Posted By azog on June 21, 2012
Related to a previous post:
When I received the Falcon, with the original 60mb hard drive, the drive had not been wiped, so there was lots of stuff on it. I (still) don’t know what all was there, but undoubtedly, there were programs and utilities that would be hard, if not impossible, to find. So the very first thing I needed to do was back up the whole drive.
It was about half full, and at first, I attempted to use floppy disks to back up. After about the fifth disk, I figured there had to be a better way.
I remembered that I had a very old (circa 1995) SCSI ZIP drive in storage. I hadn’t used it in at least 10 years, but it was worth a try. Since the Falcon has a SCSI port, you just need the matching cable (HD50 to DB25), which I already had.
The Falcon had an old version of the ICD driver installed, which recognized the ZIP drive. So far everything was going great.
I used the ICD easy setup to partition and format the ZIP disk. This was a mistake. The easy setup does so in the most compatible manner, meaning it created GEM partitions no bigger than 32mb. I ended up with three 32mb partitions, and a fourth with the remainder of the space.
Once I copied everything over to the ZIP disk and quickly verified it, I turned off the Falcon and disconnected the ZIP drive. Then I tried to eject the ZIP disk with the eject button, but nothing happened. I power cycled the drive, still nothing.
Powering the Falcon back on still gave no response, nor did the “eject.ttp” program. At this point, I noticed the Falcon was no longer recognizing the drive at all.
I guess the drive had one last hoorah before giving up the ghost, but now I was stuck with a dead ZIP drive, with important data on the ZIP disk stuck inside…
Finally, I just disassembled the ZIP drive, extracted the disk, and sent the drive to a peaceful rest.
I have a USB ZIP drive, but Windows can’t read Atari formatted disks, or at least it couldn’t deal with the partitioning. Spent some time trying to find any kind of utility to read GEM disks, and finally found a web page that detailed an interesting method to retreive data from GEM disks.
One thing leads to another, and I don’t have a Linux, or even a BSD machine handy, so I installed VMWare player, built a NetBSD guest, and was able to extract the data from the ZIP disk, and then wrote it to a CD. Now at least I have some kind of back up. And since the Falcon has a SCSI port, I can try to find something like a Sun external SCSI CD-ROM.
Some of the more interesting programs I noticed: PageStream (desktop publisher), NeoDesk (desktop replacement), Warp9 (software accelerator).
Some side thoughts: I originally purchased the SCSI version of the ZIP drive, rather than the parallel version. Even tho the parallel version was cheaper, I knew it was quite possible that I might need to use the ZIP drive on machines other than a PC, and in this case, foresight was 20/20.
I’d like to find a more modern removable storage option for the Atari, other than CD. Something like the uIEC for the Falcon…
Geez, it’s only the start of the project and I’ve already run into stumbling blocks…