2002-08-14 00:09 UTC Mysterious feature
Dell suggested I reinstall Windows. That didn't work (when it had formatted 77% of the disk,
clunk clunk stonk followed by a crash). After that, the hard disk was not found. So the Dell technician got me to run the following assembler (which, I believe, is intended to wipe the hard disk's partition table):
mov ax,301 mov bx,200 mov cx,1 mov dx,80 int 13 int 20
Magically, this fixed the problem. The disk formatted fine and didn't make clunking sounds.
I would love to know who at Dell decided to add a "tighten the screw holding the hard disk's reading head together" interrupt to their BIOS.