Hi Gerry,

> it says FDISK 1.2.1, and if I go to freedos.org and click 
> "software|base|fdisk" it says 1.2.1 as well, so why does mine say 1.3.0?

The 1.3.0-beta version is popular as it is used on UltimateBootCD.
It has debug features activated and it has a small fix in LBA BIOS
detection, not much other things changed.

> ...  then rebooted, but 
> nothing happened (cursor on black screen) - I don't think there was an 
> MBR at this point, all other bootsector and loader files looked normal.

If you could access the files perfectly then your boot sector and partitioning 
were perfect...

BUT you probably forgot to make the thing bootable :-). Think about
things like SYS C:, for example.

> I then run MS-DOS FDISK /MBR and suddenly the disk 
> booted as normal.

Okay, so your MBR contained partition data but no boot program.
You could have used FreeDOS FDISK /MBR as well.

> 1. What happened to the "automatic" creation of an MBR discussed in the 
> other thread? It didn't seem to happen?

It is VERY dangerous as it does not only add boot PROGRAM but also
DELETES the whole partition data when it thinks that the MBR is
incomplete. The FDISK /MBR function, on the other hand, ONLY replaces
the PROGRAM but KEEPS the partition data. Still, you should NOT make
FDISK /MBR automatically happen, because it replaces your existing
MBR program - which can delete important programs like Lilo, Grub,
OnTrack, EzDrive, DDO... if you happen to store them in the MBR (which
is the default for some of them - actually OnTrack/EzDrive/DDO cannot
be installed anywhere else at all).

> 2. Why did no programs (FDISK and PQMAGIC) warn me at any point that the 
> MBR was missing? They all indicated "Active" and "Bootable" and "no errors"!

Your partition data was perfectly okay, but the boot PROGRAM was either
missing or broken. The latter cannot be detected by software usually.
For example the boot program could have been a version which supports
only booting from the first 8 GB of the disk, and you could have needed
something with more punch.

> 3. Why does Win2k setup program not warn about missing MBR or try to 
> create one?

Because you ran into a VERY rare problem.

> 4. How is the MBR supposed to get there in the first place. Is it the 
> job of the partitioning program, the system builder, the o/s setup 
> program...

The last time that I bought some harddisk, I seem to remember that it
already contained the MBR program. But apart from that: You can always
run FDISK /MBR if you find out that you have no MBR program yet.
This is called FIXMBR in WinXP, by the way.


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