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"Bad FAT" Error Help Please!

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by eviljohn2, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    My computer won't boot up anymore (Win98SE) although I can get it to the command prompt.

    Running dir on the C: drive can't complete which must be related to the "Bad File Allocation Table" message that I've just received. :(

    This seems pretty terminal (although fortunately most of my data is on the seperate D: partition of the same physical disc) so any help would be appreciated. Will I be able to just reformat and reinstall or is a replacement drive necessary?

    Any help appreciated as I've been trying to solve this and a multitude of other seemingly terminal errors all night. :zonked:
     
  2. Mr Cat

    Mr Cat
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    first of all, you wanna get rid of win98... ;)
     
  3. mjn

    mjn
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    have you tried to repair the boot sector?

    Run from a bootable DOS floppy - "fdisk /mbr"
     
  4. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Havn't tried that MJN, is there any way of doing that without a floppy drive? I can probably steal one from somewhere if it's really necessary.

    How would I make such a floppy?
     
  5. GaryB

    GaryB
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    The old SCANDISK utility supplied with Win 95/98 should be able to fix this but it will depend on getting the thing to boot in the first place.

    DOS and old versions of Windows maintain 2 copies of the File Allocation Table and if the two don't match, you get the message you're seeing. Scandisk and many other old FAT16 utilities fix this by copying the good FAT over the bad FAT so they both match. The result can sometimes be a few lost files but that better than an unbootable PC.

    If you can get hold of a floppy drive and need a boot disk, take a look at:

    http://www.bootdisk.com
     
  6. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Hi Gary, thanks for that. Should I be using a DOS or Win98SE boot disk?
     
  7. mjn

    mjn
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    Win98 should do the job.
     
  8. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    fdisk /mbr didn't work and Scandisk still won't get to a usable stage.

    Any more ideas? Would repartitioning the drive with fdisk work non-destructively?
     
  9. Kevo

    Kevo
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    May be quicket to reformat and re-install.
    But if it's a physical error then it's time for a new HD.
    You'd still be able to recover your D Drive data if you set it up as a slave drive and copy it to your new C Drive.
     
  10. Seth Gecko

    Seth Gecko
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    If you know how to do it you can copy the second copy of the FAT over the first one which would fix it.

    All you need is a) bootdisk b) Norton Disk Edit c) Knowledge on how to do it

    Pretty simple really - if you know how.
     
  11. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    That's what I'm starting to think Kevo. It's not even 6 months old yet and I went for a Seagate because they seemed very reliable.

    Better now than 2 months ago when I was writing up major bits of coursework I suppose. :)
     
  12. FruitBat

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    A few thoughts on this.
    Firstly, I'm not an expert on all this, but I had a similar problem a few years ago.
    1. Some of the data recovery utilities can make things worse. Be careful before you run programs which claim they can repair.
    2. There are some good resources for FAT32. I can't remember the address, but I found some very good information on FAT32 structure which enabled me to write a program to see what was going on on my disk. I think there is a microsoft white paper which details the structure.
    3. (Worse case scenario) I had some physical damage to my disk, so my task was reduced to retrieving data. I managed to do this by reading the suspect drive from linux. Even with physical damage it was possible to access most of the FAT and reconstruct it in order to get hold of the data in the undamaged part of the disk. This is not as complicated as it sounds, I'm not a linux geek (I only do VB). There is a version of linux (Knoppix) that boots from a CD.
     
  13. chedmaster

    chedmaster
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    Sorry to butt in on the thread but im having similar probs. Running Win XP on a 80gb disk partitioned to 40gb, 37gb and 3gb (recovery but recovered before and this was not used).
    Had media center on the 37gb (D: ) and this can't detect its own windows folder (but the free space hasnt increased - just everything gone in explorer)
    Had home edition on the 40gb (C: ) and this recently ruined itself too, running norton disk doctor on the other partition and it managed to ruin this one.
    Now i boot and get "ntlder missing", boot into Win XP setup disc and tried recovery console, but it wouldnt let me copy anything to the C: or D: partitions.
    Tried going into Install WinXP, where it ususally says repair to each version of windows, and I get:

    Unknown Disk:

    C: Partition 1 [Unknown] 38146mb (38146mb free)
    D: Partition 2 [Unknown] 35166mb (35166mb free)
    E: Partition 3 [Unknown] 3004mb (3004mb free)


    Where I would usually get Partition 1 [Windows XP Home Edition]
    Partition 2 [Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005]
    Partition 3 [Unknown].

    Is all the data actually gone or is the [insert thing that directs things to files on disk here] gone? If so, when I get my 20gb disk tomorrow will I be able to install WinXP Media Center on this and access the "ruined" disc?

    Again sorry to butt in John :) .

    I think I have a backup on the C: and D: drives, so if the worst comes to the worst I can always format, say, D:, install WinXP and access C:, but this is a major risk in case C: is actually blank, but say D: wasn't.

    Theres very importan VAT stuff on there for Mum, and I never thought both Windows's would break in the same week. :(

    :suicide: :suicide: :suicide: :suicide: :suicide: :suicide: :suicide:
     
  14. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Right, installed a new HD as master to run the OS and programs and now have the original problematic HD set up for data storage as the slave.

    I performed a zero-fill on it to put it back to the best state that I can but Scandisk still indicates that there are several bad clusters on the drive. Is this likely to cause problems at any point in the future? It's only 6 months old so getting a replacement shouldn't be too tricky but is clearly hassle that I don't really need.
     
  15. The Dude

    The Dude
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    EvilJohn - one or two bad clusters doesn't normally cause any problems, as long as the clusters are marked as bad, and not in use.

    All the same, I'd still try and get the drive swapped out if it's at all possible.



    Chedmaster - did you get yours sorted eventually? Should be easily fixed with a bit of luck.. I didn't see your post before...apols if Im too late.
     
  16. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Thanks Dude ( :cool: ), I've requested a return code from eBuyer so hopefully I can get a replacement soon. :)
     

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