Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Misc. Forums > Computer/Internet Issues & Troubleshooting
Reload this Page >

Recovering Windows files from HDD

Computer/Internet Issues & Troubleshooting Anyone with questions about the terribly complex world of computers or the internet should try here. NOT FOR REPORTING ISSUES WITH PPRuNe FORUMS! Please use the subforum "PPRuNe Problems or Queries."

Recovering Windows files from HDD

Old 18th Feb 2021, 11:21
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1998
Location: Mesopotamos
Posts: 1,478
Methinks he should reset the BIOS to factory defaults, alternatively pull the clock battery out, count to 10, then put it back in.

If I recall correctly, hardware of that vintage needed the master/slave disks correctly matched in the BIOS for them to work. I suspect master is now slave and/or vicey-versa.

Anyways, I'm currently in Uplinkers bad books at the moment (hehe), so perhaps someone else on here could back me up.
cattletruck is offline  
Old 18th Feb 2021, 14:10
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: near an airplane
Posts: 1,931
That's also an option, that the Master/Slave settings on the drives (either jumpered or cable select) do not match the settings in the BIOS. I suspect that there's a single harddrive that should be set as the Primary IDE Master and the CD drive will be the Primary IDE Slave. If that has been changed, it could also lead to this situation perhaps.
Jhieminga is online now  
Old 18th Feb 2021, 15:33
  #23 (permalink)  
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Twickenham, home of rugby
Posts: 6,690
Jhieminga

It is actually possible to corrupt a HDD by entering the wrong value for cylinders when setting CHS parameters (enter a value in excess of the maximum and stand well back), but unlikely to have been done here.

Good call on the boot order - might be that straightforward.

Also wondering if any rejigging of the IDE cable / jumpers was done, so that Cable Select no longer recognizes the disk because it's on the wrong connector - if the OP was trying to add a 2nd HDD. Or if a 2nd HDD was added without configuring the jumpers correctly (master / slave / CS) - that's a good way to prevent any drives being detected.

Slightly puzzled by the "it said it couldn't find Windows, only DOS came up" statement - that sounds like the disk IS being seen for DOS to boot, but the Windows installation isn't starting correctly. There's something in the back of my mind though that is nagging me about old PCs booting into ROM BIOS (that looks like a DOS prompt) if no boot medium is found. It's nearly 30 years since I last saw that, so forgive the memory lapse!
Saab Dastard is offline  
Old 18th Feb 2021, 16:45
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: near an airplane
Posts: 1,931
Aaahhh... I didn't know that particular method of frying a drive... I guess I've been lucky so far!

To me that particular statement reads like a BIOS message (the first screen does look like DOS booting) that is telling the user that there is no operating system present. That could be because of a multitude of things. I've seen it turn up when I left a USB drive without any OS on it in place, having switched the boot order to start with USB for some reason. On a system of that vintage, it could be because it is looking at empty A: or D: drives (floppy/CD) first, the IDE drive isn't recognised, the drive is corrupt, the MBR is missing, the software is misbehaving.... and so on. I just thought of another one: with Win 3.11 you had to start Windows from Autoexec.bat if you wanted to boot straight to it, so if that file is missing, or if the PATH parameter isn't set correctly, that could also give you some sort of error (although I would expect a 'file not found' for that one).

I am enjoying the trip down memory lane and all these old computer tricks though
Jhieminga is online now  
Old 25th Feb 2021, 12:42
  #25 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 1,620
Sorry folks, I have been busy with other things.

I will certainly look on the HDD case for the cylinders etc and see if they are still correct in the BIOS.

If these were changed would it mean that the HDD is as it was, but the PC is looking at it "wrongly" now, so doesn't recognise anything on there?

If the BIOS settings are wrong and I change them, would anything overwrite to the HDD or is it just the EPROM on the Motherboard that gets changed?

I will also try all the other advice - for which I am very grateful to you all. I have a mountain of DIY jobs, but I will get to it and report back when I do.

No, cattletruck, you are not in my bad books - just robust debate !
Uplinker is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2021, 13:18
  #26 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 1,620
OK, I am all fired-up now, so I got the old PC out.

Here is the drive info. If I check the BIOS and reset it if necessary for 1048 cyl, 16 heads, 63 spt etc, would I endanger any info on the HDD?


Uplinker is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2021, 18:17
  #27 (permalink)  
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Twickenham, home of rugby
Posts: 6,690
If I check the BIOS and reset it if necessary for 1048 cyl, 16 heads, 63 spt etc, would I endanger any info on the HDD?
If the BIOS was configured to address the disk with those parameters (and it should have been, given that they are written on the disk), then no. If, for some reason, the parameters used were different then possibly, but that's highly unlikely. There may be an "Autodetect" setting in the BIOS which you can try.
If these were changed would it mean that the HDD is as it was, but the PC is looking at it "wrongly" now, so doesn't recognise anything on there?
Yes. This is one possibility for the PC not booting from the HDD. Changing the boot order or simply disabling / removing the HDD in the BIOS would have a similar effect.
If the BIOS settings are wrong and I change them, would anything overwrite to the HDD or is it just the EPROM on the Motherboard that gets changed?
As long as you don't enter incorrect drive parameters, then the data on the HDD shouldn't be affected, as you say you will just be changing settings in the BIOS on the mobo.

I'm impressed at the whopping 540MB disk size! My first PC was a 486SX that had a 100MB disk with 4MB RAM.

SD
Saab Dastard is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2021, 18:23
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: near an airplane
Posts: 1,931
Good luck, hope it works!

(386 with coprocessor, 4 sticks of 1MB RAM each, 63Mb harddrive.... how times have changed)
Jhieminga is online now  
Old 26th Feb 2021, 03:59
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NZ
Age: 69
Posts: 195
My first PC was a 486SX that had a 100MB disk with 4MB RAM.
Mine was a 286,20 meg hd,1meg of ram,33meg processor.
Fark'n'ell is offline  
Old 26th Feb 2021, 08:46
  #30 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 1,620
Thank you Saab and others. I might try to revive it this weekend.

540Mb, yes I know ! And only about half full.

We forget how much memory modern programs and data use up .
Uplinker is offline  
Old 27th Feb 2021, 17:31
  #31 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 1,620
Yay ! SUCCESS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I fired up the venerable old PC today and looked again at the BIOS. There was no data at all for the hard drive configuration.







There was an autodetect function, (autotype) which I selected. It looked at the HDD and put the correct configuration in:






I then rebooted the PC, and HEY PRESTO !!!!!!!!!!!







Everything is back. All my Psion back-up, my old files and accounts info, everything.


That was so easy, and the so-called "expert" I took it to was an idiot.


Thank you all so much for your help. I think it was Saab Dastard who first suggested the autodetect - called autotype on my PC to reset the settings the DOS was using to read the HDD.


If any of you are ever holidaying in the South West UK, please pm me and I will buy the drinks !


Many thanks to all again.


My next job is to back up this HDD since it is quite elderly.
Uplinker is offline  
Old 27th Feb 2021, 20:40
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: near an airplane
Posts: 1,931
Thatís great news! Good to hear that everything is back to normal again. Good to see a Win 3.1 screen again... it brings back memories
Jhieminga is online now  
Old 27th Feb 2021, 22:32
  #33 (permalink)  
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Twickenham, home of rugby
Posts: 6,690
Nice one - always good when something works out well!

If you do want to add a 2nd HDD, be aware of a few things - you will probably struggle to find a disk < 2GB, which is the maximum size that DOS 6 and Windows 3.1 can recognise, using FAT 16. The BIOS may not even be able to recognise disks over 540MB, but you might be lucky with a later BIOS that can recognise disks up to 8GB, using various techniques, such as LBA. You would have to create multiple partitions each less than < 2GB for DOS to use such a large disk.

Assuming you do find such a disk, or have one spare, you will need to ensure that you configure the jumper settings correctly on the disks - existing HDD should be set to Primary and the new HDD to Secondary. We used to say Master and Slave, but that's not PC (pun intended) any more. If your IDE cable supports it (80-wire with 40-pin connector Ultra ATA cable) you can set the jumpers on both HDDs to CS (Cable Select), with the current boot disk on the Primary connector (should be written on the connector). CS is supposed to be better, due to less noise on the cable.

At least now you know how to set the disk parameters - just use Autotype!

SD
Saab Dastard is offline  
Old 28th Feb 2021, 12:52
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 27
Set Max LBA

Rather than buy a secondhand IDE drive which could give up the ghost at any moment, one could buy a PATA2SATA3 Bi-Directional SATA IDE Adapter Converter (Bi-directional adapter converts IDE to SATA or SATA to IDE) from Startech (a reliable brand).
Or something similar ... there may be space constraints inside the case. And then buy a new SATA drive.

Okay, so the smallest SATA HDD you can buy new (we're talking about from reliable websites) looks like 500 GB.
So you have a 500 GB drive. How can you use that with a machine whose limit (probably fixed absolutely by the capabilities of the BIOS which no amount of clever partitioning can solve) is 8 GB (there are 2 insurmountable size barriers at around the 8 GB mark)?

Answer, you use the ATA command Set Max LBA. Something like Set Max LBA = 16777216.

That's 16777216 blocks * 512 bytes per block = 8589934592 /1024 = 8388608 kilobytes /1024 = 8192 megabyes /1024 = 8 gigabytes.

Given that the Phoenix BIOS cannot be earlier than 1994 there should be no problem with LBA and the appropriate ATA command set.

https://www.seagate.com/gb/en/suppor...tion-182971en/

You will need the drive manufacturer's utility program (or other disk utility) to do this. And you will have sacrificed a lot of space on the
new drive. This can be done successfully with either a large PATA drive (if you find one ... then no adapter is necessary) or SATA, but it is all rather arcane and mind-numbing.

As I wrote above, I was very wary of Cable Select as there seemed to be conflicting standards. Hard jumpered Master HDD at the
end of the cable and Slave HDD at the middle always seemed safest (if less convenient when swapping drives around) to me. You can replace the 40 conductor IDE ribbon cable with an 80 conductor cable for greater reliability.

A woman came to see Nasrudin.
W: I want my son to stop eating sugar, he's addicted.
N: Come back in 2 weeks.
2 weeks later.
N: Tell him to stop or he will be punished.
W: Why did you wait 2 weeks.
N: I wanted to see if it was possible first.

Last edited by In rerum natura; 28th Feb 2021 at 13:24. Reason: Caveat
In rerum natura is offline  
Old 1st Mar 2021, 16:36
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: near an airplane
Posts: 1,931
Finding a drive that would work as a second drive for backups in that system may be a challenge. It will be a bit of a job, but fitting the existing drive to a newer system using the aforementioned IDE to USB converter might still be the easiest way of doing this. The alternatives mentioned by In rerum natura might also work, but every change to a system of this vintage is going to be challenging.
I haven't checked, but is there some sort of tool that will allow you to use a USB drive to use as a backup medium? Post #17 has a link to some interesting resources.
Edit: I just remembered... there is no USB option on this system... I keep forgetting that as it is such a common interface these days!
Jhieminga is online now  
Old 2nd Mar 2021, 09:36
  #36 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 1,620
I restored all the Psion data from the PC so have got back all the old contacts and data that was stored on my Psion.

I have an HDD from a family member's upgraded iMac. This other drive is 2Gb and has exactly the right data and power connectors to fit in my 486 Windows 3.1 PC. There is a spare power connector on the PC's loom, and I have an 80 pin master/slave data ribbon, which has marked plugs for CPU board, Master, Slave, and says Cable Select on it.

I might put the 2Gb drive in the slave position and autodetect it, now I know how to do that. Then copy everything from the original HDD to the slave with file manager. Then disconnect the power to the slave so as not to over stress the PC PSU and keep the slave as a 'sleeping' back-up if/when the original HDD gives up.

But the other DIY will have to take precedence, and I am slightly reluctant to "fiddle" any further, having got my data back !
Uplinker is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2021, 11:24
  #37 (permalink)  
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Twickenham, home of rugby
Posts: 6,690
I have an 80 pin master/slave data ribbon, which has marked plugs for CPU board, Master, Slave, and says Cable Select on it. I might put the 2Gb drive in the slave position and autodetect it
Don't forget to set the jumpers on the HDDs to the correct position - Master / Slave / Cable Select.
Saab Dastard is offline  
Old 5th Mar 2021, 14:50
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Home
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by Fark'n'ell View Post
Mine was a 286,20 meg hd,1meg of ram,33meg processor.
If I might belatedly join the mine's smaller than yours debate, mine had an 8088 - don't think clock speed is of any relevance! - and 640K of RAM. A few months after I got it I spent pretty much the same again buying a decent word processor, WordPerfect 5.1 and a Winchester disc, as it was commonly called in those days, on an ISA expansion card. IIRC, the capacity was 10MB, but it offered a huge amount of storage and was far better than the alternative, 360K floppies.

And thanks for the pics of Windows 3.1 - a real blast from the past!
Equivocal is offline  
Old 6th Mar 2021, 15:48
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: near an airplane
Posts: 1,931
If you want to play that game.... I mentioned my first PC in a previous post. My first computer was a Tandy Colour Computer 2 with 64Kb memory, a Motorola 6809E @ 0.897 Mhz and a cassette player for storage.
Jhieminga is online now  
Old 6th Mar 2021, 17:17
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Ferrara
Posts: 2,780
What is odd is that over 30 years a reasonably equipped desktop for work purposes has always finished up costing £ 1500....................
Asturias56 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.