Mystery of the missing operating system

  MidgetMan 13:46 13 Jan 2004

I work in an office where we have 9 pc'c networked and I am unoffically responsible for the general upkeep/fixing/building etc of said network, currently all running win 98 (as it suits our needs.

This morning a work colleague switched his pc on, entered password etc went to check his e-mails when the pc re-booted for no reason, this was annouced by the usual swearing etc (which alerted me to prob) anyway pc got to boot up and we were greeted with the error message that not a valid disk! and please insert correct disk.

Oh err says me, wonder why that has happened! double checked no floppy in etc, checked bios defo set to boot a/c, stuck recovery disk in and checked c:\, only to find no operating system installed!!, c:\ was blank except a few folders that used to contain documents etc.

Inserted win 98 disk to try to re-install and was told that unable to continue as "media is of incorrect format".

Now by this time am slightly worried and abit peed of as had a busy moring ahead, and also colleague cannot work. Tried format (thinking at least get it running) only to have format terminate as cannot write to boot.

Now resigned to getting new drive put in, BUT what makes me wonder ids where in the hell did windows go???????? Was it a virus? (unlikely as all machines have avg) was it a hard drive failure (if so why could I access c: via recovery disk, and no other way) was it pixy's?.

Totally stumped on this one.

  DieSse 13:52 13 Jan 2004

Without seeing the drive, it's impossible to gusee what happened - and even then probably difficult.

Most likely causes, as you surmise, are a HDD failure, or a virus. Came apart as he started checking emails sounds a bit suspicious of a virus, I have to say.

  spikeychris 13:56 13 Jan 2004

Just a thought, you say the machines on a network and you "checked bios defo set to boot a/c" is there a chance it was set to boot from LAN?

  MidgetMan 13:56 13 Jan 2004

Agree with you on the virus front, that was one of my first thoughts when I was told the exact sequence of events, however colleague adamant that he did not open any messages (pre-view pane NOT on) Are their virus's that can just wipe the o/s off?

  MidgetMan 14:01 13 Jan 2004

No all machines are set to boot a:/c: they then only access the lan to use the internet and programmes that are stored on the server, thankfully all he lost was his personal bits he keeps on the machine, everything else is run of the G drive (server)

  tafoody 14:13 13 Jan 2004

noticed the "cannot write to boot"

i had a similar problem, PC wouldn't boot up, couldnt reinstall, errors included cannot write to MBR.scandisk was finding loads of errors but couldn't repair.

i gave up and bought a new HDD, but same problem.

all that had happened was the bios setting had changed the HDD to 'read-only' instead of 'read-write'

not sure how that happened, but still, ive got 2 HDD's now.

  MidgetMan 14:25 13 Jan 2004

Had already thought of that and checked whilst in bios, but all as should be, still cannot figure out where windows to though, this is one of those ones that will keep me awake all night wondering!

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