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Questions tagged [hard-disk]

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

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Cloning old Quantum drive using 68 pin to 50 pin adapter

I’m now trying to clone a 50 pin SCSI drive on XW8000 machine. The cable is 68 pin SCSI and has a terminator at the end, my dd command is able to copy the drive to USB, but whenever I try to restore ...
Marcus 's user avatar
6 votes
6 answers
2k views

When was the end of the floppy-only IBM PC clone?

Can we pinpoint in what year the number of IBM-compatible PCs (whether original IBM machines or clones) sold without a hard disk drive became so negligible that almost all new commercial software, ...
TeaRex's user avatar
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2 votes
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What was the hardware-level data format on IBM 1316 or 2316 disk packs?

A description of the hardware-level track format of the IBM media used on the BESM-6 I've found is as follows (translated by Google with minimal corrections): Track header structure: ...
Leo B.'s user avatar
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2 votes
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Compaq Contura 430C replacement hard drive

I have a working Compaq Contura 430C laptop, but its hard disk is really aging and making noises when under load. I don't want to stress it any further and thinking of replacement and preserve the ...
plr's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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Micropolis 1325 ST506 MFM drive giving "Address mismatch"

I am trying to recover an old mini-machine that is using a Micropolis 1325 drive, and I am successfully reading parts of the drive. I am trying to recover as much as data from the drive, and ...
Ronny's user avatar
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7 votes
0 answers
87 views

iRMX bootsector on a iRMX partition how to clone?

I have an old year 2000 instrument which has a 340MB hard drive. I am trying to clone the hard drive but I am having major issues. First the instrument uses iRMX and MSDOS the bios is using the CHS ...
mpcengineer's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
160 views

Trying to install Mac OS 9.2.1 on an iMac G3 (slot loader) but no hard drive detected

I recently acquired an iMac G3 (slot loader) and I am trying to install Mac OS 9.2.1 on it. OS installer seems to boot to Mac OS just fine. The problem is when I try to run the installer, it doesn't ...
old_school9999's user avatar
20 votes
3 answers
7k views

Did mechanical hard drives often malfunction in high elevation places such as Bogota?

Bogota, Colombia has an elevation of 2,640m. A cable car in the city (Teleférico de Monserrate) can also take one to an elevation of 3,152m. Given that regular hard drives were usually pressurized to ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
922 views

How did StorageTek STC 4305 use backing HDDs?

StorageTek STC 4305 is often referred as the first SSD. However, from the modern point of view, it looks more like a "hardware-implemented persistent cache", if possible. I mean that it ...
Vitaly Isaev's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
408 views

How did ‘logically-sectored FAT’ work?

While browsing online materials about the FAT file system, I occasionally came across mentions of ‘logically-sectored FAT’. This was apparently some kind of special mode of formatting a hard drive, ...
user3840170's user avatar
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1 answer
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I have old hardware; what can I use it for? [closed]

I have two old pieces of hardware: a DVD drive and a hard disk, both from 2004, which I would like to use. I have a computer made for Windows 7, currently running Windows 98 which would probably run ...
Humancoder1123's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
923 views

How to read a 104 MB Conner hard drive from 1990

I am trying to get text files from an old 386SX computer running PCDOS 5.0. I believe the file system is FAT16. The hard drive specifications are: Conner Peripherals MODEL (CFS SERIES) CP3104 100 MB ...
was698002's user avatar
  • 141
19 votes
5 answers
6k views

How did it come that SATA HDDs use ATA while SATA CD drives use SCSI as protocol?

SATA HDDs and SSDs use ATA as software protocol for data transmission (on the SATA cable). SATA CD/DVD/Blu-Ray drives use SCSI. Please note that AHCI is the protocol used between the SATA controller ...
zomega's user avatar
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13 votes
4 answers
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When was the CHS (cylinder - head - sector) system invented and what was before it?

There is some information about the CHS (Cylinder/Head/Sector) addressing system and its design flaws and limits. As long as CHS was not compatible with Zone Bit Recording, which became very popular ...
Vitaly Isaev's user avatar
11 votes
5 answers
3k 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&...
Jyrese's user avatar
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25 votes
4 answers
5k 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 ...
scrØllbær's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
3k views

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

I have a 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 ...
the_electro_bros's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
446 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 ...
Guntram Blohm's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
880 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 ...
Damien Yearwing's user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
3k 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 ...
Brian H's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
291 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 (...
640KB's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
471 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. ...
Leo B.'s user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
918 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 ...
user882326721's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
254 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 ...
Xav101's user avatar
  • 31
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'...
Piovezan's user avatar
  • 421
10 votes
1 answer
558 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 ...
Gusser's user avatar
  • 101
12 votes
1 answer
806 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 ...
Joshua's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
410 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....
user22722's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
pacoverflow's user avatar
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 ...
Hristos's user avatar
  • 71
13 votes
2 answers
2k 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?
ecm's user avatar
  • 952
4 votes
1 answer
485 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 ...
Wheelmagister's user avatar
27 votes
17 answers
8k 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 ...
Ellen Spertus's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
370 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 '...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61.2k
6 votes
1 answer
442 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 ...
Geo...'s user avatar
  • 10.2k
2 votes
2 answers
340 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 ...
Bartek Malysz's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Daniel Bandeira's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
407 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 ...
DarkAtom's user avatar
  • 2,337
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). ...
Dercsár's user avatar
  • 685
19 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
PoC's user avatar
  • 1,282
3 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Kira Kirsch's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
920 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 ...
Bartek Malysz's user avatar
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 ...
Goruchor's user avatar
  • 129
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 ...
R. F. Luis's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
wizofwor's user avatar
  • 2,778
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 ...
user3840170's user avatar
  • 23.1k
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 ...
Xyz's user avatar
  • 363
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?
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61.2k
39 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 ...
StayOnTarget's user avatar
  • 3,856
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 ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 1,582