Solved how do i start my pc from an A:\ drive?

November 8, 2015 at 19:24:19
Specs: Windows 98, 475 MHz
I have a HP Pavilion N3250 laptop. My laptop wouldn't start without a boot floppy, so I got one off of eBay and the disk was in great condition. So, I thought, "Finally, I can get this laptop to work".

Well, every time I start the laptop, I get a command prompt for the "A" drive.

Can someone please answer this for me? Thanks.


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✔ Best Answer
November 9, 2015 at 18:35:16
You can do a dir/p if you get a c:\> prompt for a file listing. Normally c: is going to be the hard drive but if it, or the partition on it, is not recognized by the OS on the bootdisk then that leaves the letter C: open for other drives. Some bootdisks create a ram drive at the next available letter. It's also possible cdrom drivers have selected C: as their drive letter. But if you post back the names of some of the files listed we may figure out which it is.

After booting from A: one command to try is FDISK. It may say 'error reading fixed disk' or it may give you the fdisk menu. If it shows the menu choose option 4 'display partition information' (or words to that affect) and post back what it says. Don't use any of the other options as you may end up deleting what's on the drive.

Also, as I mentioned above, you should also check in bios setup and see how the drive is identified. If it's not correct there it's not going to work right.



#1
November 8, 2015 at 20:03:09
The floppy boot disk will have a version of dos on it. What version depends on what exactly you bought. But all versions leave you at the a:\> dos prompt unless some commands are set to run in the autoexec.bat file. It's assumed you're somewhat familiar with dos commands. A dos bootdisk will start the computer but it won't start windows.

My guess is you're having a hard drive problem. It's either dead, damaged or corrupted. If the bios doesn't find a hard drive to boot from it will usually give a message about inserting a system disk--which is what you did--but it doesn't tell you what to do with that disk.

Give us some history on what happened and any error messages you're getting now. Maybe we can figure out what happened.


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#2
November 8, 2015 at 20:09:03
If it's a proper boot floppy for W98 then you have to ensure your A drive is ahead of the C drive in BIOS, then start the computer with the floppy in the drive.

You don't need to buy one you can download them for free, see here:
http://www.bootdisk.com/

A boot floppy is not a factory restore, it is a technical tool. You need to let us know exactly what the problem is with your computer - what it does or does not do, with the details of how far it gets, error messages etc.

EDIT:
Oops I overlapped.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

message edited by Derek


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#3
November 8, 2015 at 20:10:35
Well it was my Mom's old pc and she new I liked old computers so she gave it to me, but on the other hand she said it had a nasty virus on it and once I saw that I couldn't get the pc started up after weeks of researching, I assumed the hard drive was corrupted so you're probably right. But thanks for the help, if I can't get this pc working in the next month, then I'll just buy a new one off of eBay. And, if I have any problems with that, feel free to help me. Thanks

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Related Solutions

#4
November 8, 2015 at 20:12:42
Thanks, I'll try to get some info in the next couple of days. But I know one thing, every code I try to put in, it says, "Bad command or file name".

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#5
November 8, 2015 at 20:16:05
Re No4

That means it does not recognize the command you are putting in.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#6
November 8, 2015 at 20:20:30
Yeah, I know, I just recently figured out that I was entering codes for the "C" drive. Do you know any codes for the "A" drive?

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#7
November 8, 2015 at 20:26:46
Re no2

You know Derek, you gave me an idea, I have some virtual pc software on my main pc, (the one i'm using right now), could I maybe download something from that website for windows 98 to have a vitual w98?

message edited by RzRGoldElite


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#8
November 8, 2015 at 20:30:17
Nevermind, it won't work.

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#9
November 8, 2015 at 20:38:50
At the a:\> prompt you can type dir/p and enter to get a directory listing of the files that are on the floppy. But again, they won't mean much if you don't know how to use them.

To change to the hard drive type c: and enter. If you do that do you get a c:\> prompt or an error message?

Since the computer is new to you maybe it doesn't even have a hard drive in it. Have you checked to see if it's there?

message edited by DAVEINCAPS


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#10
November 8, 2015 at 21:35:02
A couple other things:

At the a:\> prompt type ver and enter. That will give the version of dos on the disk. Post back what it says. An older version may not recognize the hard drive.

Also it's possible after all this time the cmos battery is dead and it's lost the drive information. Some of those older computers wouldn't auto detect unless you tell them to in bios setup. If the date in bios setup is way off it's likely a bad battery but you can correct the date and check later to see if it's still correct.


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#11
November 9, 2015 at 04:26:42
Some spot on stuff from DAVE - it should tell us a lot.

Just for info, exactly what happens when you power on without the floppy?

Have you a Win98 operating system CD?

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#12
November 9, 2015 at 14:59:20
Re no11


It just says entry boot floppy and press any key

And no, but I do have a product recovery disk but it doesn't work

message edited by RzRGoldElite


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#13
November 9, 2015 at 15:01:45
Every time I put in the product recovery disk it recovers to 11% then says error reading disk and then it stops

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#14
November 9, 2015 at 15:03:33
Well I'm in the store right now trying to get clothes for my cousins wedding this weekend but I'll go home and finish my homework real fast and get some more info but until then I'll see y'all around

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#15
November 9, 2015 at 16:45:51
It sounds is if the disk is corrupted (if you mean the recovery disk). You could try cleaning it with warm water and washing up liquid. Use your thumb, working from center to outside. Wash off and dry thoroughly with kitchen towel. Sometimes making a full copy of the disk then using that can get you out of trouble.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#16
November 9, 2015 at 16:51:46
alright I'll try that

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#17
November 9, 2015 at 17:33:33
re no9

After i get to the "c" prompt, what do I type next?


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#18
November 9, 2015 at 18:35:16
✔ Best Answer
You can do a dir/p if you get a c:\> prompt for a file listing. Normally c: is going to be the hard drive but if it, or the partition on it, is not recognized by the OS on the bootdisk then that leaves the letter C: open for other drives. Some bootdisks create a ram drive at the next available letter. It's also possible cdrom drivers have selected C: as their drive letter. But if you post back the names of some of the files listed we may figure out which it is.

After booting from A: one command to try is FDISK. It may say 'error reading fixed disk' or it may give you the fdisk menu. If it shows the menu choose option 4 'display partition information' (or words to that affect) and post back what it says. Don't use any of the other options as you may end up deleting what's on the drive.

Also, as I mentioned above, you should also check in bios setup and see how the drive is identified. If it's not correct there it's not going to work right.


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#19
November 9, 2015 at 18:41:55
Do what was suggested in #9 and let us know the outcome. It would be useful for us to have some idea what you find.
EDIT:
I see I overlapped with DAVE again.

If you have a recovery disk then you should be able to boot to it without a floppy drive.

The floppy could be useful if you have a Windows 98 operating system disk (as opposed to a recovery disk).

I'm getting the idea you are expecting to put in some code or other to fix this computer. It's not really like that. We need to have some idea what is already on the hard disk and try to diagnose the problem. Most likely you will need to reload Windows somehow, which will require more than a 1.4M floppy disk.

The fact that it is asking for a boot floppy might just mean that it can't find any other bootable disk. This opens up the possibility that you have a hardware fault, such as a faulty hard drive.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

message edited by Derek


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#20
November 10, 2015 at 16:06:52
Windows boot floppy creators can be downloaded for free at bootdisk.com. There are several versions available for Win98 but I think I would just go straight to WinME OEM. You will have to download the program to a computer that has a floppy drive. Put a blank floppy in the drive, double click on the file, & it will copy the necessary files to the floppy & make it bootable.

http://bootdisk.com/bootdisk.htm

If you're trying to get the old Win98 installation to boot, boot off the newly created boot floppy, then using your DOS skills, change from A:\> to C:\>
then type scanreg /restore & press ENTER. Choose an older registry date than the latest one listed & press ENTER.


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#21
November 11, 2015 at 16:32:44
Alright guys, I downloaded some virtual computer software on my main computer (this one) and got W98 and W95 as virtual PCs. Thanks for the support and I need any help, I'll post something else.


BTW: how do I mark this post as "solved"?


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#22
November 11, 2015 at 19:21:57
There's an option on each posting that allows you select which you think is the best reply. I think it says 'select as best answer'. You can select one--or none at all as it's optional--that helped the best.

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#23
November 11, 2015 at 20:08:57
Alright thanks guys for the help

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#24
November 12, 2015 at 09:03:06
Good to hear you've found a way forward, probably the neatest way too.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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