old laptop
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  1. #1
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    old laptop

    I have this old laptop, a "zeos notebook 286" and i havent used it in years(it worked fine the last time i used it). but today i booted it up and the bios says that the hard disk failed to initialize. I'm pretty sure it hasnt been roughed up at all(unless somebody dropped it when we moved or something) and i was wondering if its possible for a hard drive to just go inexplicably or from not being used enough or something. I'm not sure how old it was, i think it was used when i got it so the hd could have gotten a lot more wear than i know. Also, i'm looking into options as far as boot disk OS's and/or disk repair that will work on it(floppies, it doesnt have a cdrom drive) i'm trying to find some kind of linux distro or old dos boot disk that might work on it. so far i've tried a couple linux floppies from http://www.linuxlinks.com/Distributions/Floppy/ and a fairly recent dos boot disk with no luck. if anybody can tell me where i can get what i need, i'd appreciate it. I'm not sure how much ram it has... but its probably not alot(i think the hd was only like 4 mb).

  2. #2
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    Hi,

    1. Make sure you go into BIOS and set the boot sequence to floppy first?
    2. check to see if the BIOS recognises a HDD at all?

    A 286 huh?..................I hope you remembered to park the drive heads the last time you used it?

    Also, where was it stored.................cold and damp are real killers.

    Do you get any beeps when it tries to boot? What OS did it used to boot? some version of DOS I would have thought.

    I think that a part of the problem in booting (if it is set to floppy first) is that the machine may well have a floppy drive that only recognises diskettes formatted to 720k rather than 1.44Mb? so you will need a 720k boot disk.

    Cheers
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  3. #3
    Macht Nicht Aus moxnix's Avatar
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    On the older laptops the BIOS has its own small battery. That battery is probably run down if it has been setting that long, and without that battery, the system won't boot.
    \"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!\"
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  4. #4
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    the bios does come up, thats what says the hd failed to initialize. for floppy, it does try to boot off of it, like, it will say startind ms-dos or whatever, but then it hangs partway into it, so i guess it does recognize 1.44 disks. I didnt park the heads last time i used it, i guess that could be the problem. also, it was in my closet for a few years, its cold, but it felt pretty dry to me...

  5. #5
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    It should not be a problem in your closet, by cold I really mean frost

    I would still try making a 720k boot disk, the basic difference is they pack the data less closely so your drive may start to recognise a 1.44 but fail to find all that it needs, as it is too closely packed...............from what you say it sounds as if it can only read the header?

    I would also be inclined to get a 3.5" disk drive cleaner and run that through a couple of times first........who knows what dust, lint etc has got into it?..... Lubricants will have dried and congealed etc.

    Even if your HDD is damaged, you should still be able to boot into DOS.

    Cheers
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  6. #6
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    does it matter what version i try, do i have to go searching for some 10 year old dos boot disk image? i was thinking a barebones linux distro might work, like just the cli and a few progs like vi or something. but i cant find one, do any of the ones in on that site i linked to look like they'd work? also, i remember using 1.44 mb floppies on it when i used to use it and they worked fine. maybe cleaning it is a good idea tho

  7. #7
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    I guess it will be DOS 3.3 on the HDD, but I reckon we will be OK up to around DOS 5. I have an HP Venturis V12 286 that runs DOS 5 (and Windows 2.03 ) I will dig it out tomorrow and see if I can make a boot disk for you..................I am pretty sure that I have a DOS 3.3 or two lying around as well.

    I don't know about the *nix you mention, I guess thay you are trying to get a utility to try to repair the HDD?

    Cheers
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  8. #8
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    i just tried a dos 3.3 boot disk and it worked, i'd like to try repairing the hd. if you know a linux recovery floppy disk image that is likely to be compatible, i'd appreciate it.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    I guess that DOS 3.3 is on a 720k floppy? when you boot into it can you access the C:\ drive? If you can run scandisk or chkdsk and see what messages you get.

    Try leaving the machine in a warm dry place............there might be a condensation problem.

    Also check the BIOS (run setup) and see if it is detecting the HDD

    Unless we can "see" the HDD there is not much that we can do using the laptop itself.

    Cheers
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  10. #10
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    no, i got a dos 3.3 disk image off some site and put it on a 1.44 disk. the bios setup doesnt detect the hd and when i boot off the floppy it cant detect it either. maybe i'll leave it out in the sun for a a day or two... or stick it in the microwave that thing ususally heats up pretty good

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