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Seeking advice and warnings !  -  VERY old hard disk drive - Need to access it - Can I handle it like a modern disk drive?

Posted on 2006-11-05
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My friend was warned.
She was still using her Swan (brand name) 386SX PC - with it's 5.25" floppy disk drive (and hard disk).  She never made any backups.  She DOES have a lot of important information on the hard disk.

Yesterday, she began getting messages about a "dead battery".  She can't boot.  

I opened the box to find (and replace) the battery.  I couldn't find it!  I am used to seeing a round, silver thing.  I saw nothing of the kind.  I have the User's Guide.  I can't find the battery in it.

We've decided to remove the hard disk and save the data to CDs, etc.

I DON'T WANT TO BLOW IT !!!!!

If you were doing this job, what would you be careful about?

I've thought I would remove the drive, after discharging myself, and put it in a MacAlly USB 2.0 enclosure.

I've also thought I would remove it and plug it into one of my PCs as a second drive (D: or E:).

IMPORTANT:  Is a "disk drive a disk drive".  In other words, can I use this old 5MB? disk drive the way I use modern ones, or do things work differently with old disk drives?  The cables on the back look normal, like IDE.

Your thoughts, warnings, suggestions will be appreciated.

Thank you,
David
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Question by:DFlaschen
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by:deadite
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The number one rule is, DO NOT WRITE TO THE DISK DRIVE!  This means you can change, erase, or delete data off of that drive.  It will simply be a second drive when you connect it.  HDD's all work the same.  The only things to worry about are jumpers and the interface cable (IDE, SCSI, SATA).  THe jumpers need setup properly in order to have the drive as a second drive (Master = main pc, slave = second drive added, unless using cable select).  As long as your computer has open IDE slots(in your case), you will be fine.

The other thing you may have to worry about is the format of the hard drive.  If her drive was formatted NTFS, you will need to access it from a NTFS(2000, xp can be NTFS or fat) drive.  If her drive is fat16 or fat32(Windows ME, 98, 95 are all fat 32) you can access the data from a fat32 formatted drive or NTFS.  To check the format of your drive, open my computer, right click your C drive and select properties( It will say NTFS or fat under the General tab next to File System).

Make sure the computer is powered off and unplugged (unless your enclosure is USB) when attaching the second hard drive.  Boot up your computer, open my computer and you should see your second hard drive sitting there.   Make sure you have room on your main hard drive and start copying data over.  Make sure you grab the my documents folder, desktop, outlook/outlook express files, internet favorites, and check for folders on the root of the drive.  These locations vary depending on the OS, so post back and I'll get you the locations.
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by:DFlaschen
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Deadite,
Thank you.  This drive is vintage 1992 or similar.  It is almost certainly FAT16 or earlier, if there was an earlier.  It was WAY before NTFS was even a concept.  However, I don't think my comments change your recommendations.  Thank you.
I think I will put the drive in a USB 2.0 enclosure and try to read it from there.
The whole is SCARY because it is FULL of important data, and there's no back up.
By the way, I knew what you meant when you wrote
   The number one rule is, DO NOT WRITE TO THE DISK DRIVE!  This means you can change, erase, or delete data off of that drive.
I am 99.99999% sure you meant CAN'T.
I will NOT write to this drive AT ALL.

I am also pretty sure it must be IDE because again, this is definitely pre-SATA and almost certainly pre-SCSI.  Even if there was SCSI back then, she didn't buy it.  Also, it looks like IDE.

Yours is a good post.  Thanks.
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by:garycase
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From the vintage of the drive, it very well may be an MFM or RLL drive --> NOT an IDE drive.   Before you hook it up to anything, post the make/model of the drive.
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by:garycase
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You said the PC had a "... 5.25" floppy disk drive (and hard disk) ..."  ==> if the hard disk is a 5.25" drive, there's a good chance it's MFM (or RLL).   CAREFULLY unplug the cable from the hard drive and see what it looks like ... then post back with both a description of the cable and the make/model of the hard disk.

Also ... will the computer boot from a floppy?   ... or does it hang completely at the battery message?
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by:garycase
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... by the way, SCSI drives were available well before 1992 (I had one in 1988 ... and they weren't new then).
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by:DFlaschen
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I haven't tried booting it from a 5.25" boot-floppy becasue we don't have one.  

The model is a Quantum ProDrive LPS.

Is there any "best" way to remove the cables?
Should I remove the IDE cable from the motherboard or drive first?
Should I remove the power cable first or the IDE first?

Should the computer be plugged in (with power off) or should it be unplugged?
Thanks,
David
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by:DFlaschen
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Also, it hangs completely at the battery message.  
The battery message appears almost immediately.
I don't think there is ANY way to get beyond the battery message.
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by:deadite
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For removing the cables

1) Make sure the machine is completely powered off and the power cable is disconnected and wait 30 seconds for any charge to leave the MB.  Make sure you are grounded... don't stand on carpet, hold one hand on the case when you touch the internals (preferably use a wrist strap).
2) As far as pulling the cables, shouldn't matter as long as it is powered off.  If you are worried, pull the power cable first before the IDE cable (this will ensure the drive is off before yanking the data cable which could corrupt a running drive).  Also, if you are just removing the drive, you shouldn't have to remove the IDE cable from the MB unless it is physically in the way of removing the drive.

Also, as far as your battery, check for a cylinder shaped battery if you cannot find the round silver watch looking battery.

Also, I didn't realize anyone still had computers running that old (that weren't mainframes).  Definately ensure it is an IDE drive.  The hard drive might have a sticker, or else you can check the # of pins on the cable and post back.  Also, check your local goodwill for old floppy disks or even eBay if you want to test the 5.25 beast.
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by:DFlaschen
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Seriously, I doubt I can hold the case with one hand while I work.  Can I make a wrist band, or must I buy one?  I don't mind buying one except I'll have to wait for it to arrive.  I have old floppy disks but it won't boot past the bad-battery message.
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by:garycase
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You don't need a wrist band ... You'll we well-enough grounded if you just do this:  (a) power down the system but do NOT pull the power cord from it;  (b)  open the case so you can get to the drive;  (c) ground yourself to the metal part of the case (just touch it for a few seconds -- since the power cord's still connected, any static you have will be grounded to the earth ground);  (d) unplug the power cord (but don't get up; walk around; scuffle your feet; etc. anymore);  (e)  unplug the power cable from the drive, and then the data cable.

Now count the # of pins on the drive (unless it's an obvious mismatch from an IDE connector).

The BEST way to get the data off the drive is to do NONE of the above ... and to find and replace the battery on the motherboard.   Then you could simply boot the system :-)

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by:nobus
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from this page, your drive seems to be a normal IDE drive of 40 MB to 525 MB
you should be able to get all data off on another system, without problems.
On 386 models, many do not have a coin shaped battery, but a soldered battery, like this one :
http://www.lowcostbatteries.com/Desktop-Computer-Batteries/Siemens/386SX_n/14887_mid_597_modno_7459.htm

and on many, you can connect another battery to a 2 or 4 pin plug
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by:garycase
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A Quantum ProDrive LPS is an IDE drive ... so you're fine as far as connecting it to another system.   I assume it will detect just fine ... but if not, you may have to manually set the cylinders, heads, and sectors/track in the BIOS.   They should be noted on the drive.
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by:Disorganise
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Doh! scratch that - didn't notice it was laptop!

FWIW, I'd be searching for thr CMOS chip and then tracing from the there: the battery couldn't be far away - and this'll be the easiest route to getting to the data....although there's still the question of copying it elsewhere - USB hadn't been thought of back then which kinda leaves floppy: and you only have the old 5.25 installed.

I also think it unlikely the drive is true IDE.  back then there were all sorts of....interpretations, notably with sound card manufacturers offering in-built drive interfaces semi-compatible with ATAPI.  Given the size, I imagin the drive to be MFM - ask the user if it used to 'beep' a lot when accessing the disk.  (for some reason I found the old MFM's beeped rather than clicked when accessed.)
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by:garycase
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... actually, the ProDrive LPS was made in both IDE and SCSI models.   I presume yours is IDE ... but be sure and count the pins on the connector to be sure.
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by:DFlaschen
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It is NOT a laptop computer - it is a desktop with one 5.25" floppy and a dead battery.  I have several 5.25" floppies, so the BEST plan is to replace the battery, start backing up (the 90 Word files I need) to these floppies and only THEN touch the hard disk.

I did some more motherboard examination and discovered what MAYbe the battery for the Swan 386SX ancient DESKtop.

As you may recall, I began by saying "I can't boot this antique."  We're getting a message saying "Battery is dead" and one can go no further.  I looked for, and did not find, a (round, silver) battery!  I looked very closer at the motherboard and may have found the Battery.  It looks to be a Dallas DS1287.  To me it looks like a chip, but it may be the battery.  Could this be my Swan 386SX battery?  thanks.
http://images.google.com/images?num=100&hl=en&lr=&rls=GGLG,G GLG:2006-23,GGLG:en&q=dallas%20ds1287%20&btnG=Search&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi
The specs say this is a combination battery / CMOS.  It that possible?

 
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by:DFlaschen
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I am 99.99% sure it is IDE.  I've been looking at IDE drives for years and the cable, etc. looks exactly like the others.  However, my focus right now is on determing if this Dallas DS1287 that I see on the motherboard is the battery I need to replace.  The good news is they are widely sold.
http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&lr=&rls=GGLG,GGLG:2006-23,GGLG:en&q=dallas%20ds1287%20&btnG=Search&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=iw
thanks again to all of you
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by:nobus
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yes it is the combination of battery and cmos.
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by:DFlaschen
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Nobus, please forgive me for asking this basic question:
Do I do exactly just the following:
- buy a DS 1287
- Using a motherboard-pliers, yank the DS 1287
- Install the new DS 1287
- Reboot the computer
- Observe that the "Battery is dead" message is gone and that the computer boots normally again.

I know my little questions is a bit dopey, but I'm being cautious.
thank you,
David
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by:DFlaschen
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Please search this on DS 1287
   http://oldwww.nvg.ntnu.no/data/hardware/comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware-faq

and then this:
  http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:pe9v4qE-O18J:www.bizrate.com/laptopaccessories/mid23/products__start--80.html+swan+386sx+motherboard&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=3

I DO see that Dallas chip on the mb.  I do NOT see this battery-on-a-wire things shown above.  Where would it be plugged into, if it was there?

I just want to kow definitively that the Dallas is what I need - so I don't waste time.  Perhaps I should begin by seeing if I can even unplug it.  Maybe its soldered in.  I can't tell by looking.
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by:nobus
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well, no simple yes or no, i'm afraid.
there were 386 sx'es that had the cylindrical batteries, or the plug - on type.
you would need to look which one you've got.
the same for the dallas chip, some were plugged in, some need to be unsoldered.
can you post a pic of the mobo somewhere? at E stuff or any other upload server ?
http://www.ee-stuff.com/accessLogin.php?returnURL=%2FExpert%2Findex.php%3F
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by:DFlaschen
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nobus wrote:
    there were 386 sx'es that had the cylindrical batteries, or the plug - on type.
    you would need to look which one you've got.
I HAVE the Dallas chip.  Isn't that the battery?
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by:nobus
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read my whole post : the same for the dallas chip, some were plugged in, some need to be unsoldered.
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by:nobus
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for your chip, look here (halfway down approx) :
http://www.elfqrin.com/docs/biospw.html
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by:DFlaschen
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I had already seen that.
I also found this.
   http://www.gatago.com/sci/electronics/components/16776540.html
At this point, I'm about to start prying and see if it comes out.
david
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by:garycase
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Okay ... you have a Dallas 1287 ... so that IS the battery (and also your CMOS memory).

Your steps posted above are correct, but I'll add a comment or two:

(1)  - buy a DS 1287   ==> correct
(2)  - Using a motherboard-pliers, yank the DS 1287  ==>  I wouldn't use "yank" to describe what you need to do here.  Is the chip socketed? (it should be, but some may be soldered)  If so, you carefully remove it from the socket with a chip puller.
(3)  - Install the new DS 1287 ==>  Yes, you carefully insert the chip into the socket.   If you haven't done this before, be very careful -- the pins bend easily.  You need to put a small amount of inward pressure on the pins as you "rock" the chip into the socket.
(4)  - Reboot the computer  ==> correct
(5)  - Observe that the "Battery is dead" message is gone and that the computer boots normally again.  ==> Yes ... but it's likely you'll first have to boot into the BIOS setup and force an auto-detect of the hard drive (or possibly even enter the cylinder/head/sectors-per-track parameters)

HOWEVER ... before you buy and replace the chip, try this:   Unplug the computer.   With a small length of thin electrical wire (AWG22 or so) VERY CAREFULLY short pins 12 and 21 on your current 1287.   The chip has 24 pins -> 12 on each side.  Pin 1 is marked;  pin 12 is at the opposite end of the same side as pin 1.  Pin 24 is directly across from pin 1 ... so pin 21 is simply 3 pins away.   Just hold a wire against pins 12 and 21 for a few seconds so they have an electrical short.   Then turn the computer on and see if you can then boot to Setup.  If SO ... do NOT turn off the computer again until you've copied all of the files you want to floppy !!   This short will reset (clear) the CMOS memory ... and MAY allow you to reboot the PC into setup and enter the correct parameters for the hard drive, etc. (or it may autodetect).    Whether it will work depends on the design of the motherboard (they weren't all that consistent back in the 386 days).
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by:DFlaschen
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If you look here, you'll see the chip
http://images.google.com/images?tab=vi&num=100&sa=N&ie=UTF-8&lr=&btnG=Search&oe=UTF-8&q=dallas%20ds1287&hl=en&rls=GGLG%2CGGLG%3A2006-23%2CGGLG%3Aen

I don't see anything UNDER the chip, except the motherboard.  The space between the bottom of the chip and the motherboard is VERY small.  I can get in there with a jeweler's flathead screwdriver and gently twist and see if it lifts.

I don't see ANY OTHER WAY that it could come out!
Is it safe to put a screwdriver in there and gently twist - and see if it lifts?  I have a chip puller, but the gap between the bottom of the black plastic and the motherboard is too small for the thichness of the chip puller blades.
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by:DFlaschen
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What I keep calling a "chip" here is not really a "chip".  It is a black COVER like pictured.  There is no electronic shown at all, no pins, nothing.  Just a black cover almost, but not quite, touching the motherboard.
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by:garycase
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NO !!  Don't just "... put a screwdriver in there and gently twist ..." !!

From your description, it's obvious your chip is soldered to the board.  To remove it will require removing the motherboard;  a de-soldering tool (preferably a 24-pin tool => it can be VERY tricky to de-solder the pins one-at-a-time and get them loose enough to remove the chip); and good soldering skills.   AFTER you've de-soldered and removed the chip, you will then have to solder the replacement in its place.

This is not a "hard" operation ... but if you're not skilled at soldering or don't have the right equipment it's almost impossible.  
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by:garycase
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If you're feeling really confident;  have a Dremel tool; and don't care if you accidentally destroy the motherboard (!!) ... it IS possible to replace the battery on the 1287 (which is really a 1285 CMOS chip with a battery on top and then covered).   See the details here:  http://perso.orange.fr/dsavel/ds1287e.htm

Personally, I'd get out my de-soldering tools and replace the whole thing  :-)
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by:DFlaschen
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Someobdy's got to be kidding me.
One buys a computer, the battery dies, and you need to hire an engineer to replace it?
Really?
Is this really true?  Am I not missing something?
(I actually saw that article).
Please tell me I'm missing something.
It just DOESN'T make sense to me that replacing a battery could be THAT involved!
thanks,
David
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Note what I said above:  "Is the chip socketed? (it should be, but some may be soldered)"

... the "it should be" was my opinion ==> but a lot of board did NOT socket the chip.   Why anyone would solder a chip with an eventually-will-fail battery on it is beyond me;  but manufacturer's make some "interesting" choices.   I guess the thought was that a 10-year battery (typical life of the 1287) was not likely to fail before the system was replaced.   ... and in most cases that was probably correct.

If I was going to replace that chip;  I would (a) desolder and remove the chip (this is the hard part);  (b) solder a SOCKET in its place; and then (c) plug in a new chip.

... but the reality is it's time for your friend to simply replace the system :-)    As for recovering the data; since it's an IDE drive there shouldn't be any problem.   The best way to connect the drive is as the ONLY drive on a secondary IDE channel in another desktop.   Just temporarily disconnect the optical drives, and connect the secondary IDE cable to that disk drive.   It may or may not be auto-detected correctly;  if not, you'll simply have to go into the BIOS and manually set the parameters (I THINK it's "new enough" for full auto-detection;  but it may not be -> in which case you simply need to set them in the BIOS Setup).
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by:DFlaschen
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garycase, please see my posts from 8:29am and 8:48am above (especially 8:48).
As I look down on the mb at this Dallas DF1287, I do not see a chip.  I see a black cover.
I want to very, very gently, with a jeweler's flathead screwdriver attempt to lift that black cover and see what's under it.
Is there any inherant danger to doing this, if the computer is turned off and I'm gentle?  screwdriver-blade near the mb is a bit scary.

The system will be replaced NOW.  I just want to replace the battery so I can copy data files to the 5.25" floppy before removing the hard drive where I copy ALL the files.

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There's no danger in gently (or even not-so-gently) prying at the black cover.  I believe it's epoxied to the chip (it's covering the battery) ... but time may have degraded the epoxy and you may get lucky => if it happens to come off you could actually replace the battery !!   Be sure that you only pry on the very edge, however ... as it's a very thin cover and you don't want to pry on the actual chip [it won't really hurt anything -- you just have no chance of pulling the chip itself out of the motherboard (since it's soldered in place).
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by:DFlaschen
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OH!  So what's likely to happen is I'll get that cover off and see a soldered chip under it.
I am ASTOUNDED that it is so hard to change the battery.
But then again, the $600.00 laptop on my kids desk cost $4,500 10 years and was inferior.
david
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"hard" is a relative term.   If you happened to have a DIP-desoldering tool and some soldering experience it would be fairly easy :-)    But I do agree ... it's difficult to understand why they didn't use a socket for that chip.   In any event, you can't "hurt" anything by trying => worst case is you make the board unbootable ... and since it's already in that state, that's not a big deal :-)
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by:DFlaschen
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Dave snapped.
He couldn't handle it anymore.
He gently twisted the black cover and the black cover didn't budge.  In fact, it kind of gave in - bent.
So, that cover ain't coming off (unless I pull out the Dremel).

Being near my wit's end, I pulled the hard drive.
I will now put it in my MacAlly USB 2.0 enclosure, boot the system with BART P.E. (because I heard Windows writes to new drives (marks them) and hope I'm lucky.
David
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by:garycase
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An external USB enclosure MAY work ... as long as the drive correctly supports auto-detection (remember, that external drive is really just an IDE controller and IDE->USB bridge).   I would do as I noted earlier, and plug it in a secondary IDE channel in your desktop as the only drive.

And you don't have to use Bart's => Windows won't write to the drive UNLESS you tell it to [if it asks you if you want to initialize the drive, be sure to CANCEL that => but I'd guess it will simply show up as a new drive with no problem].
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by:DFlaschen
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garycase and others, so much thanks.
Here is exactly what I intend to do now.
I will wait for your replies before proceeding.

- The old drive is out of the box, resting on some soft newspapers.
- Since I am concerned about Windows writing to this drive (more than one person said it would happen - although you said it wouldn't), I just did the following test:
   I booted with the Norton 10.0 Recovery CD and my MacAlly enclosure.  The drive inside the enclosure is NOT the old-drive.
   I verified that I COULD see the MacAlly and other drive and COULD copy files FROM it to my C: Seagate hard disk (where there is loads of room)

So, the next step is to carefully replace the hard disk now in the MacAlly with the old-disk, boot Norton 10.0 Recovery CD again and (hopefully) copy files from the old-disk inside the MacAlly enclosure to my C: drive.  Once there I can copy them across the network, burn CDs, whatever.

That's my plan.  What do you think?
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garycase earned 50 total points
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That's fine ... but Windows will NOT write to the drive UNLESS it decides it's needs to be initialzed ... and even then it will NOT write to it without popping up an "initialization wizard" ==> and if you simply cancel that you're safe.

... if the drive isn't seen okay in the MacAlly enclosure, then connect it to the secondary IDE channel, as I noted earlier.   This is an old enough drive that there may be some auto-detect issues with it => if so, the enclosure won't work.   But it most likely will ... and you'll have all of your data off the drive by your next post :-)
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by:DFlaschen
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garycase: just between me and you, I have little if any doubt that you are perfectly correct.
You might find this link (and certainly this site) enormously interesting.
There are (some sophisticated?) folks here who somehow think Windows will.  Chances are I'm misunderstanding what they meant.

http://radified.com/cgi-bin/YaBB/YaBB.cgi?board=general;action=display;num=1162744552;start=15

garycase: please believe me when I tell you I am ENORMOUSLY appreciative of your help.  Thank you SO much.  You are very patient and you write well.
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Some of those "sophisticated" folks don't even know if there are 40 or 80 pins on an IDE cable :-)  [there are 40 --> on ALL IDE cables, whether 40 wire or 80 wire; and whether IDE or EIDE]     Simple fact: XP will NOT write to the drive;  Norton, however, MAY  (it is NOT a "safe" recovery program, as it tries to write to the drive that you're recovering data from ... which violates a cardinal rule of recovery:  do NOT write to the drive).   I'll say it one more time ... then I've got to run (and won't be back until late tonight) ... the SAFEST way to do this is to hook the drive up to a secondary IDE channel in your desktop as the ONLY drive on that channel;  and then simply copy the files with Windows Explorer.   IF the drive isn't seen by the BIOS, then you most likely need to manually enter the cylinder/head/sectors-per-track data into the BIOS;  but odds are it will simply auto-detect and it will be very simple to do what you need.

Gotta run ...
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by:DFlaschen
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YES !

Replaced the CD Rom with it (borrowed the CD ROM's cables).
Windows said "New Quantum Drive found" (why did you even doubt it, Dave).
I copied the files.
I burned CDs.
Got some happy folks in Pennsylvania.

More than one person helped me here.
It's only 50 points - so I can't imagine anyone caring too much about the points
(I'm feeling guilty for paying so few points).

Nuff said.  Thanks to you all.
David
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by:DFlaschen
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YES
YES
YES
YES
YES
I replaced the CD burner with it, booted Windows, Windows said "I see new hardware", I copied the files and I love being alive!

The main source of my fear was an overgrown fear that Windows would somehow "mark" write on this "new" drive and kill it.
Didn't seem to happen.
I (and she) are so happy.
You are all in my will.
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Sometimes the best way to deal with an infected computer is to boot from external media and run your tools from there.  The reason you may wish to do this really depends on the infection.  Some malware is so recalcitrant that no matter what you do i…
This article is an update and follow-up of my previous article:   Storage 101: common concepts in the IT enterprise storage This time, I expand on more frequently used storage concepts.
This video teaches viewers how to encrypt an external drive that requires a password to read and edit the drive. All tasks are done in Disk Utility. Plug in the external drive you wish to encrypt: Make sure all previous data on the drive has been …
This tutorial will walk an individual through the process of installing the necessary services and then configuring a Windows Server 2012 system as an iSCSI target. To install the necessary roles, go to Server Manager, and select Add Roles and Featu…

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