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First post, by appiah4

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I have a 20GB IDE drive working on a Socket 7 system that I think may be going bad. It has started making intermittent clicking noises which is never a good thing, but it has also caused system hangs once in a while and has once failed to be detected by the BIOS for a few cold boots for no apparent reason. Hence, I am trying to figure out how much life it has.

So what is a good DOS or Win9x tool to test IDE hard drives? And what is a good tool to image said hard drives on a Win7/10 system if I can get the drive hooked up via USB?

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 1 of 20, by darry

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-06-01, 20:10:

I have a 20GB IDE drive working on a Socket 7 system that I think may be going bad. It has started making intermittent clicking noises which is never a good thing, but it has also caused system hangs once in a while and has once failed to be detected by the BIOS for a few cold boots for no apparent reason. Hence, I am trying to figure out how much life it has.

So what is a good DOS or Win9x tool to test IDE hard drives? And what is a good tool to image said hard drives on a Win7/10 system if I can get the drive hooked up via USB?

GSMARTCONTROL (https://gsmartcontrol.sourceforge.io/home/ind … x.php/Downloads), which is based on SMARTMONTOOLS allows easy checking of SMART variables and general "SMART health status" . If your hard drive firmware allows, it can also run SHORT or LONG tests . The LONG test is essentially a full scan of the drive's media . If you have questions on reported SMART values, you can always post them here for comments or suggestions .

For backups, I use Acronis TrueImage (non subscription licenses are still available) but have also used Clonezilla (free) in other circumstances . Clonezilla does not run under Windows but is fairly easy to use from bootable USB or CD media .

EDIT : For SMART to work on a USB drive, the USB to IDE (or SATA) bridge chip must support passing SMART info . You may also need to add a config option to GSMARTCONTROL , depending on USB IDE bridge chip used .
Depending on the IDE controller used in your SS7 system, it may also be possible to check SMART values in system if you have Windows 9x installed . See Is there any software that can read and display SMART attributes under Windows 9x ?
SMART support may need to be enabled in BIOS .

Reply 2 of 20, by TheMobRules

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I use HDAT2. It has a lot of diagnostic features, can read SMART info and fits in a bootable floppy or USB flash drive.

I've only encountered issues when testing older, pre-LBA HDDs but I probably need to change some params so that those are properly detected.

Reply 3 of 20, by clueless1

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intermittent clicking sounds and occasionally not being detected by BIOS are signs of imminent failure. I'd get that sucker backed up/imaged ASAP. I too use clonezilla for imaging. You might need an older version (search my posts, I've posted the exact version that works with Win9x-formatted drives, which I can't remember off the top of my head).

I own a license for SpinRite 6.0. It is a DOS-native program. It's $90 but is well worth it for drive maintenance and revival. It won't fix mechanical issues, but is very good at keeping drives healthy and getting drives to boot one last time to rescue the data.

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Reply 4 of 20, by EvieSigma

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Do those combination USB to IDE/Molex power brick setups actually work well for accessing older drives? I have a Quantum Bigfoot TX 12GB drive that seems to work but can't boot into Windows (if you do a dir command from a setup CD's recovery console it works fine, though) and trying to stuff it into random machines to view its contents hasn't worked out very well so far, so I was considering one of those setups to plug the drive into a more modern machine and access it that way.

Reply 5 of 20, by darry

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EvieSigma wrote on 2020-06-01, 23:36:

Do those combination USB to IDE/Molex power brick setups actually work well for accessing older drives? I have a Quantum Bigfoot TX 12GB drive that seems to work but can't boot into Windows (if you do a dir command from a setup CD's recovery console it works fine, though) and trying to stuff it into random machines to view its contents hasn't worked out very well so far, so I was considering one of those setups to plug the drive into a more modern machine and access it that way.

IDE USB bridges/converters usually only work with drives that support LBA . Small capacity CHS drives will not work with such adapters, at least with the adapters I have tried .

As for booting from a USB adapted IDE drive, that will largely depend on the host machine's BIOS' USB booting capability . AFAIK, USB devices must also be formatted in a specific way to allow DOS to boot from them . There is an HP USB formatting utility that makes this easy . I will try to find it .

EDIT: This is the utility . I have never gotten it to run well under Windows 10, so
I usually run it from an XP Virtualbox VM . https://download.cnet.com/HP-USB-Disk-Storage … 4-10974082.html

EDIT: By small drives, I mean smaller than 8.4GB . Bigger than that will be LBA . Smaller ones may still support LBA in addition to CHS, but sub 1 GB ones are almost certainly CHS only, AFAIK (I could be wrong on that last point, I have not dealt with NON LBA drives in a very long time) .

Reply 7 of 20, by Unknown_K

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Using a torx screwdriver bit take the controller board off of the hard drive and look a the circuit board. There should be 3 pads that connect to the motor and a bunch of small pads that connect the board to the read head. If they are very tarnished clean them off with a pencil eraser until they are clean and shiny then put the controller back on the HD and see if that helps.

Generally anything 540 MB or larger tends to be LBA and will work on a USB to IDE adapter. Seatools for windows will check IDE/SATA/SCSI drives and CrystalDiskInfo will check health status.

If the drive isn't LBA it won't work at all with the adapter. For older drives I just put them into a removable IDE HD tray and test them on a 486 machine or older using Norton Disk Doctor or a DOS based manufactures software.

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Reply 8 of 20, by jakethompson1

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Once I had a (newer, SATA) drive that would reset periodically like this and also was extremely slow. I read online about sealing it in a ziploc bag and putting it in a freezer before using it. Believe it or not, it worked.
How well do PCIe PATA cards work for this? Or, there are (or were until recently) still new motherboards with one onboard IDE.

Reply 9 of 20, by darry

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jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-06-02, 01:13:

Once I had a (newer, SATA) drive that would reset periodically like this and also was extremely slow. I read online about sealing it in a ziploc bag and putting it in a freezer before using it. Believe it or not, it worked.
How well do PCIe PATA cards work for this? Or, there are (or were until recently) still new motherboards with one onboard IDE.

I do not have any CHS only drives on hand (probably have some in storage) to test this on the only PCIE PATA controller I have which is Jmicron JMB363 based . A potential issue with pretty much every PCI or PCIE controller card is the lack of an option to choose the translation mode, so if a drive supports both LBA and CHS, was setup in CHS mode on a legacy machine and is then plugged into a modern controller which sets it to LBA mode, I do not believe it would be readable . IDE controllers managed by the motherboard's BIOS will usually let you set the translation mode, so they would not have an issue .

This kind of scenario has certainly been encountered by people using CompactFlash to IDE adapters and moving the cards between legacy pre-LBA controllers and modern hardware. Hopefully, somebody with experience in that matter will comment .

Reply 10 of 20, by jakethompson1

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darry wrote on 2020-06-02, 02:28:

I do not have any CHS only drives on hand (probably have some in storage) to test this on the only PCIE PATA controller I have which is Jmicron JMB363 based . A potential issue with pretty much every PCI or PCIE controller card is the lack of an option to choose the translation mode, so if a drive supports both LBA and CHS, was setup in CHS mode on a legacy machine and is then plugged into a modern controller which sets it to LBA mode, I do not believe it would be readable . IDE controllers managed by the motherboard's BIOS will usually let you set the translation mode, so they would not have an issue .

This kind of scenario has certainly been encountered by people using CompactFlash to IDE adapters and moving the cards between legacy pre-LBA controllers and modern hardware. Hopefully, somebody with experience in that matter will comment .

Would this still apply if you used linux, bypassing the BIOS, and did the various settings with hdparm or messing around with the kernel command line to specify how to access the drive? Wouldn't it bypass any restrictions in the controller?

Reply 11 of 20, by darry

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jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-06-02, 02:45:
darry wrote on 2020-06-02, 02:28:

I do not have any CHS only drives on hand (probably have some in storage) to test this on the only PCIE PATA controller I have which is Jmicron JMB363 based . A potential issue with pretty much every PCI or PCIE controller card is the lack of an option to choose the translation mode, so if a drive supports both LBA and CHS, was setup in CHS mode on a legacy machine and is then plugged into a modern controller which sets it to LBA mode, I do not believe it would be readable . IDE controllers managed by the motherboard's BIOS will usually let you set the translation mode, so they would not have an issue .

This kind of scenario has certainly been encountered by people using CompactFlash to IDE adapters and moving the cards between legacy pre-LBA controllers and modern hardware. Hopefully, somebody with experience in that matter will comment .

Would this still apply if you used linux, bypassing the BIOS, and did the various settings with hdparm or messing around with the kernel command line to specify how to access the drive? Wouldn't it bypass any restrictions in the controller?

I'm pretty sure the BIOS would be bypassed . What logic Linux uses to determine whether a drive should be accessed as LBA or CHS, I simply do not know . I've only ever used Linux on LBA capable hardware .
Here is some extremely dated info on Linux and "large" disks . https://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/text/Large-Disk-HOWTO This may no longer be relevant with modern kernels but, then again, who uses CHS drives on modern kernels (except some of us retro enthusiasts) ?

Reply 12 of 20, by EvieSigma

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darry wrote on 2020-06-01, 23:49:
IDE USB bridges/converters usually only work with drives that support LBA . Small capacity CHS drives will not work with such ad […]
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EvieSigma wrote on 2020-06-01, 23:36:

Do those combination USB to IDE/Molex power brick setups actually work well for accessing older drives? I have a Quantum Bigfoot TX 12GB drive that seems to work but can't boot into Windows (if you do a dir command from a setup CD's recovery console it works fine, though) and trying to stuff it into random machines to view its contents hasn't worked out very well so far, so I was considering one of those setups to plug the drive into a more modern machine and access it that way.

IDE USB bridges/converters usually only work with drives that support LBA . Small capacity CHS drives will not work with such adapters, at least with the adapters I have tried .

As for booting from a USB adapted IDE drive, that will largely depend on the host machine's BIOS' USB booting capability . AFAIK, USB devices must also be formatted in a specific way to allow DOS to boot from them . There is an HP USB formatting utility that makes this easy . I will try to find it .

EDIT: This is the utility . I have never gotten it to run well under Windows 10, so
I usually run it from an XP Virtualbox VM . https://download.cnet.com/HP-USB-Disk-Storage … 4-10974082.html

EDIT: By small drives, I mean smaller than 8.4GB . Bigger than that will be LBA . Smaller ones may still support LBA in addition to CHS, but sub 1 GB ones are almost certainly CHS only, AFAIK (I could be wrong on that last point, I have not dealt with NON LBA drives in a very long time) .

Oh, I don't even want to boot it, I just want to see if it has any contents worth preserving. Thanks for the help anyway!

Reply 13 of 20, by darry

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EvieSigma wrote on 2020-06-02, 04:37:
darry wrote on 2020-06-01, 23:49:
IDE USB bridges/converters usually only work with drives that support LBA . Small capacity CHS drives will not work with such ad […]
Show full quote
EvieSigma wrote on 2020-06-01, 23:36:

Do those combination USB to IDE/Molex power brick setups actually work well for accessing older drives? I have a Quantum Bigfoot TX 12GB drive that seems to work but can't boot into Windows (if you do a dir command from a setup CD's recovery console it works fine, though) and trying to stuff it into random machines to view its contents hasn't worked out very well so far, so I was considering one of those setups to plug the drive into a more modern machine and access it that way.

IDE USB bridges/converters usually only work with drives that support LBA . Small capacity CHS drives will not work with such adapters, at least with the adapters I have tried .

As for booting from a USB adapted IDE drive, that will largely depend on the host machine's BIOS' USB booting capability . AFAIK, USB devices must also be formatted in a specific way to allow DOS to boot from them . There is an HP USB formatting utility that makes this easy . I will try to find it .

EDIT: This is the utility . I have never gotten it to run well under Windows 10, so
I usually run it from an XP Virtualbox VM . https://download.cnet.com/HP-USB-Disk-Storage … 4-10974082.html

EDIT: By small drives, I mean smaller than 8.4GB . Bigger than that will be LBA . Smaller ones may still support LBA in addition to CHS, but sub 1 GB ones are almost certainly CHS only, AFAIK (I could be wrong on that last point, I have not dealt with NON LBA drives in a very long time) .

Oh, I don't even want to boot it, I just want to see if it has any contents worth preserving. Thanks for the help anyway!

I re-read your post and I see what I misunderstood. You were referring to the drive not booting under normal circumstances not to wanting to boot from it over USB .

Reply 14 of 20, by appiah4

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I started out with HDAT2. Here is what the SMART attributes and a VERIFY surface scan revealed:

HDAT2-SMART.jpg

HDAT2-SCAN.jpg

I guess it's indeed dying. I can't seem to do any WRITE to this drive with HDAT2 though, trying a VERIFY/WRITE/VERIFY Fix returns an error about the controller. Regardless, it seems to be on its last legs, so I will just order a cheap USB2.0B/IDE device, delete the unnecessary stuff and image its contents. I believe I have another 20GB drive lying around somewhere, maybe and hopefully it is in better shape..

In the meantime, any further suggestions?

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 15 of 20, by EvieSigma

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darry wrote on 2020-06-02, 05:50:
EvieSigma wrote on 2020-06-02, 04:37:
darry wrote on 2020-06-01, 23:49:
IDE USB bridges/converters usually only work with drives that support LBA . Small capacity CHS drives will not work with such ad […]
Show full quote

IDE USB bridges/converters usually only work with drives that support LBA . Small capacity CHS drives will not work with such adapters, at least with the adapters I have tried .

As for booting from a USB adapted IDE drive, that will largely depend on the host machine's BIOS' USB booting capability . AFAIK, USB devices must also be formatted in a specific way to allow DOS to boot from them . There is an HP USB formatting utility that makes this easy . I will try to find it .

EDIT: This is the utility . I have never gotten it to run well under Windows 10, so
I usually run it from an XP Virtualbox VM . https://download.cnet.com/HP-USB-Disk-Storage … 4-10974082.html

EDIT: By small drives, I mean smaller than 8.4GB . Bigger than that will be LBA . Smaller ones may still support LBA in addition to CHS, but sub 1 GB ones are almost certainly CHS only, AFAIK (I could be wrong on that last point, I have not dealt with NON LBA drives in a very long time) .

Oh, I don't even want to boot it, I just want to see if it has any contents worth preserving. Thanks for the help anyway!

I re-read your post and I see what I misunderstood. You were referring to the drive not booting under normal circumstances not to wanting to boot from it over USB .

Yeah, I think it has a damaged install of XP on it because a 2000 CD couldn't fix it.

Reply 16 of 20, by Intel486dx33

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1) Nortons utilities , Disk doctor.
Microsoft - Scan disk, Defrag, MSD

2) Get a USB harddrive dock ( I use the RED one but if you have BIG FAT hard drives get the other one ).

2) You can connect to a your USB harddrive dock to your Win-10 PC
Then copy over files. You can also burn disk files to CD and then just do a restore with this command
# D: xcopy /e/s *.* C:\
( where D: is CDROM drive ).
And just sys the C: drive when complete

This way you can have all kinds of harddrive images saved to CD.

I find this method works good and easy.

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Reply 17 of 20, by appiah4

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The 20GB Samsung died on me while recovering the files, though I got most of what was crucial. It's now well and truly dead and in the bin, and I seem to have dodged a bullet. I seem to have run out of viable HDDs for this system, even the hacked BIOS can only handle up to 32GB in LBA mode and the only HDD I have is a Seagate 7200.10 80GB. Fortunately for me, Jumpering 1-2 limits it to 32GB and in this manner the BIOS actually detects it.

And it is in MUCH better health:

HDAT2-SMART-80-GB.jpg

Currently doing a VERIFY surface scan now.. If that check out, I'll reinstall Windows 98 on it.

EDIT: And it has finished the surface scan with zero errors. Huzzah. Thanks to everyone who helped out here, I learned a lot 😀

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 18 of 20, by jakethompson1

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-06-02, 22:22:

I seem to have run out of viable HDDs for this system, even the hacked BIOS can only handle up to 32GB in LBA mode and the only HDD I have is a Seagate 7200.10 80GB.

Sounds like time to treat yourself to 32 GB SSD or a CompactFlash card + an IDE adapter...

Reply 19 of 20, by darry

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jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-06-02, 23:38:
appiah4 wrote on 2020-06-02, 22:22:

I seem to have run out of viable HDDs for this system, even the hacked BIOS can only handle up to 32GB in LBA mode and the only HDD I have is a Seagate 7200.10 80GB.

Sounds like time to treat yourself to 32 GB SSD or a CompactFlash card + an IDE adapter...

Or to get a PCI controller and switch to a nice, new, quiet, cool, reliable (hopefully) SATA hard drive or SSD .