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View Full Version : My Seagate ST-225 is starting to go. Will a low-level format help?



Load"*",8,1
May 1st, 2014, 02:41 PM
After a great deal of wrangling and heartache, I finally, finally got an 8-bit sound card up and running in my DTK XT-clone. And so, just when I thought that everything was all hunky-dory, my C: drive starting giving seek errors. I'd never had any problems with it before this little bout of hardware installation, so, I don't know, maybe it got exposed to some random magnetic wackiness or something, but however it happened, a regular DOS-level format just fails miserably.

I'm going to make one final attempt to defy fate and the steady, entropic march of time. (Let's face it, we all know where this is ultimately headed: an XT IDE card, expensive though it is, and a compact flash adapter.) One last attempt to save the the old Seagate ST-225 armored tank that's been in this machine forever, spinning like a champ since the late 80s. I'm going to attempt a LLF... which I've never done before.

So... what do y'all recommend? Debug? SpinRite? (Is there anything like SpinRite that's, y'know, freeware?)

Tangentially related... before the drive started konking out, I had MS-DOS 3.3 and OpenGem 1.5 running on it. Assuming the LLF works, I'll certainly put DOS 3.3 back on the hard disk, but GEM, while usable, was a tad slow. Does anybody know of any shells or GUIs with a lighter memory footprint than GEM?

KC9UDX
May 1st, 2014, 02:48 PM
If it really is magnetic degradation, a low-level format will certainly help. If it's misalignment, it may help. If it's mechanical binding or the like, it won't help.

I've forgotten most of what I used to know about MS-DOS. Is a 'seek error' really a 'read error'? Is it not finding the data, or is it not finding the sector?

KC9UDX
May 1st, 2014, 02:50 PM
I can't imagine what you mean, a tad slow. Of course the only thing GEM-ish I've run is Atari TOS on a Mega ST. I don't know how different that GEM is from OpenGEM, but I wouldn't call it slow. Slower than AmigaOS? Yes (except in boot speed, nothing like having the WHOLE OS in ROM). Slow in general, no.

Does GEM maybe run faster atop CP/M than MS-DOS??

Stone
May 1st, 2014, 02:55 PM
Go with SpinRite. It's easy and will do a complete, nondestructive LLF. If you need to get it, lemme know. I have v2.0 which is right for that Seagate drive.

Load"*",8,1
May 1st, 2014, 03:33 PM
2.0, eh? Would that be considered abandonware or something?

SpidersWeb
May 1st, 2014, 04:52 PM
2.0, eh? Would that be considered abandonware or something?

Unless you can find somewhere to purchase a license from, I wouldn't be too worried.

Since it's already having problems locating tracks, I'm not sure how well a non-destructive LLF will go but it's worth a shot.
If you have any problems, there is likely a format tool built in to the hard drive controller that you can call using debug.

natcha
May 1st, 2014, 05:29 PM
There's a discussion on some old Disk Utilities in following thread:


http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?42207-Where-to-obtain-Spinrite-4-0


And Peter was nice enough to host the files at:


http://www.retroprograms.com/misc/DiskUtil.ZIP

Some of these may help or harm. Been a long time since I used any of them.

Bill
Smithville, NJ

SomeGuy
May 1st, 2014, 05:30 PM
Actually, you might want to start by removing anything extra you have added, to make sure you aren't overloading the power supply or have some subtle compatiblity issue. And double check all cable connections.

If you have already attempted a failed DOS format, Spinrite might not like what is left of the filesystem on the drive. And with seek errors, I have a hunch it might barf in its initial diagnostics pass anyway.

In that case all you can do is use the controllers BIOS low level formatter (usually debug, then g=c800:5) or a formatter tool like SpeedStore.

If you can then DOS fdisk/format and get a usable partition back, then run Spinrite for bad/weak sectors.

Load"*",8,1
May 1st, 2014, 08:45 PM
http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/106/887/backpain-1292835351.jpg

*ahem*

DEBUG - g=c800:5 worked. I have all twenty-one megabytes of hard drive back, MS-DOS 3.3 is up and running again, and I just rocked a little Miner 2049er in sweet, sweet magenta and cyan. All is right with the world. Thank you all, and good night.

SpidersWeb
May 1st, 2014, 09:58 PM
LOL

Fantastic. Could be just chance, but with my collection I have noticed ST225's seem to need an LLF a little earlier than other models/brands.

k2x4b524[
May 1st, 2014, 10:35 PM
And let it be known.. Rage comics has made it into VCF, about time too :)


http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/106/887/backpain-1292835351.jpg

*ahem*

DEBUG - g=c800:5 worked. I have all twenty-one megabytes of hard drive back, MS-DOS 3.3 is up and running again, and I just rocked a little Miner 2049er in sweet, sweet magenta and cyan. All is right with the world. Thank you all, and good night.