Re: making old drive second drive without formatting

Re: making old drive second drive without formatting

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Posted by Chip on March 27, 2002 at 17:17:16:

In Reply to: Re: making old drive second drive without formatting posted by Henry on March 26, 2002 at 23:34:05:

: : Henry,

: : Your comments couldn't have come at a better time. I have an old PC with two drives, both on primary channel (plus CD-ROM on secondary). Master is a Maxtor and I probably used MaxBlast with EZ-BIOS/EZDrive to format and partition it years ago (remember using it but not whether I also used FDISK/FORMAT, but it was partitioned into many logical drives). Slave is an old Western Digital and I probably used FDISK and FORMAT to set it up. Was running Win 95 with no problems, though.

: : Copied all my data to the slave, then used MaxBlast to repartition/format the master and installed Win 98 clean. Now BIOS recognizes both drives accurately and Win 98 System Properties/Device Manager also shows both drives functioning properly except that the second, slave drive has no drive letter assigned and doesn't appear in Windows Explorer.

: : I need the data off the slave drive. And it's probably too full to add an operating system to it. Oh, and I used FAT32 for the master drive when I installed Win 98 (slave is still FAT16).

: : Now what? Erase everything on the master and use FDISK/FORMAT, then reinstall Win 98? With FAT16 or FAT32? Or go back to Win 95?

: : Dumb question: Can I make the second drive the master and, without any O/S, network with another PC to copy the files onto another medium that way?

: : Like Gloria, I REALLY need those files and didn't foolishly didn't anticipate any problem with this. Thanks.

: : Chip

: I think you are in a pretty tight corner - anything you need to do to the W-D HDD requires an OS that can access the files. You also need an intermediate transportation medium so you can move the files to the other drive. I don't think there is an easy solution and a lot will depend on how many GB of files you need to collect; this will likely be a significant effort for you.

: First, you need to KNOW how your W-D HDD is addressed (BIOS or overlay?), here's how:
: Make a DOS98 floppy system - make two (2) bootable floppies (format a:/s/u) and copy ALL of the files from c:\windows\command to them (all of the files won't fit on one disk, but get ALL of the files - just in case). Boot to either of the floppies and try to see files on the W-D Disk - if you can see and copy files then it uses BIOS based addressing, if NO, it is involved with a drive overlay (and you have a huge mess, post again if so - I sure hope not because there is no telling which one it is).

: If your BIOS recognizes the full capacity of both HDDs AND the W-D drive is BIOS addressed then you will be way ahead of the game if you blow away MaxBlast and use BIOS addressing for BOTH HDDs.

: If BIOS addressing isn't an option, you can probably find a good, working, used 1 or 2 GB HDD locally ($10 to $20); fdisk, format, scandisk (THOROUGH SURFACE SCAN) and install win95 or win98, either FAT system is OK. This will give you a means to access your files without messing up your installed OS and provides an OS to operate your backup medium.

: STRONGLY suggest that you get a CD-RW drive and use it as your transportation (and future backup) medium. You don't need blazing speed - your computer may not be able to keep up with >4x anyway. Fry's Electronics in Houston has had CD-RWs for around $50 - and CD-R is about the ultimate backup medium.

: Hope some of this helps.

: Good Luck,
: Henry

You're right about that: I AM in a tight spot. Tried again last night after work. Started over with my master Maxtor drive and partitioned/formatted with DOS commands. Learned then that both drives--master Maxtor and slave Western Digital--are visible to FDISK (not to mention Device Manager once I install Windows), full capacity, partitions, etc., BUT the partition on my 1 GB slave says Non-DOS. Hmmm.

Installed OS but no difference than before. Booted to floppies, both Win 95 and Win 98 but neither could see that drive. Jumpered the WD to be the master. Invalid drive spec. Didn't feel like playing with it so changed it back to slave.

Sarted over. Tried to use MaxBlast to thoroughly erase master and it warned me that my slave drive had been set up with EZ-BIOS; if I wanted to access it, I'd better use EZ-BIOS to set up my master drive. Eureka! Your note resonated. I didn't remember doing it that way but it explained why I got a Non-DOS partition (maybe not?). Only problem was that I now could not partition and format the master drive using MaxBlast. Failed 3 times with errors about reading boot record, couldn't read partition, etc.

So downloaded updated copy from Maxtor and tried again. Jazzy GUI but same result. Tried various combos and finally got drive partitioned/formatted with MaxBlast, then loaded Win 98 expecting problem to be solved.

Same result: the two drives are there under FDISK and Windows device manager (no drive letter assigned to slave) but not under Windows Explorer.

I've got a tape backup that's not terribly old so I'm in the process of restoring as much as I can that way. Hope it works (it's chugging away at home now). Not sure what I'll try next. Not even sure now--based on your note--whether my master is addressed with BIOS or overlay. Whatever, it seems like the two drives are different.

ALso got a warning from Win95 version of Scandisk that the WD slave drive had drive compression or a disk caching utility, neither of which is true (unless you count a lot of zipped files). Win 98 Scandisk gave no such warning, though.

I'll borrow a copy of Norton Utilities from work and try that tonight. Part of the reason to upgrade OSs (which started all this) was to install a USB port at the same time as I installed a Network card so I'd have more options for passing files back and forth between my laptops and this old desktop.

The tape drive is pretty old (only 2GB) and a parallel port model at that, but I think I'll buy some new tapes and resume auto backups every night like I used to. I've got a CD-RW on my office laptop and may network the two PCs together and back up once in a while that way.

Thanks for the thorough and thoughtful response. I'll repost if I can sort this out. Please let me know any other thoughts you might have.

Thought for the day (same question I always have): I'm a relative lightweight at this stuff; what do users who don't know anything about the inside of a PC do when things go wrong?


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