Re: trying to get old computer working for poor family with 5 kids with not much luck. :-( NEED HELP PLEASE

Re: trying to get old computer working for poor family with 5 kids with not much luck. :-( NEED HELP PLEASE


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Posted by Henry on January 02, 2002 at 12:24:57:

In Reply to: Re: trying to get old computer working for poor family with 5 kids with not much luck. :-( NEED HELP PLEASE posted by Keith on January 02, 2002 at 11:03:53:

My answers are interleaved with your Questions.

: Nothing I have done has helped....was hoping to get this in their hands by Christmas and I failed :-(
: Then I thought ok New Years..and I failed at that date to and here it is the day after and I still don't have this problem fixed... :-(
: So I have new questions and THANKS Henry for answering the last time :-)

: QUESTION # 1: What causes bad clusters on a harddrive? (I have run all 4 hardrives ( 2 used ones I bought and the original 2 ) and they all are filled 1/2 full with the "B's" Bad Clusters)

TRULY BAD clusters are usually caused by physical damage to the disk surface - like a head crash or a microscopic dust particle. Some malacious programs may mark sectors bad that are not TRULY BAD. The scandisk memory maps look worse than actuality - each block represents a lot of sectors/clusters/allocation units; "B" is assigned if one sector in the group is bad. Run chkdsk to get a count of the bytes in bad sectors (generally, an entire cluster is marked bad if one sector is bad - one bad sector (0.5KB can ruin an entire cluster - up to 32KB).

: QUESTION # 2: Will formatting get rid of the "B's" Bad Clusters or do I have to buy another hardrive?

IF the "bad" sectors are TRULY BAD you don't want to "get rid of them" - you want them marked "BAD" so they won't be used for your files. Formatting WILL NOT generally get rid of bad sectors or clusters; format generally tests all sectors and if they are bad, marks them BAD.

If you suspect the "bad" sectors may not be TRULY BAD you can download the HDD maker's diagnostic utility - check the drive's operating condition, and if OK, ERASE the drive with the diagnostic "low level format" function. This overwrites ALL sectors with zeroes, including bad sector data, and the HDD APPEARS to be clean - BUT if the sectors were TRULY bad they remain TRULY BAD, so you need to partition, format and run scandisk, thorough read/write surface scan to find the TRULY BAD sectors and mark them so they won't be used by files you want. Some people fail to scan the HDD surface after overwriting everything with zeroes then wonder why their system fails in short order; many blame the "low level format" when the problem was their failure to scan the HDD surface after overwriting all sectors with zeroes.

DO NOT USE a HDD for files that you want to keep if it has more than about 0.5 percent (1% MAXIMUM) of the HDD capacity in bad clusters (you can use it for games and things you have on CD).

: QUESTION # 3 When you buy a NEW harddrive, does it come with anything on it, or is it blank?
: (I bought used ones the first time, 1 had stuff on it, 1 didn't)

New HDDs are "always clean", that is they have NO partitions, NO format and NO files on them. You must partition, format and copy files to them before they can be useful.

: QUESTION # 4 How does this hardrive know what the rest of the computer contains, like 150 Mhz, 56 K Modem, cdrom, sound etc?

The HDD DOES NOT CARE about the rest of the system, it is the other way around - that is, the SYSTEM needs to know about the peripherals (memory, HDDs, CD, FDDs, Modem, Audio, Video, ...). You provide the hardware configuration data (where needed) in CMOS Setup.

: QUESTION # 5 Right now this computer came to me with 2 hardrives, there is a power strip connecting the top one to the bottom one ( like in a loop ) then the power strip plugs into the motherboard, do I need to change this powerstrip if I decided to buy 1 hardrive instead of 2 Or can I use this one and let the other connections just hang?

The HDD should have two cables. The 4 pin plug is the power plug comes from the power supply and you can just let the loose ones dangle if there is no chance for them to touch anything. Otherwise you can cover them with tape or tape them out of the way so they can't touch anything (preferred). The other cable is a "wide" flat IDE data cable (40 pins). You can use your existing cable and connect a single drive to either of the connectors; make sure the drive is jumpered according to the maker (master may be jumpered differently if there is a slave drive).

: THANKS SO MUCH & GOD BLESS
: Keith

If you are near Houston, Texas I can suggest some local dealers who will stand behind their used HDDs (you can return them within a week or so if they are bad).

: : : 1st the puter had an error message,
: : : it would not boot,
: : : I replaced the battery now it boots fine.
: : : 2nd it had 35 "B"ad Clusters on the harddrive
: : : so I replaced it with a bigger one
: : : But noticed they have 2 hardrives linked together
: : : I am not familiar with this type of setup :-(
: : : the top one (is the one I replaced)
: : : from a 235,000 byte to a 1.2 gig
: : : the 2nd one didn't have any bad clusters
: : : so I left it alone!
: : : But after many attempts to try and get windows 98
: : : to install in the computer
: : : I decided to look at the other hardrive again
: : : it now has many "B"ad clusters :-(
: : : My first question is WHY?
: : : My second question is if I format that drive,
: : : How Do I Do It?
: : : Will formating include both drives?
: : : and will it delete the "B"ad clusters
: : : or will they still be left there?
: : : Thanks for your imput...:-)
: : : and May you have a Safe and Happy Christmas 2001!
: : : Sincerely
: : : Keith
: :
: : Sounds like win98 setup ran scandisk on both HDDs, found some bad spots on the old drive and marked them bad (this IS NOT a good sign if there are very many bad spots).

: : If you format the old drive (format d:) the bad spots WILL NOT disappear; they will still be marked "bad".

: : HDDs are formatted one at a time, the boot device is usually C: and the other drive is D: (Some BIOS provide for selecting C: or D: or CD-ROM or ... as the boot device).

: : Hope this helps - post more details if you still have problems.

: : Henry




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