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Using DOS-dependent GDisk on external HDDs (Read 2881 times)
El_Pescador
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Using DOS-dependent GDisk on external HDDs
Jan 29th, 2007 at 3:49pm
 
...

At one time I suffered a major drawback in that I was
unable to free the "purpose-built" external hard disk
shown above from within the Iomega enclosure so as to access it via IDE or SATA cables
.  I was stymied in using low-level utilities
(such as FDisk, GDisk, DelPart.exe, et cetera)
to condition the HDD, but none of them could be channeled via the sole USB connection.

While trying to "think-outside-the-box", I came up with the perverse notion to modify the 3.5-inch floppy diskette containing those nine items below (based on NightOwl's Panasonic Universal USB Driver routine):

AUTOEXEC.BAT
COMMAND.COM
CONFIG.SYS
di1000dd.sys
IO.SYS
MOUSE.COM
MOUSE.INI
MSDOS.SYS
USBASPI.SYS

I added a directory to the floppy entitled 'GDisk' and then copied the GDisk.exe file from the Norton Ghost 2003 folder to be the sole entry therein.  While leaving the CONFIG.SYS file exactly the same, I then modified the AUTOEXEC.BAT file to read:

@echo off
PATH=A:\;A:\GDISK
MOUSE.COM
echo Loading...
CD GDISK


Now, for the very first time, rather than having to rely on ribbon cables attached to the MASTER IDE port to conduct my low-level maintenance of IDE HDDs through the use of boot floppies I could instead access an external HDD - whether "purpose-built" or mounted in an enclosure kit - via USB 2.0.  After careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that a very similar approach would work with FireWire devices as well, and the nature of the mounted HDD itself - IDE or SATA - would become immaterial where either USB or IEEE 1394x connections existed.

So, I started off by booting up with the now-modified floppy and repeatedly using the following command in iterative fashion:

GDISK n /STATUS


to ascertain which Arabic numeral (
'1'
through
'n'
) - with
'3'
representing the external HDD on my PC.  Next, I used the command:

GDISK 3 /DISKWIPE


to totally obliterate the entire disk, partitions, partition table, MBR, and all used or unused space on the external HDD  (
not to discounted during such a destructive procedure is the safeguard of disconnecting all other fixed drives on the PC except for the target HDD
).

No longer satisfied with the conjecture above, I went on to generate three different floppies set up to use the Norton Ghost 2003 DOS-based GDisk utility with emphasis on the zero-fill and diagnostic capability - often improperly referred to as 'low-level formatting'.

They were: (1) a boot diskette patterned on NightOwl's Panasonic Universal USB Driver routine referred to back upstream; (2) the next boot diskette - merely to prove the concept - substitutes the Norton/Iomega
aspiehci.sys
USB 2.0 driver for the far more flexible pair of Panasonic drivers; and (3) the last boot diskette substitutes the Norton/Iomega
aspi1394.sys
Firewire 400/IEEE 1394a driver.  All three versions performed flawlessly during extensive testing.

Now, I suppose the next step is for someone to replicate my techniques on removable media other than the obsolescent 3.5-inch floppy diskette that I continue to use.  Whenever modern PCs arrive in my environment - even if just for repair or maintenance - the very first thing I do is retrofit them temporarily with an internal NEC floppy drive if there is a IDE socket available.

EP
Cry
 

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Pleonasm
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Re: Using DOS-dependent GDisk on external HDDs
Reply #1 - Jan 29th, 2007 at 5:02pm
 
This thread may contain useful information on using GDisk with external hard disk drives via USB and FireWire.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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NightOwl
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Re: Using DOS-dependent GDisk on external HDDs
Reply #2 - Jan 29th, 2007 at 10:17pm
 
El_Pescador

Quote:
a major drawback in that I was
unable to free the "purpose-built" external hard disk shown above from within the Iomega enclosure so as to access it via IDE or SATA cables
.

I don't know why the *heavens* align in the strange ways that they do sometimes--I was going to post this for your information because I thought you might find it of interest...

Just yesterday, I decided to *tinker* with my 40 GB Iomega USB 2.0 HDD that is in the same exterior case as the one you have posted above.  I wondered if the unit could be *upgraded* to a larger HDD.

Turns out, there are three small phillip screws to remove from the bottom of the *front* (away from the cable end of things) of the unit--and two more *hidden* by the two rear rubber feet that are stuck on with two sided tape--easily dislodged with a small blade screwdriver.

Once the cover was off, I had to remove three side mounting screws on each side, and was then able to remove the metal cover plate and the underlying Seagate OEM 40 GB IDE PATA HDD.

Popped in a 120 GB Seagate, and so far all testing has shown everything is working fine.  I'll report back if I come across any problems!
 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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El_Pescador
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Re: Using DOS-dependent GDisk on external HDDs
Reply #3 - Jan 30th, 2007 at 12:40pm
 
NightOwl wrote on Jan 29th, 2007 at 10:17pm:
"... I decided to *tinker* with my 40 GB Iomega USB 2.0 HDD that is in the same exterior case as the one you have posted above.  I wondered if the unit could be *upgraded* to a larger HDD..."

MAJOR KOOL Shocked
  My first concern would be whether or not a singular FAT32 logical drive inside an extended partition (no primary active partition at all) would be responsive to Norton Ghost 2003 using the Norton/Iomega USB drivers invoked with GUEST.EXE.  My second concern would be whether the replacement 120GB IDE HDD has either one platter or two (many recent Seagate HDDs have 133GB platters onboard).

EP
Cry
 

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NightOwl
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Re: Using DOS-dependent GDisk on external HDDs
Reply #4 - Feb 12th, 2007 at 1:25am
 
El_Pescador

Well, the testing has shown no problems.

I was able to access the 120 GB Seagate HDD inside the Iomega enclosure that originally had a 40 GB HDD inside using the Panasonic USB DOS drivers.

I used the
MBRWizard - The MBR utility you've been looking for!
in DOS via USB to zero out the absolute sector 0 to destroy the partition table and Master Boot Record.

Then used DOS PartitionMagic to re-partition into a single extended partition, and then divided that extended partition into two logical partitions--one FAT32 and the other NTFS.

PartitionMagic did not give the option to pick the initial cluster size of the FAT32 partition--the default was 32 k.  But after the initial formatting, I was able to go back and change the cluster size--and so I changed it to 16 k.

PartitionMagic did allow for selecting the cluster size of the NTFS partition when formatting--I chose 4 k.

Here's the results of some speed testing of new setup:

****************************************************

Using the Panasonic v2.15 USB DOS drivers--HDD hooked up through a USB 4-port Hub:

Test #1:  Image Creation >> to FAT32:
   545 MB/min (Speed)
29,609 MB     (Size)
54:18 Time   (Elapsed time)

Integrity Check:
 1,191 MB/min (Speed)
29,609 MB     (Size)
24:51 Time   (Elapsed time)

****************************************************

Test #2:  Image Creation >> to NTFS
   549 MB/min (Speed)
29,609 MB     (Size)
53:55 Time   (Elapsed time)

Integrity Check:
 1,197 MB/min (Speed)
29,609 MB     (Size)
24:43 Time   (Elapsed time)


So, saving an image to a different formatted type partition did not make any speed difference!


****************************************************

Using the Norton Ghost DOS USB HDD drivers (GUEST.EXE):


Test #3:  Image Creation >> to NTFS
    424 MB/min (Speed)
29,622 MB     (Size)
1:09:18 Time   (Elapsed time)


So, the Norton Ghost DOS USB drivers are much slower in performance--and also can not be used to hook up the HDD through a USB Hub.


I have not performed the integrity check yet nor saving to the other FAT32 partition as yet--I'll report those when I have them.

Quote:
My second concern would be whether the replacement 120GB IDE HDD has either one platter or two (many recent Seagate HDDs have 133GB platters onboard).

What's the concern?
 

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El_Pescador
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Re: Using DOS-dependent GDisk on external HDDs
Reply #5 - Feb 12th, 2007 at 12:48pm
 
NightOwl wrote on Feb 12th, 2007 at 1:25am:
"... I was able to access the 120 GB Seagate HDD inside the Iomega enclosure that originally had a 40 GB HDD inside using the Panasonic USB DOS drivers..."

My Seagate 120GB IDE HDD has all along been the most tractable and trouble-free among all the various makes and model HDDs that have cycled though the six external enclosure kits I have on hand during hundreds of trials with Norton Ghost 2003.

NightOwl wrote on Feb 12th, 2007 at 1:25am:
"... Here's the results of some speed testing of new setup...
So, saving an image to a different formatted type partition did not make any speed difference!
...
So, the Norton Ghost DOS USB drivers are much slower in performance--and also can not be used to hook up the HDD through a USB Hub.

By tweaking with the initialization of the subject HDD during my testing with Ghost 2003, I was able
to significantly lower elapsed backup times with FAT32 file system format partitions to near-parity
with those of NTFS, but never quite matched or surpassed those speeds attained with NTFS.  Also, in every "head-to-head" comparison that I can recall, the NightOwl Panasonic Universal USB Driver routine was - to varying degrees - faster than the stock Norton/Iomega drivers (i.e., those extracted with GUEST.EXE).

Quote:
El_Pescador wrote on Dec 31st, 1969 at 6:00pm:
"... My second concern would be whether the replacement 120GB IDE HDD has either one platter or two (many recent Seagate HDDs have 133GB platters onboard)..."

NightOwl wrote on Feb 12th, 2007 at 1:25am:
"... What's the concern?.."

A 120GB HDD running a single 133GB platter should run cooler in an external enclosure than one with two 80GB or 100GB platters.

EP
Cry
 

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