View Full Version : HDD failure ? Maybe not!

08-06-2003, 06:17 PM
Couple of mornings ago, on boot the message "Invalid System disk", insert new one and press enter (words to that effect). No change no matter what I did.

Ok, back to DOS, scandisk worked and reported over 900 invalid directories, I kid you not. Well let scandisk do it's thing with me pressing the fix it button for ages. We eventually got to the message Scandisk had done everything but not all was fixed. The only option then was to exit. I did.

This afternoon I decided to reinstall Win 98, the boot disk worked and access to the CDROM started OK, but then scandisk wanted to start and we were back to BIG problems - no way going through that again !

Decided to use Fdisk and start all over again. Got as far as deleting the existing DOS partition but the volume label had 11 really strange characters - like an upsidedown and back to front question mark and so on and something that looked like a spider etc. Well Fdisk would not let me delete the partition without me entering the exact characters, no matter what.

Seems like I am presently stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The HDD is 8 gig, Maxtor (I think), was running Win98, 130 odd ram.

Is there a way to generate the characters presently in the volume label?

08-06-2003, 06:28 PM
Boot up off Win98 bootdisk. (available download @ download.com ) Enter format c: /q and it won't give you all those errors. It will ask you for a volume label, then enter something easy and it will overwrite those starnge characters. Now you should be able to FDISK to your hearts content :D

08-06-2003, 07:14 PM
you could try using the Maxtor utilities from their website (maxblast I think) which allows checking of the HDD itself?

08-06-2003, 08:22 PM
Pheonix, I already had the origional MS Win98 floppy boot disk, so allowed it to boot to A:, entered "format c:/ q" and got Bad command or filename, so tried again without the space (c:/q) but same thing happened.

Was I ment to actually download the download.com disk and use it?

Thanks for such a prompt reply :-)

08-06-2003, 08:25 PM
Hi drsteve, is there anyway to find out if it is a Maxtor HDD without pulling everything apart?

Control panel/system does not tell me the brand of it. :-(

08-06-2003, 08:30 PM
Looks like your bootdisk doesn't have the format command on it. If you have a 98 machine, copy it onto the floppy. You will find it c:\windows\command

08-06-2003, 09:08 PM
i would just do a low level format.

goes over _EVERYTHING_ on the harddrive like a bulldozer. master boot records, boot records, partition talbes, filesystems, everything.

once you have done that just reinstall windows. you will have to format the harddrive to FAT or FAT32 (i'd recommed FAT32)

you will have to download a low level format utility off the manufacturer website.

08-06-2003, 09:09 PM
goto windows dos box and type "format a: /s"

this will make a bootable disk. don't think jus copying command.com will work. don;t think it will boot up...

then copy the files u need on top .. like format.com and fdisk.exe to name a few.

08-06-2003, 09:09 PM
oh yeah

u might want to back up any files that you want to keep

08-06-2003, 10:33 PM
The Seagate seadisk utility tool does all hard drive brands to and is very user friendly. Available at http://www.seagate.com/support

08-06-2003, 11:43 PM
It is not actually recommended to low-level format a HD as that is done at the factory with newer HD and it can totally destroy a HD.

09-06-2003, 12:00 AM
> It is not actually recommended to low-level format a
> HD as that is done at the factory with newer HD and
> it can totally destroy a HD.

Agreed, and I don't think any downloaded utility will perform a low level format anyway.
That software is only held by master service agents, as it also software maps out bad sectors on the drive to make it appear there are none. If this information was lost the drive would be very flakey.

The drive makers utilities are usually safe enough to avoid totally wrecking a drive.

09-06-2003, 12:00 AM

Used a Win98SE boot disk which had Format on it.

Sort of worked a treat, deleted prim DOS partition and created a new one. Popup said shut down and format drive after (words to that effect). There is more, these are just the highlights.

On the very first boot attempt, at the end of the process, the message "File missing a:/IFSHLP.SYS" was displayed.

Now when I boot we get to the line 'Verfying DMI Pool Data" and thats it.

Tried to get to safe mode but cannot get past the Pool Data statement.

Perhaps it's time to try the low level format that was suggested.

09-06-2003, 12:22 AM
After a normal format (which is what you did by the sound of it, and thats OK) you need to do a full restoration of the operating system, which will probably be why its not working as no system files are loaded?

09-06-2003, 12:30 AM
Actually, I've come across this issue before, and it was a dead/dying drive which caused the errors in my case...


09-06-2003, 01:00 AM
The problem I had was that I just could not get to any drive letter ie a, c or D, that is until I stuck in a floppy which contained Norton Ghost, this generated the prompt "Invalid disk replace and hit any key".

Pulled Ghost out and in with MS Win98 Boot floppy, this gave me access to all drives. :-) I have no idea why any drive letter was not displayed without having to put a floppy with no operating system in the drive.

Presently formatting the HDD and expect to have Win98 reloaded by around 1AM :-(

Hope I am not being premature, but thanks to all who offered help, it really is appreciated. If it had all failed, in this case, it would not have been a big deal. Still do not know why the problem occurred in the first place - maybe as someone suggested - the disk is on the way out

The learning curve continues.......

09-06-2003, 02:48 AM
I have this kinda stuff similar happened to my a few years ago before, I think you have a faulty drive there. As for me I took it back to the shop and got it replaced with a new one.

09-06-2003, 02:51 AM
damn. I didnt c curly's last post.... so please ignore what i posted before.