NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, April 2004
The President's Corner - March Meeting Recap
(Q)uestion and (A)nswer Session
by David Hinds
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We had what I thought was a good discussion covering several topics at our March meeting, unfortunately, since I was leading the question and answer session, I was only able to make an occasional note so I will probably not be able to remember all the information that passed back and forth. Hopefully, the people needing it the most were able to solve their problems. One discussion was about converting vhs tapes for storing on CD’s and DVD’s which is something I hope to live long enough to do with the piles of tapes I have recorded over the years.

Thornton Jacobs was having a problem with some old drives that he had replaced with newer, larger drives and could not get DOS to reformat the old drives. Several suggestions were made, including using efdisk instead of fdisk to make changes in the drive volumes, checking cables and jumpers for correct settings, and possibly a few other suggestions that I don’t remember. On a follow up call to Thornton, I was pleased to learn he had been able to get the disks reformatted. He thinks the problem may have been incorrect jumper settings. The old drives were Windows 98SE, fat 32 format. After the meeting he tried to reformat them with Partition Magic 8.0 and PM would not recognize them either until he changed the jumpers to cable select, then he was able to reformat them.

If I understood him correctly, David Kessler was asking how to create an emergency boot disk for XP. The method has changed considerably from ME and 98 where you went through control panel, add and remove software, to create a startup disk. In XP you go through “My Computer” or “Windows Explorer” to access A drive (of course you can’t access it without a disk in the drive). Once there, right click or select the file drop down menu, then the format option. That opens a dialog box that lets you create an MS-DOS startup disk that gets you to the DOS prompt but the disk contains no additional tools or drivers (except Keyboard). When I tried it on my desktop, of the 9 drives/partitions I have in the system I could only access A:, C:, and my internal Zip drive. Other tools and drivers will need to be obtained from a source other than XP.

One of the problems I was having with my notebook, not being able to access add & remove software from control panel (the result of uninstalling the wrong Microsoft update), I was able to resolve after Robert Davis reminded me about running system file checker. (Start Menu, Run, type in cmd or command then OK). At the DOS prompt type in “sfc /scannow” without the quotation marks then Enter. If the compressed install files are not stored on your hard drive you will be asked to insert your Windows CD. It will then compare all of the vital system files and replace any that have been corrupted. If I remember correctly, Dale had told us about SFC last year in one of his XP presentations, but I didn’t remember it until Robert told me how to run it.

Thanks Robert!

Hope to see you at the April meeting.

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