Bad hard drive, cannot install OS

Acer / Aeros
July 31, 2009 at 01:17:58
Specs: Windows 98, 100MHZ Pentium, 64MB RAM
I have an Acer Aeros (Yes vintage) and the hard drive
recently failed on it. I replaced the hard drive and
partitioned and formatted it with 1 FAT16 partition. The
trouble is installing an operating system. When trying
to install Windows 95 setup crashes with "Cannot find
setupx.dll" (tried 4 different discs with the same
problem). After each attempt to setup an operating
system the hard drive must be formatted again as it
becomes corrupt for some reason. When trying to
install Windows 98 it says "loading files for windows
setup" or something similar to that and then
immediately cuts to "Cannot load user.exe" (tried
using several different CDs and versions of Windows
98 with same problem. I don't know what to do
anymore. I've tried several new hard drives and new
RAM chips so I KNOW that's not the problem. One
other thing I've tried is installing the operating system
on a different computer (Which works flawlessly) and
then moving the hard drive to this one... but it fails to
load. The computer will POST and then it hangs right
after that. Any advice would be appreciated as I don't
know what to do anymore.

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#1
July 31, 2009 at 04:04:28
Looks like a hardware problem possibly memory. Make a memory test disk and make sure it does a complete test or overnight without any error.

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#2
July 31, 2009 at 09:39:12
So you've swapped out the ram and hard drive and tried different OS cds. That leaves the cdrom as the next likely culprit.

But another thing to check would be the hard drive data cable. Is it in good condition and tightly connected? Is the drive properly identified in cmos/bios setup?


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#3
July 31, 2009 at 13:35:49
Have you tried your old hard drive in your friends computer to verify that it was the drive that failed and not the controller?

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Related Solutions

#4
August 3, 2009 at 00:49:14
I appreciate everyone's input so far, but the CD-ROM drive is not
the problem as it is barely used and works fine in other
computer, yes the other hard drive was for sure bad... 434 bad
sectors on a 1GB hard drive tells me it was bad... as well as
the loud clicking noises that go with it. The new hard drive
shows up fine in the BIOS and I did think to try a new IDE cable
a while ago... once again not the problem. I have 20 computers
just laying around and not one of them has ever given me as
much trouble as this one... any other suggestions?

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#5
August 3, 2009 at 11:31:00
If you used that same cdrom in other computers to install 95 and did not receive those same errors then I'd say it's not the cdrom. But a failing cdrom can be temperamental--it may work fine most of the time. If you've got 20 PCs lying around they must have some cdroms you can try out.

Also, what's the hard drive model number? Is it a new drive?


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#6
August 3, 2009 at 13:07:08
I've tried a different CD-ROM drive... several actually and no the
hard drive is not new it was pulled from a different computer...
before I pulled it it was running Windows 95 perfectly and I did a
complete scan for bad sectors and came up with nothing. The
hard drive is a Seagate Medalist model ST34321A.

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#7
August 3, 2009 at 20:01:23
Did you partition it in the computer it's in now? Sometimes one bios will see a drive a little differently than another.

Is the cdrom on the same data cable as the hard drive? Is the hard drive identified correctly in cmos/bios setup?

It's pretty much got to be the ram, cdrom, cd or the hard drive. Yet you seem to have eliminated each of those as a cause.

You could try copying the installation files to the hard drive and then running the installation from there. Just copy the contents of the WIN98 directory on the 98 disk (WIN95 for 95) to a similarly named folder on the hard drive and run SETUP from there.


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#8
August 4, 2009 at 14:38:23
The hard drive was partitioned in that computer and I've tried
to redo the partitioning several times now, the hard drive is
on the same data cable as the CD-ROM, but I have tried it
on a different cable and it made no difference at all. I tried
copying the installation files to the hard drive (Which I have
done before on other computers) and for some reason setup
just doesn't want to run. When going to the directory when
the installation files they go corrupt after attempting to run
them. The hard drive does show up correctly in the BIOS but
for some reason every hard drive I try in it corrupts itself.

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#9
August 4, 2009 at 15:46:50
What speed is the processor in that computer. As I recall Win95 had issues with faster processors. Do you have Win95A?

Is that why FAT16? What size is the partition?


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#10
August 4, 2009 at 16:13:34
The processor is a 100MHZ Pentium processor and it was
running Windows 95 A but I upgraded it to Windows 98 (with a
fresh install) about 4 months before the hard drive failed. I have
tried formatting the hard drive in both FAT16 (2GB partition) and
FAT32 with a 4GB partition.

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#11
August 4, 2009 at 17:05:13
Well, there is an old standby that many swear works. Copy the CAB files to the hard drive and run the setup from there.

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#12
August 4, 2009 at 17:07:34
The only other thing I can think of is to get one of the add-on ATA cards and connect the drive to it. That way you'd bypass the motherboard controllers, just in case the problem was there. You should be able to get a used ATA-66 for fairly cheap on ebay. Don't connect your cdrom to the ATA card as ATA isn't exactly Atapi and cdroms sometimes act weird when connected that way.

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