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See a description of the Master Boot Record structure
This procedure presumes that your intent is to completely remove the Master Boot Record on a hard disk. The presumption is that you do not intend to keep any data that may still be on the drive.
To all intents and purposes, the following procedure turns your hard drive into a totally virgin hard drive: as if it has never been partitioned and/or formatted.
In all cases, it is best to first attempt to clean up a MBR by using the FDISK utility to remove all partitions. This is done by:
first deleting any and all non-DOS partitions,
then deleting all the logical drives in the Extended DOS partition if one exists
then deleting the Extended DOS partition itself if it exists
finally, deleting the Primary DOS Partition.
If it proves impossible to use FDISK to remove the DOS primary partition, the DOS DEBUG utility can be used to overwrite the MBR with zeros, effectively, as far as DOS is concerned turning the disk into a virgin disk. One possible DEBUG script is given below. Use it with extreme caution, as it will definitely make the disk inaccessible to any operating system until the disk is repartitioned.
The script is best run from a boot floppy diskette made with MS-DOS or IBM PC-DOS version 5.0 or later.
Use FORMAT A: /U/S to create the system floppy diskette.
Copy DEBUG.COM, FDISK.COM, SYS.COM, FORMAT.COM and CHKDSK.COM (or CHKDSK.EXE, as the case may be) from the DOS directory to the diskette.
Boot from the diskette, and enter DEBUG to start the debug utility, and enter the following lines followed by the <ENTER> key:
F 200 L 200 0 a 100 mov ax,301 mov bx,200 mov cx,1 mov dx,0080 (Note: use 0081, 0082, 0083 for 2nd, 3rd, 4th harddisk respectively) int 13 int 3 (hit ENTER to enter a blank line here) G=100 q
If the DEBUG script is unsuccessful, the manufacturer's utility can be used to low-level format the disk. An unsuccessful low-level format means that the disk must be replaced.
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Kofi Kekessie is a Microsoft Certified Professional who lives
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He may be contacted at (919) 419-6374