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Hard drive: Shows in BIOS, can\'t run fdisk

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January 25, 2013 5:50:34 PM

DOS 6.1 boots and will do DOS things except when Hard Disk is involved. Executing FDISK results in a blank blue screen with a blinking curser in upper left corner. Nothing on Hard Disk, just trying to install a system (any system) on it. Booting from Windows 98 CD causes same result. Reloaded BIOS sucessfully from ASUS, but no change in result with FDISK. HARD DISK, CD-RAM and LEGACY FLOPPY all show in BIOS SETUP screens. Can read from all except HD. Any clues appreciated.
a c 316 G Storage
January 25, 2013 6:05:39 PM

What is the model number of the HDD?

Is it IDE or SATA?

Does BIOS report its correct capacity?
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January 26, 2013 1:23:44 PM

I believe it is an IDE drive. The lable says, Seagate 7200.10, 160 Gbytes. The BIOS at boot says, Pri Master Disk: 160041MB, UDMA 5. It looks like it is recognizing the complete capacity. In DOS, C:, results in a message to the effect, Invalid Drive. Thanks for your response.
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a c 316 G Storage
January 26, 2013 10:15:40 PM

I have confirmed that Win98SE FDISK sees my 320GB ST3320620A 7200.10 PATA drive. However, it makes a mess of the partition table if I try to partition it. That's to be expected since Win98SE is limited to 28-bit LBAs, ie 128GiB (= 137GB). Earlier FDISK versions (eg the one that shipped on the Win98SE CD) were limited to 64GB.

FDISK Does Not Recognize Full Size of Hard Disks Larger than 64 GB:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/263044

DOS will report "invalid drive" if it cannot find or mount a file system on C:, so you will also see this message on an unpartitioned "good" drive.

Even though it doesn't appear to matter in my case, one thing you could try is to use a tool such as HDAT2 to limit the capacity of your drive to 128GiB.

Alternatively, perhaps the problem is that DOS cannot handle a PCI IDE port address at other than the ISA legacy ports, ie 170h and 1F0h. Is there a legacy IDE setting in your BIOS? HDAT2 can identify your IDE port addresses.
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January 26, 2013 11:52:29 PM

Thanks for your comments. I now believe that the problem is on the hard disk. I added the questionalbe HD to a working Windows ME computer and BIOS recognized it but described it as 131071MB. Start Up hung with a blank black screen with a blinking curser in the upper left corner. (Similar to what FDISK did.) After awhile I turned the computer off then restarted it and it started up in Safe Mode. Using My Computer in Windows, the added disk was not there. During several retrys, the computer hung with the questionable drive attached but would start Windows in Safe Mode. Unplugging the power cable from the back of the questionalbe drive allowed normal start up of the computer and Windows. To verify that the disk might be the only problem, I took the hard disk from the working computer and installed it in the questionable computer as the only HD. It booted and after a number of "new hardware recognized and drivers searched for and installed" the questionable computer with another system disk work fine. That is why I say I believe the problem exists in the original hard disk and not in BIOS. I understood that fdisk would only work on a portion of the 160Gbyte disk but I thought it would at least do that. Now the original computer works fine with an 8 Gbyte HD while a 160 Gbyte non-working one one lays here. It would be nice if I could get the big one working again. But when the hardware won't even recognize it as a legitimite device there is not much any software can do to restructure what is on it. Thanks again for redirecting my thinking. Fred
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