Solved Bios recognizes hard drive but dos doesnt.

March 17, 2016 at 22:31:29
Specs: Dos
Hi there. Just formatted my C: on an old 486 and started a fresh install of Windows 3.1, went fine until the restart part. After i restarted the computer, it will not boot to C even though the BIOS recognizes it. I have messed with the boot order and several other bios settings but it will not access the C drive. Any time i start the computer up it says invalid boot disk, whether or not theres a disk in A:, or even if i unplug the drive altogether. The only DOS boot disk i have is for version 3.1, any time i type in C: it says "invalid drive specification"...i know C is there, why wont it recognize it? Specs are 80mhz 486, 1gb hard drive...thanks, hope somebody can help me with this! Driving me crazy...just wanna use windows!

See More: Bios recognizes hard drive but dos doesnt.

Report •

✔ Best Answer
March 18, 2016 at 23:16:34
"Is there a way to partition the drive by hooking it up to a modern PC and then re-installing it?"

FDISK/Format (partitioning) is best done on the machine the drive will be installed on. Differences in BIOS's could result in later troubles.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/for...

" I have DOS 5 and 6.0, but only upgrades. I'll have to dig around and find a complete version of dos to upgrade from."

Check my previous response on a post for installing DOS 6.22 from upgrade disks. Probably should work on your DOS 6.0 disks:

http://www.computing.net/answers/do...

Again, make sure the drive is correctly setup in the BIOS before proceeding (cylinders/heads/sectors per track). Otherwise you may run into issues with not recognizing the correct size or data corruption may ensue later on. Since you mentioned you "messed with the boot order and several other bios settings", open the machine up and read this data off of the drive itself or, if not listed, find the manufacturer and model number and search for the correct settings online.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

message edited by T-R-A



#1
March 18, 2016 at 02:29:03
"The only DOS boot disk i have is for version 3.1..."

"any time i type in C: it says "invalid drive specification"...i know C is there, why wont it recognize it?"

Did you format the drive and then completely install a version of DOS? Just using a bootdisk won't cut it. Without the complete installation, the system files are not on the drive (preventing booting to C: ) and the framework for Windows 3.x isn't there.

Secondly, that's definitely the wrong version of DOS to be using with a 1GB HDD. Anything before DOS 4 limited partition sizes to 32MB; DOS 6 or higher is what you should be using.

http://philipstorr.id.au/pcbook/boo...


"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

message edited by T-R-A


Report •

#2
March 18, 2016 at 20:04:53
In addition it's probably not partitioned (with fdisk). Partitioning will assign it a drive letter so 'invalid drive specification' means there's no valid dos partition.

So you've got a dos 3.1 bootdisk and windows 3.1 disks?

You may be able to find a download site for dos 6.22. They come and go. Or someone may be able to email you its disk images.

Oh and a 486 bios usually won't properly see a drive larger than about 540 meg. In that case you need to install a drive overlay to access the entire drive.

message edited by DAVEINCAPS


Report •

#3
March 18, 2016 at 21:59:35
The bios is recognizing and displaying the proper HD size, think its actually in the ballpark of 840mb. Did some research and yeah, i was dumb. Totally forgot the installing DOS step after formatting. Is there a way to partition the drive by hooking it up to a modern PC and then re-installing it? I have DOS 5 and 6.0, but only upgrades. I'll have to dig around and find a complete version of dos to upgrade from. Thanks for the advice!

Report •

Related Solutions

#4
March 18, 2016 at 23:16:34
✔ Best Answer
"Is there a way to partition the drive by hooking it up to a modern PC and then re-installing it?"

FDISK/Format (partitioning) is best done on the machine the drive will be installed on. Differences in BIOS's could result in later troubles.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/for...

" I have DOS 5 and 6.0, but only upgrades. I'll have to dig around and find a complete version of dos to upgrade from."

Check my previous response on a post for installing DOS 6.22 from upgrade disks. Probably should work on your DOS 6.0 disks:

http://www.computing.net/answers/do...

Again, make sure the drive is correctly setup in the BIOS before proceeding (cylinders/heads/sectors per track). Otherwise you may run into issues with not recognizing the correct size or data corruption may ensue later on. Since you mentioned you "messed with the boot order and several other bios settings", open the machine up and read this data off of the drive itself or, if not listed, find the manufacturer and model number and search for the correct settings online.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

message edited by T-R-A


Report •

#5
May 10, 2016 at 03:40:48
Hi A-ko,

You need install DOS first, and test it works/boots, then install Windows 3.1.

The versions of dos and windows you are using are very old and you will find creating ever more obstacles as time goes on. If possible, use DOS 6.22.

Is there a reason you are using Windows 3.1, and not W95 or W98?

However, I think the disk and/or partition is maybe too big for DOS and to overcome needs a Disk Manager Program installed first. This would have been loaded by AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS during booting. These would have been on the HDD, but have been lost during formatting. Have you backupis of such?

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

message edited by Mike Newcomb


Report •

#6
May 10, 2016 at 15:20:31
Mike,

Did you even read beyond the OP's original post (which was started almost 2 months ago)?

A 486-anything would be just about too slow for Win98, and Win95 would only be "tolerable".

The versions of DOS and the partition info was previously covered.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

message edited by T-R-A


Report •

Ask Question