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Software recovery

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by [email protected], Sep 28, 2007.

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  1. Guest

    I have an old Seagate ST251 MFM drive that just croaked. While booting
    up it made some horrendous "clacking" noises and now I get a drive
    failure indication when booting up. It defaults and then I can boot
    off a floppy and still get into C: (the first partition) The problem
    and where my needed data is drive d and although the drive is there
    doing a dir gets you a data error message. Scandisk can't touch it and
    Norton says that the FAT is bad and only a low level format can
    correct this. Well if I wanted to do a format I wouldn't be interested
    in retrieving my data. The OS is DOS 6.2. Does anyone know of a good
    utility that I can down load in DOS and that will work with DOS and
    give me at least a prayer of getting my data back? And if its a free
    utility all the better. Thanks, Lenny Stein, Barlen Electronics.
  2. Sjouke Burry

    Sjouke Burry Guest

    If you have the OLD Norton for dos,the Norton Utilities 8.0 or
    earlier, you might try to make a binary copy of the disk,
    if memory plays no tricks on me disk edit is able to do this,
    if the disk is readable at all.
    It could be set to ignore all errors.
    At my work we did this, and wrote a fortran program to search
    for character blocks with the properties of source code.
    Each fortran progam ended with: <tab>end<cr>.
    We recovered about 95 % of the sourcecode on the disk.
    We sometimes ended up with 10 copies of each program,
    with a slightly different age/edit stage. :)
    Fragmented diskdata will be useless, but luckily the disk
    had recently been defragmented.
  3. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    Many free utilities to recover data but I don't know how well the work. I
    usually pay for utilities to save my ass from data loss. This is what I
    use, it's not free but it is reasonable and it works.

    I don't recommend free software for these things unless I have verified
    it. Maybe someone else can.
  4. Try spinrite


  5. Am I the only person who is shocked that you still had one of these that
    worked? What is this drive in a IBM PC AT?

    Well anyhow I agree with what someone else suggested.. Try the old dos
    norton, maybe it will work.

  6. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    I have an old Seagate boat anchor up in the attic and an RLL controller
    that still works AFAIK. Well it did work when it got stuck up there so no
    reason why it wouldn't. Even have an old Everex 8088 PC that could host
    that drive but I've no desire to mess with it.
  7. Franc Zabkar

    Franc Zabkar Guest

    There are two copies of the FAT. If only one copy is damaged, and if
    the file system is otherwise intact, then it should be possible to
    retrieve all your files.
    I'd run Norton's Diskedit in maintenance mode and backup the D:
    partition (20MB ???) to a stack of floppy diskettes in sector mode.
    I'd then create a partition on a new HD and use Diskedit to transfer
    the backed up sectors to this new partition. Scandisk or Norton should
    then be able to repair the damaged FAT.

    - Franc Zabkar
  8. Try ontrak easy recovery if you can find it, might be something on
    hiren's bootcd or ultimate bootcd.
    As a matter of fact, use hiren's bootcd and under harddisk tools run
    MHDD, press F4 and turn remap and loop test/repair on.
    After that there's a big chance you find the drive can access your data.
    There are recovery tools on hiren's bootcd as well.

  9. msg

    msg Guest

    Some suggestions:

    1. If this is really critical data, contact Ontrack for data recovery
    services and get a quote; they will disassemble the drive in a
    clean room and use special equipment to recover the data.

    2. If it isn't quite so critical and you feel comfortable with
    running a failing drive for awhile, add an additional physical
    drive (suggest scsi) to the machine and use Norton Diskedit
    to copy all sectors to a file on the additional drive, with
    manual intervention to skip unreadable sectors as they occur.
    You can then use a variety of tools, including Diskedit, to
    analyze the data and recover the FAT to get access to your files.

    3. After saving as much data from the drive as possible, you might
    consider running Ontrack Data Recovery tools on the original
    drive or on a working drive of the same geometry which contains
    a copy of the saved data from step 2. These tools provide a
    variety of salvage and analysis techniques superior to most
    other dos-based utilities.

    4. Expect to analyze a lot of hex dumps of the FATs, Partition Tables
    and directories if you have a lot of damage and manually rebuild
    what you can ;)

    I've gone through this process many times with varying degrees of
    success and have found that with considerable effort you can achieve
    good results.


  10. Guest

    Pull the drive out and put it in a linux box or a system that can boot
    from CD-ROM, there's plenty of tools you can use to make an image of
    the drive, dd, ddrescue, etc. but if it's truly a hardware issue you
    may not be able to read it.

    If the data is so important you should have backups.
  11. msg

    msg Guest

    I had resisted suggesting moving an antique MFM drive and controller
    or even booting some flavor of *nix on the original machine since
    support for the controller may be iffy on newer releases. Certainly
    if the O.P. has experience with unix there are all kinds of solutions
    for working with intact antique hardware using older releases, but
    in this case it would probably be safer to use the DOS-based tools
    previously mentioned. On a 386 or better class of PC, one could
    even boot a version of NT/2K and use 'unixtools' such as 'dd' for
    imaging the ailing drive, or 'diskprobe' for sector editing.


  12. Guest

    I really appreciate all this great advice. The problem is I'm an
    electronics technician and although I do understand most of the
    concepts mentioned unfortunately when it comes to some of this stuff
    I'm afraid that I'm a bit of an ignoramus. I don't know about sector
    editing. I've heard of it but thats all. I may know enough to get
    myself into bigger trouble. I don't want to give up but this may be
    too much for me to try. Any of you guys live close to New Hampshire by
    chance who might have a week or so to spare......? Lenny Stein, Barlen

  13. Yeah I had loads of old 8088 era stuff.. I wish I had kept it now because
    people seem to pay good money for things I threw away 10 years ago.. Oh
    well.. I kept a few things out of it all. I've got some MFM and RLL hdd's
    but I doubt they work. My favorite is the double decker 5.25" drive. I think
    I will put it in my Athlon 3500+ just for fun.
  14. Neil

    Neil Guest

    Get Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Software to rescue your data
    from inaccessible hard drive.
    Not a free tool but its give free demo download which let us see the
    preview of the data.
    A good utility for file and partition recovery, recovering the data
    from formatted hard drive, data loses due to software malfunction,
    viruses or sabotage.
    Product Information:
  15. Hi!

    First of all--if you get the data, then by all means, get it off that drive.
    I wouldn't be too surprised to hear of a an ST-251 still working, as the
    design was cheap and simple.

    Unfortunately, these drives used a stepper motor to drive the heads around
    the platters. This setup is touchy and subject to drifting out of
    calibration over the years due to temperature shifts and drive movement.
    When this happens, the stepper can't be positioned to find the data where
    the drive and controller think it should be. You then get an error.

    Back in "the old days" the suggested procedure was to keep backups, make
    regular backups and make a backup prior to moving the drive in any way
    whatsoever. It was also suggested to periodically run a low level format on
    the drive to "realign" everything, after making a backup and hopefully
    before the drive became unable to retrieve data.

    As far as a solution goes, I'd highly recommend SpinRite from Gibson
    Research Corporation. I never have run it on an ST-251 drive, but it
    certainly existed at the time those were popular. I've seen drives that it
    could and couldn't save...but the overwhelming majority were anywhere from
    much better to completely salvageable. SpinRite costs around $100 USD and
    comes with a 30 day money back guarantee if it doesn't work. I have no
    affiliation with GRC other than as a satisfied customer of theirs.

  16. John

    John Guest

    Stellar Phoenix works on *most* drives that will spin up. It's not
    cheap ($300 for the multi-system version with a USB dongle), but it

    There's a download-only version for use on one PC that's a little

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