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Fdisk & Partition not working

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#1 Knowalil


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Posted 29 March 2009 - 02:44 AM

Hi, I wanted to introduce myself as I am new to this forum. I've found help here before but decided that this time, I need to post as I just couldn't find my answers elsewhere in the forum.

I sold my 6-7 year old Dell desktop computer to my friend. It was running Windows 98 when I got it but I received a Windows ME upgrade within a few weeks following purchase. I upgraded to Windows XP some time ago and had never had a problem. This computer is perfect for my friend and if I can fix it, will remain perfect for years to come.

Started with the computer slowing down incredibly. I'd already turned off everything in msconfig and had cleaned up and cleared out all junk and regularly defragged for her. She was running Norton 360 and I assumed that a major part of the problem was this and was considering changing to a less bulky Anti-virus/spyware, etc. Then I turned on the computer for her one day and received a black/blank screen with only the following in the upper left corner:

Disk read error occurred
Press Ctl-Alt-Del to reboot

Rebooting didn't help. It just returned me to the same screen.

I did a Google search and found some information on this problem along with suggestions. I tried numerous things but I couldn't get the thing to boot to safemode or even a DOS prompt. At one point I did get a message that said, "unable to locate FAT32 partition" which seemed odd because I switched to NTFS when installing Win XP. After numerous attempts where nothing worked, I finally thought, I'll just fdisk and start over. I've never not had that work for me but it didn't work this time. The problems I've had just don't make any sense whatsoever, after first fdisk I partitioned and started the Win XP setup/install but then the files wouldn't transfer from the CD properly. I attempted another fdisk and then partitioning got weird on me. It kept changing the drive letter; D, E, F, each time I attempted a partition, a new drive letter was given. It wouldn't let me create proper sized partitions, on and on. I attempted a scandsk but it instead told me to run chkdsk as "it does a better job" but then found nothing wrong. I checked the hard disk surface and it said it was fine.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm at a complete loss here. I thought that maybe the hard drive went bad. Maybe RAM is bad or CMOS needs cleared. I hate spending more time on it if its a hardware issue. If it needs a new hard drive, my friend will probably just buy a new laptop. HELP!

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#2 gavinseabrook


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Posted 29 March 2009 - 02:52 AM

If you are reinstalling WinXP, DO NOT USE FDISK! Dont mean to yell, but windows setup has its own partitioning utility upon setup. Just remove the partition and then reinstall to that. It will automatically partition and format the drive for you. And dont install any norton or mcafee product. They are "System Killers".

Gavin Seabrook


#3 OldGrumpyBastard


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Posted 29 March 2009 - 09:17 AM

The problem that you are having is that you are attempting to use a utility (Fdisk) which isn't supported by XP period...When you installed XP you created NTFS partitions....Fdisk was used in FAT16 and FAT32 formats (95,98,98se)...While you can format FAT32 partitions in XP from the Boot CD, it is still a moot point as far as Fdisk is concearned...Read this article:


Note that at the bottom of the article what Operating Systems this applies too

You should be able to install XP with the CD and let it create partions for you...Install XP on one partition...create additional partitions if you want and you can format them in the computer managment utility later after XP is installed...

Edited by OldGrumpyBastard, 29 March 2009 - 09:18 AM.

Does this look like an OldGrumpyBastard or what?

#4 Knowalil

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 01:03 PM

Thank you both for attempting to assist me. Turns out the original problem was a failing power supply. After spending a few hours working on the computer, the power supply wouldn't provide enough power to let me perform proper functions. I ended up waiting a week (just out of frustration) and then attempted the installation of Windows XP and it worked just fine. It was a few days later that I just happened to speak with an expert who mentioned the power supply and he said that letting the power supply sit for a week, could have allowed it to re-power itself (my words, not his) and I was then able to finish. He said that the problem would happen again because I still need to replace the power supply.

What's really frustrating, if I'd known about the power supply, I would never have needed to re-format. Just swap out the new part and things should have worked fine. I'd googled the problem and read many forums where people were complaining about the exact same problem and they would re-format, etc. but the problem kept happening over and over. Of course it would, when the problem is the power supply. LOL

Oh well, live and learn.

Thanks again.

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