<CT> Re: A plea for help!

  • From: "Martin B. Brilliant" <mbrilliant@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: calmira_tips@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 23:49:48 -0400

On Fri, 27 Sep 2002 13:57:04 +0100, "Richard Hamilton-Frost" 
<rich@xxxxxxxxx> wrote  

> a win9x question, one of my pc's has gone a bit screwy!!

Actually, a more basic question than that. If FDISK does not see any 
partitions, then the partition table has been overwritten or 
otherwise messed up. If it cleanly shows no partitions, as though the 
disk has never been partitioned, then the partition table has been 
zeroed out. In that case, the master boot record may have also been 
zeroed, and I don't know what else.

You can look at the partition table with Norton Disk Editor. There 
are a few websites (searchable with Google et al.) that can tell you 
what the partition table should contain. That might be more helpful 
than Norton's Partition Table View, which tells how IT interprets 
what the partition table contains.

If you have (that is, had) a C: drive as a primary partition that 
starts at the beginning of the drive, with no free space (the normal 
way of setting up a disk), and you know roughly how big it is, and 
the partition table appears hopelessly trashed, you can patch the 
partition table to show a partition in the right place with 
approximately (but no more than) the original size of the partition. 
That should at least give you the C: drive. First see if you can 
access if from a floppy boot, then try to make it bootable.

If I knew exactly what FDISK does, I would say you could do this with 
FDISK: just create the partition as you knew it existed. I know FDISK 
doesn't format the partition it creates, but I don't know whether it 
leaves the data space unchanged.

If that still leaves C: inaccessible, then something else has been 
messed up, maybe the master boot record, or the boot sector of C:, or 
the FAT, or the root directory -- in that order, from the beginning 
of the drive, except that the partition table is actually at the end 
of the sector that contains the master boot record. FDISK /MBR will 
restore a standard master boot record.

I don't remember exactly what happened when my own first primary 
partition got messed up. I know I did FDISK /MBR, and I also know 
that the partition table had the correct numbers, but I had to fix up 
some of the partition type codes. After that, systems that booted 
from partitions after the first worked just fine. I don't know what 
else I might have done to make the first partition visible from a 
floppy boot, but at that point I could see that the root directory 
was pure junk.

Good luck, and I hope somebody else gives you some advice that's 
easier to follow than mine (and at least as reliable).

Martin B. Brilliant at home in Holmdel, NJ
To unsubscribe, send a message to ecartis@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with
"unsubscribe calmira_tips" in the body.
OR visit http://freelists.org

Other related posts: