SUMMARY: Drive offline

From: Michael Zimmerman (
Date: Tue Jul 09 1996 - 16:07:34 CDT

Thanks to all for the quick responses to my cry for help--I must have had
three of four in my mailbox before my own copy of my question got back to
me! In particular:

Mark Hargrave <>
Trevor Paquette <TrevorPaquette@AEC.CA>
Michael Sullivan <>
"Christopher L. Barnard" <>
Craig Gruneberg <>
Herbert Wengatz <>
"Aline H. Runde - MicroModule Systems" <>
Fedor Gnuchev <>
Bismark Espinoza <>


1) The general concensus is that most probably the disk is simply dead,
and that I should hit the boss up for a new one ASAP. The sense key
errors and the fact that I was running into bad blocks all over the place
seems to have been the telling factor. Herbert Wengatz told me a bit
about his own experiences with these old full-height 5.25"
IMPRIMIS/Seagate drives, which were not particularly encouraging.
Fortunately, disk space is pretty cheap these days (though somehow there
still never seems to be enough of it...)

2) Several more optimistic people suggested checking the power supply or
the SCSI controller. I guess I neglected to mention that the disk is
still spinning, and another disk running out of the same SCSI bootbox is
just fine. The cables are also all connected.

3) Fedor Gnuchev gave me some explict pointers for tracking down specs
and and tech support on the Seagate drives (, getting
the master.dat list from, and
creating my own format.dat entries. He and others also recommended
getting John DiMarco's scsiinfo program from
(I saw that in the FAQ after I posted my message, as well.)

4) Fedor also suggested "if that fails still - I'd pick/borrow/steal
sol2.4 CDROM and tried to use it to make a fake install on that drive -
Solaris format have nice Auto-configure option. If fake install succeeds -
reboot from your normal drive and run newfs/restore && make format.dat
entry with scsiinfo."

I haven't had a chance to try all these suggestions, and this disk is
attached to the machine acting as license server for a couple of
popular applications, so I can't drop in into single-user mode and fool
around with impunity :-). I'm going to restore the data somewhere else
on the network (thank goodness for good backups!) and spend a little more
time trying to reformat the drive with Fedor's advice, but my guess is
that in the end we'll simply wind up replacing it.

Thanks again for all the help and encouragement. It's great to feel part
of a community of folks sharing the same problems and experiences, rather
than wandering alone through the trackless desert that is system
administration! ;-)


      Michael Zimmerman <>
      System Analyst/Administrator
      The Pennsylvania State University Population Research Institute

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