125 MB WD Caviar Investigation

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125 MB WD Caviar Investigation

Postby CkRtech » 2018-2-04 @ 01:00

Hey guys - Picked up a 386 system a couple of years ago. RAM issue. Finally toook care of that and got it up and running today.

I am having some issues with the hard drive (HD controller failure message from the 1991 386 BIOS, etc) - a Western Digital Caviar 2120. The no-battery mobo still has the cyl/heads/sec info stored properly. BIOS retains settings so long as you don't power down. But alas - that is the error I get.

I tried swapping the IDE cable and checking the jumpers. Looks good. I pulled it and hooked it up to an external IDE-> USB adapter that I usually use to just fire up an old drive, drag/drop files to.

Doesn't show up with a drive letter in Windows 10, so... I hit up Disk Manager to check partitions. Disk manager does see it and wants to initialize it.

So here is where I have stopped. It would be nice to see if there is any data on there, but I am not sure where to go from here.

1: Any alternative method to use to try to see the drive (hook it up to a spare P90 mobo I have sitting around & see if autodetect can see it)
2: I wonder if a time-appropriate partition manager was installed on it, however...
3: How generic is the HD controller failure message on a 386 from 1991? It has been so long since I have been in a BIOS this old (I think it was my 286 and the year was actually 1991. Don't even remember it, and thankfully my 40 MB HD never had problems. :D) Seems like the 386 should still see it, though. Hmm.
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Re: 125 MB WD Caviar Investigation

Postby CkRtech » 2018-2-04 @ 04:28

Well the P90 saw it. It does have an ontrack overlay. chkdsk causes extremely weird things to happen. Otherwise, DOS, Windows 3.1, DOOM2 with some savegames. Fun stuff. Latest files on there appear to be from 1998. Looks like it was rebuilt/repurposed in 1995 - and apparently for college.

Not sure why the drive would need OnTrack overlay.

Also wondering (related to #3 above) if I can still access/fdisk the drive despite the HD controller failure error if I hook it back up to the 386 and boot from a floppy. Dunno. Weird.

Would like to see how this 386 handles DOOM2... assuming this wasn't just an abandoned build from many years ago.
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Re: 125 MB WD Caviar Investigation

Postby MMaximus » 2018-2-04 @ 08:38

Could the problem be due to the dead battery on your 386 board? Maybe it seems the CMOS remembers the HDD configuration but it actually doesn't...
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Re: 125 MB WD Caviar Investigation

Postby CkRtech » 2018-2-04 @ 10:10

I found it odd that it would have the correct custom specs still in "user defined 1." That said - I've got a replacement battery case with 3xAAA and a wire, so I'll add that to the equation just to eliminate another variable. Perhaps a different HDD type is best anyway since the drive is using overlay software.
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Re: 125 MB WD Caviar Investigation

Postby konc » 2018-2-04 @ 12:24

Most if not all IDE -> USB adapters only attempt LBA, that's why you didn't see a proper partition.
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Re: 125 MB WD Caviar Investigation

Postby CkRtech » 2018-2-04 @ 17:38

Seems to work OK with a 250 MB Normal drive. I just assumed ontrack caused the problem, but I can’t initialize it with the Win 10 pc.
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Re: 125 MB WD Caviar Investigation

Postby CkRtech » 2018-2-05 @ 04:21

Hmm. Not sure the full reason, but I moved it back over to the 386 from the Pentium and it works. Zeroed out Precomp and Landing Zone.

Also - DOOM 2 on a 386DX-33. Wow.
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