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Windows 2000 installation horrors

January 07th 2001.

[The whole of this article was written in an email to me by a friend called Daniel Mitchard. All I've done is tidy up the odd spelling mistake and cut back on the exclamation marks. Over to you Dan...]

Ok, so you wanted to know what happened to my computer during the big overhaul of Windows 2000. It's a bit scattered (the writing - I was never any good at it). If you're going to 'publish' it, I suggest you edit it first.

The person who helped me [Not me! It was Ben Deitch. - Sits] through all this was someone who had spent the whole summer installing Windows 2000, Windows Millennium and Windows NT on many networks. Even he had trouble with my computer.

Originally my computer had Windows 98 on it, so to install Windows 2000 I had to rearrange my hard drive partitions a bit (which I did using Partition Magic). After many hours of shifting data, I had a small partition available and installed Windows 2000 on to it. It installed well, apart from a few funny effects to Windows 98 - the hard drive letters had changed and the boot up menu (boot to Windows 98 or Windows 2000, which is a menu produced by Windows 2000) had two Windows 2000s on it, one of which produced an error. After a few re-installs of Windows 2000 and Windows 98, they both decided that they 'liked' each other enough not to argue, all I had to do was change the Windows 98 partition to a primary partition. This is where it all began to go wrong...

After it had finished doing this (it may have been tuned off in the middle of changing the hard drive status), it decided not to boot and instead came up with the error: BOOT FALURE (or something along those lines). Now, the computer booted from Windows 2000 first then gave a choice as to which OS to go to, so the problem must of been with Windows 2000. To try and fix this, the MBR and boot sector were re-written but this didn't help at all. No operating system could be booted using the boot disks, and Windows 2000 doesn't even have DOS, so fdisk could not be used! After spending a few days trying to get the hard drive to boot into something, I had to move 8GB of data onto a neighbouring computer (this involves taking my computer and the neighbouring one to bits) and do a total format! [phew - Sits ]

The partitions were recreated and several Windows 2000 installations were attempted. Each time it refused to do so, coming up with an error (or worse, the blue screen of death) at random intervals, mostly about unreadable hard drives, despite the fact that it had created them. It did install successfully at one point, so we went on to install Windows 98 only to find that when booting back into Windows 2000 it produced the same error for no reason, without anything being changed... In the end we had to wipe the hard drive again and start all over (this was the only remaining solution at this point, apart from whacking it with a mallet). We eventually managed to convince Windows 2000 that my hard drive was SCSI (it is actually IDE), by using a normal hard drive cable on the UDMA slot which eventually got it working but Windows 98 still thinks my hard drive is IDE.

Windows 2000 also managed to crash during the reset when the patch was installed, the solution to this being re-install Windows 2000! The errors always appeared during start-up and refused to let you go any further, hence a re-install was the only way to get it working again.

The whole process involved a BIOS flash too and some drivers that needed to be on the disk in the A: drive throughout the whole installation (taking the disk out was on pain of crashing). The drivers essentially told Windows 2000 that the hard drive was SCSI. The whole process took at least 14 hours to from starting the install to finally getting Windows 2000 fully working (we had no problems with Windows 98).

Fortunately, now it works but not at its best. There are still a few bugs (Windows refusing to close and slow loading), but it'll do.

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