Re: disappearing C-disk

Re: disappearing C-disk

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Posted by Henry on December 27, 2001 at 20:15:24:

In Reply to: Re: disappearing C-disk posted by Tom on December 20, 2001 at 10:02:56:

: : : I have a question about my two hard drives:
: : : I have a large primary HDD (C:) which I want to wipe completely. I also have als secondary HDD (D:) where all my backups are stored.
: : : When I start up from a bootable diskette, somehow my previous primary HDD disappears and my previous secondary HDD becomes my new primary HDD (C:). This way I cannot remove the files from the previous primary HDD.
: : : What is the problem here, and how can I solve this

: : : Tom
: :
: :
: : MY wild guess is that your large HDD is a FAT32 volume and perhaps the version of DOS on your floppy does not support FAT32 (DOS95a and earlier)- it would believe the large HDD is non-DOS (invisible) and act accordingly. I think DOS95b and later (DOS98 for sure) support FAT32. Suggest that you boot to your large HDD and make a DOS9x system (NOT jsut a bootable floppy, a real, usable DOS9x SYSTEM!) by making a bootable floppy and copying the DOS functions you need (fdiak, format, scandisk, chkdsk, edit, ...) to it from c:\windows\command.

: : I STRONGLY URGE you to DISCONNECT the drive you don't want to erase (just unplug the POWER connector) just to be sure there is no chance of an accident - wouldn't hurt to backup your data, either.

: : Another guess as to your problem would be a boot sector virus - maybe on your bootable floppy.

: : Please post again when you figure out the problem - this should be interesting to others.

: : Good Luck,
: : Henry

: I found out my harddisk has a socalled 'overlay'. It needs to load a driver in order to be recognized. Somehow this driver is not loaded in config.sys or autoexec.bat, but even earlier. When I boot from disk, this driver is not loaded. My HDD is a Seagate ST34321A.

: Tom

: p.s. thanx for the help.

I should have guessed it! The drive overlay extends the BIOS so that you can use the entire HDD capacity; linkages to the drive overlay are inserted in the boot sector of the drive. Onboard BIOS (cached in main memory) starts to read the boot sector and cached BIOS code is modified to support the drive capacity. One problem solved with an overlay often generates several problems. There SHOULD be a way to boot to a diskette and see the HDD too. Generally, you would START to boot as if booting the HDD - BUT signal the drive overlay that you want to boot a diskette (docs should give the keystrokes). Figure out which drive overlay you have and read the documentation - it should give you the keystrokes required to start the HDD boot and divert to the diskette after the overlay is loaded.

I abhor drive overlays because of the problems they create and strongly recommend the use of ATA/66 expansion cards for HDD support up to about 128 GB - and they'll be fast enough until IDE HDD SUSTAINED Data Transfer Rate (greatly) exceeds 66 MB/sec. If you just want to clean the large HDD, get an ATA/66 card and install the large HDD on it. If you can see the partitions and files just use the HDD maker's zero fill utility (usually misnamed "low level format") to erase the drive. After that, partition and format the HDD. If the ATA/66 card can't see the partitions and files (likely, the overlay and ATA/66 may address the sectors differently) just partition and format the drive and write zeroes to it - then partition and format again. Always a good idea to run scandisk, thorough Read/Write surface scan, after totally erasing a HDD - takes awhile, but worth it.

Good Luck,

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