Big Probs!

  joseph K 16:54 01 Nov 2004

On Saturday I was reinstalling 'music match\ when my computer screen suddenly displayed 'FATAL ERROR WINDOWS SHUTTING DOWN' etc. and something about NTLDRV, everything shut down so quickly (Blank screen, not blue) that I was lucky to see this much information. I spent hours trying to reboot, but nothing.

As I am an avid 'backerupper' (this is a salutory notice to all novices) I eventually resigned myself to a reinstall. Unfortunately I could do nothing with XP, so I dug up my old copy of ME.

I have now found that I have been partitioned off onto 2 gigs of my 80 gig drive. I've been trying for hours to discover what has happened to the rest to no avail. If only I had a copy of 'partition magic' maybe I would know more, who Knows?

To make this more complicated NTL seem to have only intermittant Email service at the moment, so I'll just have to check in now and then. Thanks all. Rapidly running out of space!


  Gongoozler 16:56 01 Nov 2004

Is this any help click here

  keith-236785 17:13 01 Nov 2004

if at this moment in time you havent formatted the system, try this

using a windows98 startup floppy, boot with the floppy in the drive. at the menu, choose command prompt only (CTRL+F5)

once loaded, type at the prompt A:>

c: +press enter

this changes to the c drive, then type

fdisk /mbr +press enter

this rewrites the boot sector of the hard drive and will either make the disk work again or you will have just wasted two minutes.

if you have to format, first of all using the boot up disk again, use fdisk to partiton (or clear the partitions)

then once finished fdisking, the partitions will need formatting. windows XP setup will format for you or again you can use the floppy drive to format (you will have to choose option 2 from the boot menu to load the format option to the ram disk).

good luck, dont do anything to wipe your system until others have had a chance to offer advice.

  joseph K 17:27 01 Nov 2004

Thanks guys! I've printed all that out. I'll go back for another 'experiment' and report back later. I have checked the BIOS assiduously and that all seems (I would never say is) o.k.

  joseph K 18:55 01 Nov 2004

Something improved as XP began to reinstall with no apparent problems. However, after it had analysed my system the report said that I didn't have enough room to install it. It also said that it was 'aware' of another instance of itself running on the system. Unfortunately that instance is hidden somewhere where I can't access it, along with the vast majority of my hard drive.

  joseph K 20:51 01 Nov 2004

I've tried to access the 'Windows Recovery Console' by using the XP disk. When I press F10 or 'R' to enable me to do this (on the welcome to setup screen - as mentioned in in windows article 314058 'Description of Windows XP recovery Console') nothing happens!

It seems strange to think that I've only come this far thanks to a ten year old set of dos 6.2. floppies. Before I tried that, even dos seemed like a mystery to the computer.

I'm beginning to despair, as I've been at this sincs Saturday.

If you guys can't help between you I think it's time to get a technician onto it, which I don't like the thought of.

There is something about getting the 'old crate' working without a technician. Surely we can do it. I've never come here and failed before!

One thing I've noticed about magazines and computer books, having browsed through a huge heap in the past couple of days (mostly quite old), they tend to inform about what there is to do when the computer is ok. Then when a huge crash like this happens, the only way there is of finding out how to deal with things is on the computer, which is what is malfunctioning in the first place.

I think it's called 'Catch 22'.

Still running out of space.


  iambeavis 20:57 01 Nov 2004

I don't know if this might be of use to take you a little farther down the road - click here

  joseph K 20:59 01 Nov 2004

An idea for the FE to pass on to PCA's editor. A couple of pages at the end of each issue telling how to access a computer if it crashes badly. These pages could remain the same until new and better ideas arrive.

Result: Once word goes around, whenever someone experiences a 'fatal crash', they know that PCA has a couple of back pages dedicated to the subject, consequently another sale is made.

Though there is something to be said for 'bitter experience' I suppose, but I'd better refrain writing that here.

  joseph K 21:18 01 Nov 2004

That's left me not so much confused as 'fused out'! I'm not sure, but I may have passed the boot problem now. I just can't find 78 Gigs of my 80 Gigs (slight overestimate I know).

Then that does pose the question: why won't my computer boot to all that space I suppose.

It's as though it doesn't exist, as it should appear if I'd created another partition, which I haven't.

I've tried 'Norton Utils' 'Sysandra' and other diagnostic programs, but they all only see this 2 Gig section as though it were the entire disk. As I've said, it's as though it crashed then decided to partition 2 Gigs away from the remainder of the disk.

What I need is some way of being able to see the overall situation. I feel like an airbourne photographer without a plane. Splat!

  keith-236785 01:15 02 Nov 2004

i still suggest you fdisk the drive to see what is going on, choose option 4 from fdisk menu to view the partition details, it appears that the drive master boot record has become corrupt and has reset itself to give the default 2gig partition size.

using fdisk you can use a drive larger than 2 gig simply by accepting the option at the start of the create partitioning.

have you run the fdisk /mbr to rebuild the master boot record?

also check that the hard drive is set in the bios as AUTO or LBA (large block address), it might be the bios that has reset for some reason and has altered the hard drive settings. The drive may be detected correctly size wise but if LBA or auto is not selected then that may be causing the problem.

  User-312386 02:00 02 Nov 2004

hold on

if you have an XP disc, you can delete all partitions and reformat the HDD completly

Ensure the CD-ROM drive is set to 1st boot in the BIOS (to do that start pressing delete when starting the computer)

Now pop the XP disc in>select install windows then click delete partitions and then format

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