are "non-existent."

    I managed to get Windows to create a backup of it and saved that file to my Laptop. I can only "assume" that it actually backed up ALL the files on the drive so they are safe.

    One really ODD thing you should know is that I cannot get into the BIOS. When it boots and usually gives you that second or two to hit [F2] and enter setup ... doesn't do that any more. I sit and hold the F2 key. Nope. I've second-guessed myself and tried the ESC key and the F1 key. I've tried it with and without the CTRL key. Nothing. So I can't even tell the silly thing to boot from the CD instead, load onto my D: backup drive and then kill the C: drive. It's like it's possessed.

    Things I've already tried (not necessarily in this order):
    1. I got a paging error while booting, so I followed the directions to increase my virtual memory ... it says there are zero (0) MB of data available on my C: drive -- maxed out or non-existent, I can't tell -- but it wouldn't allow the change. Not enough space.

    2. Disk Management: it says there are no appropriate partitions (however it still boots??????) I don't get that.

    3. After frustration set in and finally getting what I hope will be a good backup, I tried to re-format the disk so I could reload Win2000 from the CD. It would not re-format. Sometimes it said C: was inaccessible and sometimes it said the volume was already in use. No reformatting.

    4. I booted into safe mode in Command version. It wouldn't read C:. Inaccessible.

    5. I tried to boot from the CD and reload Win2000 over the existing. The volume is in use. I tried to boot from the CD and completely wipe out the disk and re-install. Wouldn't do it.

    6. I tried to simply delete all the data. Inaccessible.

    7. I've plugged and replugged the cables and swapped them around to make sure it isn't them. Still a problem.

    8. In Safe Mode with Command screen, it defaults to c:/documents and settings/administrator. I can change the directory to c:/documents and settings but no lower than that. When I try to get a directory list it is inaccessible.

    9. I tried to repartition it. Inaccessible.

    How can it boot and run Win2000 with networking and have zero disk space? I would like to retrieve all the data on there and "fix" the drive and go on with life. However, I am willing to trust the backup I made for the miscellaneous files I don't back up regularly (quicken & some others are backed up regularly on my extra drive so they're okay). Is that backup going to be worthless all things considered?

    I think that covers it. I'll amend this post if I think of anything else you might need to know. Thank you in advance. I have not been out here for some time, but in the past you have been really helpful. Thank you!!!

    Greg
     
  2. Dick1038

    Dick1038

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    Does your PC have a floppy drive? If it does, make a rescue disk on your laptop. Try booting the PC with this floppy. Try some DOS commands, like, dir C:, to see if the directory is still there. You can do a format c: also.
     
  3. Greg Bruce

    Greg Bruce Thread Starter

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    My laptop does not have a floppy drive. I've been in Command mode and dir C: comes up inaccessible. The default path is c:/documents and settings/administrator If I go any lower than that on the tree it says it is inaccessible.

    Since I cannot get to the BIOS setup on that computer I cannot force it to boot from the CD (which I have for Win2000) nor a rescue disk in A:. The boot order is Hard Drive first.

    Thanks for your help, Dick. I appreciate it A LOT, but unless I'm misunderstanding something in your instructions, The Computer has trumped me in these attempts.
     
  4. Dick1038

    Dick1038

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    Try Plan B: See if any of your friends have an older computer with a floppy drive and which is running Windows 98 or ME and using FAT32. These can make a rescue disk. I booted my XP machine using the rescue disk for my wife's ME machine. A dir C: command produced a limited listing of DOS compatilble files.

    It's also possible that you have a virus.
     
  5. axis77

    axis77

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    this could be a long shot but how about right clicking the c drive and select properties and then select the security tab and verfiy that who ever your suppose to be logged in as is not denied in the check boxes., I had someone do this when they thought there drive was being shared so they denied everyone the access to the drive...
     
  6. Greg Bruce

    Greg Bruce Thread Starter

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    Axis ... Thanks. Been there and tried that. I gave Admin, myself and my three still at home kids all 100% full control. No help. I've tried to log in as any and ... wait. I've only logged in as Administrator. But now that they all have full access ... I think I'll try logging in as one of them. It's worth a shot.

    Dick1038 ... I happen to have an old Pentium I machine which is running 98. I think I'll fire it up and see if I can make a rescue disk. But I can't force it to boot from A: I can't change the boot order. I can't get into BIOS setup. It won't ever see A: to boot from will it???
     
  7. Greg Bruce

    Greg Bruce Thread Starter

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    Axis ... I was able to log in as one of the kids and actually see C:. I copied off a couple of the really important files (Quicken, etc.). That was a good idea to try to log in as one of the other users. The Admin login is still not working. Can't see C: or do anything.

    Bottom line? I got the main file off the disk I was needing. There are some things I will have to re-create when needed, but now I would just like to format C:, get it cleaned up and re-install Win2000. Any ideas on how to FORCE C: to format? Everything I've tried just says C: is inaccessible.

    Dick1038 ... Can I force my machine to boot from something other than C: if I can't open the BIOS setup? Right now it sees C: first and boots from that. Any ideas?

    Thanks everyone!
     
  8. hartbeatmr

    hartbeatmr

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
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    Hi Greg Bruse

    OK, you most likely did this but do a scan disk and defrag.
    Then try doing SFC this might fix it. (You will need the OS CD to do this)

    Is the "C" drive full or almost like 95-98% if so windows doesnÂ’t like be full it gets real grumpy :(

    You might have adaware / virus on your system also.
    If you can get online with it you can do a scan online with trendmicro and use there housecalls to do a FULL system scan.
    You can also use from lavasoft "adaware" it is free for personal use.
    You can also use from grisoft "AVG" it is a great free antivirus for personal use.

    let me know how you make out.
    hartbeatmr :D
     
  9. Dick1038

    Dick1038

    Joined:
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    Every machine I've worked with has the BIOS set up to try to boot from A: first as default. The CD-ROM is second, then C: is last. If the e-machine has a floppy drive, it should attempt to boot from A: first. The machine may have come with a bootable, installation CD-ROM.

    If you know the brand of the HD, you should go to the manufacturer's website. They should have downloadable HD installation software, including some for a bootable floppy. I bought a Maxtor HD and installed it as a second drive on my Dell. I used software called Maxblast 4 for Windows to format and partition the new drive.

    Do you know how to make a rescue disk? Look in the Explorer Help menu and search for "rescue" or "boot".

    My wife's first computer was an e-machine. I tried to do some upgrades and was unsuccesful. I eventually got rid of it out of frustration. So, I bought he an HP 7855. Can one every go wrong buying an HP product? Well, the BIOS on it cannot be accessed on it either. A few months ago, I decided to upgrade the memory to 512M. The machine has a 133MHz bus but the memory card was a PC100. PC100 cards are twice as expensive as PC133's. I bought a generic PC133 card from Amazon. It wouldn't work. I contacted HP tech support. They said I could only use PC100 cards. I went to Memory Giant's website. They recommended their PC133 and guarranteed it would work. So, I took a chance and it did indeed work.

    P.S. I saw a segment on TV recommending that kids not use the parents computer for web access. They tend to be careless on what they download and sometimes bring in viruses, trojans and adware.
     
  10. ~Candy~

    ~Candy~ Retired Administrator

    Joined:
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    Hi there Greg, thanks for the email.

    Did you try the TAB key to access the bios setup? Also, try the DEL key.
     
  11. Greg Bruce

    Greg Bruce Thread Starter

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    My success with this issue is mixed, however I am supremely happy with the final result:

    I rescued the absolutely vital files from my dead/dyng harddrive. I went to Fry's Electronics, bought a motherboard, a CPU, a new HDD & memory. I proceeded to put it all together and it works great ... the best part is that it is NO LONGER an e-machine and loaded my programs first try with no hitches. I am just about ready to put the cover on the box and let my kids run rampant once again (and no, it wasn't something they did that messed it up). The old dead HDD is currently in the freezer taking a much needed rest (a post I read ... couldn't hurt to try to retrieve a few of those odd files that i would like back).

    I am contented with the final solution and have a much better machine. AKACandy, your suggestion about the DEL key got me into the BIOS so I could make a rescue disk and get some of those files back. Actually, I read somewhere that if I mess up the EVERYONE permissions I could get exactly what I was dealing with so I'm going to hook up the old HDD and see if that makes a difference. If not, it's a sledge-hammer for it!!!!

    THANK YOU everyone for your help and input. I apprecieate it.
     
  12. ~Candy~

    ~Candy~ Retired Administrator

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    Great! Thanks for the follow up report.

    Don't leave it in the freezer too long, hopefully it's in a zip lock baggie too, not just sitting in there :eek:

    :)
     
  13. jiml8

    jiml8 Guest

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    LOL. I learned that trick years ago. It actually works...sometimes.

    I do believe it was my post you saw; I hope you are one of the "sometimes".
     
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