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Windows 7 recognizing external dos drive

Posted on 2012-08-28
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Last Modified: 2012-09-05
I have a customer that has two old 486's that run a piece of equipment.  The pc's are running DOS.  

The problem is that I need to copy some of the software that is on one of the pcs.  When I take the hard drive out and connect it to my ide to usb adapter  (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812196455) Windows 7 won't recognize the drive.  I also tried it on a Windows XP box and it wouldn't recognize the drive either.

Thinking that the drive was bad I tried to connect the hard drive from the second pc and I couldn't see it either.  In Windows 7 I could see the drive in disk manager but it needs to be initialized before I can access it.  

According to google, Windows 7 will recognize FAT16 so I'm thinking that maybe my ide to usb adapter may be the problem.  All I need to do is copy one of the directories from the drive or maybe make a clone of the entire drive.

Any thoughts?

vne
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Question by:VNE
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by:MacroShadow
ID: 38344266
can you access the drive via cmd.exe?
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by:VNE
ID: 38344277
No.  Windows won't let me access it until I initialize it.
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by:Gerwin Jansen, EE MVE
ID: 38344359
Can you try a bootable Linux CD/DVD? See if that will mount the drive.
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nobus earned 2000 total points
ID: 38344364
since it is an IDE drive, i would suggest not connecting it over USB, but directly to the IDE cable of a PC
note that you have to look for the correct jumper setting : 1 master, 1 slave  - or both to C/S
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by:VNE
ID: 38344370
I connected the drive using the ide to usb adapter to Ubuntu and it still wouldn't recognize the drive.


I didn't think about connecting it directly to an ide port.  I'll try that in the morning.  Thanks!  Although I have used this adapter with many ide drives in the past with no problems.  We'll see if that helps.
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by:garycase
ID: 38344377
Depending on the size of the drive, a drive of that vintage may have one of the non-standard extenders that drive manufacturer's provided in the early 90's to allow DOS to access drives beyond the  old 32MB, 128MB, or 1024 cylinder (512MB) barriers.     If that's the case, it's unlikely it can be accessed with a USB -> IDE bridge device such as you've tried.    It may work if you directly connect it to an internal IDE port, but even that may not work if you don't have the software extensions installed.

Does the drive work okay on the original 486 PC?     And does the 486 have a floppy drive?  (I'd think it almost certainly does)

...  If so, it may be safest to simply install the old DOS utility PKZIP on the DOS system [Available here:  http://wiki.oldos.org/Downloads/MSDOS ];  and then use it to compress the files you need into "floppy size" segments ... and transfer these via good old "sneaker-net" (i.e. walking a floppy from one computer to another).

You may, of course, need to add a floppy to your newer PC to be able to do this ... but an inexpensive USB floppy drive will work fine for newer PCs [e.g. http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1489134&CatId=631 ]
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Author Comment

by:VNE
ID: 38344424
The drive in question is an old seagate st3243a.  The pc won't boot so I brought the drive back to my office to see if i can access any of the data. The pc tries to boot from the hard drive but fails and then goes to the floppy. Now that I think about it I need to take the drive back to the customer and check the pc's bios to make sure the bios has the correct drive settings.  Maybe they had a power failure and the bios forgot the parameters for the drive.

And yes I thought of the floppy solution but I was trying to avoid that. :)  I also was really wanting a good image of the drive so I could keep all the software on it.  They use this same software in a few of their offices but no-one knows where the original install disks are.

I had forgotten how loud these old drives were.
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by:rindi
ID: 38344498
If the old PC can boot from a CD you might as well also test the HD using seagate's drive-testing utility once your there. You'll find that tool on the UBCD:

http://ultimatebootcd.com

If you can't boot from CD on that PC, there should also be a version available that boots from Floppy, check the Seagate site for this. $or run the tests on your own PC (with the drive connected to the IDE port, as those tools don't recognize drives through USB ports). These tests should work even if the drive uses a disk overlay utility which gary mentioned. If the disk test fails you'll probably need to pursue another recovery method.

Boot your PC with the PartedMagic LiveCD (not Ubuntu), and then run testdisk which is included on that CD to scan the disk. It should be able to recover data if the disk isn't in a too bad shape. You could also scan it from a Windows PC using getdataback, and if that tool sees the data register the tool so you can copy the files you need off. A further option, if the seagate testing utility finds too many errors which it can't repair, is to run hddreg on it. This tools can often revive a disk with a bad surface enough so it is usable again. On normal disks this can take very long, but your disk is very small so it should be manageable.

http://partedmagic.com
http://runtime.org
http://hddreg.com/
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by:garycase
ID: 38344523
Seagate has a "legacy SeaTools" download page, with old versions available for floppies.
http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/seatools/seatools-legacy-support-master/

It's been a long time since I've used a non-LBA drive --- but you're right;  the BIOS may have simply "forgotten" the cylinder/head/sector settings.     Especially if the CMOS battery hasn't been changed in several years (likely) and there was a power failure.

... certainly worth checking -- and perhaps replacing the battery while you're at it :-)

r.e. "... They use this same software in a few of their offices ..."  ==>   Then you can at least use the "floppy method" to get the software saved off on one of the working systems :-)
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Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 38344607
Don't play with the drive... If it works in the 486 machine then it is fine..  You don't want to screw up the drive.. I don't think your IDE-USB adapter is working with this drive..

just plug it into a computer that has an IDE port and you should be able to copy over the files.  it will be FAT-16

DO NOT initialize the drive..

S T 3 2 4 3 A    SEAGATE 214MB

1024 Cylinders 4 heads(translated) 12 Heads normal,  34 Sectors

Read more: http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/hard-drives-hdd/seagate/ST3243A-214MB-3-5-SL-IDE-AT.html#ixzz24vN3lsZx
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by:nobus
ID: 38344912
>>  I didn't think about connecting it directly to an ide port.    <<  you know how to jumper the  drive - if needed?
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by:masteripper
ID: 38345146
We are talking history
If the machine is working there is a chance to clone it via parallel port if everything else fails
http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/ghost.nsf/ppfdocs/1999051310014225?Open&dtype=corp&src=&seg=&om=1&om_out=prod

Also check this post for similar situation
http://www.computing.net/answers/dos/clone-dos-hard-drive/14854.html
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Author Comment

by:VNE
ID: 38351484
Plugging the drive directly into an ide port worked.  I was able to copy the data which seems to indicate that  the drive is okay.  I took the drive back to the office and checked the bios on the pc and it is reading the parameters of the drive correctly.

Unfortunately the pc still won't boot and gives a "drive c: error".
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Author Comment

by:VNE
ID: 38351510
Not sure where to go from here.  I think I'll see if it will boot from a dos floppy and then run the programs from the hard drive.  The pc hasn't been taken care of in years and it's kind of a wreck so there's no telling whats wrong with it.

vne
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Author Closing Comment

by:VNE
ID: 38351520
Nobus had the correct answer which was to connect it directly to an ide port.  I was able to copy the data and make an image of the drive.

Thanks to everyone for their input.

vne
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by:nobus
ID: 38353210
>>  the pc still won't boot   <<  that is normal
in the 486 days, you had still to jumper the controllers, and the drivers on the drive do not match the new hardware
you may get it bootting if you find a 486 system, or repair the original one
if you want to try to repair the system, i suggest you make an image of it that you put on another drive, so you always have athe drive as backup
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Author Comment

by:VNE
ID: 38354507
Thanks,  I appreciate your help.
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Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 38355995
boot from a dos disk then type sys c: and reboot.. see if this works.
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Author Comment

by:VNE
ID: 38368317
I never could get this pc to boot with the original hard drive.  I was able to image it onto another IDE drive and that drive worked just fine in the pc.  So even though I could see the data on the original drive there was still something wrong with it.  Who knows, its only 20 years old.

Thanks for everyones help.
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