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Solved: Invalid system disk... Windows 98 problem

Discussion in 'Earlier Versions of Windows' started by Moey, Dec 16, 2005.

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  1. Moey

    Moey Thread Starter

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    about last week my mate gave me his computer so i can lan with my computer so i came 2 install the games but i found that he had alot of junk on his computer and it was running a bit slow so i decided to format it... his computer is a hp pavilion,pretty old one.

    i formated the c: drive and after that i accidently restarted the computer..

    and ever since then i have been getting a message that says "invalid system disk, replace and press any key" so i made a few boot up disks from various sites but none of them will work... ive tried to change around the boot sequence in BIOS but it still wont work.. i dont know what to do.

    the only thing i havent done yet is made a boot up disk from another windows 98 computer because i dont have access to one and i dont know which one to make. im trying to install windows 98 Second edition.

    any help please would be appreciated i cant seem to figure out this one... :mad: :mad: :(
     
  2. sammysosa

    sammysosa

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    You can download a program to create a Win98SE bootup floppy from this website:

    http://www.onecomputerguy.com/software/win98_img.exe

    Download that program and save it to the Desktop. Put a CLEAN, preferably NEW floppy disk into the floppy drive. WARNING: ALL EXISTING DATA ON THE FLOPPY DISK WILL BE ERASED! Double-click on the win98_img.exe file, then follow the prompts to create the disk.

    Put it into the floppy drive of the defective computer, and boot from it. Once you get to the A: prompt, which will look like this: A:\>, follow the instructions provided here:

    http://www.onecomputerguy.com/install/win9x_install.htm

    If you run into trouble, post here again, and let us know exactly what type of problem you're having, or EXACTLY which error message you're seeing, and someone will help you.

    Keep us posted on your progress...
     
  3. Moey

    Moey Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the reply sammy i done what you said but still no luck...

    i made a boot disk with that program and i inserted the floppy into the defective computer then i checked that the floppy is first in list in the boot sequence in BIOS and rebooted... nothing, still same message "invalid system disk..."

    i've got a feeling it is something wrong with the A: drive because when the computer boots i can hear the cd checking but there is no sound coming from the A: drive, i know there is power because the light for it comes up but i dont think the computer even recognises or checkes the A: drive ... and another thing, i recently had to take the computer to a freiend because it was constantly beeping and he told me that the RAM was unpluuged. i got that fixed but i mention this because it i think that the A: drive might also be unplugged in some way.im not sure is there anyway to test it or check it in BIOS?

    Before i formatted the computer, when i would open My Computer the A: drive icon would take a bit longer to load then the other icons (C: D: drive etc...) but i never actually put a floppy in there any tried it...

    i really appreciate your help...
    Moey
     
  4. sammysosa

    sammysosa

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    Now that we know about the A: drive, open the CMOS Setup program again and look for a section that might be titled something similar to "Standard CMOS Features". You're looking for the screen that shows you the harddrive information, because that is most likely where the setting for the floppy drive is kept.

    Look for the "Advanced BIOS Features" section (or whatever it might be called), then look for an option (probably near the boot order settings) titled "Floppy seek at bootup", or something similar. If that setting is DISABLED, the computer will NEVER be able to boot from the floppy drive, regardless of the boot order you've chosen.

    Next, look at the back of the floppy drive and find the data cable (the one that looks like a long grey ribbon). Make sure it is FIRMLY connected to the back of the floppy drive, and that it is ALSO fully seated into the motherboard.

    See this link for a photo of a typical FDD data cable:

    http://www.pcguide.com/ref/fdd/conf_Cable.htm

    Good luck; take your time looking through the CMOS settings. Look for ANY sections that mention the A: drive, and look for a way to ENABLE the use of the A: drive, simply setting it as the first boot device is not enough. If the "Floppy seek at bootup setting is disabled, enable it, then remember to save your settings when you exit the CMOS. Reboot the system, and hope that you've solved the problem.

    Let me warn you NOT to tamper with the power connector to the floppy drive; installing it improperly can cause SERIOUS problem, including melting the wiring harness from the PSU and destruction of the floppy drive itself, among many other bad things. I've SEEN this happen, and it was not pleasant to watch. Shutting the power off when the wiring harness began to smoke and melt was a good idea, or who knows what would have happened...
     
  5. Moey

    Moey Thread Starter

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    CMOS? im not too familiar with that, please explain it...

    i checked for that setting in BIOS but i couldn't find anything like it (Floppy seek at bootup).
    In the Boot screen this is what appears:
    1.Removable Device: [Legacy Floppy]
    2.APATI CD Rom: [CD-W54E]
    3.IDE Harddrive: [QUANTUM FIREBALL1]
    4.Other Boot Device: [INT18 Device (NET]

    Boot time Diagnosis screen [Disabled]

    The only thing the BIOS says about the A: drive is that it is a Legacy Floppy and it is 1.44M, 3.5 in.

    I looked at the picture at http://www.pcguide.com/ref/fdd/conf_Cable.htm and i looked at my A: drive and it seems to be plugged in with the 3.5" Drive "A" Connector, the one immidiatly after the "Twist"...

    People have suggested to boot from the windows 98SE cd so i tried it but no luck, even when i put the CD Rom drive in 1st in Boot order. The same message comes up... :(
     
  6. Moey

    Moey Thread Starter

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    im almost certain there is something wrong with my A: drive.. is there anyway i can check to see if it's working or should i get a new one...

    i checked the cable inside the computer that connects the motherboard and the A: drive and one of the teeth on the A: drive slot is missing... would that make a difference?
     
  7. Moey

    Moey Thread Starter

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    I just tried to connect another A: drive and i got the same message so there is nothing wrong with the A: drive i have installed...

    If it isnt the A: drive what can it be???
     
  8. sammysosa

    sammysosa

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    Give us some details about the motherboard; if we know what motherboard you're using, we can probably find a user's manual to download (in .PDF format), and then we can give you more specific advice. Right now, we know nothing about the system you're working on, so no one can provide you anything except general suggestions.

    Tell us DETAILS, so we can put our heads together and get you back on the right track. Which motherboard is it? Look for printing silk-screened on the board to help identify it; tell us everything you see on the monitor when you first boot the system.

    Try this: Shut down, then HOLD DOWN the INSERT key while you turn the power on and boot the computer; that should force the computer to show you the BIOS ID string at the bottom of the monitor. Copy it down EXACTLY, and post it here.

    If that doesn't work, shut down, unplug the keyboard, then boot the system. That will force a keyboard error, and that method should reveal the BIOS ID string to you.

    Once you post details for us, someone should be able to help you get beyond this point.

    I suspect that your system has an AMI BIOS, but we need details...
     
  9. Moey

    Moey Thread Starter

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    Hey i just tried all those things u told me but they woldnt work...

    i think i got the motherboard type and ive attached a photo of what it says just before it goes to the message...

    Motherboard: VIA VT82C694X

    the A: drive is ohk so i think there is something wrong with the settings.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Bob Cerelli

    Bob Cerelli

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    Mine also has a pin missing.

    Could be a bad floppy controller on the motherboard.

    There is also a CD ROM boot image you can download at:
    http://www.onecomputerguy.com/software/win_boot.iso

    There are a lot of the DOS utilities there that don't normally get added when you make one from Win98. For example Diskcopy, Doskey, Format, More, Move, Sys, Edit, Chkdsk, Deltree, Extract, Updated Fdisk, Attrib, Label, Mem, Scandisk, Scanreg, Smartdrv and Xcopy.

    It automatically loads with support for a generic CD ROM and assigns it the drive letter of X:. So after it boots, you go to X: to run things like FDISK and FORMAT. In your case you can boot, swap CD's and start the install.

    In addition to all the other DOS utilities, the CD version also has:
    DELPART - For deleting DOS and NTFS partitions. Can delete extended NTFS partitions.
    FDISK121 - FDISK with additional options - See the documentation, and
    READNTFS - Read and Copy files on a NTFS partition.

    The CD image needs to be burned using a program that recognized ISO images.

    A small, free program to do this can be downloaded at:http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/downloads/burncdcc.zip. It is a single executalbe that is under 200k.
     
  11. sammysosa

    sammysosa

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    Well, we now know that you're working on an HP Pavilion Pentium III @ 866MHz, using an Award Medallion BIOS v6.0; thanks for posting that photo of the screen. As I've mentioned, we need details, and that information will help me a lot. Bob is trying to help you work around the problem with the floppy drive, so you can continue the OS installation, and I'm concerned about solving the problem with the floppy drive.

    Unfortunately, you've broken one of the cardinal rules of OS installation (MOST people do the same thing); you failed to boot the system with the bootup floppy BEFORE you wiped the drive. Booting from the floppy disk BEFORE you begin tests BOTH the floppy DISK and the floppy DRIVE to be SURE they function. Without knowing they both work as expected, and that you actually know how to use them, problems like this are bound to occur. Even worse, you don't know enough about setting the CMOS options to make the system boot from the floppy disk; again, setting the floppy drive to first in the boot order ISN'T always enough, as you've discovered.

    We both want to help you, so I'll continue to research the changes you need to make in the CMOS settings while Bob tries to help you continue the OS installation on the system. Some people consider the floppy disk obsolete, but I still install one in every system I build; I consider it an essential tool because optical drives can't always read the disks that are installed in them.

    Anyway, I fully realize how frustrating this is for you (we ALL know that kind of frustration; anyone who decides to work on a PC soon begins to learn just what true aggravation is). You have to be patient and logical; one way or the other, we'll get you up to speed as soon as possible, and you'll have learned a lot more about working on PCs than you probably wanted to know.

    Keep punching, Moey; you're obviously not a quitter, and I commend you for that. If I find anything that might help you resolve the floppy drive problems, I'll post it right away. In the meantime, you might want to create a bootable CD as Bob has suggested. I'm sure he will be watching this thread closely, and waiting for your input.

    Good luck, and remember to be patient; being patient will allow you to be logical and methodical in your approach to getting past this particular problem. I have no doubt that you'll get this resolved sooner rather than later.

    FWIW, the missing pin you mentioned is to help make sure you install the floppy cable in the proper position. The floppy cable connector should have a pin-hole BLOCKED in the same position (not all of them actually do), and that would prevent you from installing the cable the wrong way. I'm glad you're so observant; attention to detail is critical when you work with PCs.
     
  12. Bob Cerelli

    Bob Cerelli

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    A few options at this point:

    1. Try the bootable CD

    2. Try swapping with a known working floppy drive cable

    3. Take out the drive, put it in another computer, make it bootable, copy the source files to a directory on the hard drive. Put it back in your computer, boot, change to the directory and install.

    Also for future use, you do not need to format the hard drive to get the benefits of a clean install.
     
  13. sammysosa

    sammysosa

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    When you get a chance, I'd like you to do this, then post whatever information you see on the monitor.

    Boot the system, and during the POST process (which is the first thing the computer does when it is turned on), press the Control, Alt, and the letter "S" keys simultaneously. The combination of Ctrl+Alt+S should open a hidden information screen with specific details about your system. If you'll post them here, I can do some more research...
     
  14. Bob Cerelli

    Bob Cerelli

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    Does Ctrl-Alt-S supposed to work on all motherboard or just this particular one?
    What hidden information does it show that is not normally displayed in the CMOS?
     
  15. sammysosa

    sammysosa

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    Sorry about the delay in responding Bob; I have the flu, and barely have the energy look at a monitor or type much today.

    The Ctrl+Alt+S key combination is used on most HP systems to reveal the BIOS ID string; took me a while to remember that, which is why I didn't post it previously. To answer your question more directly, it is pretty much HP-specific; I've seen other branded systems (some of the early Packard-Bell Pentium systems, some early E-Machines units, for example) where it was also used to disable the manufacturer's splash screen / logo, but it isn't a universal option.

    Anyway, I should have included that information in my previous post, but I was more interested in staggering back to bed, which I'll be doing again minutes after I post this.

    Good luck with this; I'm doing what I can to help, but until I can shake off this flu, it's going to be a real struggle, especially since I have to re-type almost every word (fingers and brain don't seem to want to cooperate right now).

    I'll check back when I can...
     
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