PDP-11/45 RSTS/E boot problem

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Mon Feb 18 06:19:52 CST 2019

On Sat, 16 Feb 2019 at 01:43, Peter Coghlan via cctalk
<cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
>   Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into
> years.  It continued to occasionally make the same ghastly noises that
> never should be heard coming from a hard disk but with absolutely no sign
> of any errors being logged or damage to data whatsoever.  The noises seem
> to be associated with seek activity because I have never heard them when
> the disk is just spinning but otherwise idle.  I eventually retired it
> and replaced it with a much larger one, purely because I ran out of
> space on it.  Any thoughts on what might be happening with it?


Well that is the thing, of course. I had that with one old IDE disk,
too. It made a terrible ear-piercing high whine that I associate with
a failing disk... but it passed every diagnostic I could throw at it,
so I used it for non-critical stuff and in testbed machines.

For about 4 or 5 *years*. It was one reason to run machines with the
case covers on, to muffle the noise. But it ran faultlessly for years.
I think in the end I sold it on to someone, with a warning of course.
That's how I dispose of all kit -- pass it on to a new owner. I try
never to scrap or recycle anything at all.

That's the problem with rule-of-thumb diagnoses. Sometimes they fail.
But more often, things fail with no warning, so it's still useful.

This is why I disregard everyone's accounts of hard disk brands they
won't touch. I did PC tech support for ~25 years. I've seen every make
of hard drive ever fail randomly, and I've seen every make of hard
drive ever work flawlessly for years even when vilely abused.

My experience is extensive enough that _anyone's_ justifications of
why they won't use Brand X disks get ignored, because if I took them,
I would not use _any_brand of disk. Everyone who's been around a bit
has a horror story and the intersection in the Venn diagram, while
small, excludes all vendors ever.

I've never seen any one make that is significantly worse than any other.

Liam Proven - Profile: https://about.me/liamproven
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