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MAC SE with 20MB HD - drive dead?

jy999

New member
Hello! Hoping for advice here. I recently recovered a working MAC SE, 4mb ram, 20mb HD inside. Booted up, but the OS was highly customized, networking clients, started in debugging mode, etc. I thought starting from scratch would be a nice clean way for the machine. It was running... 7.1? I think.

I got my hands on the BMOW Floppy EMU, booted into HD emulation mode, with the 6.8 image. Things worked great.

I decided to try and re-install MacOS onto the new drive. The installer started up, and said it couldn't overwrite some files, protected. So, I opened up the HD tool, and tried to repartition to start over. It said it was write protected. So, I clicked "Initialize", and it gave me an error, and froze. Upon reboot, the HD no longer is recognized as a valid volume. It shows up in HD tools as a SCSI device, but I can't "initialize" it. I can't partition it, because it's not initialized.

I'm pretty savvy with computers (windows, *nix) , but I know absolutely nothing about Macs, especially these old ones. I'm suspicious that the drive is toast, and it didn
 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
It is very possible that the drive is toast, yes; a lot of drives that age, especially those that have had a hard life, are giving up now.

It might be worth seeing what Lido or another HD formatting/wrangling tool thinks. But freezing when you try to initialise it isn't a good sign.
 

joshc

Well-known member
Drive is most likely toast, yep. But it will be worth trying some other formatters, Lido has been mentioned but there's also FormatterOne Pro and Silverlining.

Thankfully, there are various options to replace it with something that's more reliable - the easiest options are either BlueSCSI or SCSI2SD. Other options are RaSCSI, finding another 50 pin SCSI drive or a 68 pin SCSI drive with 68->50 pin adapter. There's probably other options I've forgotten but those are the main ones.
 

jy999

New member
Thanks everyone for the help. I'll hunt down / try lido, FormatterOne Pro, and Silverlining. It would be nice to rescue the drive. Otherwise, I'll just run with the Floppy Emu that I'm using.
 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
If you got the SD card with your Floppy Emu, Lido is on there, I think.

A SCSI replacement will be noticeably faster than using the floppy emu in HD20 mode, for what it's worth. The HD20 interface isn't nearly as fast.
 

robin-fo

Member
Is it a miniscribe drive? You might be able to rescue it with some drops of lubricant onto the stepper motor bearing...
 

jy999

New member
huh. I don't know what the drive is, maybe I'll crack open the mac to see.

I'm surprised to hear that a real drive replacement would be faster. This is mostly a curiosity at this point so I'm not sure that would be worth it for me, but I would like to try and rescue that drive. This has been super helpful, thanks everyone.
 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
It's not so much that a "real" drive replacement would be faster, but that you have two different ways of attaching a hard disc to an SE; the HD20, which attaches through the floppy port, which is slow, and SCSI devices in general, which attach through the SCSI port and are universally faster, because the actual connection to the machine is faster. If you're just playing, perhaps not worth it, but at the time, SCSI was quite a noticeable speed bump, and it still is.
 

jy999

New member
Oh that's interesting. I thought the HD20 external connected through an external SCSI port so I assumed it was the same speed. I'll peek at it tomorrow. This stuff is too much fun.
 

rollmastr

Member
Is it a miniscribe drive? You might be able to rescue it with some drops of lubricant onto the stepper motor bearing...

A drop of oil on the stepper motor bearing might indeed bring the MiniScribe back. Definitely worth a try. Also while you're inside the machine pull or replace the PRAM battery.
 
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