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 Post subject: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:17 am 
8086
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I'm sure I've asked this before but I suppose the time has come again to refresh the issue:

I have a lot of old hard drives. Old as in between 50MB and 4GB. My problem? I can't seem to use them in new machines. I've plugged them into multiple enclosures, and only once in one enclosure have I ever had a success at getting these drives recognized, and that was a single drive. Other attempts try to tell me the drive isn't formatted, but I know better. The drives boot when plugged in an old Pentium machine I own, and the files work and I can run the programs. Nothing is broken.

Hilariously, I can plug this same drive into a 10 year old computer that won't recognize it in an enclosure, and it happily boots it. What can I do? I want to back up the contents of these drives, preferrably in a way that lets use them as a bootable drive in some vmware/etc. or even just dosbox, and i'd like to try and avoid a bloody battle with the inside of a computer case on each one.


Edit: as an example, a drive that's currently important to me is a Quantum ELS170A.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:58 am 
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You're trying to use these old drives as boot drives in a new machine?


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:31 am 
Coppermine
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I'm not great at diagnosing HDD issues - but I think your issue pertains to the formatting of the drive (FAT32 vs. NTFS); also, the fact that it's geared to be a boot drive for a computer could be contributing to the problem (though I don't think it is the "cause"), as well as the connection-type (if it's used in a 10 year old computer it should be IDE) and any possible adapters you're using.

If you can boot into the HDD, the first thing you need to do is get your documents safely off that drive (in case something goes afoul). Once your files are safely copied off the HDD, then you're free to manipulate/format/erase the HDD as you see fit.

Hope this helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:21 am 
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Fury327 wrote:
You're trying to use these old drives as boot drives in a new machine?
No, I'm saying they only work if they're actually connected to the motherboard as such. in a hard drive enclosure, they're not recognized properly.

My best case scenario goal is to make a drive image out of them all. Next best thing is just a simple way to connect them to the computers without having to constantly shut down, plug them in, and start the computer again to have the drive "work".

btdog wrote:
I'm not great at diagnosing HDD issues - but I think your issue pertains to the formatting of the drive (FAT32 vs. NTFS)
No, not at all. The problem is centered around my use of an external thing. I guess the controller inside somehow doesn't recognize it, or it's formatted in a way that for some reason only the bios will recognize? I don't know. The issue is that it will ONLY work when plugged into the motherboard, but this is an extremely unwieldy way of copying dozens of old hard drives. I'm just wondering if anyone knows why they wouldn't work, how to find a solution that does work, or anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:52 am 
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Did you change the jumpers on the drive from the Master position to Slave with another drive present?


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:09 am 
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I don't think you read what the problem was.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:28 am 
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I read you are having issues getting them to be read, it could be a jumper issue, while I was out getting groceries another issue came into my mind. It could be that the drives have a Dynamic Drive Overlay installed so that older systems could see the drives correctly. I know this was the case when I started using 4.3GB drives back in the day.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:04 pm 
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I'm not sure. The issue is that the DRIVE is old (let's say the one I'm looking at right now is 170MB), and it won't be read in an enclosure (with the recommended jumper settings). My current machine has no way to add it in outside of using an enclosure, but I have a 10 year old computer in which i can directly plug it in, and it works. The problems I get from these old drives when used in an enclosure vary from, as I believe I said, either just being invalid, not existing, or showing as unformatted. None of those are really the case.

My own thoughts were that the enclosures have "incomplete" support for hard drives somehow, as if there's an obsolete way of doing things these older drives need, but I couldn't tell you what or why. And come to think of it, I wouldn't know how to tell if something did, if that was the case. They definitely automatically work in the latest computer I have with PATA, and they do include information for manual set up since most computers didn't automatically detect cylinders/heads/sectors. If I knew why there was a problem, I might be a step closer into solving it.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:21 pm 
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Just a thought although it shouldn't matter, but does the enclosure use a 80 conductor ribbon or 40 conductor ribbon?


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:44 pm 
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Not entirely sure, but the ribbon appears the same as the one in the computer, so it doesn't sound like that would be the issue either.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:01 pm 
Coppermine
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Quote:
The issue is that the DRIVE is old (let's say the one I'm looking at right now is 170MB)

Are you sure it's 170MB? If that's true then that drive is more than 10 years old - I wouldn't be sure what kind of PATA connection it's using. Also, I know PATA came in different xfer speeds - perhaps the cables are rated differently and that could be causing an issue...?

My Pentium II 266MHz Compaq came with 6GB HDD and that was at least 15 years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:08 pm 
8086
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 10:52 am
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Is it too much to ask that people read what I say when trying to help? I said the computer I put the drive in was ten years old


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:07 pm 
Coppermine
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Maybe THIS forum link will help.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:24 pm 
8086
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Unfortunately no, it doesn't look like there's anything there that'll help me in this situation.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:41 am 
8086
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Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:25 pm
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Instead of trying to use an enclosure (you can rule out the enclosure this way) you can see if your older drives can be recognized by using a USB to IDE adapter. You can find a good selection on Newegg for cheap
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006519%2040003026&IsNodeId=1&Description=usb%20to%20ide&name=USB%20Converters&Order=PRICE&Pagesize=100


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:33 am 
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I'm having a hard time finding one where I don't see a handful of "it killed my drive" reviews. I'm not sure I want that.


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 Post subject: Re: Ancient hard drive woes
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:04 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:25 pm
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I have been using one called "Easy IDE" for years and have never had a problem using it with any ide drives
http://www.globalpremier.com/easyide.htm

But I can't find one like that today, you might have to look it some with better reviews and pick one of those other brands. You can also check Amazon or Tiger Direct too and see what they have


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