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low-level formatting

Posted on 1998-11-14
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I'm trying to low-level format a Seagate Model ST5660A hard disk.  I tried using their low-level format utility
SGATFMT4.exe  v4.0 but get a hard disk controller failure error.  Power is o.k., the hard disk lights up when
I try to access it.  Tried changing jumpers and switching the cable (which works o.k. on my regular hard
disk.  Can you help me?

Vic Schaefer    schaefer@home.com
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Question by:victor2
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 1129000
How old is you're computer?  Some systems can't recognize drives larger than 500 MB.  Others won't go higher than 2GB.  (I had this problem with a Pentium 100 from Gateway about 3 years ago.  It wouldn't work with a 2.5 GB drive because it would only see up to 2GB.  And when I attempted to boot I had numerous errors.  The eventual solution was a bios upgrade.
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1129001
victor2,
Why do you want to low-level format the drive?
If the drive has power, and the data cable is installed correctly, check the jumper configuration carefully.
Some drives have a different jumper setting for single operation than they do as master with a slave present.
If all the above is correct, and the drive is recognized and reported correctly by the BIOS at power-on, sgatfmt4 should work okay.
If not, I'd say you have a bad drive.
Regards,
Ralph

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Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1129002
LEEW,
the page at: http://www.seagate.com/support/disc/st5660a.shtml
for the ST5660A Dedication 545 family drive
lists as 528 cylinders, 32 heads, and 63 sectors,
(http://www.seagate.com/support/disc/specs/st5660a.shtml
claims 3420 cylinders, 4 heads, 2 discs)
giving a capacity of 545.5 MB, spinning at 4500 RPM.
So, almost any BIOS should handle this "small" drive.

Your Gateway Pentium 100 probably would have booted,
if you had partitioned the drive into "first 2GB" and "remainder" partitions.

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Accepted Solution

by:
edxujj earned 100 total points
ID: 1129003
your seagate utility disk can solve your format problem, if your jumping, power, cable is fine.  so run your utility disk program, and read it carefully, I remember that the process is step by step, and most of your problem can be solved. Sorry I can not tell you each step, as it may also format my hd.
good luck!
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 1129004
Otta,

I couldn't get the computer to boot.  It would at as BIOS tried to recognize the drives, unless I used "compatible" jumper settings that Western Digital included for such situations.  These jumper settings make the 2.5GB drive seem like a 2.0GB drive.  FDISK Could be used because you couldn't get that far.
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Author Comment

by:victor2
ID: 1129005
To:  edxujj, leew, rmarotta, otta

Experts;

Thank you for your prompt reply to my question.  As soon as I have tried each fix I'll comment on it's value.  I expect
to do that today.  I'm also expecting some input from Seagate.   I'll keep you informed on my progress.


Vic Schaefer     schaefer@home.com


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Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1129006
> get a hard disk controller failure error

Where is the controller for the hard-disk, and why is it failing?
Well, if you have an I.D.E. (Integrated Drive Electronics) unit,
then the HDC is part of the IDE.

Enter BIOS-setup mode, and execute the "auto-detect IDE drive" function.
Mechanically, check that the ribbon-cable is securely
and correctly fastened to the drive, and to the motherboard.
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1129007
........and reject that answer to re-open the question, if it hasn't solved your problem.
Ralph
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