Non system disk errors

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Networking
I keep getting non system disk errors on old boxes that i am testing. Does this mean there is no operating system on the boxes. or do i need a boot disk. these errors happen when i boot the machines up. they do not even make it to the welcome screen.

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Typically, YES, that message would indicate no O/S was found..but also it could mean that the drive is not bootable.

I would check;

BIOS Settings for correct HD settings, and boot sequence settings.

If that doesn’t do it, boot with a known good floppy disk (Win95B or better for FAT32 support) and then check to see if you can see anything on C: drive.

But note, if these drives were originally NTFS, then a typical boot disk will not ID these either.

You’ll need to use a TECH TOOLS CD and boot off that with something like Winternals Disk Manager or ERD Recover tool to see what’s on those old machines.

Ever heard of BartPE?? Bootable CD with customizable tools, I believe there’s a file viewer on it. Do a search for BARTPE and you’ll find it.

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  • Chrisdavis
    have you seen these boxes work before? If so, there may be something wrong with the disk. most disk manufacturers have bootable disk checkers that you can download. these utilities check every block and mark bad ones. often they can be bootable floppys or cds. similarly, if the machine is an XP machine, you can use the XP Installation CD to boot into recovery mode and run chkdsk /rf . i have seen this fix up a bad disk as well. You could also boot into the XP recovery mode to snoop around the disk and see what's on there (assuming it's good enough to mount at all). do you know the history on these machines? perhaps if you knew their role before and how people used them you could get a clue into what may have gone wrong. another, though unlikely, possibility is that there are more than one disk and for some reason the bios has been set to boot to the wrong one, or the master/slave jumpers are set wrong... or the connection is bad at the cable.
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  • Chrisdavis
    Bart PE is a great tool. If I remember right it needs to be customized to the machine though, which might not be possible. I could be wrong on that. however, one easy solution is do download Knoppix and boot into that and search around that way. Your bios settings will also show if the drive is detected properly or not.
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  • Maeven
    This may seem dumb, but is there a floppy in the drive? If there is take it out and try again. Just a thought. Wendy
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  • Dwiebesick
    Barts PE boot disk does not have to be customized for each computer. The new version (currently beta) will do almost all RAID, mass storage devices (SATA ETC) and NICs. However, using Barts or Ultimate Boot CD, or any other other 'techie' boot cd is an over kill. Also, these systems maybe so old that they will not boot form CDROM. Or, maybe these systems don't even have a CD installed. With out more information, I would suspect these are really old machines and the people disposing of them either fdisked/wipped the hard drives or removed them to protect any private data. Please post back if you have confirmed the BIOS boot order; does the BIOS detects the hard drive and if so what make and size did the system detect. I would keep things simple. I would use any boot floppy diskette that contained FDISK and FORMAT. Run FDISK and option 4, view partions to see if you have any. If not create a partition, mark it active, reboot to your floppy, and then run format. Format the hard drive with the /s option. Reboot to the hard drive and see it it works. If you have access to the internet, use www.bootdisk.com to get your bootable floppy if you don't have one.
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  • Tanvir786
    Hi, I think that first you have to look inside and tell us what is the actual hardware. Either you can load CMOS setup etc. What kind of HDD if any or Floppy is there. If you can reach to CMOS setup then try to attach a new reliable floppy drive to the system and with a bootable floppy disk try to boot and then tell what error come up on the screen when you write.... A:>C: (press enter) if the prompt changes to.. C:> (You are lucky enough.. you can now hopefully recover the data) If not then tell the error message. Hope that solve your problem.. or get you started... Regards, Tanvir.
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