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 Post subject: Recovering data from my 386
PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:50 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:13 pm
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I recently picked up a Vantec SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 adapter, and I was having a blast working my way back through time until I hit the grandaddy of them all: my 130MB Seagate ST-1144-A-32 circa 1991.

Everything up to this point had just worked when I plugged it in. With the Seagate, Windows 7 recognizes it as an ST1144 in Computer Management and shows it as two disks (I guess I would have expected 1), but nothing comes up under My Computer and Computer Management provides no information about the disks except that they're ST1144. A friend told me to initialize them as MBR, and I got the error "Incorrect function". Attempting the same in Vista produced an error that they were "unallocated". I read that 7 and Vista couldn't handle FAT16 file systems, so I dug out an XP. It detected new hardware the first time I plugged it in, but it did not populate anything in Computer Management and no longer seems to be responding to the hard drive at all. (I tried a newer hard drive and XP read it just fine.) I've also read that USB converters can be kind of sketchy with really old IDEs, so I'm thinking the problem might lie in how I'm connecting it. That being said, the original 386 started booting to an error screen a good 5-10 years ago (I have no idea what the error was anymore), and when I tried it today it didn't fire up anything but the fan.

Given that the hard drive does spin and 7 and Vista recognized it as an ST1144, do you think its shot or do you think I still have a chance at recovering this? I have a few more options. The newest potentially functional device I've got left that has a built-in IDE plug is running Windows 98, and I don't currently own a compatible monitor or keyboard. I could find ones on ebay, and that would rule out any issue with the USB converter, assuming the PC will even boot. Alternatively I could try it in Windows 8, but I find it unlikely that Microsoft would have gotten backwards compatible all of a sudden and I cringe every time I fire this old relic up. I'm also being told that I can recover it on Linux, but I don't want to monkey with installing an unfamiliar operating system if the problem lies in the USB converter and will persist on any device. As a last ditch effort, I would even consider finding an ST1144 that does work and swapping some parts internally, if that's an option. Unless the disk itself physically degenerates over time, I see no reason to believe my data isn't on it. It's not important enough to me to send it off to professionals and spend a fortune, but I'll try anything that's economically feasible.

So in short:
1) Do you think I can recover this?
2) Does it look like I currently have a means to do so?
3) If not, what should I buy?


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 Post subject: Re: Recovering data from my 386
PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:51 pm 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5265
How long ago was that drive powered up? Someone posted on another thread that hard drives actually have a much shorter data retention time than we thought when powered off. Though I'm not sure how much of that is applicable to older drives.

In all honesty, it might just be better to buy an old 386 box from someone. You spend as much as a USB converter anyway and if it works wonderfully, hurrah! You have a 386 box to play with.


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 Post subject: Re: Recovering data from my 386
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:07 am 
Thunderbird
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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 6:17 pm
Posts: 852
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Do you have a PC with an IDE controller? If so, try it on that as a slave.

Remember you need to set a jumper and position the drive to the center position on the cable. I suspect it would help if you knew the cable you were using was a IDE cable rather than a Cable Select IDE cable. Cable select and XP's support for it simplified things, but older drives (like yours) were before widespread adoption of CS (or USB). Try it by itself on the cable, and on the end too if the center position fails, also try it with the master position jumpered if not already done so, or with other cables or IDE controllers if available.

As LatiosXT said the surface may be deteriorated. And any capacitors on the hard drive circuit board may have failed. But you know the firmware can communicate with your BIOS in recognizing the drive and it spins up---that is huge. Good luck.

Jumper setting
--------------

User Configuration Jumper block
-------------------------------
+---------------+
| 9 7 5 3 1 |
|10 8 6 4 2 |
+---------------+
1- 2 Life Test
3- 4 Master
5- 6 Slave Present
7- 8 RESERVED
9-10 Remote LED

presumably this diagram is on your drive

You can also boot up a LiveCD version of Linux and see if it can see the files on the drive. I'd recommend SystemRescueDisk. I would be read-only with this program. Anything else can result in data loss. If it can see files and open some up then I would quickly copy the drive or at least those areas of interest to a storage drive.

The final last resort would be a surface write. You'd need 130Mb free. ddrescue(Linux)

Found on SystemRescueCD (sudo or ./ not needed, just the command)

ddrescue [-options] bad_disk good_disk (should be equal or greater size) log_file

logfile should be used as it checks log file for already recovered files and goes from there...saves time which will already be hours

example:

fdisk -l [list hard drives detected and names... sd_ for SATA drives, hd_ for IDE drives]

ddrescue -n -f /dev/sdb /dev/sdc resq.log

This will retrieve all non-damaged files and file structures first from sdb and transfer to sdc and note them in the log file. I recommend trying to transfer (backup) all files rescued at this point to another drive. Then,

ddrescue -r3 -f /dev/sdb /dev/sdc resq.log

This example will attempt to recover the damaged files three times before moving on and use the resq.log to find their location and not waste time looking.


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 Post subject: Re: Recovering data from my 386
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:10 pm 
Team Member
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Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 6:57 am
Posts: 1161
When did Dynamic Overylay software come into play? Could this be installed on the drive which is why there is 2 partitions?


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 Post subject: Re: Recovering data from my 386
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:05 am 
Thunderbird
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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 6:17 pm
Posts: 852
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Yes, you are correct nsvander, I am getting ahead of myself ....


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 Post subject: Re: Recovering data from my 386
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:00 pm 
Willamette
Willamette

Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 12:17 pm
Posts: 1479
Unfortunately, I think you may be out of luck, unless you get an old 386 computer to put the drive into, and also a USB floppy drive (assuming any 386 you get has a floppy drive) and then just copy your stuff to the floppy drive, and read it on your current computer using the USB floppy drive.

This may be a bit of a stretch to get stuff from an old drive, but considering that (from my experience) the old DOS/Windows file system (FAT) was somewhat unreliable and was easily corrupted.

As a side note, it's interesting to think that now we can put 128GB on a little card about the size of finger nail and it only costs about $100, whereas twenty (or so) years ago 2 or 3 GB hard drives were something only only the avid computer users had and could afford and it cost several hundred dollars in many cases. It's just neat to see how far technology has come. Now probably in another 25-30 years, people will laugh at microSD cards that can hold 128GB of data and cost a whopping $100.


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 Post subject: Re: Recovering data from my 386
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:41 pm 
Million Club 2+ [PC]*
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Have you tried a Virtual PC in 386 mode?


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