Thursday, August 11, 2005

Computers (#7) Computers (#7)

Last time I blogged about computers, I was worrying about my 160 gb hard drive in my new desktop (#F). By swapping hard drives with my old desktop (#D), I was able to show that the new motherboard was good. Initially, it had been flaky, but that mostly went away when I cleared it by using the prescribed jumper.

I had a flurry of emails back and forth with the Western Digital technical support people. Most of their canned suggestions were inappropriate. Finally, they suggested that I boot from floppy using their diagnostic floppy (which I had to download and create) and low level format the drive. Unfortunately, I couldn't do that on the new server, as it would hang before I could get to BIOS setup. But I was able to get to the BIOS setup on the old server and unconfigured the hard drive there. So, I moved the 160 gb HD there, booted to floppy, and did a full low level format, writing zeroes to the entire disk. I then went through the four diskette boot of the Win 2K install diskettes to get to the maintenance console, where I was able to partition the HD and format a couple of partitions. I then set the BIOS back to autodetect the HD, and then booted sucessfully. Moved it back to the new desktop (#F) and, voila, was able to boot. Went through the four floppy Win 2K boot again and then installed Win 2K. Pulled all the install files over from other systems, including Win 2K and 98. I then booted with the Win 98 floppy and installed 98. All of a sudden, I couldn't dual boot to Win 2K. Somehow, the Win 98 install had screwed up the dual boot feature. So, I had to go through the 4 diskette, etc. Win 2K install again - though this time I was able to install off of my hard drive copy. And, now, it runs.

The only real problem remaining is that there is still a hang somewhere. Booting takes a couple of minutes or far enough in the BIOS to enter setup or select an alternate boot device. And then it takes a couple of more minutes to get to the NT boot code. I originally thought that this later could be a result of a time delay in the dual boot function, but that is obviously not the case, since it takes that long before the dual boot menu appears. But it runs.

It looks like that my Linux install screwed up the disk partition tables on that HD. Unfortunately, there seems to be no easy way of fixing that. The MSFT DOS programs didn't help. And it is quite ludicrous that the BIOS will hang indefinately trying to read it early enough that you can't even get into BIOS setup with that disk attached.


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