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Unable to write to BOOT


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#1
alexmat01

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Hello

I am trying to install windows 98 on my IBM think pad 600E. The earlier Hitachi 6 GB HDD which was on the laptop got fried, so one of my friends gave me a used IBM Travelstar 20 GB HDD.

This is what I did :

1) Used the bootable CD and chose "Boot without CDROM" , typed in fdisk and saw that it already has a primary DOS partition.
(In fact when I had this problem I tried to delete this and create a new partition but all the time it kept on at "Verifying drive integrity which never moved from 0%) . So I rebooted again and saw that the partition was still there, so I chose to go ahead to the next step

3) Booted with CDROM support and then did the format /c. This goes fine until it reaches 99 percent and then it throws up this error :

Unable to write to BOOT. Retry
I retried but it never goes through and finally I had to abort this.

I have been trying this but everytime I format the drive, it reaches till 99 percent and then says Unable to write to BOOT and the format fails.

Tried even the format c/u , unconditional formating but no luck.

Should I update the BIOS for this since I heard that IBM doesnt recognize HDDs higher than 6 GB ?

Could you please help me with this one.

Thanks
Alex
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#2
Neil Jones

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If the laptop didn't see the drive you wouldn't have been able to format it.
More likely the 20Gb drive is damaged.
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#3
Tyger

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It's it pretty good idea to write a used drive to zeros before formattiing it. It may have such things as hidden partitions, or strange entries in the boot sector or the first few sectors. Also some machines may require that you install such things on the drive that you are trying to use. You may have to boot from a special floppy or use special software to make the needed changes. The simplest way to write a drive to zeros is to run DBAN from a flopppy.
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#4
alexmat01

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I used the DFT - Drive Fitness Test frmo the Hitachi site. Mine is an IBM Travelstar HDD so hitachi supports it.

I ran the DFT and it came out succesfully.

I then tried to erase the boot disk - like write zeros into it and that failed giving me this message :

Drive Information:
D9DHD6MB
Failure code : 0x75 - Defective Device.Component Failure

Does this mean the HDD has physical issues? If so then how was it able to read the whole of it and come out successful. Like I mentioned before when it tried to format it did 99% and only failed at the Boot sector.

Can the UDMA be the issue - UDMA difference between the motherboard and Systemboard ?
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#5
Neil Jones

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The Drive Fitness Tool doesn't 100% claim to see a defective drive. It relies more on the drive keeping track of its own history and failures more than anything else. If you're using DFT to wipe the disk then I think you know the problem is that hard drive. UDMA is a technology supported by the drive but if the drive is mechanically defunct anyway, its kind of like having a car without any petrol in it - pointless. :)
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#6
alexmat01

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hmm bad luck I got to invest in a new HDD :-( ? ?

Btw can it be a bootsector virus ? The HDD is being read fully in DFT hence is it safe to assume there are no physical defects on the disks. Since DFT cant write to boot sector, am wondering if it could be a virus ?
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#7
Tyger

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Get DBAN here

http://www.dban.org/

use it to write the drive to zeros, it will remove everything including the boot sector. It will also make a report on the drive.
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#8
alexmat01

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I had tried the manufacturer utility DFT from Hitachi.
Its a utility that boots up and can erase full HDD or seperate sectors and also Boot sector.
It failed !!!

Well will give this a shot and let you know.

I hope this works since I strongly feel the drive is physically fine but something to do with the boot sector that so far none of the utilities could rewrite.
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#9
alexmat01

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OOOPPSSSSSSSSSSSS !!!!

I tried the DBAN utility. I tried the default option but it didnt work. It errored out since it couldnt write the boot sector. I tried the Automatic mode and interactive mode but all those failed like the above.
Basically they started writing the hard disk with 0's and then at 0.12 % it just stayed there, the writing speed came down and kept coming down and then finally it showed the error screen. All of them errored at the same 0/12%

I tried to customize it and pressed F3 and then selected the Glutemann Wipe (guess spelled it correctly)
Waited to see if it could go past 0.12%. It was slower than others but it went past that point and went on . But I heard that the hard disk was going tick-tick-tick (which never happened so far or with any other wipes I tried so far). It kept on making that noise although the progress was made on writing 0's to the disk. Thinking that it must be damaging the harddisk, I aborted the process (Cold booted).

And then that was the last I saw of my hard disk. Now the laptop wont even recognize the harddisk(earlier it used to). So is the case with DFT tool from hitachi, it cant find the primary IDE. I ran the DBAN again thinking might as well try the Glutemann Wipe again and this time go till the end - and this time even this failed because the harddisk couldnt be found.

I guess thats it ? Has anyone come acorss such an issue ? Is Glutemann Wipe meant to be when you send the harddisk to the grave ? I thought I could rescue it by force wiping the boot sector and then format it.

Its a sad sad day :-)
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#10
Neil Jones

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Ticking is not good and now your drive's dead.

Without meaning to start an argument or sound arrogant, I did state in my first post in this thread that I thought the drive was toast from the initial symptoms so with all due respect this was a bit of a waste of two and a half days from your point of view. No program will resurrect a mechanically defunct drive and the Glutman Wipe is simply more secure erasure technology which in your case has simply contributed to its failure, it has not killed the drive intentionally.

Moral of the story: The boot sector is the first sector on any drive. If it has issues, the drive/disk is toast, pure and simple because that is the starting point for the rest of the data on the disk. No valid first sector = effectively no drive even though the data may still be valid, its not accessible under normal circumstances. Kind of no key to your front door = no access to the house.

Edited by Neil Jones, 27 September 2008 - 03:07 PM.

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#11
alexmat01

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Well am not upset on the lost harddisk.
The more and more I tried various utilities but failed to get to the boot sector I knew it had to be something serious.
DBAN was something of a last resort before I retired it off machine, so no worries on that.
Just an education in itself !
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