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Amazing tricks you can do with your IDE interface

jbk wrote:

> Bill Horne wrote:
>> OK, this is one for the record books. If you can explain it, please 
>> call me.
>> Scenario: a client with a fried Maxtor disk, which is identifying as 
>> "N40P" during boot - a sure sign of system area failure. The BIOS 
>> says it's on the IDE Primary Master.
>> The BIOS also identifies a WDC<mumble> on the Secondary Master - a 
>> Jazz drive which is undamaged.
>> Now, the mystery:
>> I boot Knoppix from CD, and the system auto-constructs the fstab 
>> file, which shows /dev/hdc1 and /dev/hdc5. I understand /dev/hdc5, 
>> (assuming jazz drives have the same format as Zip disks), but 
>> /dev/hdc1 has me _very_ confused.
>> I try to mount /dev/hda[1-4], and each errors out on seek and/or read 
>> errors. Sure enough, the Maxtor is fried.
>> However, I _AM_ able to mount _BOTH_ /dev/hdc1 and /dev/hdc5, and I
>> can transfer data from /dev/hdc1 to the new, shrink-wrapped jazz disk
>> mounted as /dev/hdc5. Moreover, the client recognizes the data I'm 
>> able to move!
>> So, the question is: what/where is /dev/hdc1? There's only one hard
>> drive in the machine, and I've verified that it's connected as the 
>> Primary Master IDE device.
>> All opinions welcome, on or off list. TIA.
>> Bill Horne
>> 781 784-7287
>> _______________________________________________
>> Discuss mailing list
>> Discuss at
> That might be a characteristic of knoppix. The bitdefender liveCD is 
> based on knoppix. When I booted my laptop with it, it assigned the 
> hard disk to hdc. After several reboots it assigned the disk to hda.
> Can a jazz drive have more than one partition? I am not familiar with 
> them. Can you run du or df to get a disk size read?
> Jim

It would have to be a quirk of Knoppix, although I'm still puzzled by 
the way it recognized that there was _something_ on /dev/hda, even 
though it refused to mount it because it couldn't find a partition 
table, had read/seek errors, etc.

However, I got some data off it _somehow_, since the homeowner verified 
the directory names I retrieved, and something like "Kathy's Journal" 
wouldn't be on a Jazz disk by default, even though the shrink-wrapped 
ones do come with promotional offers and trialware.

I can't repeat the excercise: the client was happy to get her daughter's 
journal back, and the rest will have to go down in the book of the 
unexplained. A Pentium 1, running Windows 95 OSR 0, and I advised her to 
call Dell and cut her losses.

Thanks for your help.


E. William Horne
William Warren Consulting
781 784-7287

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