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I have this 250MB (not a typo) notebook hard drive from a 1994 Compaq Contura which was sitting around so I decided to put it to some use. It was ...
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  1. #1
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    Me and my 250MB Hard Drive (kind of long)


    I have this 250MB (not a typo) notebook hard drive from a 1994 Compaq Contura which was sitting around so I decided to put it to some use. It was working fairly well, it had DOS and Win3.11 installed, but since I don't have any hardware I could use with that I decided to wipe it clean and start from scratch. So I used Linux's fdisk util (cfdisk wasn't working right) but I seem to have screwed something up. Now, whenever I try to do anything with the hard drive it gives me errors. I then tried zeroing it out, which didn't work so well and DBAN (what I used to zero it) gave me a DMA error (I thought the drive was too old for that).

    I was able to find some DOS DEBUG utility routines online that could maybe help (Debug Routines) but have been unsuccessful to get it to work. After using the "Erase all HDD Info" routine, rebooting, fdisking (using DOS), rebooting, and running format c:, I keep getting an "unit is invalid" error message from format. Under Linux, now, everything is completely screwy and I a
    Code:
    Oct  3 09:34:37 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1434.880000] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Sense Key : No Sense [current] 
    Oct  3 09:34:37 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1434.880000] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Add. Sense: No additional sense information
        (this a bunch of times)
    Oct  3 09:34:37 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1434.884000] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Sense Key : No Sense [current] 
    Oct  3 09:34:37 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1434.884000] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Add. Sense: No additional sense information
    Oct  3 09:35:07 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1464.996000] usb 3-2: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
    Oct  3 09:35:13 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1470.540000] usb 3-2: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
    Oct  3 09:35:14 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1471.084000] usb 3-2: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
    Oct  3 09:35:14 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1471.604000] usb 3-2: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
    Oct  3 09:35:15 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1472.012000] usb 3-2: USB disconnect, address 3
    Oct  3 09:35:15 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1472.012000] scsi 0:0:0:0: scsi: Device offlined - not ready after error recovery
    Oct  3 09:35:15 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1472.020000] scsi 0:0:0:0: [sda] Result: hostbyte=DID_NO_CONNECT driverbyte=DRIVER_OK,SUGGEST_OK
    Oct  3 09:35:15 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1472.020000] end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 42
    Oct  3 09:35:15 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1472.124000] usb 3-2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 4
    Oct  3 09:35:15 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1472.668000] usb 3-2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 5
    Oct  3 09:35:16 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1473.212000] usb 3-2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 6
    Oct  3 09:35:16 bidi-laptop kernel: [ 1473.732000] usb 3-2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 7
    I've been reading up on low-level formatting for HDs and even though I know most new HDs do not support this, this one is from 94, which puts it right at the cut off period (mid 90s). Not to mention the manufacturer doesn't really provide anything for it anymore (Quantum). I was able to find quite a bit of info on it at Quantum Hard Drive Settings and know at this point the number of cyl, heads and sectors. So theoratically, I should be able to do a low-level format, find the bad sectors (from the Linux error messages looks like sector 42) and remap around it.

    Anyway, any ideas?

    PS: Please, don't tell me to throw it out, I already know that if I can't come to a resolution on the issue this is what I'll have to do. I'm looking for something constructive that could maybe get me somewhere further than where I am right now.
    "Today you are freer than ever to do what you want, provided you can pay for it!" --Bad Religion

  2. #2
    Linux Guru budman7's Avatar
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    Check this page for quantum hard drive diagnostic tools.
    Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities (Storage) - TACKtech Corp.
    How to know if you are a geek.
    when you respond to "get a life!" with "what's the URL?"
    - Birger

    New users read The FAQ

  3. #3
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    Thanks...

    Other suggests are also welcome since PowerMax (the utility) seems to only work for HDs >500MB, which this one is not. I'll give it a shot anyway.

    And thanks to whoever moved it too. I wasn't sure if it should go in the hardware section since it has nothing to do with Linux.
    "Today you are freer than ever to do what you want, provided you can pay for it!" --Bad Religion

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  5. #4
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    Well, I am glad to say I got it working! The PowerMax tool didn't work, the HD passed every test but when I wanted to reinitilize it PowerMax would say the drive is failing. Unconvinced by this diagnosis (seeing at the tool is for 500MB+ drives) I kept trying. Turns out that everything just fell into place after I went into the BIOS and changed the setting from AUTO to USER defined (at which time I defined all the cyl, head, sect paramaters myself).

    Go figures, I spend hours trying to do something that could have taken me 5 minutes if I wasn't so stubborn.
    "Today you are freer than ever to do what you want, provided you can pay for it!" --Bad Religion

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