What goes on the boot sector of a H.D. (and how do i put it on) ?

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john1

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Nov 25, 2000
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Hi,

Ive messed up the boot bit of a hard drive, which has now got zeroes
in the first 63 sectors.

This also seems to have upset the A drive which now keeps trying to
read incessantly and noisily till i put a floppy in there, any
floppy just to shut it up.

I don't know why wiping the first part of the hard drive should make
the A drive (floppy) do this.
If i had know it would do that, i would not have done it.

The H.Drive was an NT file system, and i was trying to get the 98se
start floppy to put Fat32 on there, but i have made it worse.

Any help please ?

John :)
 
Joined
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I dont really know much about installing 98 :confused: , but you should try the disks that came with the PC. :D
or you could find a bootable zero-write utility, and just write all zeroes to the drive, basically formatting it.
on the other hand, if 98 has the ability you could try repair installing.
 
Joined
May 18, 2007
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1,759
Are you trying to wipe the drive clean, format and install Win98 from scratch?

Have you tried a Win98 startup floppy that can be obtained at www.bootdisk.com, run FDISK and delete all partitions, create a new DOS partition, FORMAT the HDD and then install Windows?

Zee
 

john1

Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 25, 2000
Messages
8,994
Hi Dez, Hi Zee, Hi Blues Harp,

Dez,
I was given this PC from a friend who is moving home soon, and
he's having a clear-out. He told me he has wiped the drives, it has
two hard drives. I think it had an NT system on it, maybe 2000, not
likely to have been XP. I got it as-is. no CDs or peripherals.
I intended to install 98se, and the floppies i have for DOS 6.2 were
reading and working Ok, athough i did not install DOS 6.2 at that
time. I am now wondering if i should have done, as i think NT has a
different layout on the HD, to the way Fat32 is laid out.
This could be why i am getting these curious and unfamiliar stupid
effects, like floppies refusing to read, DOS starting to install
and then locking up. And the floppy drive noisily and continuously
'hunting' or trying to read a disk that isnt there, untill i put a
floppy in there, any floppy, just to shut it up while i think, and
try to figure out what to do.

It is odd that you should mention a bootable zero-write utility,
because ... i do have one !!
So that looks like a possible approach, as its one of the few
floppies i have which will actually operate through the silliness.

Others are a PTD recovery floppy (partition table doctor), which i
don't think is much help to me on this occasion.
And a 'Samsung' overlay floppy, for PCs which are limited to
32gigs. That one runs without any problems, i think that is the one
which i used to wipe the first 32 sectors to zeroes. For some
reason i thought that would allow me to install DOS in there.
It wont .... i was tired, and i think a little crazy too.
However i could use it to write all zeroes on the drive.

if 98 has the ability you could try repair installing.

There is no operating system on the machine at the moment.

************

Zee,
Are you trying to wipe the drive clean, format and install Win98


I wasn't, but i now think i will have to format because i think the
Non-Dos formatting (probably NT) will have to be removed in order to
format it with Fat32. But i dont know for sure.

Have you tried a Win98 startup floppy

Yes, but they won't read very far, just enough to start then they
freeze up, so i can't use any of the DOS utilities yet.
I think i may have to clean the hard drive up a bit first.

****************

Blues Harp,

Thanks for the links, i have looked through them.

John :)
 

DoubleHelix

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Run FDISK to see what kind of partitions are on it.

If the computer can't boot from a floppy, then the hard drive isn't the problem.
 

john1

Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 25, 2000
Messages
8,994
After two days of trying stuff,
I now think that this is the problem.
****

****
I think that the column marked 'System'
should have DOS instead of UNKNOWN.

I think that is my main problem. I am pretty tired too.

If someone could direct me in changing unkown into dos,
i think that would sort this out.

I feel as though i should know how to do this,
but then this machine has not been friendly so far,
and i did not help by putting its hard drive boot sector
to all zeroes.

I have a feeling that a part of 'FDISK' will set the formatting
to Fat32 layout, but i haven't spotted it yet.
And i looked long and hard at all the bits.
But then i am tired, maybe it was there, but hiding.
Maybe its not in FDISK at all,
maybe its in MBR or something like that.


If the computer can't boot from a floppy, then the hard drive isn't the problem.


Well, it sort of can, but i have to interrupt the reading of a floppy,
then it asks for 'command.com',
after i have directed it to A:COMMAND.COM it will then run from the
floppy, but not if that involves the HD, then it freezes up.

I think my problem here is that the HD is still mostly in NT form,
and to run 9x - dos, it has to be Fat32.
(but i am no expert - and i'm tired)

So if someone could direct me (in real simple terms) how to do this,
i think that should do it.

Hopefully, John :)
 

DoubleHelix

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Delete the partition using FDISK and re-create it.

How did you get to FDISK if you can't boot from a floppy?
 

john1

Thread Starter
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Nov 25, 2000
Messages
8,994
Hi,

I am a bit more awake now. In the system column where it says unknown,
i want to put Fat32, I'm sure you realised i meant that. I said dos,
but i meant Fat32. As i am trying to load Win9x, i'm sure you know i
meant Fat32. Please excuse my slip, i want that column to read Fat32.

Hi Double Helix,
Thank you for post. I will do that if you think it will help, but the
partition actually looks alright. I did make a smaller partition called
'Ext Dos' (extended dos) to see if it would come out as Fat32, cos i
can see no way to tell Fdisk that i want it formatted in Fat 32.

This extra little partition appears to have no system, which i found
odd, maybe it just does the type thats already on the disk ... ?

I don't want that smaller partition anyway, so later i will try to
have the whole HD back as one single partition. I hope it does not
then end up with no system on it, like the little one i did.

*** How did you get to FDISK if you can't boot from a floppy? ***

Good question. Yes it took me a while.
As i mentioned earlier, i have a couple of floppies which will operate
as they should, and produce a working result on the monitor.
One is the "Partition Magic floppy 1 0f 2"
Another is the "Table Doctor rescue floppy"
Another is "NTLDR is missing" copied by me from somewhere on the web.

Why these ? all other floppies just cause a crash, except one causes
a restart, again and again.
Anyway, i found that by interrupting the Table Doctor, after it had
started, but before it had finished reading, this caused a line to
appear asking for command.com,
If i then replace the floppy with a bootdisk floppy (for 95 or 98 or
98se) and enter the path to command .com "A:\COMMAND.COM" the PC will
then proceed to use the floppy driven dos more-or-less.
I say more-or-less because it wont use it all, only some of it.

This is what i meant by silliness and unexpected behaviour from the PC.

My opinion is that routines on the floppy, that only involve the floppy
will work Ok, routines that involve using any PC routines cause
problems.
But thats only what i think, i don't really know whats happening, thats
just the way it seems to me.

And thats how i get to Fdisk, but it won't boot from a floppy.

And i can't find any way to tell Fdisk to format in Fat32, but i feel
sure i have used it for that in the past.
So maybe i am missing something, or maybe not all of Fdisk is showing
up on this recalcitrant machine.

*********

Blue Zee,

Option three is to delete partition.
I am happy to try that, if you think that this is the way to instruct
Fdisk to do the formatting in Fat32, instead of the 'Unknown' or the
blank that i have gotten on my little trial partition of 200 megs.

Not being that familiar with Fdisk, is it possible that a blank means
its in Fat32 ... ?
And that "Unknown" simply means 'its not Fat' .....
I have met tasks that do rely on the user knowing how to read the
often cryptic notes from the designer.

I used Fdisk to make a little partition of 200 megs, to see if it
would come out as Fat32, it came out as a blank system.
As you can see from my attached picture.

DoubleHelix says to delete the partition, then make it again.
Well that is very similar to your suggestion, and i think i will try to
put the whole of the hard drive back as one single partition, and i
hope that Fdisk will put it as Fat32 and not 'unknown' or 'blank'

I will do that later, and post back to let you know how it goes.
For now i must get on with other stuff,

Regards, John :)
 
Joined
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Messages
1,759
I would delete all partitions, create new ones, after that I would FORMAT them, a MUST.

That will make sure you have a clean HDD to install in FAT32 as required for Win98.

Zee
 

john1

Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 25, 2000
Messages
8,994
Hi Dez, Hi Blue Zee, Hi BluesHarp, Hi DoubleHelix,

After thinking on and off about this during the day, i think that Fdisk
may only do a format as Fat16 or Fat32, this seems quite likely as i
have found no way to tell it to do the formatting in Fat32.
Except the choice of 'Large Disk' which i thought was to prevent it
from using Fat16 because Fat16 has a size limit of 2 gig.

However, that may also be the way to use Fat32 on a smaller size.
Maybe this all seemed very clear and obvious to the person who wrote
the very brief instructions on Fdisk, and it may be clear to people
who use Fdisk, but i am still not sure.

I shall proceed on the assumption that choosing 'Large Disk' will be
asking Fdisk to do the formatting in Fat32.

So i will be attempting to get Fdisk to alter this hard drive to a
single partition of the whole drive.
And i will also be attempting to get Fdisk to format it as an Fat32
drive.

I will check back later, in case anyone has any comment on this
and if its Ok then i will proceed to try and do that.

Regards, John :)
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2003
Messages
51,988
You can create a new boot sector from scratch using Roadkil's Boot Builder 1.0. HDHACKER 1.4 may help, too.
 

john1

Thread Starter
Joined
Nov 25, 2000
Messages
8,994
You are correct, i was a bit confused about that.

I have now tried to un-partition the drive into a single partition.
Heres what Fdisk shows for this drive now.
(the wobble is from me ! )

*******

*******

I think this means that its got no partitions,
maybe ?
Or should it show as one partition ... ?
I dunno.

Now i spose i should try to set it as the active partition ?
I dunno.

First i would like to know if thats what it's supposed to show,
when it has no partitions.

John :)

*****

P.S.
Hi Elvandil, just seen your post.
Thanks, i will try to check that out.
John :)
 
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