• LCrawford (unregistered)

    What happened to the mounting bracket that secured the frist hard drive?

  • (nodebb)

    All adhesive tapes are like tuple types: tempting to use in a lot of cases but always leading to poor outcomes.

  • Anonymous Ghost (unregistered) in reply to LCrawford

    Woah, woah, woah.

    This work ticket only covers INSTALLATION of a new hard drive. More than my jobs worth to remove the old hard drive.

  • bvs23bkv33 (unregistered)

    the time when you needed to park hard disk drive hefds manually before shutdown

  • (nodebb)

    Bonus points for the picture of the original 20 MB drive & controller. Fond memories.

  • Dude (unregistered)

    I know more than a few people who attach new computer components with velcro, most often to the case body itself. More secure than scotch tape, but I still wouldn't trust it.

  • AJRimmer (unregistered)

    I well remember the occasion when starting a new role as tech support for a software company that my predecessor had performed a similar trick with a couple of rubber bands holding the disk in place.

  • ichbinkeinroboter (unregistered)

    "According to Bob Golden and Allyn Freeman in the book “Why Didn’t I Think of That,” a 2-inch square piece of Velcro can hold and support the weight of a 175 pound person. According to Ira Flatow in the book “They All Laughed...From Light Bulbs to Lasers,” a piece of Velcro less than 5 inches square can support a weight of one ton."

  • not a robot (unregistered)

    wait, the real wtf surely is that they had backups?

  • 32MB HDD (unregistered) in reply to LCrawford

    @LCrawford you are assuming Gary was replacing the hard drive with a bigger one rather than adding a secondary. In the days of 20MB there wasn't a big selection of drive sizes (plus the fact that DOS had limitations unless you had Compaq DOS). Even copying data between drives would take "more than a coffee" if you were replacing as would mean a second PC and good ol' Laplink....

    IIRC drive rails didn't come with the drive either. I remember being very nice to the local Compaq dealership to get some rails for free (after we bought the drive from elsewhere where it was cheaper).

  • LoganDark (unregistered) in reply to Mr. TA

    Except for duct tape. Duct tape is fine.

  • Matt Q. (unregistered)

    OP here -- to allay some of the confusion, what actually happened was that the new hard drive was added in addition to the old one. These were the days when most of the contents of a PC case was empty space.

    Literally, what the technician had done (whose name was not Gary, incidentally -- we did have a Gary in the IT dept. but he was not the culprit here) was tape the new hard-drive into the box so it literally piggy-backed the old one. They were physically the same size and shape.

    And then after much hefting and carrying, the tape came loose, and the metal case of the 1st drive came into contact with the PCB of the 2nd drive, which consequently caused a short circuit which damaged the electronics.

  • Andrew (unregistered)

    The link to the Seagate ST-225 MFM drive sure brought back some memories. That was very like one of the first drives I ever installed for a customer while on my "back room" tech job at Knighted Computers in upstate NY. It was the very early 90's and while 386's were on the market, they were the highest end and many were still using their trusty XT's. Ah ... Those were the days:

    Computer boots the floppy MS-DOS 3.3 A> debug

    • g=c800:5 (I forget this command though, but low-level format the drive)

    I even updated an Amstrad 1512 to 640k (effectively making it the 1640): 9 individual DRAM chips.

  • (nodebb)

    The ST-225! That was my first computer upgrade project. I think it took Norton Disk Doctor nearly two days to scan it for bad sectors.

  • Steve Prior (unregistered)

    Back in 1988 when I was hired at IBM I had to fly to Palo Alto with a computer to work with a contractor. The work was done on an IBM PS/2 Model 80 which was quite a truck of a machine. I ended up checking it in as baggage on the flight just the way it was with no extra case/packing material (we didn't have any). It came through the experience just fine, though I wouldn't recommend trying that with anything built in this century.

  • (nodebb)

    Well, I've never used tape but I will confess to once using a sheet of paper when mounting a hard drive. There was good reason, though--the case wasn't quite square, the drive electronics were touching a piece of metal. Low voltage, a sheet of paper was enough insulation.

  • Darron (unregistered)

    The photo shows a ST-225, a very popular model of hard drive in those days. They had an interesting characteristic.

    Mount one in a computer, format it and all is good. Later unbolt it (perhaps to add a second drive) and re-bolt when done to discover that it isn't working reliably. Reformat and it's working again.

    The trick is that the drive case warps (misaligning the read/write heads) when you fasten down all for corners with screws. A reformat lays down a pattern matching the new alignment. The real solution? Only bolt down two corners.

  • get off my lawn (unregistered)

    I had to use cardboard to wedge a CD drive into place as the fittings and power supply were an optional extra.

  • LAK (unregistered)

    My first job out of college was in 1987 for a small company. When I was hired, they were in the process of running cable for their first network (Novell over ARCnet). The 'network' up until then had been a 60MB external ESDI drive, reverently carried on a thick bed of foam padding from workstation to workstation. Each workstation had 20-30MB drives, the process was to copy ('check out') the customer data off the big drive, do your work, then copy (check back in) the data back to the big drive.

  • Mike (unregistered)

    Reminds me of my family's first computer. Best Buy upgraded it with more RAM and a new HDD. Years later, I opened it up for the first time to discover that the new hard drive had been duct taped to the PSU. Luckily we didn't move it around very much.

  • Friedrice the Great (unregistered) in reply to Andrew

    Back then I worked for a small company that did miscellaneous office services, including desktop publishing work. They had an IBM AT with that same Seagate drive. They'd had it a long while. It eventually got to the point where it wouldn't spin up. But they wouldn't replace it because we could still get it to spin up by opening the case and turning the drive upside down.

    Eventually it wouldn't spin up even then. But they wouldn't replace it. So we took to dropping the upside down drive onto a foam mouse pad from about an inch up. It would spin up and work fine.

    Over the years, the dropping height increased, but it still kept working.

    By the time it finally died and we convinced them to replace it, I think the drive was 12 years old? Those old Seagate 5.25" MFM drives were tough.

    Encouraged by that, I bought one of Seagate's first 3.5" hard drives for one of my personal systems. It died during the warranty period. After that, I switched drive makers.

  • (nodebb)

    One must remember the old saying:

    If you can't fix it with duct tape, you aren't using enough.

  • Wheresthespamohthereitis (unregistered)

    My first tower-PC, after a year or so of use, had to be at a 45° angle so the fans would stop buzzing. The power-button (that switched the 230V AC-power, not the measly 5V of today) sparked violently every time I tried switching it on or off. Hard drives were attached with elastic bands to minimize vibrations. Sides and front cut open with hacksaws for extra fans. My GUS didn't have a end-plate, so I stuck a lot of tape around it so it wouldn't fall out or short. Yes. My setup was ghetto. And I miss it like crazy.

  • sizer99 (google)

    I remember one company where local IT would 'deal' with the incompatible mounting screw problem by just wrapping the drive in medium thick insulating foam, taping it around, and then pushing the drive in, where it was actually pretty snug.

    But what they didn't account for was how much heat those drives put out - and now you've just wrapped it in a sweater. This all came out when the failure rates hit the roof.

  • (nodebb)

    Sign I saw:

    All you need is WD-40 and some duct tape. If it won't move and it should, use the WD-40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use the duct tape.

  • ICH (unregistered)

    I was contracting at a company once, setting up new PCs they had just purchased. I took the cover off one, and discovered that the hard drive was wrapped in bubble-wrap and wedged in. We checked the others, and they were all the same. They were sent back to the supplier. IIRC there were about 20 PCs, all the same.

  • Álvaro González (github)

    Scotch tape? That's how my SSD is attached in my current work PC. Brackets and stuff cost money.

  • PMF (unregistered) in reply to Álvaro González

    Yea, besides that it's next to impossible to find brackets for mounting 2.5" SSD drives into 3 1/2" or 5 1/4" slots. If there are any slots available in modern desktop cases at all. You'll be lucky if you have an extra power cable for connecting it, anyway.

  • Dave (unregistered) in reply to CoyneTheDup

    All you need is a hammer. If it doesn't move and it should, beat it til it does. If it shouldn't move and it does, hammer it into place until it stops moving.

  • Wonko_the_sane (unregistered)

    I used to work building PCs and we would occasionally run low on brass standoffs for the mother boards... the bosses solution? One standoff close to the centre of the board and a pencil and blutack wedged behind the ports to stop the board flexing.

  • I dunno LOL ¯\(°_o)/¯ (unregistered) in reply to bvs23bkv33

    Auto-parking came at 40 megabytes.

    I know this because of a system I worked on which was shipped via military transport, and I don't think it even had a head parking function in its bare-bones boot ROM, where you had to use a G command in MacsBug just to boot it. The 40 megabyte upgrade was when I got on-board for that project. It was a WTF-rich environment. If I had to pick one, it would be a 68000 using an LSI-11 backplane, so all SCSI data was written NUXI-swapped.

    I wish I had saved a copy of that boot ROM, it was pre-Macintosh, and years later when I wanted to hack a 68000 system for fun, I had to strip down a Macintosh version.

  • David C. (unregistered) in reply to Darron

    @Darron: Sounds like you got the wrong size screws with your drive. This never happened for any of the ST-225 drives I worked with at the time.

    @Friedrice the Great: Sounds like stiction. A common problem with drives from that era. For various reasons, the heads would get stuck to the platters after power-off, making it impossible for them to spin up again. Hitting or twisting the drive just right would pop them loose. Eventually, doing this would damage the drive, to you generally only want to do it once, in order to make a backup which you then restore to a new replacement drive.

    @Andrew: Yes. Back in the days before drives had factory-written servo data on the platters, you could "low level" format them to re-create the tracks and sectors. And the software to do this was usually in the ROM of your controller card, hence the debug command to start the process. You could use this function to tweak the drive's interleave to improve performance. And you could replace an MFM controller card with an RLL card (and then re-low-level-format the drive) to boost capacity by 50%. (Manufacturers said this shouldn't be done but it almost always worked just fine.) Once drives started using servo motors (instead of steppers) and controllers started using logical blocks that didn't correspond to physical cylinder/head/sector numbers, that all became impossible. Today, low-level formatting can only be done in the factory. :-(

  • tlhonmey (unregistered)

    And this kind of circumstance is why they had "luggables" or "portables". Basically a typical computer case with a small CRT and a keyboard inside it as well. When it's time to move you "park" the drive (this was before self-retracting heads) turn it off, fold up the keyboard and unplug the power. Then you could carry it with the conveniently attached handle, it was only about 60-70 pounds.

    I've still got a few of them. It's a standard ATX case inside, so my dad and I would just replace the guts periodically when it became obsolete up until laptops became cheap enough to do the things we needed a mobile computer for. One of these days when I have enough spare time to actually go to gaming parties again I'll see about upgrading a few of them yet again. Replacing the CRT with a small LCD should let me throw away about 30 lbs... I may or may not decide to replace it with a liquid cooling system...

  • Wumpusarama (unregistered) in reply to Steve Prior

    I've seen enough PS/2 model 80s installed in a now-defunct big box hardware store literally filled with dust, sawdust, fuzz, paint flecks, and possibly asbestos, to know that they were very hard to kill.

  • Richard Wells (unregistered)

    This reminds me of when I tried to replace the full-height drive on my IBM XT with two half-height drives, to find that it only had drive rails for the one drive. On a whim, I dug out my old Erector Set and found that the short bracket was exactly the right size to allow me to gang the two drives together and slide it it.

    I also (after reading an article in Byte magazine) hacked the motherboard to have 640K on the motherboard, so I could use all 1.5 MB of expanded memory as actual expanded memory. Those were the days.

  • medievalist (unregistered) in reply to PMF

    Googling "brackets for mounting 2.5" SSD drives into 3 1/2" or 5 1/4" slots" returns 179,000 results in 0.97 seconds.

    I made my own out of expanded metal mesh from Home Despot (so I could fit the maximum number of SSDs into the space) but commercial brackets are widely available.

  • FristName LastName (unregistered)

    Ah, the days when 12mHz was screamingly fast, 640kB was enough RAM to run both DOS and a program, and a 20 mB hard drive was "more storage than you'll ever need in your lifetime"!

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