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Thread: Can't format C:

  1. #1
    mamadavis
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    Can't format C:

    I've searched many boards for several weeks, but I can't find a suitable answer for this problem:

    My brother-in-law gave me his old computer (I think it's an AMD or Athlon processor) and "removed some files"; however, somehow he removed Windows in the process! I downloaded a boot disk from bootdisk.com and copied the files to the hard drive. Now I've run into many other problems.

    I can't boot from the floppy disk, the computer immediately goes to the C: prompt.

    I can't format it to start over, I get an "invalid command" error message.

    I've looked through many tech support websites and have tried many, many different things, but nothing seems to work. I thought the easiest thing would be to format the drive and begin again, but I can't do that.

    Also, I can't install the Windows 98SE because it says that it can't install from DOS and I read somewhere that I need the Windows 98 CD; however, my nephew built the computer for my BIL and this is the only CD that came with it. I have Windows 95 on my own computer. I don't know why he'd have installed the SE version if you can't use the CD to reinstall Windows in case of a crash!

    I'm not dumb, just don't know what else to do with this seemingly useless computer. Also, I don't have $45+/hour to take it into a PC shop at this time.

    If you need any other information, please let me know. Thank you very much for any help!

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Can't format C:

    You'll need to adjust the BIOS settings to allow a boot from a floppy. Generally the settings for that are quite apparent, but you may have to search for a bit.

    As to re-formatting, You may download (from bootdisk.com) thier 'Ultimate Boot Disk.' this will contain everything you need to fdisk, format, and run ROM drivers for your CD.

    After you 'melt down' the system, you can then proceed with installing Windows 98, if you have the appropriate CD. If not, you might install Win95, (sounds like you may have a CD version of that.. no?) then use the CD provided to you to upgrade to 98SE.

    Hope that helps!
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  3. #3
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    Re: Can't format C:

    if the machine is recent enough, and it sounds as though it is, you could boot from the win98SE CD, again by changing the boot order. This will allow you to set up the system. you can also access all the files you require to reformat or fdisk the drive. I have hasd problems in the past with setting up 98 on some systems and the problem can be resolved by using the switches for setup to avoid memory check, disk check etc. To list them boot from the CD and at the prompt type setup /?. If there are any remains of windows then you need to remove the win.com file from the windows directory. This is usefull if you 1. don't have the original serial number and need to use a new one or 2. if you want to upgrade but leave all the data on a drive intact, eg from 95 to 98 or 98 to 98SE, the only headache being it preserves the file system so a FAT16 disk cannot be converted to fat32 during the install. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

  4. #4
    mamadavis
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    Re: Can't format C:

    Thank you! I at least got it reformat C; however, I get the error message "This program cannot be installed in DOS mode" when I type SETUP. The CD and book are labeled "Getting Started with Windows 98". Is this just a training guide and did my brother-in-law get ripped off when he was told that he was getting a Windows 98 CD with the PC, or are the Windows files within a directory perhaps? I don't recall all the files (and I'm not at home right now), also I'm not too good at working with DOS.

    Maybe it would be better to install my Windows 95 on this PC and then try to install Windows 98 over it, unless this is a useless training CD?

  5. #5
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    Re: Can't format C:

    If it came with a book, then it's a worthless training CD. I would recommend installing Windows 95, sounds like you'll have an easier time dealing with that, and you can upgrade from that if you've got the software.

    If the windows files were in a directory, they're gone now that you've formatted the C: drive. The error that you're getting, "This program cannot be installed in DOS mode..." suggests that the CD contains an application, not an operating system. If there's no other CD's with the system, I'd say he got duped.

    A true Windows 98 CD will have no problem installing from DOS, that's the best way to go about it when installing a new operating system. Type SETUP and Go, IF you have a true Windows 98 CD.

    Hope that helps!
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    Re: Can't format C:

    Hi,
    If the CD is labelled Getting Started With Windows 98 then it's probably a training CD, but the Windows 98 CD does come with a booklet called Getting Started Windows98 so it may be the right one. If you have the right CD, try changing your BIOS so that you boot from the CD and it should install OK. I have had problems trying to install Win98SE from a DOS prompt using Setup before but it has always worked OK booting from the CD thus far for me.
    Hope that helps.
    Regards,
    Rory

    Microsoft MVP - Excel

  7. #7
    mamadavis
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    Re: Can't format C:

    I will try everything tonight or over the weekend and let you know if it worked. Thank you so much for your suggestions. This has been a useless gray box on my desk for a long time.

    If I could, I'd buy each of you a cup of coffee!

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    Re: Can't format C:

    Starbucks is everywhere!! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    No problem! hope it works out!
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  9. #9
    mamadavis
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    Re: Can't format C:

    The pain continues. When I turned it on today, it couldn't find the CD-ROM drive again, though it was working fine the other day. I tried to run setup from the Windows 95 CD, but I got the error message "SU-0013 - Setup could not create files on your startup drive and cannot set up Windows. If you have HPFS or Windows NT file system, you must create an MS-DOS boot partition. If you have LANtastic server or SuperStor compression, disable it before running Setup."

    I wondered if it was because I had used a Win 98 bootdisk, so I downloaded a 95 one from bootdisk.com, but the error message "non-system disk or disk error" comes up for the 95a and 95b versions, I can only boot from the Win 98 disk.

    I'm stuck again and completely frustrated. I thought this might be easy, but it looks like I might have to have somebody more experienced look at this because I can't find any information anywhere that works. I've been trying for several months. Thank you all though.

  10. #10
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    Re: Can't format C:

    This sounds very much like you'll have to format the disk and start over. On the subject of the setup files, if you by a system with the files already installed they are "normally" in windowsoptionscabs, thats where I usually put them too as it appears to be a standard.

  11. #11
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    Re: Can't format C:

    It's not as painstaking as it is time consuming.

    Go into your bios and make sure that you've got your boot order setup correctly. A, then C.

    Download the proper boot disk for the OS you're using. Windows 95 disk, for Windows 95, etc.

    Once you've extracted the files from your bootdisk, you may boot from that disk, and type 'fdisk' to re-format your hard-drive. If you have compressed your drive, you'll have to remove that first. You're not concerned about how it's done, you just want to wipe the entire drive and make sure that it's FAT32, not NTFS or Compressed. (FAT16 is okay too, it may be your only option if you're installing Win95...)

    A good boot-disk will allow you to access your CD ROM without re-configuring your BIOS to do it. I'm not a big fan of the Booting from the CD, because you may end up not being able to access your ROM drive after you change that setting.

    Hang in there, it'll be well worth it, and WAY too costly to have someone else do it. [img]/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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  12. #12
    mamadavis
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    Re: Can't format C:

    I'm not intentionally compressing my drive, I'm only typing in format c: /s, then letting it do what it does. I've read a few things about fdisk, but I've never done that and never knew if it was mandatory. If I format c, it creates a RAMDrive on D, and then E is my CD-ROM. So do I fdisk C or D or both? What do I do with the files on D, move them to C, then does D become my CD-ROM or ???

    Thank you for your help! I can't wait to get home and try this to see if something finally works! When my brother-in-law GAVE me this computer when he bought a new one, I was so excited...until I saw that he'd removed Windows...and it's been under and on my desk since late last year collecting dust (I broke my arm in January and couldn't lift it onto the desk for about two months), and I'm just now trying to get it working. My old PC has only about 800 MB and this one has, I think, 6 GB, so I'm anxious to install all my "stuff" on it and let my daughter play her little girl games on the old one.

  13. #13
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Can't format C:

    D is created from your floppy drive, it wont be there when you get everything installed, unless you split your 6gb drive into two partitions. Using Fdisk you can do this. I would recommend splitting it into two partitions, one for system information, (usually 1GB) the other 5GB for programs, etc. but if you prefer one partition, that's okay too.

    You'll want to fdisk c:. That's the primary drive. Fdisk will allow you to remove any compression, and ensure that it's using the proper format. After you fdisk, you'll then want to format. (it's repetitive, but it ensures a CLEAN slate.)

    Don't worry too much about D:, you might have to disable that part of the bootdisk if you want dual partition however. See if you can EDIT AUTOEXEC.BAT from your prompt, and put an "REM" in front of the line containing the RAM drive specifications. It may be in your CONFIG.SYS as well.

    Hope this helps!
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  14. #14
    mamadavis
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    Re: Can't format C:

    Sorry, stuck again. Must I fdisk C? There's an fdisk.exe on the floppy, but I don't know which options to choose or how large to make the partitions. The Windows CD is version A, so I'm assuming that it has to be FAT16, but then you (or someone) said that I can't make it FAT32 if I install Win98 over 95. Is that right, or is there a way to tweak it later?

    Also, setup still stalls with this error: "Setup found a compressed volume or a disk-cache utility on your computer. Quit Setup and check your compressed volume with your disk compression software or remove the disk-cache utility. Then run Setup again". How do I do this from DOS? Is it possible or is something else wrong here?

    Even if/when I buy a brand new computer (very soon I hope!), I'd still like to get this one up and running if I can...I can't just let it die!

  15. #15
    Lounger
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    Re: Can't format C:

    You can convert a drive to FAT32 after installing win98 but not during the setup. If you've already formatted the drive then it makes no difference. I would suggest that you run FDisk and select the large disk support option, delete all the partitions, put a new partition on (create primary) and then restart and reformat. If you have to install win 95 before 98 then version A will only give you fat16 and you will have to convert after installing.

    Incidentally, if you go into fdisk and remove all partitions and then boot from a setup floppy the setup process will create and format the partition for you.

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