Solved: Invalid System Disk

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Dougj

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Joined
Sep 17, 2002
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337
Well I am stumped!! I have an IBM aptiva 2170-804 that had win98 on it. I wanted to reload from scratch so I used partition magic 8.0 to resize the disk to give me room for a D drive to store my files that I wanted to keep. Next, with PM i formatted the C drive.

I then tried a winME boot disk to reload windows and immediatley after the aptiva logo I got an "Invalid system disk" message. I tried downloading a ibm aptiva boot disk (CDBOOT3.exe) and ran it with a slight different outcome. After the aptiva logo it stops at a flashing cursor and never boots to any menu whatsoever.

I thought maybe I had a boot sector virus so I changed my boot sequence to CDROM first and booted with my Norton AV CD. This CD successfully loaded but found no viruses. So I copied my winME boot disk to a CD and tried booting with that. I still get a "invalid system disk" doing it that way.

In the end I can boot with the NAV CD and the Partition Magic CD. However I cannot load with any other media...either floppy or CD. I replaced the HDD with a known good and stil the same error. I remove the floppy and still the same error!!

HELP.......I am stumped with this one????????

D.
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2002
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4,962
You replaced the hdd with one that had an existing operating system on it? Or a blank hdd?
 
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Nov 25, 2005
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437
Enter the CMOS Setup utility (press DEL during POST), and look for an option to detect (or AUTO-detect the IDE drives; depending on which changes you've made recently, the CMOS might not be aware of the presence of the harddrive. Your BIOS is one of the older ones that sometimes need a kickstart before they get the details straight.

Then, you should download the MADBOOT.EXE file, and use it to create a super bootdisk that can probably solve all of your problems.

http://www.madboot.com/bootdisk/MAD/MADBOOT.exe

Save the MADBOOT.exe file to your Desktop (where it will be easy to find; you can store it in a folder later). You'll need a (preferably NEW, preferably CLEAN) floppy disk; any data on the disk WILL be destroyed, so a word to the wise...

Double-click the MADBOOT.exe file, and insert the floppy disk into the floppy drive when instructed to do so. The program will create the MADBOOT floppy automatically.

Once the floppy is ready, use it to boot the defective system. Let the floppy boot all the way to the GUI screen, where you will be given several options. I suggest you simply choose the WINDOWS 98 operating system installation (upper left corner), then follow the prompts to do a MANUAL install, using the "Copy Windows 98 install files to the hard drive and install Windows 98 from the hard drive" option.

If the installation fails, reboot with the MADBOOT floppy disk, and use the FDISK option to check the hard drive. If you need help using FDISK, check here:

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

http://members.bellatlantic.net/~mrscary/fdisk.htm

http://fdisk.radified.com/fdisk_hard_drive.htm

Use FDISK to make sure your harddrive is properly partitioned (PM doesn't always get it right) and formatted, then try to install Win98 again.

Keep us posted; let us know if you hit any snags.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2005
Messages
437
Glad to know you got that straightened out; Partition Magic is a quality product, but nothing is perfect, and I've seen it cause some real nightmares over the years.

FWIW, a few months ago, I used MADBOOT to zero-fill a 40GB drive that had been causing bizarre problems for years. It took twenty hours(!) to completely wipe the drive, but I installed Win2k and Linux on it and it has worked without a hiccup ever since. NOTHING I had tried previously had worked; I had finally decided to use PM to edit the MBR when I remembered the "zero-fill" option on MADBOOT. I had already run every test imaginable on the drive, and zero-filled it multiple times with the MFRS utility, which unsatisfactory results; MADBOOT did the trick. Now, you've added another weapon to your arsenal.

You can mark this SOLVED by using the Thread Tools option just above your original post; you need to be logged in to see the SOLVED option.

Merry Christmas to you and yours; don't forget to pass the word about MADBOOT.
 
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