Copyright (C) 1997 by Erik van Straten. All (registered) trademarks are recognized.
Some General IDE Diagnostics and Benchmark Programs
Most of the following programs will issue an "identify drive" command to the harddrive specified, which will return a lot of information about the drive, including it's serial number (which is also printed on the drive) and the firmware revision (which I have never seen printed on any drive). Further, some of these programs can help you find bad spots on your drive. All EXE files are SFX (Self eXtracting Archive) programs unless mentioned otherwise.
I've used wdclear to both verify and clear a Quantum Fireball TM2110AT, and it worked just fine. A remark about bad sectors in general: often sectors don't go bad just like that. Before that happens, the sector typically has been unreliable for some time, causing the drive (and/or BIOS) to do re-reads until the sector is read without errors. This is a bad thing if you're transferring AV (Audio/Video) data or writing a CDROM with a fast CDROM-writer, since the data-stream will have "drop-outs" (dips). Further, usually problematic sectors will eventually turn bad. I know of no good way to test for these unreliable sectors, other than keeping an eye on the counters of WDDIAG.EXE (and WDCLEAR.EXE in verify mode). If you see these counters freeze now and then, without actually reporting bad sectors, you're likely to get problems soon, and it may be time to run some other programs. Sometimes rewriting the sector fixes the problem. If not, you could run a program like NDD (Norton's Disk Diagnostics) and let it write and verify some patterns. It will mark doubtful clusters as bad (note that it is non-destructive, it saves your data before writing testpatterns, but I'd make a backup before using such a program in all cases). WARNING: make sure you use a very recent version of NDD on FAT partitions with long filenames (Win95 and NT)! Clearing the drive with WD_CLEAR might help. If not, try to get program that "remaps" bad sectors on your drive. These programs are manufacturer-specific. Western Digital has a program called WDATIDE.EXE that scans for and fixes bad sectors by remapping them. However, that program should be used only on WD drives. Check your drive-manufacturers website or call tech support for more information. Possibly you can return the drive under warranty conditions.
If Internet transfers are slow from Germany, you could try one of the mirror sites (check both subdirs typically named ct/pci and ct/pcconfig), links checked last in Feb. 1997:
The following FAQ files have a lot of interesting information and pointers in them:
Although some FAQ's have pointers to the following websites, I'll add them anyway:
The programs and information referenced here are programs and documents I've used/read and like. They are not necessarily the best, and my WD/Quantum bias does NOT mean that other drives are bad. The programs and information mentioned here may or may not apply to your configuration. I'm only informing you that the URL's mentioned here once existed (I checked most of them on Feb. 11, 1997), but they may no longer exist when you read this. Don't flame me for still using Windows 3.x, this is a policy of a lot of companies. Windows95 is nice at home, and Windows NT won't run on most of our machines dure to the hardware demands (this page was written in relation to a problem with Quantum Fireball TM drives and WfW311). I am not suggesting that the use of the programs and information mentioned here by you, or anyone else, is legal. Make sure you read about licensing policies in files like "readme.txt" or "license.txt" that often come with these programs. What is freeware today may have changed tomorrow (phew).
Also note that most programs do low-level disk-accesses. Therefore you should not run them from Windows (any version) , and preferrably have booted DOS without AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS (press F5 when you see the text "Loading MS-DOS" to bypass CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT). If a program writes output to a LOG file, it is often wise to run that program from a floppy and have it write to that floppy as well, te prevent interference with other harddrive operations. Of course, use of these programs, the referenced information and the information I supply here, is at your own risk.
I am not related to Computercraft, c't or any of the harddrive and software manufacturers mentioned, and don't get payed for writing this (but it is my job to know about things like this, and I do get payed for that).
This page was written by Erik van Straten. If you have any comments about this page or additional information, let me know. I may change this page if Computercraft and I consider it appropriate.
If you have general questions about harddrives, diskmanagers, formatting, possible bugs and fixes etc., please ask those questions in one of the Usenet Newsgroups; for PC related storage devices this would be comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage. If you don't have a newsreader, most wwwbrowsers will accept the following URL: news://your.news.server/comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage where you must of course replace your.news.server by your favourite host. Before posting messages (asking questions) in any newsgroup, please read the newsgroup's FAQ to make sure that you are not asking a Frequently Asked Question; see my tools page for some pointers to FAQ's. When I have time, I will be reading some of the postings in the PC storage group, but lots of other, often much more experienced people do as well, and they often come up with answers I am not aware of. So check it out!
Copyright (C) 1997 by Erik van Straten. I grant Computercraft the non-exclusive right to publish this page. All (registered) trademarks are recognized.
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