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dan951
November 3rd, 2012, 08:03 AM
Does anyone have any legacy hard drive diagnostic utilities (for drives smaller than 10GB)? All the downloads I get from western digital, seagate, and maxtor will not support the older drives.
I use to have these utilities on a bootable floppy disk but must have thrown them out.
Thanks

Stone
November 3rd, 2012, 08:37 AM
What type of diagnostics are you referring to? What parameters get tested? I've never used any of those manufacturer's diagnostics so I don't really know what they contain or reveal about the drives. But I'm sure I've used other programs that divulge similar information about drives.

DOS lives on!!
November 3rd, 2012, 09:44 AM
What brand of HDDs are you trying to test? I have some utilities (mainly WD) that support/test/format IDE drives under 10GB.

dan951
November 3rd, 2012, 10:41 AM
Checking for bad clusters on the drives. That's great if they are mainly WD software because most of my older drives are exactly that. I also have a Fujitsu and Seagate drive as well. If you don't mind can you email me what you have? dan87951 at gmail dot com. Thanks!

mbbrutman
November 3rd, 2012, 11:00 AM
Checking for bad clusters on the drives. That's great if they are mainly WD software because most of my older drives are exactly that. I also have a Fujitsu and Seagate drive as well. If you don't mind can you email me what you have? dan87951 at gmail dot com. Thanks!

If you have a fairly modern (ATA2 or ATA3) IDE hard drive, the best way to scan for bad sectors is to write every sector on the drive and then try to read them back. If the drive has a problem with a sector the firmware will probably allocate a spare and substitute it without ever surfacing an error to the controller.

On such a drive when you start to see bad sectors it is too late - the drive is not auto reallocating spares for you because it has run out.

On a more primitive drive such capability does not exist. You need to use DOS FORMAT or find some other way to write and then read every sector, and let DOS mark the bad ones as "Do Not Use". Utilities like DT from old versions of the Norton Utilities can do this easily without requiring you to empty the drive out there.

Keep in mind these are high level operations as opposed to something like a low level format. Most IDE drives can not be low level formatted once they leave the factory.

Stone
November 3rd, 2012, 11:46 AM
I just want to concur with everything said above by mbbrutman. Once an IDE drive starts showing you bad sectors it's time to replace it with something more reliable because the bad sectors it's showing are just the overflow that it was unable to hide. :-) So, there's already many megabytes of bad sectors on that drive that have already been removed from service automatically by the drive itself. There's really no need to monitor IDEs for this since they take care of these things without the need for user input.

Are you actually seeing bad sectors on one or more of your drives or are you just showing normal curiosity? Curiosity is fine but if the drive actually reports bad sectors -- toss it.

MikeS
November 3rd, 2012, 08:18 PM
Scandisk gives you a reasonably good idea of what the OS has reallocated; not necessarily fatal.

We are talking about IDE and not ST412, right?

Ole Juul
November 3rd, 2012, 08:31 PM
Scandisk gives you a reasonably good idea of what the OS has reallocated; not necessarily fatal.
We are talking about IDE and not ST412, right?

I was going to suggest the same. Scandisk works - that's what it's for. :) Also, most of the older general diagnostics programs include an HDD read/write/scan routine or three. Amidiag, for instance, has Auto Interleave, Media Analysis, Performance Test, Seek Test, Read/Verify Test, Check Test Cyl., Force Bad Tracks. I didn't check the others in my general diagnostics directory, but some HDD testing is pretty standard for the period.

dan951
November 4th, 2012, 06:34 AM
Scandisk gives you a reasonably good idea of what the OS has reallocated; not necessarily fatal.

We are talking about IDE and not ST412, right?

I appreciate the feedback guys! If I use scandisk that means I have to install DOS on the hard drive. I want a quick boot disk method so I can test a variety of drives quickly.

DOS lives on!!
November 4th, 2012, 06:55 AM
You can boot from a Windows 98/95 boot disk and run Scandisk like so, "SCANDISK C:" That will test the C drive.

Stone
November 4th, 2012, 07:21 AM
What DOS boot disk do you boot from and run Scandisk? Certainly not 6.x or earlier.

Stone
November 4th, 2012, 07:25 AM
Scandisk gives you a reasonably good idea of what the OS has reallocated; not necessarily fatal.You're referring to the Surface Scan option, not the main Scandisk program, right?

DOS lives on!!
November 4th, 2012, 07:27 AM
Messed up there, I did mean to say a Windows 95 or Windows 98 boot disk.