What does this mean: Sector not found.....

  Tj_El 10:02 01 Mar 2003


My cousin dropped off his laptop saying it wasn't 'working'. It's a rather old laptop and it's running Win98.

The first problem I encountered was a CMOS error. I pressed FI to continue and all the settings in the BIOS looked ok to me but it failed to boot, giving the message: Invalid system disk.

I did a 'sys c:' just in case and it started to boot but then there were various messages all related to the config.sys file.

I tried to 'edit config.sys' to check the contents but got the error: Sector not found reading drive C. Abort, Retry, Fail

What sector? Is this related to the config.sys file? What do I do next?

Your assistance appreciated.


  jazzypop 10:30 01 Mar 2003

The Sector refers to the logical unit on the hard disk - basically, W98 has lost track of what file is where, or the disk itself has suffered physical damage (not uncommon with an old laptop).

To check the former, boot to DOS with a W98 boot floppy, when it gets to the A:> prompt, type


Allow it to fix any errors it finds.

  Tj_El 10:39 01 Mar 2003

thanks - will give that a go.

From Google search results I've been reading it appears it could be due to a few things but here's hoping scandisk does the trick.... another site also suggested doing a CHKDSK as CHKDSK /F...

I guess they both do the same thing.

Will post back.

  Tj_El 13:06 01 Mar 2003

OK. Have run scandisk (scandisk /all /surface) - no problems found.
Laptop still refuses to boot from C. I have set boot options as FDD->HDD but it still gives me the "Invalid system disk" error. When I insert the boot disk at this point and press the space bar, it boots from the floppy drive. After the RAM-DRIVE is loaded and I type C: to get to the C prompt, I still cannot boot into windows from there!!

One thing I noticed when the system was booting from the boot disk was an error message:

What does that mean and does it have any bearings on the failure to boot into Windows?

  Tj_El 14:46 01 Mar 2003

^ bump..

why is it trying to boot from the a drive instead of the C drive?

  powerless 14:49 01 Mar 2003
  Tj_El 14:51 01 Mar 2003

..could it be a faulty master boot record on the C drive? is it worth carrying out an FDISK/MBR?

  Tj_El 15:05 01 Mar 2003

I have read through that link but nothing there has helped.

When I boot using the diskette, I can see (using DIR) the contents of the C drive but if I try to access a file, say 'EDIT CONFIG.SYS', I get the error: CDR101: Not ready reading drive E...!!??

I get the same error message when I switch to the C prompt and try to boot into Windows from there.

Why is it the system trying to access the CD drive when it should be reading from the C drive? I'm confused - it's not as if I can't see the contents of the C drive which means the HDD can be accessed.

What's going on? Help!

  powerless 15:07 01 Mar 2003

Do me a favour and go back into the BIOS and check that it detects the HDD.

  jazzypop 15:23 01 Mar 2003

click here for the likely cause of the 'ERROR: PCI READ CONFIGURATION ERROR' message. This will need to be resolved if you are ever to reinstall Windows from CD.

Note also the comments in that thread about using the sys command with the wrong boot disk (e.g. using a W98 floppy with an ME system).

I suspect that the FDISK/MBR will be necessary in the end, but do carry on with Powerless's train of thought for now.

  Tj_El 15:56 01 Mar 2003

Thanks for your help this far. OK here goes...:

The laptop is a Toshiba ( a bit on an old one) and when I access the BIOS, it only allows me to set the HDD type as Standard IDE or Enhanced IDE. There is no option to auto-detect the hard disk (is this peculiar to Toshiba?) so I can only assume that it detects the HDD.

That I can see the contents of the C drive leads me to believe that the system does detect the drive, unless these 2 functions are mutually exclusive?

Your assistance appreciated. :-)


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