November 19th, 2007, 09:11 AM
Well no, because a normal format does leave CD drivers, otherwise how would you even be able to insert and run an XP or Vista CD to install another operating system? That was my problem when I inadvertently did this BIOS format years ago. Someone else had to come round with a floppy containing drivers for nearly every type of CD.
November 19th, 2007, 11:05 AM
No problems Moira!
These utilities only wipe the hard drive; they do not touch the BIOS. What they do is securely overwrite the existing data on the hard drive, so it looks to your system as if you have simply put a new HDD in there
Your BIOS lives on it's own EEPROM chip on the motherboard (these days there are generally two, one of them being a backup of the BIOS). When you boot, the BIOS recognises your hardware, including CD/DVD optical drives.
It finds the boot sector on the Windows CD and starts to load that. In the OS boot process it loads a generic driver for the CD that allows Windows to use it.
For example, this machine has a CD RW and a DVD. Both are running with the drivers supplied by Windows XP.
Back in the days before Windows came on a bootable CD, you used an installation disk (3.5" floppy) This would load something like Oak Technologies CD driver to let you get to the drive, and install windows.
Where you are more likely to encounter problems is with modems, audio cards and video cards. Particularly with the latter two, as they come with advanced drivers and management application "bundles" that let you get the best out of them.
For example, using Windows, this machine will support video with a refresh rate of 85 Hz at 32bit. With the ATi Radeon software that becomes 120 Hz, because it recognises the VDU and video card for what they are, rather than generic ones.
In the case of RW CD/DVDs you will lose the software such as Nero and Roxio that come with the drive, so you will have to reinstall them from the CD or use the inbuilt burning software in XP.
Last edited by nihil; November 19th, 2007 at 11:48 AM.
November 19th, 2007, 11:18 AM
Yeah, I understand that I'll lose everything on the disk .... what on earth did I do to wipe off the computer's ability to recognise the CD drive then? All I can remember is it took ages and was done in the BIOS (a much older BIOS than nowadays). I'm surprised you only get up to 85 hz? I understood XP drivers would display a refresh rate of 100 hz with their generic drivers.
Last edited by Moira; November 19th, 2007 at 11:58 AM.
November 19th, 2007, 11:47 AM
I have no idea what you might have done. Earlier BIOSes did far less than those of the last 12 years. Remember having to tweak autoexec.bat and sys.ini? back when Windows was more of a GUI than an OS.
The refresh rate will depend on a number of factors:
1. What video chipset the system thinks that you have
2. What VDU the system thinks you have
3. What resolution and number of colours you set.
If it doesn't know the equipment it will default to whatever options it considers "safe"
November 19th, 2007, 11:57 AM
Yes, but if you have a setup which can take 100 hz then Windows XP has the drivers, whereas in the past, I had monitors that needed specific drivers to get them to display 100 hz (not mhz as I put in my last post, sorry!)
November 19th, 2007, 01:55 PM
That's progress Moira
In the past, even the simplest devices shipped with their own drivers because Windows didn't support much more than basic functionality. The old "safe mode" concept? Like the display would default to 640x480 16 colours @60Hz, and a serial mouse or trackball would work when PS/2 or USB devices wouldn't.
I noticed the other day that with Win XP a serial mouse won't work in safe mode but a USB one will........... it used to be the other way round. I just opened up a Kensington mouse box............. device has never been used . In it there are 2 3.5" floppies with the drivers etc. I just took a look and they are for Win 3.1x, 95, 98 and NT 3.5x/4.0. More recent devices have drivers for the old OSes but not for Win 2000 or XP, particularly XP. I think that was when MS introduced the concept of "signed drivers"?
Yes, I have several monitors that need their own drivers to be recognised properly. This one for example, although it is "signed", it is not in the default list.
Of course, the driver problems with Vista were a quite different issue
November 19th, 2007, 04:13 PM
Your CD and floppy disk are in the post. Please remember to change the boot sequence............ I forgot that on Eileen's Dell (well I wasn't going to test them on mine ) and it only has three boot options............ I needed to put the CD in the DVD drive.
I believe that you have one with a hidden/recovery partition? Have a look in the BIOS and see if you can disable the protection first.
November 20th, 2007, 06:35 PM
I think I have to use my dvd drive, but don't worry, I know how to change the boot sequence on Dad's old PC. He ordered his imac yesterday - I'm quite envious, it looks good
And thank you very much for your time and effort nihil
You think the hidden partition will be protected to that extent? I have some hidden partitions on my PC but it's just done through the registry.
November 20th, 2007, 11:12 PM
Originally Posted by nihil
Formatting does not erase data unless you use Vista, which will overwrite it with zeros.
Actually I heard something a bit different tonight from someone who knows far more about the subject than I do. If I can just paste his comments - regarding formatting during an XP install:
It overwrites all data with 0s. That's it. The data is gone for all intents and purposes. The drive certainly can't read it again...
it's technically possible that the old data still "shines through" - as in where there used to be a 1, there's now a 0.0001, and where there used to be a 0, there's now a 0.
However unless you happen to have lost the meaning of life, or the location of Osama Bin Laden on that drive, you're unlikely to get half the scientists in the world working on recovering it.
Last edited by Moira; November 23rd, 2007 at 01:56 PM.
November 21st, 2007, 02:52 PM
That is Vista not XP, this is from the GetData site. They sell data recovery software so they should know: They are explaining why their software won't work with a Vista full format.
Prior to Vista, a full format did not overwrite the data, and you had to use a separate utility first.
The warnings are there on the Microsoft site and in the instructions. But the majority of us donít often bother to read the volumes of information and assume that they will be able to recover their data if they do a full format under Vista, as they were able to do with previous versions of Windows.
Under DOS there was an option to format with overwriting. It wasn't zeros, but some repetitive pattern.
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