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Win 98 Disappeared


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#1 vtech13

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 12:24 PM

Hi,
I know next to nothing about computers, but I know my laptop isn't working. It was working fine when I went away about a month ago, now that I'm back, when I turn it on, it asks for a system disk. I don't know what happened. It's just been sitting in it's case for the last 5 weeks. I have all kinds of stuff on it, that I need to get at and I don't know what to do :thumbsup: Is there some way to get back to my desktop? It's an older laptop cuz it's all I could afford, and it has windows 98se I haven't had it very long, maybe about 3 months. Please help.
thank you

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#2 Herk

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 08:53 PM

The first and most obvious step is to make sure that there are no floppy disks in a drive. A "non-system disk" will keep it from starting.

But then, you would need a way to check the hard drive to make sure your stuff is intact.
The first thing to do would be to try to start from a command prompt. This requires a minimal amount of DOS experience. So, while the computer is booting up, begin hitting the F8 key until you get a boot menu. (If you don't even get a boot menu, there may be trouble in River City.)

Choose the command prompt. When the computer is done booting, you will see nothing but a black screen and a prompt which will look like this:

C:\>_

That's the "DOS Prompt." You are now at the command line. You need to type a command. So let's try to see what appears on the disk. Type this:

dir /w

. . . and hit enter. You should see a number of files and folders strung out across the screen, all in text. Notice the space before the slash. That gives you an idea that you still have something on the drive and that it functions at least well enough to be read. Next, change into the Windows directory by typing:

cd windows

. . . and hit enter. Now, your prompt should look like this:

C:\windows>

So let's test Windows, to see if it's actually there. Type:

win

. . . and hit enter. Windows should start. (Of course, it should have started without the command prompt, but it never hurts to try.) Failing that, we may need to either restore the registry, restore the boot capability, or even do a re-install of the operating system. But let us know what you find out first.

#3 need TOS

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 08:55 PM

Has anyone else had access to the laptop over the past month?

Go into the system BIOS, by pressing either esc, F1, F9, or F10. it should tell you in on startup. Check to see if it recognises the Hard Drive. If not then it might be fried.

If it is found, download a Windows 98 boot disk from here: http://www.bootdisk.com
Boot-up using this boot disk, must have boot from floppy drive A before boot from Hard Disk C. Then switch over to drive C: by typing C: at the A:> prompt (Also known as the command prompt) (each drive is given its own letter to distinguish it apart from others) and pressing enter/return (press enter/return after every command). Then type dir, it should list all the directories and files located on drive C:. If it comes out as, drive / volume not found or something like that then it proborably needs repartitioned. You can do this by typing in fdisk, create a primary DOS partition and rebooting the computer, you will need to reinstall Windows though.

-Steve

edit: In responce to Herk, that will not work (pressing F8) if it will not start booting Windows to begin with, in which case you'll need a bootdisk.

Edited by need TOS, 23 July 2007 - 08:56 PM.

Forgiveness is forgetting about a past that could have been

#4 acklan

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 01:05 AM

I have been away for a few days but may I ask. What brand and model notebook do you have? It could be as simple as the replacement of the BIOS battery.
"2007 & 2008 Windows Shell/User Award"

#5 vtech13

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 02:35 PM

Hello,
Thank you for the replies. I haven't had access to a computer to respond or try your suggestions.
acklan- It is a Toshiba Satellite 2210CDT.

need tos - No one else has had access to it.

Could it really be as simple as a battery? I'm not very good at any of this computer stuff. I downloaded the bootdisk, and I put on to a disk, but it didn't work. Someone told me it needs to be a bootable disk. If this is true, then I'm stuck. I have Nero smartstart, but don't know how to make the Winimage self extractor file boot98s3, that I have saved, into a bootable disk. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Thank you

#6 vtech13

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 05:08 PM

Hi Again,
I think I got the bootdisk to work, it ran something called caldera. Now it's just sitting at:
[DR-DOS] A:\>
with a flashing cursor. What should I do now?
I can't figure out how to replace the cmos/bios battery.
Thanks again

#7 acklan

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 05:25 PM

Try typing in C:\ and press enter. If the C:\ comes up type in c:\win and enter. If it recognizes the command it should start windows.
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#8 vtech13

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 05:40 PM

Hi,
Nope, it looks like I screwed up the bootdisk. I'm such an idiot, I can't even figure out how to burn the Winimage self extractor file :flowers: :thumbsup:

#9 vtech13

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 07:31 PM

Wow,
I found my original bootdisk. When I put it in, it says:
1. start windows 98 setup from cd-rom
2. start computer with cd-rom support
3. start computer without cd-rom support

I tried 3, without cd support hoping that it would find everything in the hard drive, but it didn't work. :thumbsup:
If I completely reinstall windows, won't I lose everything that's on my laptop? Is there any way to get windows to run or recover windows, so I can get at all my files? I appreciate your help, school starts in 3 weeks and I need a working laptop by then.
Thanks again

#10 acklan

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 08:28 PM

With windows 98 the option I use is 1) Place the drive in another computr and recover the data, or 2) Install a drive in the primary or Master slot on that computer, and take the drive that is in there right now and make it secondary, or Slave. Then install Windows 98 on the new primary drive.
This all presumes the current drive has not failed and is unusable. In which case all of your data is lost.
"2007 & 2008 Windows Shell/User Award"

#11 vtech13

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 04:51 PM

Hello,
Okay, I decided to reinstall windows. I put in the bootdisk and the cd, it ran and here's what I got
"Setup cannot install windows 98 on your computer.
An error was detected while trying to read or write to your hard disk. To quit Setup, press F3"
When I press F3, I get"Windows is not completely installed, if you quit now, you'll have to run it again". So I quit it and I got this:
D:\WIN98>
I tried typing in setup after the prompt(don't know if that was right) and got this:
"Setup is now going to perform a routine check..
..Please wait while Setup initializes.
Scanning system registry...
Cannot create a temporary directory.
If you have HPFS or NTFS installed on your hard drive, you will need to create an MS-DOS boot partition to set up windows"
and it returned to the D prompt.
So I tried typing "Fdisk" and got the "Your computer has a disk larger....Do you wish to enable" So I typed "y" and got this "Error reading fixed disk." :thumbsup:
Help! I just don't get it.
Any suggestions?

#12 vtech13

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 06:43 PM

Just an update. I let the computer do a test on itself and it says the harddrive(and everything else)is fine. It just seems like it should be something simple, I just don't know what it is I don't know very much about setup and configuring, so I don't know how to do anything about the "Cannot create a temporary directory. If you have HPFS or NTFS installed on your hard drive, you will need to create an MS-DOS boot partition to set up windows" and the "Error reading fixed disk." issues. On the plus side, I got the old ibm 380xd running and online, but the downside, is the Toshiba is a faster computer with more memory and really is the one i need and want. At this point, I don't care about everything I lost, I just want and need to get this laptop working :thumbsup:

#13 Herk

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 01:58 PM

Three questions for you:

1) Were you ever able to get into the BIOS? From there, you should be able to see if the hard drive has been recognized.

2) Are you sure you're running Windows 98 on the laptop and not Windows XP? Attempting to install Windows 98 would run into the problem you described if it had the NTFS file system.

3) Did you try to follow my instructions once you got the boot disk to work? Once you're at the A:\> prompt, you should be able to change to the C:\> prompt by typing

C:

. . . and then you can do a dir to see if you can even read the hard drive.

#14 vtech13

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 06:55 AM

Thank you for the helpful suggestions, but the situation has been fixed. Sometimes the laptop would recognize drive c, other times it wouldn't. So I opened up the back and as it turns out, the hard drive was loose. So I pulled it out and pushed it back in and bam, all better! Windows came up and all of my files were there!

Thanks again.
Now, my IBM $5.00 specisl is dying after only 3 days. According to scandisk/surface scan, the drive keeps developing errors and it takes absolutely forever to do anything. And sometimes I get a blue error screen that says something like it can't write to disk or drive or something. So I guess that's it for that one. Oh well, at least this one's working again.
Take care :thumbsup:




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