Reviving ancient MFM drives (was Re: formatting MFM drives on a IBM PC)

Geoffrey Oltmans oltmansg at
Fri Sep 29 10:55:41 CDT 2017

On Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 3:05 AM, Christian Corti via cctalk <
cctalk at> wrote:

> On Thu, 28 Sep 2017, Geoffrey Oltmans wrote:
>> Speaking of.... I've got a couple of old MFM drives (10 and 20 MB of a
>> variety whose name and model #'s escape me, I wanna say Tandon, but not
>> sure). They seem to work fine when I initially format and partition, but
>> as
>> they run for a while, they get more and more unreliable. It seems to be a
>> function of how long they've been running for rather than a predictable
>> pattern of bad tracks sectors? Are there any good sources of
>> troubleshooting info at the controller level for these old drives?
> Well, that's normal. The usual procedure is to let the drive warm up for
> 10-20 minutes before formatting. And it is also normal for some models that
> they must be reformatted after, say, a couple of months or years, depending
> on make and manufacturer. The Rhodime 50MB drive in my IBM 8550 is such a
> beast. My procedure is to run Norton CALIBRAT to reformat the drive
> losslessly.
> Good idea. I'll give that a shot.

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