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Re: Compaq Presario 5185 help needed

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Robert Baer wrote:

> I have a Compaq Presario 5185 and it _almost_ works.
> The HD from my erst-while working computer had 4 partitions: DOS FAT16
> (with Win98SE), extended (DOS partitions E: and F, DOS FAT16, and NTFS
> (Win2K).
> Worked fine before the move which appears to have destroyed the
> motherboard.
> Booting with PCDOS 7 floppy, FDISK does not recognize D: system type
> and will not show E: or F:.
> Booting with MSDOS 6.22 floppy, FDISK recognizes D: system type
> (FAT16) but will not show E: or F:.
> Both fail to do a DIR D: (invalid drive).
> *BUT*
> That hard drive works perfectly OK in another computer!
> Any idea as to how this can be fixed (for the Presario)?

In the 1st sector of the hard drive (MBR - master boot record) is the
partition table (listing up to 4 partition records for primary
partitions), bootstrap code, and drive signature bytes (ID).

In a partition record is a 1-byte code that specifies the partition
type. Not every OS understands every partition type that might be
defined. You never mentioned what OS were on the other host where the
drive's partitions are recognized. We only know on the problematic
computer that the PCDOS you used to boot it with a floppy doesn't
understand the partitions.

Partition Types (some of the common ones):

Layout of MBR:

Some partition types request the partition be hidden. That is, the OS
either won't understand that partition type or, if it does, *might* not
show that partition but it's up to the OS whether it hides a "hidden"
partition type or not. I don't remember if it was Win2K and earlier
that did hide them and WinXP that showed them or at what boundary in
Windows versions that the hidden partition type was no longer honored
(in which case to hide that partition you went into Disk Management to
NOT assign a drive letter to that partition).

Did you ever open Disk Management (diskmgmt.msc) to see what type were
those partitions and if drive letters were assigned to them? You
mention loading PCDOS on the problematic computer. Is that the only OS
available there? You're booting off floppy for PCDOS so what OS is
there when you boot from the hard disk for that computer (and not the OS
on the migrated hard disk)? If you're using Windows 2K+ on the other
computer, use its Disk Mgmt to look at that hard disk (assigning a drive
letter will do no good on another computer since drive letter assignment
is not recorded in the partition table but you could look at the
partition types, if recognized). There are lots of MBR tools (some
bootable) that will let you interrogate the MBR and its partition table;
see I've used
MBRwizard but that was long before they added a fancy smancy GUI
( and other freebies like MBRtool
( but
that was many years ago I had to do that MBR crap. Terabyte is a long
well-known software author and they have MBR utilities:

For Windows XP+, and besides the Disk Mgmt applet, you could open a
command shell (cmd.exe) and run "diskpart" to look.

? (show available commands)
list (show subcommands for list command)
list disk (remember the number for the hard disk)
select (show subcommands for select command)
select disk <n> (select the problematic disk number <n>)
list partition (show the partitions on the selected disk)
select partition <n> (select one of the partitions)
detail (show subcommands for detail command)
detail disk (show details for the selected disk)
detail partition (show details for the selected partition)

In the "detail partition" command, see what partition type is reported.
Then look at the partition types listed in the Wiki article. Also check
if "detail partition" says the partition is hidden or not (yes or no).

If you have data you want off the hard disk, why not grab it when you
connect the problematic hard disk to the computer where you can see the
partitions on it? Then put the problematic disk in your other computer
(where apparently all you have for an OS is PCDOS on floppy) and just
delete all partitions and then create whichever types you want there.
Copy the data files on one computer (onto a USB drive, CD/DVD, or over
the network) to the other computer with the now newly repartitioned disk
(after your format its partition(s), that is).
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