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SyQuest SparQ installation

Posted on 1998-08-18
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I am attempting to install a new SparQ 1.0 GB drive, however the documentation is terrible as usual and I would appreciate advice from anyone who's installed one before. However, please read the whole question and history before submitting an answer.

It is an internal IDE SparQ drive and I am installing it as primary master on a Pentium II with on-board IDE controllers. Win95 system, plenty of disk space and RAM.

Installation seems to go OK, and the drive reponds correctly to inserting a cartridge, (the light blinks, then turns off, then turns a steady light after about 10 seconds). However, Windows does not recognize the drive and the setup disk refuses to run, apparently for this reason.

There is a very vague mention of changing the BIOS CMOS setup if installing as primary slave in the readme file. This is not mentioned in the printed documentation. My BIOS setup does not auto-detect anything in the drive, even when a cartridge is inserted. Should it? Should I really set the BIOS setup to something, and if so, to what?

Thanks everyone for your assistance.
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Question by:Slarti
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by:jhance
ID: 1123202
Some motherboard BIOS won't recognize the IDE removable SPARQ as a bootable device.  Have you verified that your BIOS supports this?  
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by:wayneb
ID: 1123203
Try to set the bios to auto for the secondary device and see if this helps, If the jumpers are set correctly, ie: master or slave on the secondary channel, if the device sits off the second channel the set it to be the master if it is the only device on the cable.  Also you can download the manual in pdf format from http://www.syquest.com/support/manuals.html
you will need to have adobe acrobat reader available from the following address
http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html
According to the manual that I downloaded the drive should set to none in the bios or not installed, try this and also try auto and see if this corrects the problem.

Let me know, good luck
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by:jpers
ID: 1123204
Slarti:

The internal electronics of the SparQ will indicate to the BIOS that it is a removable drive. And as of this date, according to people at the internet site Systems Optimization Forum There are no PC Bios's that have a technology for allowing a boot up from a "removable hard Drive" like the SyQuest drives.  Since the internal electronics of the drive itself identify it as a removable drive, the only option it would seem at this time is to put the SparQ drive in as a separate internal component.  Even though it uses an IDE interface, as long as it identifys itself to the system as a removable drive, the system will not assign it a Drive letter. Does your SparQ have a jumper that can be set to identify it as a master or slave?  If not, then you can't indicate what position it should be in.      
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by:Slarti
ID: 1123205
This answer does not help me at all. Does someone have experience with an actual working SparQ drive which is not detected by the BIOS? If indeed the SparQ drive does not need to be  recognized by BIOS, then why doesn't it work? I will accept any answer that leads to correcting the problem, but not an answer that says what I should not be doing.
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Expert Comment

by:strongd
ID: 1123206
I messed with those drive for a month trying to get them to work right.  I had alot of weird problems with them.  I ended sending them back and switching them with Jazz drives.  I can feel your pain believe me.  Get ride of the EVIL thing!!!
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by:Slarti
ID: 1123207
First, I have now solved the problem myself. It was a loose cable, or anyway I think it was because I disconnected and re-connected the whole thing and now it works fine. This question will be removed soon.

The following information is placed only for those who may have asked to receive notification about this question, and are curious.

jpers's answer is entirely incorrect. First, the BIOS recognizes my Sparq as an ordinary hard drive IF a cartridge is inserted when the computer boots. Auto-detection works fine, and anyway, the number of cylinders, etc., is written on the back of the drive. So that as far as the BIOS is concerned, the Sparq is a hard drive. It DOES assign a drive letter to it, and the drive can be accessed from the DOS prompt without loading any drivers (unlike CDROMs, for instance). Win95 also recognizes the drive letter, and in addition recognizes it as a removable drive and gives you the "Eject" option in the context menu, and so on, very similar to tape drives.

Since this is the case, there is also no problem to use the Sparq drive as a bootable drive, but this requires using FDISK or some such program to make a primary, active DOS partition on the bootable Sparq cartridge. However, in my particular case I will keep my hard disk as the active partition - I just want to have the option to boot from the Sparq, just in case.

As to strongd's problem, I can sympathise, I have had these types of problems before. But you can get a defective product from any company. I can report that my drive works perfectly so far, and as I said, the current problem I had was my fault, not the Sparq's (loose IDE cable connection). So, after this "adventure", I must come to the defense of SyQuest. I don't think there is reason to pay the extra $100 (or whatever) for a Jazz drive. I also compared their spec sheets and the two products (Iomega's Jazz and SyQuest's SparQ) are nearly identical in terms of speed, throughput etc.

'Course, after such praise, Murphy's laws dictate that my Sparq will die tomorrow morning. If it does, I will let you guys know... :)

-- Slarti
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by:wayneb
ID: 1123208
I am glad you got it working, after all that it is always the simple things that we overlook and forget to check.
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by:spacebrain
ID: 1123209
Strongd is right
I installed many sparq drives, Dont use it on an NT machine, it can mess up the disk and you'll be unable to read it ( happenned to me 10 times yet) Works better in dos or windows 9x. Personnaly id send it back and get a good drive instead

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by:Otta
ID: 1123210
> this requires using FDISK or some such program to make a
> primary, active DOS partition on the bootable Sparq
> cartridge. However, in my particular case I will keep my hard
> disk as the active partition

Only when you create _MORE_ than one "primary" partition
on a specific device will you need to designate one of the
primary partitions as "active".  If you only create one partition,
it will automatically be "active".

In your case, since you have an "active" partition on your "primary" IDE channel,
having an "active" partition on the secondary IDE channel
should not create any problems.
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Accepted Solution

by:
linda101698 earned 100 total points
ID: 1123211
I'm posting the solution found so it can be saved in the Previously Asked Questions (PAQ).  See your customer service question for explanation.

Linda Gardner
Customer Service @ Experts Exchange
     

     First, I have now solved the problem myself. It was a loose cable, or anyway I
     think it was because I disconnected and re-connected the whole thing and
     now it works fine. This question will be removed soon.

     The following information is placed only for those who may have asked to
     receive notification about this question, and are curious.

     jpers's answer is entirely incorrect. First, the BIOS recognizes my Sparq as
     an ordinary hard drive IF a cartridge is inserted when the computer boots.
     Auto-detection works fine, and anyway, the number of cylinders, etc., is
     written on the back of the drive. So that as far as the BIOS is concerned, the
     Sparq is a hard drive. It DOES assign a drive letter to it, and the drive can be
     accessed from the DOS prompt without loading any drivers (unlike
     CDROMs, for instance). Win95 also recognizes the drive letter, and in
     addition recognizes it as a removable drive and gives you the "Eject" option
     in the context menu, and so on, very similar to tape drives.

     Since this is the case, there is also no problem to use the Sparq drive as a
     bootable drive, but this requires using FDISK or some such program to
     make a primary, active DOS partition on the bootable Sparq cartridge.
     However, in my particular case I will keep my hard disk as the active partition
     - I just want to have the option to boot from the Sparq, just in case.

     As to strongd's problem, I can sympathise, I have had these types of
     problems before. But you can get a defective product from any company. I
     can report that my drive works perfectly so far, and as I said, the current
     problem I had was my fault, not the Sparq's (loose IDE cable connection).
     So, after this "adventure", I must come to the defense of SyQuest. I don't
     think there is reason to pay the extra $100 (or whatever) for a Jazz drive. I
     also compared their spec sheets and the two products (Iomega's Jazz and
     SyQuest's SparQ) are nearly identical in terms of speed, throughput etc.

     'Course, after such praise, Murphy's laws dictate that my Sparq will die
     tomorrow morning. If it does, I will let you guys know... :)

     -- Slarti
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