"Missing Operating System" and "No ROM BASIC" Error Messages (80304)
The information in this article applies to:
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 3.1
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 3.2
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 3.21
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 3.3
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 3.3a
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 4.0
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 4.01
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0a
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.0
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.2
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.21
• Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.22
• Microsoft Windows 95
This article was previously published under Q80304
When you start your computer, you may receive one of the following error
• Missing Operating System
• Non-system disk or disk error
• Boot error Press F1 to retry
• NO ROM BASIC
• Invalid Media Type
• Hard Drive Controller Failure
Missing Operating System
This error occurs when the boot record signature of the master boot record
does not match a certain value at a certain location. In this case, the
boot sector is invalid and the computer cannot boot. This error can also
occur if there is no active partition defined in the partition table.
Non-System Disk or Disk Error
This error is generated by the computer's BIOS when the boot sector or
master boot record of the boot drive is damaged or missing. This error can
also occur if the boot device has been improperly configured in the BIOS.
In this case, data in the partition may be valid and undamaged, but there
is no bootable partition.
NOTE: This message also occurs when a non-bootable disk is left in drive A
during startup. If you receive this error, make sure that there is no disk
in drive A and restart your computer.
Boot Error Press F1 to Retry
This error is generated by the computer's BIOS when the hard disk is
missing a master boot record or boot sector, or when there is a problem
accessing the boot drive.
NO ROM BASIC
If there is no active partition defined, the master boot record returns an
error to the BIOS. In some cases, the master boot code attempts to go to
ROM Basic when no bootable disk is found. Since some computers do not have
ROM Basic, they display a NO ROM BASIC or other error message. The message
displayed is dependent upon the computer's BIOS.
Invalid Media Type
This error message is displayed when the boot sector of a defined
partition is damaged. The error message is normally received using a new
partition that has not been formatted. However, if the boot sector is
damaged, the partition may appear unformatted to the operating system,
and this error message is generated.
Hard Disk Controller Failure
This error message indicates either the hard disk controller has failed,
the hard disk controller is not set up properly in the BIOS, or the
controller cannot communicate with the attached drive(s). In this case, do
not perform the troubleshooting steps below. Instead, consult the
documentation included with your computer or contact the computer's
manufacturer for more information.
Each of the error messages listed above may indicate problems ranging
from improper hardware configuration to damaged hard disk partition
information. The following steps can be used to help resolve the problem.
However, if these steps do not resolve the problem, please contact your
hardware manufacturer or have the drive serviced by a qualified service
• Start the computer using the Windows 95 emergency boot disk (EBD) or
using a bootable MS-DOS disk that contains Fdisk.exe, Format.com,
Sys.com, and Scandisk.exe (MS-DOS versions 6.2x only).
If your computer does not start from drive A, or if you receive an
error message similar to one listed above when you start from drive A,
please contact the computer's manufacturer.
• Use Fdisk.exe to view the partitions on the hard disk by performing the
• Run Fdisk.exe from the EBD or bootable MS-DOS disk.
NOTE: If the hard disk was not partitioned using Fdisk.exe, use the
appropriate third-party partitioning software to view the hard disk
partition(s). For instructions on using the third-party partitioning
software, please consult the software's documentation.
• Select option 4 (Display partition information).
• If the partitions are listed, make sure that the bootable partition
is defined as active (look for an uppercase A in the Status
• If there are no partitions listed, use Fdisk.exe to establish new
partitions and then use Format.com to format the partition you want
to boot from.
WARNING: When you use Fdisk.exe or Format.com to create new
partitions or format the drive, you lose any data on that drive
• If all the partitions appear in Fdisk.exe, and one is defined as
active, proceed to the next step.
• Run the SYS command on the hard disk from the EBD or bootable MS-DOS
disk. For example, type the following command:
If you receive the message "System Transferred," remove the disk from
drive A and restart the computer. If you receive the same error message
after you restart your computer, your hard disk may be configured
improperly or damaged.
If you do not receive the "System Transferred" message, or if you
receive an error message, run ScanDisk from the EBD or bootable MS-DOS
disk (MS-DOS version 6.20 or later) to check for physical damage on the
hard disk by typing the following command:
If you are prompted to perform a surface scan, choose Yes. If ScanDisk
reports physical damage on the hard disk, have the hard disk checked by
a qualified service professional.
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