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a zip drive to the parallel port and booted the machine. I had plenty of time to make a
complete backup to the zip disks. I actually let it run for a couple more hours just to see if it
would keep working. When I shut it down, it was still working fine. I installed a new hard drive,
restored the data from the zip disks and made a lot of people happy.
From: cpruszko
1. Try the "auto" settings in the BIOS again
2. If that does not work, use a DOS formatted boot disk, boot the system to the a: drive, type
"C:" to see if you can access the hard drive. If this works, back up valuable files then re-install
3. If that does not work, you can take off the cover and reseat the cables and try again.
4. If that does not work, you will have to go to a third party utility or reformat the drive and
re-install Windows.
From: Joe Dougherty
The quiz scenario didn't mention the operating system in use, so I'll assume the user has
Windows 95/98 installed on the system.
One simple and valuable tool to have up front is some kind of boot disk, either a Windows
startup boot disk from the original software package, or a recent DOS boot or setup disk. I
keep a set of DOS 6.22 setup diskettes in my toolkit, since the first disk has an extremely
important tool: fdisk. (We run a completely NT shop at my company.) My first inclination would
be to open the system and peek at the cabling. PC ribbon cables are notorious for wiggling free
from drive connectors, or, even worse, not being installed securely in the first place. Even the
mild vibrations from a power supply fan or even moving a CPU case just a few feet could
possibly work the cable off the connector enough to give errors. Eliminate that right off the
bat. The next thing to do would be to reboot the system, get into the CMOS or BIOS settings,
and reset the BIOS for an automatic setup of the drive (this also assumes IDE drives). Many
modern BIOS setups have a utility that scans and sets IDE drive settings. This would be helpful
to get the hardware synched up
properly. Make sure the system correctly detects the drive. This should be apparent on the
information screens that appear when the system reboots. If the hardware still can't detect the
operating system, one of two things might be wrong. Either the Master Boot Record on the
hard disk is corrupt or damaged, or the system is attempting to boot to a partition that isn't
bootable. This is where fdisk helps (no matter what operating system you use). At this point, I
would reboot the system using the DOS boot diskette. The Microsoft DOS 6.X setup diskette
allows you to boot to the first setup screen, then press F3 to exit to a prompt. Fdisk is located
on that first setup diskette. From the A: prompt, start fdisk and have a look at what the
current partition settings are. The first thing to look for is to see if there are multiple partitions,
and if so, which one is active. If the C: partition is not labeled active, use fdisk to set it to
active and try rebooting. If that fails, the Master Boot Record on the boot partition may be
corrupted. Reboot to the DOS diskette, and at the A: prompt, invoke the fdisk command using
the /MBR switch. This won't start fdisk, but it will rewrite the Master Boot Record and may
allow you to boot the system back to the hard disk partition. I've done this a number of times
on systems running Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Linux, and OS/2.
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