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  #1  
Old December 6th, 2006, 09:23 PM
Eric Hiss Eric Hiss is offline
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Default How can I map out bad sectors on microdrives?

Hi,
I have been shooting with microdrives for many years now. The only failure I have had was with a sandisk flash card so never thought about it. Now I have two Hitachi 4Gb microdrives that work okay but are having trouble with downloading a couple of image each. Seems clear there is a problem with the drive but its not the drive head clicking problem. I have read that there are ways to map out bad sectors on drives and then have a happy and useful life after that witout data loss. Can anyone with experience comment on this? I've got a couple tools that might work including disk warrier and drive genius but they are not working with my card connected via a card reader. I have a Mac Quad G5...any clues on how to get this to connect and mount like a physical device would be also useful.
Thanks,
Eric
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  #2  
Old December 6th, 2006, 09:29 PM
Stan Jirman Stan Jirman is offline
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My main recommendation would be to throw away the microdrive.

Given that this is probably not what you wanted to hear: the said software is designed to work with the HFS and variant filesystems, not with FAT - which is what the microdrive is formatted with. While they don't "choke", they are not designed to perform low level corrections for FAT. You pretty much will need a PC for this.

Or, you could do the right thing and throw away the MD.
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  #3  
Old December 6th, 2006, 10:17 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Hi Erik,

Sorry about your 4GB microdrive, Isn'y it funny how we get attached to things. Those few files can cost a lot of time.

O.K., again are you prepared to do this?

You need any old PC. Strange but you need to use DOS. You may not have heard about it, LOL, but it's what the PC world sat on for a long time.

Anyway, there is a very simple light in Kb but powerful software that claims to do what you want by Gibson Research called Spinrite data. It moves data to new sectors and re makes your directory etc.

It is totally non-specific as to whether you are using Sun, Mac PC as long as it's an electro magnetic hard drive read with a head. It's of no use for CF cards or other solid state memory.

The software in SpinRite and obtainable here.

You may need to pick up from that site the DOS driver for your USB connection.

The instructions are on the website.

Now it's a good thing to try this so you can report to us.

Also, it happens to be a method claimed to test all your drives for ailing health at the magnetic surface level, way before that fails.

Now, I have not as yet tested this myself, so i'd love to know what your impression is.

BTW, did you manage to recover the files but they were just corrupted? It's possible the files themselves can be repaired. That is an entirely different subject!

Good luck and keep us updated.

Asher

Don't be intimidated. Just find any old PC for this, the instructions on the site are very good! No programming needed, but simple line commands.

Last edited by Asher Kelman; December 6th, 2006 at 11:42 PM.
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  #4  
Old December 6th, 2006, 11:36 PM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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I have the same problem with 2 of my 3 4Gb Hitachi microdrives... so I'll be happy to read the result upon Asher's solution.
Not a hurry for me, I finally bought some months ago a 8 Gb SanDisk Extreme IV CompactFlash and am so happy with it, fast, very fast, safe, shooting without counting. Did I say fast?
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  #5  
Old December 7th, 2006, 12:08 PM
Paul Caldwell Paul Caldwell is offline
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Default Question on 4GB

Obviously based my recent slaming on another forum, I am but a XP Newbee, however I am curious as to how a DOS tool can see above 2GB. I always thought that DOS's limit was 2GB, which was also the FAT limit and which was why FAT 32 came along. But that is just my understanding of DOS and FAT. The bigger issue on a microdrive will be finding a USB DOS driver for your card reader, or PCMCIA slot.

I believe that older versions of Windows, W2k, and Win98 had the ability to also map out bad sectors. I can remember running that on Win98 rel 2, which supported Fat32 and USB. I remember it was under System accessories. When it ran, you would get a sector by sector map, and the bad sectors were displayed in red. I have yet to find this tool in XP. If you can find this, you might try it also as you can stay up in the 32 bit world and not look for DOS drivers.

I also believe Norton's Disk Utilities had the ability to map out bad sectors. May have been just called Disk Doctor.

Paul C.
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  #6  
Old December 7th, 2006, 12:15 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Hi Paul,

SpinRite is a very basic utility that is only looking at the signals from the electromagnetic surface. It repeatedly approaches sectors from different distances to be able to read what's there. It is apparently very simple and I don't think it knows about higher-level restrictions.

One uses the software to recover data, after all, from 100GB drives if you wish, so 4G would be no issue!

Read the explanations on the website.

Asher

I'm keen to read of someone's experience here, so please try it if you have a PC that can run DOS!
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  #7  
Old December 7th, 2006, 01:32 PM
Ray West Ray West is offline
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I have no experience of the microdrives. I have plenty of experiences of other hdd. imho, once they start to go flaky, then time to move on. Its a bucket (or bathtub) shaped reliability curve. The spinrite site is here http://www.grc.com/cs/prepurch.htm, and it ciosts you $89.00. I have used it to recover data in the past - a much earlier version. I am not sure how or if the later versions will handle your microdrive interface, you will have to read their info. on that. I reckon you may be better off with a cf card or two, as others have mentioned, and save the spinrite purchase, if you are only concerned with saving the microdrives.

This doess not answer your question, Eric, but afaik, spinrite does not do Macs. Dos does not do usb. I think I would at least email Hitachi, or your country's rep, they may just offer to replace the drives.

Best wishes,

Ray
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  #8  
Old December 7th, 2006, 01:42 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray West
Eric, but afaik, spinrite does not do Macs. Dos does not do usb. I think I would at least email Hitachi, or your country's rep, they may just offer to replace the drives.

Best wishes,

Ray
There are ways of bipassing the interface restrictions and these are on the website.

Asher
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  #9  
Old December 7th, 2006, 03:52 PM
Stan Jirman Stan Jirman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Caldwell
Obviously based my recent slaming on another forum, I am but a XP Newbee, however I am curious as to how a DOS tool can see above 2GB. I always thought that DOS's limit was 2GB, which was also the FAT limit and which was why FAT 32 came along.
The limit doesn't have to do with the absolute capacity of the media but rather with the number of clusters. Using bigger clusters is how cameras get around this limit, and that's the same way DOS does. So this is basically a misnomer: the diagnostic tools don't mark bad SECTORS but rather bad CLUSTERS, which consist of two or more sectors.
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  #10  
Old December 11th, 2006, 11:23 PM
Eric Hiss Eric Hiss is offline
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Default Wow! Thanks for all the info

Hi Guys,
Thanks for all the great info and suggestions. Since my post I found that Hitachi has a support page where you can actually check to see if your drive is under warantee and luckily one of mine is. I'll send that one in and see what they do. They have some utilities on their site to check the drives but they are all .exe and I'm all Mac so they won't work for me. Asher, I may try one of the posted solutions if I have time but I may just toss the other one. If I do get it working I'll certainly post back here.

When I had my D30 and 1Ds I shot maybe 100,000 images on microdrives and never had a problem. Funny now how both my 4Gb's go within a week of each other. Luckily I still have a couple other cards.... Nicolas you should check out the Hitachi site and see if any of yours are still covered...just put in the serial into the check warranty box on the top right part of the page....
http://www.hitachigst.com/portal/sit...062f6aac4f0a0/

Thanks,
Eric
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