The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Pop goes the hard drive

This morning I've been working in the Inner Drive Technology Comprehensive Testing Facility, trying to read an ancient hard drive I discovered a while ago. I've tried many methods to read this old 130 MB disk. It has two files on it, a "readme" file dated 23 February 1995, and a Doublespace volume with the same date. In other words, this hard drive is a snapshot of what I was doing 11 years ago.

In order to read a Doublespace volume, you need MS DOS 6.22, Windows 95, or Windows 98. I haven't had a Windows 98 computer in years, but Inner Drive does have MSDN Universal—and the IDTCTF. So last week I built a Windows 98 installation out of a computer that was, in 1997, my Web server, but has since 2001 collected dust somewhere. Too much dust, apparently.

It turns out that this computer has a bad disk controller. So, Plan B, I plugged the Windows 98 hard drive and the ancient Doublespace drive into a different computer, reconnected the power cord, and got a spark, a pop, and a wisp of smoke from the 11-year-old drive.

There are very few things less common or more totally destructive inside a computer than an electrical arc followed by smoke. (Fortunately the disk cage was outside the box at the time, and the two drives were more than 5 cm (2 in) apart, so the damage was localized.) I can therefore report, with unusual certainty, that the oldest hard disk in my possession is now a large paperweight. (I'll have a memorial photo up tonight or tomorrow.)

Goodbye, "WinSwap." I hardly new ye.

Comments are closed