hard disk problem?

  geedad 15:42 02 Feb 2003

Sometimes, on booting I receive a message 'Hard Disk Boot Failure' - insert boot disk ........
When I switch off and re-start, it boots up OK.
Is this a physical problem, or software?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Windows 98 Second Edition. Pentium II. 333Mhz.
440BX chipset. 128 RAM
Using Broadband 128k.


  DieSse 15:56 02 Feb 2003

It's very probably due to your HDD being a bit lazy in starting up. This can be the sign of an oncoming problem - but the drive could last for many months or even years more.

If you slow down your boot sequence, by Disabling the Quick Memory Test, in the BIOS - or enabling a HDD delay on start up, in the BIOS, as some BIOS's can - then does the problem go away??

  LastChip 16:07 02 Feb 2003

but it could be either.

It sounds like the CPU is having trouble reading the MBR (master boot record).

This could be due to the drive itself being on its way out, or the MBR has become corrupted.

Providing the hard drive has not used layering software, something like MaxBlast or similar, to allow recognition of a larger hard drive on an older machine, you could try the following;

Boot the machine with a start-up floppy, and at the DOS prompt, type;

fdisk /mbr

This will re-write the MBR to a fresh state, and any corruption that may be present should be cleared. However, it could also render your drive un-boot-able if there is a major problem, so whilst you can access the drive, make sure you back-up those all important files (you've been meaning to do) before you try this option.

DO NOT use this option, if any sort of special boot sector software is in place, as it may well render the drive useless.

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