DEC 3000 server booting problem

We have a DEC 3000 server with SCSI hard disc and Unix 4 OS. Recently when the system was booted, I am getting an error : 84 Fail; T_ERR_SCSI-CHECK_BOOTBLOCK. Please help to resolve the issue
Rajesh KAsked:
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Dr. KlahnConnect With a Mentor Principal Software EngineerCommented:
I bet your workstation is running Ultrix, not u-fix.  Ultrix was a "customized" (that's the nice word) version of u-fix that was neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring.

I also bet you don't have a cold spare backup drive on the shelf, and there's no recent backup, or you wouldn't be asking this question.

The probability here is, as John says, that block 0 on the drive has failed.  If this is the situation there's very little that can be done about it as the boot block is always block 0 and the SCSI drives of that era did not revector bad blocks.  DEC's approach to bad block handling was MSCP, which handled bad blocks in software.  Sort of.

What you could do:

(Using the hardware you have)

1.  Get a used DEC RZ-series SCSI drive off fleabay.  Install it into the host.  Load a new copy of Ultrix onto the system from the distribution CDs (I think I still have these somewhere, if you don't have them; they were supplied with the systems).  Then attach the failed drive to the SCSI chain as unit 1 and see what you can recover from it.

(Using a modern PC)

2.  Open the system and examine the drive.  Buy a compatible Adaptec PCI SCSI controller off fleabay.  Install it into an available PC system.  Load Debian or other variety of linux onto that system.  Connect the failed drive to the SCSI chain as unit 0 and see what you can recover from it.

If the system must be recommissioned on the hardware you have, there's only two people I know (from the ex-DECUS user group) who might still have the knowledge to deal with this issue.  PM me if you have to go that way.  (It won't be free; expect charges of $100/hour or more.)

If you have to recommission on the hardware you have, get a spare drive and image it at least once a year.  It would be more prudent to buy an identical spare system while they are still available, as this is now 30-year-old technology.  It would be even more prudent to migrate off this platform to a PC running linux.  I love DEC, but as a mission critical system it's now unsupportable.
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John TsioumprisConnect With a Mentor Software & Systems EngineerCommented:
A quick googling revealed that this a server from the early 90s!....and the error describes that the boot block on your hard disk is damaged...so i guess its time for a replacement....
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Hanno P.S.IT Consultant and Infrastructure ArchitectCommented:
Did you check if the disk is working, e.g. do you hear it spinning or clicking?
Have you switched the system off and back on? This would usually kill an old drive.
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John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems EngineerCommented:
I am curious why such an old piece of technology is still in use....and in what it was used to...
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
No further response from questioner.  Points assigned in order of detail in answers.
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