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Last Updated December 10, 2003


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Hard Drives

Sometimes it's hard to admit, but not every IT Professional is a hardware guru. There is just simply too much to know to be proficient at everything related to IT. So, if you need a little help making a hardware buying decision, or just want to know more about how it works "under the hood", you've come to the right place.
Resource Sites:  
This sites been around a long time (would you believe 30 years), and is a very comprehensive market study of the computer disk drive industry. Includes information on rigid disk drives, removable drives, optical disks, and disk drive arrays.

Peter denn Haas Storage Page
Links, guides, FAQ's and more resources related to EIDE and Ultra ATA devices.
The Internet's leading independent storage authority.

Articles and other Links:
1024 Cylinder Limit, How Windows NT/2000 Gets Drive Geometry
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 98080 - Windows NT can take advantage of hard drives with more than 1024 cylinders if your computer hardware permits. While Windows NT does not have an internal limit to the number of cylinders it can address, there are some hardware configurations where Windows NT must contend with a 10 bit (1024 cylinder) limitation, imposed by the supporting hardware (the hard drive controller or system BIOS in most cases). This article describes how the ATDISK driver determines drive geometry. Other hard disk drivers are not included here, as the 1024 cylinder limitation usually doesn't apply. The other drivers, including SCSI disk drivers, use absolute block addressing.

Common Industry Acronyms
A great resource from the "Technicians Guide to PC Hard Disk Subsystems." Source:

Data Removal and Erasure of Data from Hard Disk Drives
Make sure your data is really gone and unrecoverable before you give your Hard Drives to someone else. Source:

Design Overview of Drives, Controllers, and Interfaces
An excellent Whitepaper from the "Technicians Guide to PC Hard Disk Subsystems" that describes Hard drive components and how they work together. Source:

IEEE 1394 Hard Disk Support in Windows 2000
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 244919 - Windows 2000 supports IEEE 1394 High Performance Serial Bus-compliant devices (including hard disks) connected to supported IEEE 1394 controllers. You can use IEEE 1394 hard disks for the Windows 2000 system and boot partitions, as well as normal storage. To use these drives for the system or boot partition, the computer's BIOS must have IEEE 1394 boot support.

File Structure
In this article, file structure on a hard drive will be covered -- tracks, sectors, cylinders, etc., plus you'll find out what happens when you format and partition a drive. Source:

Hard Drive Configuration
After doing the physical installation, your HD won't automatically work. Your first step in making your system use the new hard drive is to configure the computer to it. Source:

Hard Drive Problems
This document covers problems you may get with your Hard Drive. Source:

How to Buy a Hard Drive
Decent article from ZDNet that includes explanations of technical specs and comparisons of IDE and SCSI. Great place to start for new Admins.

IDE Interface
Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) is really a misnomer in the way we use it today. IDE really refers to any drive with the controller built-in. Source:

Inside Hard Disk Drives How They Work
Good primer on hard drives from Quantum that covers construction, components, and internal functions.

Internal Hard Drive Parts
All about the inner workings of a Hard Drive. Source:

Overview of Disk Subsystems

Properly Connecting SCSI Devices to Windows NT
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 101352 - Properly Connecting SCSI Devices to Windows NT

Random Problems Encountered When Mixing SE and LVD SCSI Standards
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 285013 - When you mix SCSI drive types, Single Ended (SE) and Low Voltage Differential (LVD), on the same SCSI bus, several problems can occur. The symptoms may include, but are not limited to, the system not starting, data corruption, blue screens, and drives becoming unstable.

SCSI is an entirely different interface than the more popular IDE. It is more of a system level interface, meaning that it does not only deal with disk drives. Source:

SCSI Hardware Performance Considerations for MS Windows 95/Windows NT
SCSI Hardware Performance Considerations for MS Windows 95/Windows NT By Kai Kaltenbach A primer on SCSI interfaces in Microsoft Windows 95 and Windows NT, this article lists and explains the basic facts about SCSI: host adapters, bandwidth use in various configurations, hard drives. etc., Source:

The popularity of SCSI is increasing rapidly, but this may be attributed to a misunderstanding. This article sets the record straight. Source:

ST-506/412 & ESDI Interface
Explanations of the ESDI Hard Drive Interface. Source:

The History and Development of Hard Drive Technologies
An excellent Whitepaper from the "Technicians Guide to PC Hard Disk Subsystems." Source:

The Storage Guide
How does a HDD work? The Interface, File Systems, Bus Master DMA. Source: Tom's Hardware Guide


Files May Be Damaged During Windows 2000 Setup on Fujitsu MPG3102AT or Fujitsu MPG3204AT Hard Disks 
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 311902 - When you try to install Windows 2000 on either a Fujitsu MPG3102AT or Fujitsu MPG3204AT hard disk on a computer that has the Intel 815 chipset, the installation procedure does not report damaged files after Setup copies the initial files and restarts the computer.

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