Imaging DEC uVAX MFM drives

J Blaser oldcpu at
Tue Aug 29 19:31:20 CDT 2006

Zane H. Healy wrote:
>> The RD53 is from uVAX II with a RQDX3.
> And this makes me think of something I don't think anyone has directly
> warned you of.  Sort out everything with another drive than this.  *IF* it
> will spin up, you want to get the data off of it without powering it back
> down.  RD53's were unreliable 10-20 years ago, they can't have gotten any
> better :^(

Yes, indeed, this drive *does* spin up.  Actually, I've cycled the power 
on it about a half-dozen times by now, messing with this imaging 
project.  I have noted in past threads some consternation with this 
drive, and it's just what I want to 'manage' with these imaging 
efforts.  When (I guess not if :) this drive goes bad, I'll have the image.

>> The RD23 is from a uVAX I with a RQDX3.
> RD23?  Assuming this isn't a typo, what on earth is an RD23?

Oops, my mistake.  I transcribed that from my notes incorrectly.  Should 
read: *RD53*

>> (BTW, it also have a VAXstation 3100-m38 with RZ(something) SCSI drive 
>> which I successfully imaged on a PC with SCSI capabilities)
> <snip>
>> Yep, I think Pat's idea to do a diskless/network boot of NetBSD and then 
>> image off from there is the way to go. 
> Actually you might have another solution here.  Is the VAXstation 3100-m38
> running VMS?  If it is, has TCP/IP, and the SCSI HD has enough free space,
> simply net-boot VMS. 

That's just it, though.  I'm so much of a VAX newbie.  I have *no* 
knowledge of what is and isn't on these system, since I've been scared 
to even power them up until I know more about what I'm doing.  Thus the 
desire to get the drives imaged *before* I do something that I can't 
recover from.  I just don't know what is dangerous or not, yet.

Still, we could hide under our beds everyday trying to avoid life's 
little risks, right?  I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and 
just crank one of these systems up and see what I've got.  I have 
successfully imaged the drive on the 3100, so at least I can give that 
system a try.

I'll have to be a quick study with VMS, if that's what's on it.  I do 
have a mostly complete set of VMS v4 (I think) manuals, so I'll just 
have to dig in, assuming that is indeed what I have on the system.

>  Though if you're more comfortable with Pat's idea,
> it's probably the better solution.

Time will tell.

Thanks for the good words.


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