The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Discussion about old PC hardware.

The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby cj_reha » 2017-1-30 @ 02:45

This is the third post about this specific PC ( :lol: ) but it's come with a host of problems and this one is a bit concerning.

The PC's got a Quantum Bigfoot 1280AT 1.2GB 5.25" hard drive in it with a copy of Windows 98 FE on it. Ever since I got it, it's been corrupting itself at an alarmingly fast rate and I'm not sure what to do anymore. The only replacement for this drive I can see that isn't a Compaq OEM drive is one from Bulgaria that is $50 and is only listed as "working," no testing reports included.

Basically, I ran ScanDisk on it the first time I booted it and it reported ~28 MB of bad sectors. After booting it up to test basic restoration repairs I was doing on the system (replacing CMOS battery, replacing dead CD-ROM drive) it started to deteriorate and running ScanDisk in DOS mode revealed "physical damage to the disk" as well as corrupted sectors in the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory.

On an unrelated note, I found about 30 documents pertaining to a strange child abuse case from a Pakistani family. Also discovered some of their old family photos, but right after viewing these documents and rebooting it started to become unbootable.

Now, it just loads to a crashed Windows Explorer, and sometimes you can bypass it by letting the desktop load first and then rebooting Explorer, but other times it only loads the background picture and then you're stuck.

Were Quantum drives, when they started to demagnetize, prone to corruption and death this quickly? Sans the 6.4 gig model that sometimes exploded, heard they're pretty reliable. Well, it was on the verge of death anyways.
Last edited by cj_reha on 2017-1-30 @ 11:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby SSTV2 » 2017-1-30 @ 03:08

The restless spirits of mentioned Pakistani family have returned and are demagnetizing your bigfoots disks surface, Booo...!

Jokes aside, i have similar problem with one of mine SCSI Conner CP30200, the longer it runs the more bad sectors it generates, something is causing it to demagnetize, opened up the cover, found nothing suspicious, it had typical "scratched" surface of old design HDDs. Maybe somebody could shed some light onto this topic?
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby Jed118 » 2017-1-30 @ 04:00

I've got a 6.4 gig version of that drive in my P166 - When I worked in a PC store in the 90s I recall these drives weren't particularly reliable, but this one is acting as a secondary drive (for games) - Checks out OK no bad sectors. I had a 130 Mb Maxtor drive die last month in the same way yours is dying - 2Mb of bad sectors turned into like 4 or 5 after repeated scans.

Generally Quantum (prodrive, ELS, fireball) were great drives - I only have one that I can't bring back up but it might be a SCSI deal - My Barracuda works fine though. I have no idea how I'm going to test it, as the last time I saw a 50 pin SCSI card (other than my 1540) was close to a decade ago.

Turn it into a clock:

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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby SW-SSG » 2017-1-30 @ 05:07

cj_reha wrote:Were Quantum drives this quick to fail?

Why "quick"? That drive must be around ~20 years old at this point. For a device designed to realistically last 3-5 years (and a budget model to boot, being a Bigfoot), it doesn't seem particularly surprising that yours is in this state.
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby yawetaG » 2017-1-30 @ 09:01

cj_reha wrote:Were Quantum drives this quick to fail?


The three I've owned all worked fine for over a decade (in fact, two still work fine after close to 2 decades - I sold the other one 10 years ago)
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby elod » 2017-1-30 @ 09:52

$50 for an old hard drive is just insane.
I don't even pick them up for 1-2 euros. Got plenty of 2003-2005 era drives that seem much better (noise, speed, etc).
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby Deksor » 2017-1-30 @ 10:37

Sometimes when you wipe completely a drive with bad sectors a few times they disappear. My 270MB quantum HDD has like 4 or 5. After wiping it once with killdisk, I got 3 left and after 1 or 2 runs of killdisk, they were all gone. I don't know if they will be usable forever but for now, scandisk doesn't see anything even though I did that 4 or 5 month ago
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby cj_reha » 2017-1-30 @ 11:48

SW-SSG wrote:
cj_reha wrote:Were Quantum drives this quick to fail?

Why "quick"? That drive must be around ~20 years old at this point. For a device designed to realistically last 3-5 years (and a budget model to boot, being a Bigfoot), it doesn't seem particularly surprising that yours is in this state.


Yeah, I should've probably reworded that. I meant how quickly it started to and is still failing, like within the period of an afternoon. It is such an old drive I am slightly unsuprised, but still it seems to be faicing quick.
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby clueless1 » 2017-1-30 @ 11:57

Deksor wrote:Sometimes when you wipe completely a drive with bad sectors a few times they disappear. My 270MB quantum HDD has like 4 or 5. After wiping it once with killdisk, I got 3 left and after 1 or 2 runs of killdisk, they were all gone. I don't know if they will be usable forever but for now, scandisk doesn't see anything even though I did that 4 or 5 month ago

This is a good point. If you don't mind wiping and starting over, you can DBAN the drive and see if it helps.

If you're really interested in saving the drive, a SpinRite level 4 scan might help. It costs $90, but you can use it on every drive you own, so if you save a few drives, it paid for itself.
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby Errius » 2017-1-30 @ 15:51

Why are these drives sought after? They can't be mounted in the usual drive cages and force you to waste a 5.25" bay. Is it just the oddness factor?
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby cj_reha » 2017-1-30 @ 16:16

Errius wrote:Why are these drives sought after? They can't be mounted in the usual drive cages and force you to waste a 5.25" bay. Is it just the oddness factor?

I guess :lol:
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby Errius » 2017-1-30 @ 16:56

An additional problem is that the 5.25" bays aren't designed to host hard drives so aren't designed to be cooled by the system fans. Whenever I mount a drive there I always put it in a fan-cooled drive enclosure. If this isn't done I expect it will reduce the life of the drive due to overheating.
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby Malvineous » 2017-2-01 @ 12:40

Jed118 wrote:Generally Quantum (prodrive, ELS, fireball) were great drives - I only have one that I can't bring back up but it might be a SCSI deal - My Barracuda works fine though. I have no idea how I'm going to test it, as the last time I saw a 50 pin SCSI card (other than my 1540) was close to a decade ago.

There are plenty of 50-pin ISA and PCI SCSI cards on eBay for only a few bucks. You can also get a 68-pin to 50-pin adapter, but that will probably cost more than the card!
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby zstandig » 2017-2-01 @ 20:00

I have 2 Bigfoots (bigfeet?) They are a minor collectible. Mine still work as far as I know, though it's been years since I've powered them on. They use standard IDE/PATA and such that Presario that used them could easily be upgraded to a faster, normal hard drive.
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby xplus93 » 2017-2-01 @ 20:18

I guess i'll be the odd one here and say I never had any trouble with mine. I had a compaq 4800 series and the original drive was completely solid. For some reason I dismantled the computer and tossed the drive, but that was a long time ago when I was very young and very stupid.
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby FFXIhealer » 2017-2-01 @ 20:57

I inherited a 6GB Quantum Bigfoot TX drive from some guy I don't know giving me an old retro system I didn't really want because I was looking for an old ATX case for an even older Pentium system I wanted to put together in a home. It works perfectly fine and has Windows 98 on it, an AMD K6-2 300MHz processor, and 64MB of SDRAM. I assume this is a standard Socket 7 board because of the lack of AGP slot and no 100MHz support. Good for an early Windows 98 gaming system if I put a Voodoo2 card in there. If it goes dead, I have a 40GB Western Digital 3.5" drive sitting on a shelf I can use.
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby Jed118 » 2018-2-03 @ 04:20

My bigfoot in my P100 (166 now) finally had the clicks of death.

RIP. Replaced with a traditional Western Digital.
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby Baoran » 2018-2-03 @ 20:52

I have had a quantum bigfoot drive for a long time, but I thought it was extremely slow hard drive so I have never ended up using one in any retro builds.
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby KCompRoom2000 » 2018-2-04 @ 00:22

I have a 2.1GB Quantum Bigfoot drive that still works (in a Compaq Presario 2100), it even has a Compaq OEM installation of Windows 95 RTM (surprisingly not OSR2 despite being manufactured in early 1997), I made a VHD backup of it just in case it dies, I also have four Fireballs that still work (their capacities are: 6.4GB, 8.4GB, 30GB, and 40GB). However, I did have another 8.4GB Fireball die on me due to magnetic (nearby speaker) damage back in 2014.
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Re: The dying Quantum Bigfoot

Postby oeuvre » 2018-2-04 @ 00:23

They're really slow drives, even for their time. Recommend replacing with a CF or SD card + CF/SD to IDE adapter.
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