Questions tagged [hard-disk]

Hard disk drives: hardware, connection, low-level format and drivers.

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11 votes
5 answers
2k views

Do/did mechanical hard drives constantly spin the discs? [closed]

I have to admit that I didn't ever really think about how a hard drive worked until recently. I only had a vague understanding that there was (at least) one hard disc and some kind of "needle&...
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25 votes
4 answers
4k views

Did something like floppy disk jukeboxes for home computers exist in the 70s or 80s? Would that have been a feasible concept?

Many home computers in the 1970s and 1980s had two floppy disk drives, or owners bought a second drive, to reduce having to play disk jockey. A second drive was especially popular with Commodore Amiga ...
5 votes
3 answers
368 views

Windows 2000 Inaccessible Boot Device when running setup from SATA Hard Drive

I have an MS-DOS 7.10 install on my SATA hard drive (BIOS set to IDE compat mode), and so I copied over the Windows 2000 install files and ran i386/winnt.exe. It copies over the files fine, but when ...
12 votes
0 answers
244 views

Was there a hard disk type that had a SMART overflow crash/bug?

A data center employee told me a story about 25 years ago, explaining why that data center took some time to assemble a RAID array. Recently, I wasn't able to verify the facts by googling, and I may ...
3 votes
4 answers
520 views

How can I make an 80 GB hard drive work with an Asus P2L97 motherboard?

I have a 80 GB PATA HDD (2003 Western Digital Caviar WD800 LBA) which is not recognized by my very old computer (Pentium 2 / Asus P2L97 motherboard). I thought it was due to the partitioning of the ...
21 votes
3 answers
2k views

Can a stock/original Atari ST boot from a hard drive?

It has been my belief that one of the nice features of the original Atari ST is that it has support "out-of-the-box" for a hard disk drive connected via its built-in ACSI port- similar to ...
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4 votes
1 answer
185 views

IBM/Xebec XT Fixed Disk Adapter "Custom" Drive Types

It's generally believed that the IBM/Xebec Fixed Disk adapters were hardware limited to only four different drive geometries - of which, only the last revision of the card was user configurable (...
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6 votes
3 answers
391 views

How did reserve tracks work on early hard disks?

The Wikipedia article History of IBM magnetic disk drives describes the details of the IBM 2311 device, introduced in 1964, as The 2311 stores 7.25 megabytes on a single removable IBM 1316 disk pack. ...
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2 votes
0 answers
504 views

Installing MS-DOS 6.22 on a 386-class laptop with an SD/IDE adapter fails at 99%. How do I fix this?

I'm using an AST Premium Exec 386SX/20 laptop. I have installed a new BIOS battery and it does retain settings when the machine is power-cycled. I'm attempting to install MS-DOS 6.22 from a set of 3 ...
3 votes
1 answer
163 views

What disk packs are compatible with the DEC RM05?

While the majority of DEC's PDP-11 systems used UNIBUS or QBUS based peripherals for storage, some of the larger PDP-11s, along with larger machines such as the DECsystem 20 and the VAX-11/780 used ...
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24 votes
8 answers
8k views

Why was computer memory so expensive and scarce?

Computer memory used to be a limited and expensive asset for a long while (for example, in computers with 16KiB RAM or less, compared to the 2 MiB of my first PC (an Intel 486) in 1995 and current day'...
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10 votes
1 answer
521 views

Spin HDD up/down in DOS App?

Is there a register I can write to using a DOS based C app to spin the IDE HDD down after the app boots then back up upon the app close? Specifically I want to just put spin down/up commands in the C ...
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8 votes
1 answer
472 views

Why is QEMU cutting off the last cylinder of the disk image?

I made a new disk image with the command dd if=/dev/zero of=hd.img bs=512 count=$(expr 16 \* 63 \* \( 15 \* 16 + 8 \)) which corresponds to creating a disk that would fill exactly with QEMU's default ...
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1 vote
0 answers
280 views

Booting from CF [closed]

I have an older computer and want to install Linux on it. I want to do this on a CF card. I have tried many things, but get a WRITE ERROR. I get the write error when I try to install Linux ubuntu-16....
7 votes
3 answers
728 views

How can I tell if my old PC supports > 137 GB hard drives?

I have an old PC from 1999 that has an ASUS P5A motherboard. When I power it on, it says ASUS P5A ACPI BIOS Revision 1011 Beta 005 and 05/02/2002-ALADDIN5-<<P5A>>: I recently read that up ...
7 votes
5 answers
5k views

Is it possible to limit HDD capacity to work on an old computer?

I have an old laptop (Dell Inspiron 3500 running Windows 98) which had a hard drive failure. I searched for HDDs but the 5 GB ones (that was the original drive's capacity) were unreasonably priced. I ...
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12 votes
2 answers
999 views

How did 512 Bytes come to be the most common sector size?

It was long assumed by FS drivers that all diskette and harddisk units operate in blocks of size 512 Bytes. How did this happen to be the case, historically? Why not the "neater" 1 KiB, say?
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4 votes
1 answer
417 views

Bill-of-material cost of early hard drives

Based on this topic (and continuing this topic), my question once again surfaced: And what was the layout of the prime cost of early 8 and 5.25 inch hard drives? From Seagate and competing ...
27 votes
17 answers
7k views

How much did the first hard drives for PCs cost?

I would like to know how much early PC hard drives cost but have only been aable to find adjacent or unsourced data. According to the Centre for Computing History: The "IBM 5161 Expansion ...
4 votes
1 answer
322 views

How did the DEC RP06 respond to unscheduled power off?

The DEC RP06 disk drive was a remarkable piece of hardware. It seems to have been the last generation of drives that used rigid magnetic disks in removable packs, before their replacement by '...
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5 votes
1 answer
337 views

How to identify the filesystem for an old SCSI drive?

Back in the day, SCSI was the way to go. I remember my high school having a single 5Mb Sider hdd connected to an Apple //e - which seemed awesome after endlessly swapping floppies. Not long after, I ...
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2 votes
2 answers
285 views

Modern HDD replacement for an old laptop

What is the modern solution I could use in Commodore C386SX-LT? It requires selection of disk type in bios, otherwise it won't work. Max setting allows up to 63MB, so would a 64MB CF with IDE adapter ...
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

The "hidden" flag on partitions and Microsoft

On this website (and others, of course) you could be informed that there is a special partition flag (“hidden”) to avoid detection by Microsoft operating systems. First: Is this a convention by/with ...
4 votes
2 answers
279 views

Detecting the number of disk drives installed

When the BIOS gives control to the MBR (or the bootloader, for non-partitioned media), it passes the drive number from which the bootloader was loaded in the DL register. This number is most of the ...
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11 votes
3 answers
1k views

Default (as opposed to physical) read/write heads - what are they?

The Seagate U Series hard disk Product manual states that the drive has 16 "Default read/write heads" while it has 4/3/2/1 "Physical read/write heads" (depending on actual model). ...
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15 votes
2 answers
1k views

Was there ever a Linux kernel driver for accessing disks via BIOS?

If there is some piece of PC compatible hardware where there are no (publicly) existing drivers for Linux, the only option is to access the disk with BIOS calls. I'm aware that this imposes ...
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3 votes
1 answer
666 views

Does anyone have information about the nj32disk.sys driver?

I'm currently trying to use the nj32disk.sys driver to use my USB stick as a virtual hard drive. The problem is that the driver acts like a floppy disk. My question is: Is there a documentation about ...
3 votes
2 answers
673 views

CF partitions not showing up in Workbench

4GB Compact Flash KS 3.1 40.68 WB3.1 Latest WinUAE I just created a Compact Flash (compatible Transcend) partitions under Workbench on latest WinUAE using this guide. Despite following the steps my CF ...
11 votes
8 answers
7k views

Why were optical drives not used as secondary storage instead of magnetic drives?

What prevented optical drives from being used as the dominant secondary storage like the magnetic disk drives, in PCs? Was it entirely technical limitation or other issues like late development and ...
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8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is there any virtual hard disk driver over serial port?

NOTE: I'm not looking for a way to transfer files from Linux to DOS over Serial cable Is there any MS-DOS driver to enable a new hard-disk drive (let's say D:), using a disk image on another computer ...
12 votes
1 answer
885 views

How Amiga A590 autoboot ROM and bootable floppy disk works?

Commodore A590 was a peripheral hard drive and memory expansion unit for Amiga 500/500+ computers. It provides SCSI and XT-harddrive controller and 2MB Fast Ram. Here is the Big Book of Amiga Hardware ...
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18 votes
2 answers
2k views

How does Windows 9x determine which disk drivers correspond to which BIOS disks/DOS drive letters?

Windows 9x can employ two kinds of disk drivers: native protected-mode drivers and compatibility-mode DOS drivers, and the former are used in preference to the latter whenever possible. When Windows ...
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8 votes
4 answers
2k views

Imaging a HDD from DOS over Serial

I have recently fixed an old IBM Clone, which has an MFM hard drive. The PC booted up fine, but then I saw, that a few years back, I have deleted a few important files (probably by mistake). The ...
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3 votes
0 answers
2k views

How many Amiga 590 units were sold?

The A590 was an external hard disk for the Amiga 500, in 'sidecar' form factor, that could also hold an extra megabyte of RAM. How many 590s were sold, throughout its life?
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38 votes
5 answers
9k views

Apocryphal (?) tale of hard drive platter propelled through a wall?

In the mid-1990s while a student at a US university during a computer science lecture, my professor (not a TA or grad student) told us a story of "witnessing" a large, then old-fashioned metal hard ...
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13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Hard coded hard drive BIOS geometries

Most old BIOSes on PCs and compatibles provided means to enter hard drive geometries (cylinder/head/sector as well as more esoteric things like write precomp) when configuring the machine. Some (AMI ...
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4 votes
1 answer
2k views

How I can install Windows 98SE in Hyper-V, but can't run it after

Create the Gen 1 machine with less than 512MiB Ram (above requires you to put MaxFileCache=524288 and MaxPhysPage=40000 in the system.ini later). Add either a virtual or physical IDE drive (physical ...
  • 485
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Bad floppy drive in T1910CS 486 laptop

I've recently picked up a Toshiba T1910CS 486 laptop. It's in OK shape, with a 500MB hard drive and DOS installed. I also ordered a USB floppy disk drive and some floppy disks so that I could install ...
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12 votes
3 answers
2k views

Getting data from Seagate ST-238R drive

Hello: I have an old Seagate ST-238R drive. I'm the original owner and it stopped working in the early-90s when I foolishly deleted system files to make room for a football game. (I was 12 at the time)...
  • 131
4 votes
2 answers
338 views

Can a bootable Win9x HDD be made interchangeable between PCs?

Normally, Windows 9x must be installed on each PC individually so that it can be loaded/configured with the appropriate set of drivers. I'm wondering if there is any way to make a boot HDD that can be ...
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5 votes
3 answers
426 views

Steps to recover data from Conner CP341

Trying to recover data from Conner CP341 HDD i took from an old Compaq Portable III. The data is important enough to go through the effort of recovering it, and i would like to do this myself (rather ...
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13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Old Conner IDE hard drives that are mistakenly detected as being 2TB, how do I connect to and image them?

I have connected two old Conner Peripheral IDE HDDs to a modern computer using Deltaco USB to SATA/IDE adaptors. The drives in question are: Conner CP30121 (120 MB) Conner CFA2161A (210 MB) Both ...
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57 votes
4 answers
15k views

On DOS computers, what would the PARK command do?

In 1994 or so, we had an old computer at my primary school. I remember finding out that it had a park command. From reading its documentation, it said that this command should be executed prior to ...
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4 votes
1 answer
321 views

pfs3 error when copying files

Config: WinUAE 4.2.1, CPU 68020, 24bit, FPU 68882, 8MB FastRam Z2, A1200, CF 4GB Transcend, BetterWB 43, Dopus 4, When I try to copy folders from PC to CF Partition (2.4GB, pfs3) it goes alright, ...
8 votes
1 answer
527 views

How do I connect an IDE hard drive to an Amiga 4000 tower?

I would like to know how to connect a hard drive to the Amiga 4000 tower. I have an IDE cable from the top right m/b to the IDE CD-drive. I also have what looks like a SCSI cable from the CPU board. ...
8 votes
2 answers
989 views

Create an Amiga hard disk image

I'm looking for Linux dd command equivalent for Amiga to make image of hard disk. TSGUI not work if disk have broken RDB. Do you know program which can make hard disk image on Amiga?
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7 votes
2 answers
4k views

Can DOS 6.22 recognize more than 504MB when the BIOS only supports CHS?

My CMOS setup correctly recognizes the geometry of the drive, (but does not support LBA). And FDISK in DOS 6.22 only recognizes 504MB. FDISK even shows the size of the primary partition as roughly ...
7 votes
4 answers
749 views

What's the pitfalls when trying to connect a new SCSI hard drive to an old SCSI bus?

Problem I have a couple of old computers. Some of them have a SCSI-1 or SCSI-2 interface over an internal 50 pin IDC connector or an external DB25. Now I want to connect something to them, in ...
  • 1,696
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

How can I edit CMOS hard drive geometry settings on a 1991 PC?

First, I am NOT asking how to use the BIOS Setup utility. I'm asking how to OVERRIDE the built-in settings my BIOS Setup supports for the HD geometry. I have a 1991 NCR PC with a 386SX, on-board IDE, ...
  • 58.4k
4 votes
1 answer
935 views

Accessing Old Seagate HDD Model ST4350N

I have an Old HDD Seagate Model ST4350N. I want to access the data on the Hard disk. The Hard disk have 50 pin connector I am hoping for guidance on how to even begin the process. What kind of ...