If you use the Windows XP Home Edition, see our
special installation tips.
Problems and Solutions
PROBLEM: Non-system disk or disk error. Replace
and press/strike any key when read.
The system found a boot device--either a floppy disk or a hard disk--and
tried to boot it, but could not start the operating system because the
operating system files are not on the booted volume.
most common cause of this problem is trying to boot a non-bootable floppy
or hard disk, that is, a disk that has not been made bootable using
the "FORMAT /S" or "SYS" commands. If this occurs on a disk that was
already prepared to be bootable, it means that the operating system
startup files have become corrupted.
If trying to boot from a floppy disk, replace with a bootable disk and
try booting again. If trying to set up a new hard disk, first set up
the hard disk so it is bootable. If this type of error is encountered
in an existing system, there is a good chance that the disk has become
PROBLEM: Invalid media type
system tried to use an incorrect disk or other media.
This is one of those poorly phrased messages. It almost always means
that you tried to use a hard disk volume after partitioning it, but
before formatting it. For example, if you are setting up a new system
and you partition the hard disk, then boot from a floppy and type "DIR
C:", you will usually get this message. The system looks for a media
type descriptor on the hard disk and does not find what it expects,
and produces this message.
Assuming that you are setting up a new hard disk, just format the disk
and you are all set. If an existing disk produces this error, then it
means that something has seriously corrupted the disk.
PROBLEM: I am experiencing file system
corruption problems, such as lost clusters, cross-linked files or invalid
files or directories.
While performing routine file system scans, errors are being detected
on one or more disk volumes. These errors are usually lost clusters
or cross-linked files. Compression errors on compressed volumes are
discussed here. The disk itself otherwise works fine although a handful
of files might be corrupted, the disk is corrupted to the point of unsuitability,
or the contents appear scrambled.
A small number of file system problems is normal on just about every
PC, depending on what kind of operating system and software you are
using. In particular, lost clusters are common because any time an application
crashes or there is a power outage, in fact any time an application
is interrupted, it may leave behind partial files that show up as lost
clusters because the file was never completed properly. However, finding
large quantities of lost clusters even when scanning regularly, or repeatedly
finding problems like cross-linked files, invalid files or directories,
can be a signal of a more serious problem. (Note: A lost cluster is
not the same as a bad sector, which is a physical disk problem, not
a file system problem.)
If this problem occurs, you may want to try all of the following:
- Make sure you thoroughly scan your disk
for viruses, using an up-to-date virus scanner. Corrupting the file
system is a popular game with viruses.
- Make sure that you are using the correct
type of disk utilities. Using a disk utility that is not designed
for Windows 95 on a Windows 95 system, or using one not aware of FAT32
on a FAT32 volume, will cause the program to detect "errors" that
don't really exist. They just don't properly understand what they
are looking at because they are out of date.
- If the problem recently occurred after installing
a particular piece of software, that program may be causing the corruption.
Some applications can be buggy, especially if they crash a lot; they
may leave partial files and other file system anomalies lying around.
Try not using the suspect application for a few days if possible,
and see if the problems go away.
- Make sure that you employ proper shutdown
habits. No PC running any version of Windows should be shut down without
following a proper shut down procedure.
- If you are using Windows 3.x, look for old
stray .TMP files in the temporary file directory (which is often specified
with a "SET TEMP=<directory>" command in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file)
and delete them. These files cause system problems sometimes if they
are allowed to accumulate.
- Check for resource conflicts. These can
cause files to be corrupted.
- You may have an instability problem with
your operating system installation. You may want to try reinstalling
the operating system. A recently changed driver may be the problem.
If you have recently installed bus mastering IDE drivers, these could
be causing the problem. Try uninstalling them if possible.
- You may have a real problem with the disk
that is causing the difficulty. It isn't too typical to find repeated
file system problems without a real disk problem manifesting itself
in other ways but it is possible.
For software specific support,