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Old 16-08-2004, 09:07   #1
Stevie G
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Please help! Invalid system disk error on boot on windows 98SE.

Please help! I was at my friends last night and we were installing his printer drivers. his pc had ung and then crashed and when we tried to reboot it it wouldn't boot up saying it was an invalid system disk. i've brought it home to try to repair as he hasn't got a dos boot disk. What do I need to do? It looks like the boot sector or something might be corrupted. How can I fix it?
i don't want to have to reinstall if possible as he can't find his windows disk (his serial is on a label on the pc so that's ok, but it'll mean hunting down a windows disk. I have windows 98 but not SE so I don't think that will be ok)
Thanks.
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Old 16-08-2004, 09:38   #2
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Try a dos boot disk and get to a command prompt.

1. Can you get to c: ? if not the Hard Disk could be knackered might be worth trying some disk tools to check it.
2. If you can get to the c: then I would then suggest typing SYS c: when at the prompt, this will replace the master boot record.

Otherwise trawl through the googlegroups (http://groups.google.co.uk/) to see if there are any answers on there.
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Old 16-08-2004, 09:48   #3
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a last resort is formating the master boot record (fdisk /mbr) this will not cause a problem with the partitions or delete any data. for more info look here

however, you should not use this is the system was dual boot, or the partitions were created using 3rd party apps like SpeedStor or partition magic.
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Old 16-08-2004, 12:00   #4
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I know it's a stupid suggestion......

But you don't still have a diskette in the A drive, do you?
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Old 16-08-2004, 12:48   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LV426
I know it's a stupid suggestion......

But you don't still have a diskette in the A drive, do you?
My thoughts exactly!
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Old 16-08-2004, 16:21   #6
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No! it's not that! Thanks. I'll try those
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Old 16-08-2004, 17:27   #7
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I've tried making a boot disk from my pc. Mine loads into dos ok but his just keeps saying invalid system disk. I can't get into the BIOS to change it as it's a damn HP that has got the BIOS access disabled. Tried selecting boot from floppy but it tells me thats an invalid system disk too. The hard disk is still recognised as it shows it on the boot info, plus it will run the diagnostic partition but that's no use. Is it possible to make a bootable windows 98 cd?
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Old 16-08-2004, 18:55   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie G
I've tried making a boot disk from my pc. Mine loads into dos ok but his just keeps saying invalid system disk. I can't get into the BIOS to change it as it's a damn HP that has got the BIOS access disabled.
Try this:

Hewlett-Packard

HP Vectra
1. Reboot your computer.
2. When the bottom of the Hewlett-Packard System Hardware Test screen displays, press F2.
3. Use the arrow keys to highlight Parallel Port Mode.
4. Use F7 and F8 to switch settings. Set to
Bi-directional ECP, if available
Bi-directional, if necessary

HP Pavillion
1. From Windows, click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, and then click Yes.
2. At the HP Blue screen, press F1 to enter CMOS.
3. Use the arrow keys to highlight the appropriate setting.
4. Press F10 to Save and Exit, and then press Enter.

I have no idea which model of computer you have obviously. The above maybe laptops for all I know But if you google "hewlett packard bios access and whatevermodelnumber" you should get some hits.

Quote:
Tried selecting boot from floppy but it tells me thats an invalid system disk too. The hard disk is still recognised as it shows it on the boot info, plus it will run the diagnostic partition but that's no use. Is it possible to make a bootable windows 98 cd?
The Win98 bootdisk created in windoze often doesn't do the job. Due to it not having various components required to boot written to the disk at the time of its creation. As I think I have said before in this forum. Nobody knows why M$ failed to make the "Create boot disk" wizzard do its job properly, it just doesn't.

With this in mind, you may wish to pay a visit to www.bootdisk.com and download one. Be aware though that as the system is a HP it may have it's own bootdisk that is specific to the system and would have been received at the time of purchase. It is also worth mentioning that if you fdisk the drive on a system such as this, you risk wiping out valuable data that is often stored on the harddrive in a hidden parition.

If you run one of the disk images from bootdisk.com be sure that your A: is the first drive in the boot sequence and not the C:.

If you have a "Restore Disk" then you could try that. Though stop short of reformatting or reinstalling as your friend won't be too grateful if you wipe his data. That is unless he has recently backed up his system?

Another option (if you have broadband) is to download The Ultimate Boot CD (it's about 600MB) from here: http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ as you will see from the site it has a whole host of different utilities that may assist in the recovery of the system.

Another option to create a boot cd is here:

Bart's way to create bootable CD-Roms (for Windows/Dos)
http://www.nu2.nu/bootcd/

Another option you may wish to consider is: http://welcome.hp.com/country/uk/en/support.html chances are you will receive a reply from some automaton who cannot see past the FAQ on his screen. But you never know you may find that one engineer who is prepared to take some time out of his\her day and help you.

If all else fails, then consider getting whatever files you can off the drive itself by slaving it to the drive in your system. Then reinstall it back in your friends system and run the restore cd that he would have received at the time of purchasing it.

Good luck!
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Old 16-08-2004, 21:41   #9
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thanks, but it turned out to be a sircam virus. not sure how it got there but it was typical that it happened when I was there and looks like I messed it up! I had downloaded a printer driver from the HP site and that seemed to set it off. I know they didn't have any anti virus software on it anyways. I managed to get a boot disk of that bootdisk site and that got me into dos. Doing sys C: fixed the boot file but because the installation was already messed up (only 600 mb of the drive was used by the time I'd got into it) it was too late. I got the windows 98 boot screen but then just a C: prompt.
I tried conntecting the hard disk to my PC to copy over any files I could find but my antovirus software immediatly identified a sircam virus and quarantined it. I did a full search and tehre was two on the drive. One seemed to be the HP Printer drive. a bit worrying that. Anyway I've had to reinstall his OS now and he's lots all his photos. I feel really bad about it as all the photos of their two kids are on there. They were just about to buy a cdrw drive for that purpose too. Typical!
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Old 16-08-2004, 21:42   #10
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thanks for all the help though by the way! very helpful
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Old 16-08-2004, 22:17   #11
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Big lesson doing Backup's of none replaceable data i.e. photo's and documents...... Managed to delete someone entire hard drive on my first tech support job when I was school leaver. How gutted was I, still kept me job though
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Old 16-08-2004, 22:33   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie G
thanks for all the help though by the way! very helpful

You're welcome
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