Forum Rules and Etiquette

Our mission ...

This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.

Rule 1: Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.

Rule 2: Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
  • If you are responding to a thread, stay on topic - the original poster was trying to achieve something. You can always start a new thread instead of potentially "hijacking" an existing thread.

Rule 3: Contribute something meaningful

To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
  • This is not a chat room. If you are taking less than 30 seconds to make a post then you are probably doing something wrong. A post should be on topic, clear, and contribute something meaningful to the discussion. If people read your posts and feel that their time as been wasted, they will stop reading your posts. Worse yet, they will stop visiting and we'll lose their experience and contributions.
  • Do not bump threads.
  • Do not "necro-post" unless you are following up to a specific person on a specific thread. And even then, that person may have moved on. Just start a new thread for your related topic.
  • Use the Private Message system for posts that are targeted at a specific person.

Rule 4: "PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
  • "PM Sent!": Do not tell the rest of us that you sent a PM ... the forum software will tell the other person that they have a PM waiting.
  • "How much is shipping to ....": This is a very specific and directed question that is not of interest to anybody else.

Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.

Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.

New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.

Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
  • Don't make people guess at what you are trying to say; we are not mind readers. Be clear and concise.
  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
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Hardware errors of hard disks?

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    Hardware errors of hard disks?

    Hi and thank You for answering in advance.
    Do You known are there any books, that explain hardware errors of hard disks? Maybe even like repair guides for data recovery trainee/specialist?
    Just I want to known, what exactly may mean:
    "Airlock stuck closed" on old Quantum drive.

    The "professional" data recovery field is mostly comprised of self important people that want to keep all knowledge secret from the public at large, in order to charge exorbitant prices. Finding any information on such is always like pulling teeth because everyone "in the field" doesn't want to tell you, or wants outrageous compensation for it.

    Short answer, you aren't going to find any "data recovery for dummies" books out there that describe the process in great detail.

    But as for your question, I'd guess it has something to do with the breathing hole on the drive lid. Some drives seem to have plastic actuators to dynamically block/unblock the air passage to that breather hole.


      Please avoid editorializing about the topic. Unless you are an expert in the field the harsh criticism is probably unwarranted.


        Originally posted by mbbrutman View Post
        Please avoid editorializing about the topic. Unless you are an expert in the field the harsh criticism is probably unwarranted.
        I've done thorough research on the topic over the years, the data recovery industry is about as far from puppies and unicorns as you can get. Companies that make the gear are like used car salesmen on slimy note lots. Prices are never listed, you have to call and ask. When you do call, it's like you're being interviewed for a job "what do you do, why do you need this?" etc. The cost of the equipment is based on their level of trust in you, and how they're feeling at the time, which can range from $5000-$30,000. The equipment is not special at all, the only thing worth anything in the kit you'd buy is a microcontroller on a PCIe card with an IDE/SATA interface that directly controls the drive and a bit of software to interface with it. This is at most worth a couple hundred dollars. The rest is bog jellybean parts, like cables and adapters you can get for pennies on Aliexpress.

        If/when you finally do get "in", you have other data recovery "experts" all up in your business trying to start drama, discredit you as a person and be generally nasty.

        One example out of many is Louis Rossmann out of NY. His data recovery guy gets constantly bombarded with armchair DR experts calling him all sorts of nasty things because he does exactly what they don't want him to do: Give out the knowledge and advice freely. They don't want the public at large to know how to do DR because then they couldn't get away with charging $7000 just to look at a hard drive. I've had personal experience with this trying to get some of my drives recovered, the service from several places was terrible, and they all wanted hundreds to thousands of dollars just to look at a drive.

        I persisted like Louis's DR guy did and I can recover many types of damaged drives, and eventually recovered the worst of my own, an IBM Deathstar. I got about 97% of the data back.


          So all you need is a couple hundred dollars to get started, and you can buy everything you need on Aliexpress?

          I used to write hard drive firmware at a major manufacturer. On my work bench in the lab area I had a fairly beefy Dell workstation, a JTAG programmer, high speed serial ports, and various other devices. For the hard core debugging there were logic analyzers and protocol analyzers that cost 10s of thousands of dollars. To run a reputable data recovery operation you'd need all of that plus good soldering/desoldering equipment, a supply of donor drives for parts, and possibly clean-room style facilities for disassembling drives. And then there is all of the proprietary information about each make and model of hard drive that only the manufacturers know. You can't just buy that knowledge, it has to be reverse engineered.

          No, I seriously think you underestimate the cost of the equipment involved. And there there is the overhead of office space, salaries and running a business. I can't comment on business practices that you found distasteful, but I can assure you the investment needed is not cheap.