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Question Windows Defragmenter corrupts disk ( DELL Hard Drive )
Updated: 2008-06-18 04:49:59 (7)
Windows Defragmenter corrupts disk

I received an I5000e with the 32GB IBM Travelstar and Win98SE last week. When I ran the Disk Defragmenter it corrupted the disk (Windows would not boot, Scandisk from DOS showed endless errors and could not recover the volume). I restored the system and the same thing happened. Dell sent a replacement disk but that did not solve the problem. I have replaced the system on both disks several times using three different copies of Win98SE. Before running Defrag Scandisk and system file checker reported no errors. The system and both disks passed all the Dell diagnostics. Another system is on its way. My question, after all this, is whether anyone with a 850 MHz I500e & 32GB Travelstar has successfully run Defrag. Considering my experience, make sure everything is backed up and that you are willing to take the chance.
Answers: Windows Defragmenter corrupts disk ( DELL Hard Drive )
Windows Defragmenter corrupts disk

I received my 800MHz I5000e today, and it came up and ran fine until Defrag started reporting errors. A previous Scandisk had not reported any. Even the menus were trashed. Recovery via the CD-ROMs failed due to no Recovery Data file. All directories were trashed, if they were still present at all.

Resorted to Win98 Startup Disk made for a Compaq minitower and got signs of life. Cleared off the heavily trashed HDD (32GB) with FDISK and reformatted it so it boots to DOS off the HDD, and have continued to check out the hard drive with Scandisk
Problem is that no original install CD-ROM for Win98SE came with the machine, as though what came with it is supposed to last forever. NOT.

Can I get a Win98SE CD-ROM to do a new install?

Or is there a better way?

Windows Defragmenter corrupts disk

Unfortunately, I've gotten quite good at reviving 5000e's. Here's the drill:
You need a floppy disk that will boot Win98 that has DOS debug on it. Boot from the floppy and use debug to remove the partition information as described at:

http://support.dell.com/us/en/kb/document.asp?DN=TT1011054, and is copied here:

"MS-DOS?? Partition Removal Debug Script

CAUTION: This debug script is for advanced users only. Its purpose is to remove all formatting and partitioning information from your hard disk when FDISK is unable to do so. THIS WILL ALSO REMOVE ALL DATA AND PROGRAMS FROM THE DRIVE. REPEAT: The next steps will remove all data from hard-disk drive. We URGE YOU to make a back-up of any data and programs that you wish to save before proceeding. REMEMBER: ALL DATA WILL BE LOST! Be sure you have the necessary bootable media and files to reboot your system and install your operating system (boot disk with CDROM drivers, MSCDEX, FDISK, FORMAT, SYS, etc).

Turn on the computer. When the message Starting MS-DOS?? appears press [F5]. If you are using Windows?? 95, when the message Starting Windows 95 appears press [F8]. Then select Command Prompt Only.
At the DOS command prompt, type the following:
where [ENTER] is to press the enter key once.
CAUTION: Performing the following will remove all data from your hard disk drive.

NOTE: Type the following bolded text only. You will receive an error if you type anything other than the bold text. The non-bolded text represents what will appear on your screen once you press [Enter] after typing each command.

-F 200 L1000 0 [Enter]
-A CS:100 [Enter]
xxxx:0100 MOV AX,301 [Enter]
xxxx:0103 MOV BX,200 [Enter]
xxxx:0106 MOV CX,1 [Enter]
xxxx:0109 MOV DX,80 [Enter]

NOTE: ( -- "80" for hd 0, "81" for hd 1 )

xxxx:010C INT 13 [Enter]
xxxx:010E INT 20 [Enter]
xxxx:0110 [Enter]
-G [Enter]
"Program terminated normally"

Turn off the computer. On the next startup the hard drive will need to be partitoned and formatted. "

On the right side of the case is a tiny hole 4" from the front. Remove the battery and unplug the computer. Push the end of paper clip in the hole and hold it for a minute. Plug it back in, boot the computer and use F2 to enter setup. Use it to restore the system defaults and make sure the boot order is floppy, CDROM, then hard disk. Put the purple "Dell Product Recovery CD in the drive and reboot. It should automatically create partitions, reformat the drive and reload Win98SE. Go though the initial Windows setup. Scandisk should report no errors and the system file checker will tell you that setupx.dll is corrupted (I let it replace it). Run 243450usa8.exe from a floppy. This is a "fix" for Win98 that a Dell tech e-mailed me (see the two messages from me titled "Very serious design flaw" on Delltalk/Inspiron/HardDisk). I'll e-mail a copy to you. To my amazement that fixed the problem. FYI Norton Speed disk also trashed the system befroe the patch was applied. I'm more than a little surprised that Dell doesn't pick up on this problem.


Windows Defragmenter corrupts disk

Thanks for such a quick response, Doc,

I went through the drill and it went without a hitch up until the point where the Product Recovery CD is supposed to be used to restore stuff. Then, it asks for the recovery data file, which I do not have - at least to my knowledge. I cannot proceed from this point without this much-anticipated recovery data file, and I'm left with yet another version of a trashed HDD. This is consistent.

Curiously, I left the machine powered off all day, with the Product Recovery CD in the drive and a boot floppy in, also. When I booted up after 12 hours of being powered down, it started reading the CD-ROM and executing the recovery procedure without signs of problems previously displayed. I have no idea what prompted it to do this, but I had a partially restored Win98 - emphasis on "partially." So, as I then tried several times to execute your formula, I was unable to approach that condition again.

My next anticipated step is to purchase a Win98SE and try a new installation, unless I am advised otherwise.

Probably, before I go hunting for a copy to buy, I'll give the Dell human a call and see what she says, but I'm anticipating being redirected to Tech Support and then being told I need a Win98SE distribution copy.

I'll report back what actually transpires, but this is taking more time than I ever allocated to this task.

Thanks again for your response.

Windows Defragmenter corrupts disk

If you are talking about the response to selecting the yes checkmark when the recovery disk asks if you want to format the drive, I saw that, too (then you get four or five choices - none of which work). My impression was that all the old information hadn't been cleaned out. There was also a brief "Insufficient memory" error message that flashed at the top of the screen during the boot. If I saw that then I later got the missing data file error. Try unplugging it, pressing the grounding pin, removing the battery and doing it again, etc. It could be your copy of the recovery CD, but it sounds like I saw similar stuff so I doubt it. You shouldn't have to buy another copy of Win98SE - and Dell should get the problem fixed for you. Ask tech support for a supervisor and have them read this thread.

Windows Defragmenter corrupts disk

Again, thanks for your kind attention and a quick response. I have belayed both acquiring a complete Win98SE and contacting the Dell human until I complete yet another round of the drill, at which I am becoming quite glib, thank you. Your subsequent response described the "Insufficient Memory" message, which does appear on my machine, so I'm inserting the grounding pin for extensive periods for much longer periods than a minute, taped to the side of the case.

Windows Defragmenter corrupts disk

Remember that all power souces have to be removed.

Windows Defragmenter corrupts disk

Thanks for sticking by me. The machine is now working.
I followed your instructions to the letter, many times.
Finally decided that the reason my machine wasn't being fully reset was related to either the half-gig RAM or the duration of my having the pin inserted into the reset hole.
After having it taped to the side of the case for a couple of hours during a meeting, I decided to follow that up by inserted it for a minute with the battery inserted, just in case. I do not profess to know, for a fact, how the reset works at the molecular leve - this was just a guess.
But, it worked, and I proceeded to restore stuff with out the bothersome requirement of a recovery file.

epilogue: Everything is now just fine, I think. The machine functioned very well during subsequent exercises and has most happily allowed defrags to complete without incident.

Your procedure has been a primary element in this machine not being evaluated by a nine-story drop test. Thank you very much.

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