Hard disk recognition problems

i recently started installing linux onto a computer, when i realized that the ram was so low that it would not function properly in a gui. i went to install win98 instead, but msdos no longer recognizes the hard drive as being a fixed disk - ie fdisk will not run.

all i want to do is be able to put win98 on - ill try most anything.

Hmm, I think you got LILO in master boot sector… :cool:

Kill it.


repeat - fdisk echoes back that there is NO FIXED DRIVE PRESENT. tried fdisk /mbr earlier.

Was this a partition or an entire HDD?
If you started setting up Linux, did you have to reformat to change to a diff File System (not Fat32 or NTFS).
DOS and Windows cant recognize Linux partition and therefore can’t reformat back to their native FS. You may need 3rd party software.
My friends, dads uncle worked for Dell and I have some of their top software only distributed to their level 3 techs. :wink:
PM me if you want to talk about that possibility more.

Presumably the HDD is seen by the BIOS?
Most HDD manufactures have utilities available that allow you to write zeros to the disk - either just the first cylinder, or the whole disk. These write directly to the IDE port, so bypass pretty much everything - if you have zeroed out the first cylinder then you should be able to use FDISK OK.

i imagine the disk is formatted ext2 or 3. as i was given this pc, i didnt/dont have most of the setup type disks that came with it. if i cannot find the proper utility from the hdd manufacturer - do you think i could make it work from knoppix? im getting anxious :smiley:

I should think that would work, but I still reckon wiping the first cylinder is the way to go :slight_smile: It gets rid of the boot sector and all the partition tables, so you can make a clean start…
For all the drives I have had, the manufactures web site has had a suitable utility: Seagate, Maxtor, Quantum,… Even in the unlikely event that your’s doesn’t (who is it, by the way?), you can use the utilities on any drive as long as you have one drive plugged in from the right manufacturer (in reality the utilities may not even be that fussy - I’ve not tried).
Another thought is to use an MSDOS or DRDOS boot floppy disk with ranish.

As I remember it, writing zero’s to the drive writes them to the entire drive. Unless the software has changed and can now write very specific parts. I would be careful with that. Whilst what allformats suspects is feasible, the boot sector, which is the first 512KB loaded at startup of the O/S can be damaged or corrupted, you dont wanna chance screwing up other areas of the HDD.

Is there anything important you chance losing from data that you can’t just do a full format, and set up partitions from scratch.

Check your PM.

I must admit I had assumed from the earlier posts that ckin2001 was not worried about saving any data on the drive - writing zeros is certainly not the way to go if you want to recover anything!
For certain partitioning problems, Seagate specifically recommend this approach, for example here.

The real worry I have is whether the BIOS is properly recognising the drive at the moment and the problem more fundamental than repartitioning…

bios recognizes drive, fdisk does not. I am not worried at all about data on the drive, the pc is a 400 mhz celeron with an 8 gb hd and 64 mb of sdram which i received from someone who got a newer machine since this one was a steaming POS. I have a 466 p(2 or 3?) with 96 mb of ram and 8 gb hd that I received under the same conditions - and it was fine since I didn’t bother with linux on it.

am currently trying the seagate solution while fixing another pc for a friend - will update thread on monday

What’s the capacity of the HDD? Manufacturer? Old fdisk won’t recognize drives over 64Gb. Perhaps, you need a new fdisk.

Boot with a Win98 boot-floppy and try delpart (dos).
There’s a possability that your hdd has gone bad, try running a diagnostic test on it.


8 gb hdd, as mentioned before

no matter what the partition type it should recognize the fixed disk. Unless there is some weird problem it such as jumpers there shouldn’t be a problem.

Is the drive possibly on a controlle card?

Even fdisk should see the linux partitions (as unknown type). Saying no fixed disk found is usually indicitive of a bad hard drive.

thats what i had figured too oberon - but i still have not had time to check. sigh