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  1. #1
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    Format Hard Drive etc

    I'm in the mode of recovering from a system melt-down caused by attempting to upgrade Norton SystemWorks. The long and short of it is that I was able to access and install Windows on my second hard drive and recover the data on my C: drive. However, I don't want to make booting from the D: drive permanent. Tech support at Dell suggested that I just flip the jumpers on the hard drive and swap the cables. That's fine if you have any idea how to do this. But beyond that, wouldn't I run into problems from the software side since this temporary installation of Windows knows it was installed on the D: drive?

    I'm thinking that since everything on the C: drive got all jacked up I might as well start with a clean format of that drive and re-install the operating system and all my software - plus updates and updated drivers - without switching the hardware, and then just uninstalling Windows from the D: drive. Can I just do "Format C:" while logged on to the D: drive? Will the Windows (2000) installation get confused by the fact that I'm using the D: drive while it's being installed on C:? Are there any likely pitfalls I will run into?

    Obviously I'm a novice with such things so any details that might be obvious to someone who does this often would be most welcome. I've been through enough pain already and would very much like to succeed with this on the first try. I have a Dell Precision 330 workstation and Windows 2000.

    Many thanks,
    Virginia

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    --------------------------
    Can I just do "Format C:" while logged on to the D: drive?
    -------------------------
    Sure, should work.
    BOB
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  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    <hr>Can I just do "Format C:" while logged on to the D: drive? Will the Windows (2000) installation get confused by the fact that I'm using the D: drive while it's being installed on C:? Are there any likely pitfalls I will run into?<hr>
    If you format the C: drive while booted into Windows 2000 from D:, you will have a non-booting system. C: contains the boot sector and other Windows 2000 startup files - NTLDR et al.

    Leave well enough alone, you shouldn't have any problems running from the D: drive.Just use C: as storage space.
    -Mark

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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    I'm confused...
    <hr>If you format the C: drive while booted into Windows 2000 from D:, you will have a non-booting system. C: contains the boot sector and other Windows 2000 startup files - NTLDR et al.<hr>
    Why would I have a non-booting system? I have Windows entirely loaded on the D: drive (for the moment). Windows on the C: drive is corrupt and doesn't work at all. Don't I now have a boot sector on the D: drive? Dell tech support had me load drivers and utilities specifically onto the D: drive. And when I was moving data files off the C: drive I moved C:WINNT to the trash with no noticeable consequences. All this made me think that whatever was left on the C: drive was just garbage, not being used by Windows at all. I really don't know much about this so I'm willing to accept that what you say is true but I want to understand it.

    Thanks for your help,
    Virginia

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    You have Windows 2000 installed and working in D:. This is not the same as a boot sector, though. D: is another disk partition that is not your primary boot drive.

    On the system boot drive, which is almost always C:, you must have:

    <table border=1><td>NTLDR</td><td>Root of the active partition</td><td>Boot.ini</td><td>Root of the active partition</td><td>Bootsect.dos (only if dual booting)</td><td>Root of the active partition</td><td>Ntdetect.com</td><td>Root of the active partition</td><tr><td>Ntbootdd.sys (only if booting from a SCSI partition,
    and SCSI BIOS is not present on the controller)</td><td>Root of the active partition</td></table>

    All of these must exist on the first active partition in the system - C:. The rest of the core startup files are located with Windows itself.

    So you see, although you can't use Windows on C:, the drive itself still serves a purpose. Without the files listed above, Windows 2000 cannot start itself.
    -Mark

  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    Mark,
    If you repartitioned the C: drive and made it the active ( boot ) drive, then formatted the C:, would you not now have a bootable C: drive? Wipe out the D: and
    then install 2000 anew in the C: ( assuming you have 2000 available on a CD )
    BOB
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  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    Bob, she already has Windows installed and running on the D: drive, so why re-install. The thing folks have to understand is that all (most?) BIOSs "assume" that the first (boot) drive is the C: drive and that's where the boot information is stored. If you reformat that drive, what Mark is trying to tell her, is that the "knowledge" that Windows is running on the D: drive will be lost with the absence of the key files he mentioned. The easiest thing for her to do is to erase all the directories on the C: drive EXCEPT for the files in the root directory. She could then use it as a data storage drive or whatever.

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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    There are far too many techs that ass-u-me Windows is installed on drive C. It shouldn't be a problem as long as you (the OP) just substitutes the correct drive/path for whatever the tech tells her to type. Just don't try to correct the tech-everybody knows that techs working over the phone on a strange computer know more about it than the computer's owner who's sitting at the keyboard. If you don't believe that, just ask them! (The techs, that is.)

  9. #9
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    Seems you could test this theory by removing the cable from C drive, making D the master, and seeing if the computer can boot. Or maybe the BIOS would need changing? (I better stick to software.)

  10. #10
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    Al,
    I don't want to start thinking for Virginia or whatever, but she said:

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    I might as well start with a clean format of that drive and re-install the operating system and all my software - plus updates and updated drivers - without switching the hardware, and then just uninstalling Windows from the D: drive.
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    That's why I said re-install.
    I don't think I would like to have Windows on the D: drive either, just for the idea of it.
    BOB
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  11. #11
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    One could try it, but I don't think it would work. Too many references to "D:WINDOWS" or whatever, already exist in the registry .....

  12. #12
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    Mark,

    Couldn't she just reformat the C: drive using the /s flag to put the system files on the C: drive and make it the active partition ?? She would then have a bootable C: that she could install Windows on.

    Another thought would be to install Windows over-top of itself as a "repair" installation. But since she has already trashed the C:WINNT folder, unless it can be restored form the Recycle Bin, I would think that simply reinstalling Windows to the C: drive would give her back the system (minus all her installed apps, of course).
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  13. #13
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    Doc,

    See my <post#=407111>post 407111</post#>
    Your post is basically what I said. It's the way that I would do it, too.
    BOB
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  14. #14
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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    Thanks everyone for the ideas and education on how all of this works. It makes sense once explained.

    I used recovery disks to format and set up the C: drive, and now have Windows 2000, the basic utilities and the updated display driver installed. I still have to uninstall Windows from the D: drive.

    * Is there any trick to uninstalling Windows from the D: drive so I can get rid of the boot screen where you see the choice for which copy of Windows you want to use?

    * Also, since the cause of this mess was most likely a conflict between SystemWorks 2004 and another software driver, I'm paranoid about having another blowup. Should I load SystemWorks before or after I start loading my applications? Is there any way to proactively look for places where conflicts might occur?

    [The background in a nutshell: I had SW2002 and it worked fine for several years. When I updated to SW2004, first there was a serious conflict with the video driver which I overcame with an updated driver. Then the AntiVirus Auto-Protect would not work no matter what. After trying everything else, the Symantec tech support person had me uninstall Roxio CD Creator which is when the operating system short circuited beyond recovery. It seems almost all anti-virus products have similar problems with upgrades because of conflicts with older software.]

    Any words of advice on the two questions (*) would be very helpful and most appreciated.

    Thanks again everyone,
    Virginia

  15. #15
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Format Hard Drive etc

    Virginia,
    Have you looked at the boot.ini file yet? It should mention the two boot locations. You can just edit out the reference to the D drive and save the changed file. It's just a text file. Once it stops looking for the D drive info, you can delete whatever from the Windows (D) folder.

    I would install SW2004 before the apps, although you should be able to do it anytime.
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

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