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I have a machine that runs Windows 98. It has a bad hard drive.

My buddy has a machine that runs Windows 98 (they are both E-machines from about the same era).

Seems like his motherboard may be iffy.

Anyway...I had his machine over here to play with. I put in an E-machines "restore CD", but failed to notice that it was from a newer computer...an XP machine.

Now I can't get it to work at all (the HD was fine when I transfered it to my old computer that had the bad HD). Now, this HD won't start up with any restor CD. It is confused between W98 and XP.

What to do?

How can I get a working OS back up on this HD?

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I can't get it to re-format thru Windows (from what I have tried).

I do have a DOS prompt:


I don't remember anything about dos though. I did typey in dir after the prompt, so I have a list to choose from, but I forget what I need to type to get dos to run?

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If he has any data on his disk that he wants it can be more difficult.

To erase the date on the HDD create a startup disk on your Win98 PC, boot his PC using it and run fdisk to remove all the partitions on the HDD. The WinXP partition will be unrecognised and flagged as non-dos just remove it anyway. You will be able to start from a clean slate after that. You can also copy the format.exe command to the Startup Disk and use it to format the drive. I'm not familiar with the E-machines stuff at all but you may need to format before booting from it

If he has data I would look at adding his HDD to a WinXP machine to see if you can get the data off it he needs. If the partition on his disk has been updated it will be unreadable on a Win98 PC

Best of luck...

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You probably lost either the MBR or the bootloader, assuming you didn't hit the 'Format' button. More likely the bootloader. You might be able to fix that by getting a Windows 98 install CD, then reinstalling the OS on top of the old one without formatting the disk. You'll probably lose some settings, but most of the data should be ok.

Another thing to try is mounting the bad disk as drive #2 on a system (you'll need to dink with BIOS settings and jumpers, probably) and get the data files off it that way. I doubt it got converted to NTFS unless you did a whole lot of restoring first.

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Thanks Nick. it is looking like I am on track (98 is loading as we speak).

Maxtor makes the HD(s).

I don't know if their drives are worth much? The website sure was easy enough for me to get around. Within a few minutes after punching in my model number (manufactured in 7/21/99, btw), I had the fix-it program downloaded and made a floppy to boot with. It works. Going thru it, it did ask/tell me that XP was the current OS? I was able to click on 98 and move right on.


I am sure I will be back with more questions...as I am likely going to pull the RAM from one machine to add to the other. I think I might even pull the CPU too (go from a 466 to a 500).

I hope this old work horse will make for an extra internet machine.

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Glad its working out, one thing if you go swapping cpu's, some of the heatsinks require better than 18lbs of force to clip them on with, so be super careful with using a screw driver and that you DO NOT slip or crack the mainboard in the process especially when board is not being removed from the case and has no support underneath the risers.

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When I revamp my machine, I had the same problem getting the ethernet card to be reconized. What I ended up doing it going into the devices and deleted all the ethernet cards and then rebooting. W98 on reboot reconized the ethernet card as new hardware and loaded the right driver. Maybe that would work for you.


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