Hard Drive Problems
How do I get to the CMOS to add info
about a new Hard Drive?
Consult your manual. Usually you hit F1
or F2 during boot up. After boot up, some systems allow
you to do it by hitting Ctrl-Alt-Esc, Alt-F2, or Ctrl-S.
The drive will work as a slave, but not
as a master, or vice versa.
Check the master/slave jumper on the back of the drive and consult your manual
for correct settings. The settings differ for every drive, but this problem has
to do with that setting.
I have told CMOS about the Hard Drive,
but it still won't boot, and I get errors.
Format and partition the Hard Drive. This must be done before it can be used.
Can I mount the drive sideways?
In most cases, yes. It's probably not good for it to
mount it upside down, though. The best way to be sure is to contact the
The Hard Drive just won't work!
Check the drive's power connection. If you have spare power connectors in the
system, try one of those to rule out that the one you are using is bad. Check
all connections. If you've playing inside there, itís likely to be a bad
installation. Check the jumpers on the back.
The Hard Drive won't boot, or it says C: drive failure
insert boot disk.
First of all, check for error message on the screen and act upon what it says.
Boot the system off a floppy. Use your system disk. Then see if you can read
anything off of the Hard Drive. If so, the drive and controller are fine. Most
likely, you have a damaged boot sector, possibly caused by a
electric surge. Recopy COMMAND.COM, AUTOEXEC.BAT, and CONFIG.SYS, then retest. If you get the error message, there
is a chance your drive is dead or dying.
The Hard Drive seems to have failed.
Sometimes, the Hard Drive seems to have failed completely. Either it is not
bootable, or it cannot be detected by the computer. If it is not
auto-detectable by the BIOS, it is likely a drive failure. If it is detectable,
then the drive is probably fine. Have you prepared the drive? A Hard Drive must
be formatted and partitioned before it can be used. If you get a specific error
message, base your troubleshooting on this
My Hard Drive worked fine in one
system, then stopped working when I upgraded the motherboard or moved it.
First, double check all configurations and connections. When working inside a
system, missing little things can sometimes cause a problem. Sometimes, though,
it is simply an incompatibility between the two BIOSís and the Hard Drive. In
particular, the translation mode affects how the system reads data off the
drive sectors. So, you may need to make sure the BIOS is
set up for the particular translation mode of your Hard Drive. You could also
do things the hard way and back up the drive, then reformat and repartition it
and set it up fresh for the new system.
I can't boot from the drive, but it
works fine when booting off a system disk.
Usually, this is because you haven't formatted and partitioned the drive yet.
It could also be a damaged boot sector, possibly due to a virus. Scan the drive
with a virus scanner. Also, make sure the primary partition is active. Active
makes it bootable.
My computer won't let me create a
partition over 2 GB in size.
With the FAT16 file system, this is the limitation built into the operating
system. Windows 95 OSR2 and Windows 98 are capable of using the FAT32 system
which will get rid of this problem. Otherwise, just divide the drive into more
than one partition, each being less than 2 GB in size.
I have a large Hard Drive, but my
system says it is around 500 MB in size.
This is a very common limitation in the BIOS. You have older BIOS that cannot
recognize a drive larger than this. You need to update the BIOS. You can also
find and install a driver called dynamic disk overlay that serves as a medium
between a large disk drive and the old BIOS.
When I added a new Hard Drive, all my
drive letters changed!
This is due to the way the system assigns drive letters. Letters are first
assigned to the primary partitions, then the logical drive partitions, then
other drives, like CD-ROMs. Your letters will change if you have created a
primary partition on the new drive. The way around this is to create only
logical partitions on the second drive. Only your C Drive needs to be primary.
My Hard Drive gets real hot.
It is normal for Hard Drives to generate heat, but it should never get too hot
to touch. The newer drives especially make more heat, but a well ventilated
case should adequately dispose of the heat.
When I run a scan disk utility, it
finds occasional errors.
This is normal. During normal operation of a PC, some files become corrupted. A
good disk scanner can usually fix the errors. If the errors seem excessive,
this could mean a more serious problem. Check for viruses. Also, make sure you
shut down Windows properly. Turning a system off from the desktop can mess
The Hard Drive and CD-ROM seem to be
working even when I am doing nothing.
To an extent, this is normal. Windows 95 has an auto-detect feature for CDs in
the CD-ROM. Sometimes this will cause Hard Drive activity. This can be disabled
if it bothers you. Also, be absolutely sure you don't have some operation set
up to operate behind the scenes. Windows also occasionally performs some
operations with the files.