Background: - not too important, i did not make this problem I am sure. But for clarity:
I got the laptop with ME. Through some combination of rebooting (I wasn't really paying attention - it was all in the hands via CTRL-ALT-DEL), I managed to reach the Windows boot menu offering different options (like Normal Mode or Safe Mode). Because I was in a hurry, I punched a number which I believe had an option like "Booted (logged)" or something. The computer rebooted.
Now the problem.
As the computer rebooted (the Toshiba screen came up and then..) I was prompted:
"Invalid system disk
Insert disk, and then press any key"
This is a Portege, and I did not even have the floppy drive attached. Also, I don't have a systems disk (had just bought it).
I got an generic boot disk for ME on the Internet (My Windows 98 works too, but not 95). ME does not boot because I get the "can't find ifshlp.sys - system halted" error. Screw booting for now. I got into some form of Dos and ran Norton Disk Doctor ( a godsend). It found bad timestamps, blank spaces, invalid characters, etc. in the MBR. (Practically) the entire root dir structure was incorrect. Windows cab files had no file allocations and unknown sizes (can't get that backup ifshlp.sys file from there). And there were 8,000+ lost clusters and 4,000 lost chains. The hd is only 4.1 gigs and I am using less than 1/2 of it.
I decided to used this utility:
ctbios - which checks basic BIOS info
It can be found here:
Upon running the program, In the line where the bios id should be, the bios is declared UNKNOWN. The next line titled "bios start" reads "........" literally.
OK. Whenever I boot, I get the same error message:
"Invalid system disk
Insert new disk, and then press any key"
Trying to enter the BIOS (on my model press ESC at the Toshiba screen) only sends me straight to the error message (a very bad sign).
A) Clear the CMOS (hopefully reset the bios)
B) Install a new bios driver
C) Upgrade the BIOS
D)Install some booting program (like LILO? I dont know.)
E) Install another Windows (98?) and maybe this will go away.
I have no real operating system running (only a DOS core - which I can get in 7.1 or 8.0 flavors). What is the best course of action with the BIOS. This is a sort of multi-issue situation. Thanks for any help.