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  1. #1
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    HD Format - Non-system disk error!

    Sorry for the length of this post but I think the attempt has to be explained for understanding my problem! <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    I don't have a lot of tools to help other people with but when I can, I do so my neighbour asked for help with her hard drive. It had developed quite a few bad sectors, kept going into scandisk, and driving her crazy so I suggested a new hard drive. She has a Win98SE and her old drive was 12GB. So I am fairly certain we can use a Western Digital 20GB.

    I was able to image her old drive with Acronis True Image and I had saved it to my External USB HD so I was satisfied that restoration should be quick and painless. I hooked the new drive as a slave, and formatted it as FAT32 with Acronis Partition Expert and installed the freshly made image to it. When I tried to boot with the WD as the master drive, I kept getting a non-system disk error? After much frustration with different attempts to properly format this drive, I finally gave up and dug out a Win98SE boot disk and formatted the drive with it. I also took the time to put the original image onto two CDs so I could use Acronis True Image boot disk and then restore the image from the CDs to the WD that was connected as a Master drive. This finally worked successfully!

    So what was I doing incorrectly? Why didn't the format by Partition Expert work? Or is it because I needed to do the format /s to put the system files from the Win98SE boot disk onto the hard drive? <img src=/S/confused.gif border=0 alt=confused width=15 height=20>


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

  2. #2
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    Re: HD Format - Non-system disk error!

    Hi Skitterbug,

    Using the /s switch on the format command would most likely have solved the problem - it may well have been that the backup image you took didn't include the hidden system files. The other thing that might have worked with the formatted HD and the Win 98SE boot disk would have been 'SYS C:' I can't recall whether this .exe file came on the Win 98SE boot disk but, if it did, that would have been sufficient to transfer the hidden OS files to the new HD without another formatting.

    Cheers
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    Paul Edstein
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  3. #3
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    Re: HD Format - Non-system disk error!

    So you are saying that since I had transferred all of the "windows files" but may have missed the hidden system files all I would have had to do was put the Win98SE boot disk in and given the command at the prompt of "SYS C" and that should have taken care of my problem?? I knew I was making it more difficult than I needed to!!

    Now I am wondering what I did wrong in making my image file? Guess that may need another thread to ask about it or some hunting first for appropriate answers before I "pop the question"!! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15> for your reply!


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

  4. #4
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    Re: HD Format - Non-system disk error!

    Skitterbug

    I would have said that an "imaging program" ought to have transferred everything (including the hidden files and the partition data, including the "active/bootable partition" status) onto whatever the backup medium was, and thence to your new hard drive, which should then have been bootable just like the original was.

    But I don't have Acronis TrueImage, so perhaps an owner could comment on my understanding of the matter...?

    John
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    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  5. #5
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    Re: HD Format - Non-system disk error!

    <hr>...I finally gave up and dug out a Win98SE boot disk and formatted the drive with it... <hr>
    First, let me get my two WD questions out of the way. Has the WD drive preparation software ever been used on the drive? If so, you probably did not clear the "hidden" stuff from the drive when you formatted it with Partition Expert (which I don't have, by the way). And before I forget it, remember from a number of other posts in The Lounge that I always remind people that the JUMPERING of WDs is somewhat unique. There are different arrangements depending whether a drive is all alone in a system or paired with another drive. Just for the heck of it, re-check your jumpering.

    I think you already know that I also use a Win98SE floppy for drive prep work. Whenever you prepare a drive, you should always run the FDISK command to not only see what the current setup looks like, but to DELETE anything that's previously onboard. Then, when you create a new partition on the drive, you can ascertain that it's all by itself AND occupying all the space on the drive (assuming that's what you desire). After a successful FDISK and reboot, the format command doesn't need the /S parameter if you're going to restore an IMAGE to the newly formatted drive. TrueImage WILL put the system files on the disk if they were on the source disk of the image.

    One thing that may have happened to you when you formatted the drive with Partition Expert in the SLAVE position - it may not have marked the partition as Active, thereby rendering the drive unbootable. Since I always verify the Active status from Win98SE DOS mode, I don't know whether TrueImage would set the partition Active or not. It might depend on whether the drive is in the master or slave position when you restore the image to it, I can't be sure.
    <hr>...then restore the image from the CDs to the WD that was connected as a Master drive... <hr>
    If this is your current status, then obviously all of the above is moot and might only serve for "future" reference...

  6. #6
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    Re: HD Format - Non-system disk error!

    Hi Skitter,

    I can't say why you had the problem you had with this. I've had some problems in the past with True Image and images on external USB hard drives. I found that it had to do with me using the USB ports on the front of my Dell to plug the HD in. The system wasn't seeing the drive and I guessed that the front ports were not activated until Windows was up and running and went to a rear USB port and all worked as advertised. So your issue could be hardware related but it's tough to say.

    I would have skinned the cat a different way. After you had the image on your external drive (for safe-keeping) you could have installed the new drive as a slave and then used True Image's clone feature and cloned the old drive to the new one. I'm not sure if the operation formats the new drive in the process but would assume it does. Then it's just a simple matter of removing the old drive and hooking the new cloned drive up in it's place. A different path to the same end. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

  7. #7
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    Re: HD Format - Non-system disk error!

    Hi John, Al and Doc Watson!!

    I appreciate all of the information you have shared. I am going to start this project from the very beginning after I have formulated my plan of action. I'll definitely report back on how it all turns out!! Wish me lots of luck!! <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/crossfingers.gif border=0 alt=crossfingers width=17 height=16>


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

  8. #8
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    Re: HD Format - Non-system disk error!

    Hi Macropod!

    Just wanted to add that one of my starting points will be to fetch the old hard drive from my neighbour along with her boot disk and her system disk for "just in case" (if I need to start completely from scratch again). I don't want to go that route because her system was up to date and downloading all of those updates on a dial-up connection just isn't something I would relish having to do!! But I too was wondering if my original image was made correctly, although I have used it once already on my old Seagate that is currently running happily in her computer - so it should be okay! I also like the idea of trying the clone method since I have a computer system available to do it on. There are lots of ways to go about this, I just need to get it done properly this time!

    Thanks for your ideas!


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

  9. #9
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    Re: HD Format - Non-system disk error!

    Al,

    I want to wrap up this thread in a positive manner and answer a few questions along the way. Has the WD drive preparation software ever been used on the drive?
    Yes, I did finally get desperate enough to try WD Utilities 11 which didn't help a thing. I resorted to the boot disk and did FDisk to remove all partitions and then created 1 primary dos partition of the whole drive. This worked perfectly. I also formatted the disk with the Win98 boot disk. I did find that the version numbers of the Win98 disk and the Win98SE boot disk to be the same - 4.10.2222.

    I also ran a scandisk on this drive and found no problems so that was nice to know.

    To use this WD as a master, no jumpers are required and it does function in this set up just fine. I'll find out in a few days if it works okay in the neighbour's computer as I expect it should.

    Partition Expert in the SLAVE position - it may not have marked the partition as Active, thereby rendering the drive unbootable..
    I think that this may have happened and when I tried to restore the image, I think I chose "logical" instead of "Active, Primary" because that was the default option being shown. I should have changed it and didn't. When I did restore the image this time, I did it with the HD in the slave position but I was very careful to select the proper settings for a bootable image when I completed the process.

    Doc,

    After you had the image on your external drive (for safe-keeping) you could have installed the new drive as a slave and then used True Image's clone feature and cloned the old drive to the new one.
    I wanted to try this feature out but would you believe that when I brought the old HD home from the neighbour, it clattered and banged around and wouldn't boot! I am certainly glad I had my image already created!! I think I got lucky for a change. Whew!!

    John,

    ought to have transferred everything (including the hidden files and the partition data, including the "active/bootable partition" status) onto whatever the backup medium was..
    It did just that, it was me not checking the right options to get it transferred properly. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    BTW, I did finally get this hard drive working, if anyone hasn't figured out where I was headed with this post. And after cleaning up her installed programs a bit, defragging, etc. I decided to make yet another image of it for safe keeping! I am content finally.

    Thanks to everyone for the helpful information and support with this project!


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

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