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Old 26 April 2006, 14:31   #1
mr_a500
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IDEfix - what can it do for me?

Yes, I've read the IDEfix documentation and read some webpages and read many posts. I haven't really found answers to my questions and want to find out if it will actually be good for me with my setup (using A500 with Viper520, no CD-ROM). This bit from the documentation is what got me interested:
Quote:
Enhance your IDE-port! Faster transfer, faster booting, less CPU use!
No MaxTransfer troubles, set MaxTransfer as big as you like!
TD64 & NSD commands supported, use IDE drives bigger than 4 GIG with your
Amiga (requires FileSystem with TD64 and/or NSD support).
Patches into the system "on the fly", no reboot required.
I've already got WB3.9 (completely legal and painfully expensive original copy), but before you say "just use 3.9", there are many reasons why I don't want to and/or can't. So I extracted the 43.35 scsi.device from 3.9 and use it with WB3.1 when I want to access partitions beyond 4Gb. The problem is that to do that I need to double-boot, so I can't use it all the time (I hate double-booting).

So - is IDEfix actually faster? Does it have any problems with newer filesystems (SFS, FFS 45.14)? Does it actually load without double-booting? If harddrives > 4Gb can be used, how are they partitioned?(HDtoolbox shows only 8Gb) Has anyone had problems with it? (I'm not too fond of harddrive corruption)

I tried IDEfix and got the annoying popup, but I didn't see my partition beyond 4Gb. I'm hoping this is just because I manually installed it. I installed manually because I didn't know if the install was going to have a hidden file cause infinite annoying popups - like one piece of crap shareware (crapware?) did to me a few years ago.

Another problem: when I installed my HD, I used WB3.1 and my HD shows only 8Gb (it's a 40Gb drive). I thought 3.9 HDtoolbox would show the correct size, but even that only shows 8Gb. Is there a way to update the drive information (using 3.9 HDtoolbox) without destroying data?
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Old 26 April 2006, 15:08   #2
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HDtoolbox, be it for 3.1 or 3.9, has not been updated.., therefor it WILL NOT show greater.

Try searching Aminet for "HDinst", it load and looks EXACTLY like HDtoolbox, but its been coded to TD64 specifications.
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Old 26 April 2006, 15:38   #3
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HDToolBox with OS3.9 BB2 corrects the problem of the standard OS3.9 toolbox. But I think I had to install the drive again (destroying data) to change it from approx 8Gb to 127Gb. Maybe HDinst allows you to do it better, or I don't know how to use full features of HDToolBox

Note that I used that HDToolBox with scsi.device 43.35, and whatever FFS OS3.9 BB1/BB2? uses.
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Old 26 April 2006, 16:55   #4
thomas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_a500
So - is IDEfix actually faster?
Not noticeable.

Does it work with the Viper's IDE port at all (i.e. does the documentation mention the Viper and does it replace the Viper's IDE driver) ? Otherwise the only benefit you get is the CD-ROM filesystem (CacheCDFS).

Quote:
Does it have any problems with newer filesystems (SFS, FFS 45.14)?
No problems, works fine with all available file systems.

Quote:
Does it actually load without double-booting?
Depends on which features you want to use. If the boot HDD should be larger than 4GB, then you have to double boot.

Quote:
when I installed my HD, I used WB3.1 and my HD shows only 8Gb (it's a 40Gb drive).
HDToolbox shows whatever you enter into the geometry fields. 8GB is an old limit of PC IDE controllers which was accidentely adopted in HDToolbox. This is corrected by the OS3.9 boingbags. However, you can partition the entire drive anyway, you just have to enter the correct geometry manually.

HDInstTool is not a good choice IMHO. It might have less bugs than HDToolbox but those it has are serious. Also HDToolbox is easier to handle.
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Old 26 April 2006, 22:43   #5
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Quote:
If the boot HDD should be larger than 4GB, then you have to double boot.
The "boot HDD" - if you mean boot partition then I'm OK because I'd never put a boot partition beyond 4Gb, but if you mean that the HD has partitions beyond 4Gb, then that ruins my whole purpose of using IDEfix. I don't have a CD-ROM and didn't want double booting. In that case, I'll just stick with the original solution of using LoadModule (you helped me with that one too! - thanks again for that one Thomas )

Quote:
HDInstTool is not a good choice IMHO. It might have less bugs than HDToolbox but those it has are serious.
Yes, I took one look at HDinst and got scared.

Quote:
This is corrected by the OS3.9 boingbags.
I have version 45.6 of HDtoolbox (2002) on my 3.9 partition, and it still only shows 8Gb - so I guess that means that I would have had to use 45.6 to "install" the drive originally (and if I install now, I'll lose everything).

Last edited by mr_a500; 26 April 2006 at 22:48.
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Old 26 April 2006, 23:15   #6
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Quote:
The "boot HDD" - if you mean boot partition then I'm OK
No, I meant the HDD with the bootpartition on.

Quote:
because I'd never put a boot partition beyond 4Gb,
You can't do this anyway. The boot partition has to be below 4GB, otherwise it won't boot.

Quote:
I have version 45.6 of HDtoolbox (2002) on my 3.9 partition, and it still only shows 8Gb
Go to the install dialogue. It will ask you if you want to edit or define new. Choose define new. Then click on "read configuration". Write down the value for "total nuimber of blocks" (it's on the right). Click on Cancel until you are on the first screen again. Then click on Install again, but this time choose edit. Now increase the number of cylinders until the total number of blocks touches but doesn't pass the number you wrote down. With this method the partitions shouldn't get deleted.

To be entirely sure you should choose "save RDB" and "save mountfile" before you begin. Save them to floppy disk, not to the HDD.
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Old 26 April 2006, 23:53   #7
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OK, I read the configuration and I got this:

Cylinders: 38811
Heads: 8
Blocks per track: 252
Blocks per cylinder: 2016

Now here's the scary part. I did exactly as you said and I was wondering why the numbers weren't adding up. Then I noticed that my current configuration is:

Cylinders: 16383
Heads: 16
Blocks per track: 63
Blocks per cylinder: 1008

These numbers were entered automatically when I originally "read configuration" to install the drive using the WB3.1 HDtoolbox (when I wasn't using 3.9). I tested again with WB3.1 HDtoolbox and this is what I got.

So now - am I screwed? If I can't change the numbers without losing data, what does it mean if I continue using the drive with these numbers - future corruption? I can't just wipe the drive and reinstall. It took me 3 weeks with AmigaExplorer and a borrowed Windows laptop just to copy everything. Arrgh!
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Old 27 April 2006, 17:42   #8
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Damn ! I didn't know that HDToolbox throws away all partitions, even if you choose to edit the existing geometry.

Well then, run the new HDToolbox, click on your drive and choose "save mountfile" from the menu. Save it to your HDD and perhaps also to a floppy disk in order to have a backup.

Then load it into your favourite text editor. At the top of the file you find the characteristics of the drive. One line should read Cylinders = 16383 and another one should read MinCyl = 2; MaxCyl = 16382.

Change Cylinders to 77622 and MaxCyl to 77621, then save it.

Now run HDToolbox again, click on your drive and choose "load mountfile" from the menu. Choose the edited mountfile. Now the existing partitions should still be there, but a lot of free space should have appeared at the end of the drive.

If the computer does not boot after the change, run HDToolbox from your emergency floppy and load the backup mountfile. This should restore the old settings.
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Old 27 April 2006, 19:29   #9
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I can't use the Emergency Boot because I don't have a CD-ROM drive. That's why I used the 3.1 HDtoolbox to install the drive. Then I copied over 3.9 manually. (When I originally got 3.9, Softhut installed it on my first HD for me - that HD is now dead)

So without a way to run the 3.9 HDtoolbox if my drive change doesn't work, I will be screwed. (why oh why did they make the 3.9 HDtoolbox use the stupid Reaction GUI)

What about the incorrect Heads, Blocks per track and Blocks per cylinder? I assume that the 3.1 HDtoolbox was wrong and the 3.9 HDtoolbox has read it correctly. My question was: what will these incorrect numbers do? Will I eventually end up with a corrupt drive if I continue to use these numbers? Can I change these numbers to the correct ones without losing everything? (I have made no changes yet - too scared)
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Old 28 April 2006, 08:34   #10
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Quote:
So without a way to run the 3.9 HDtoolbox if my drive change doesn't work, I will be screwed.
You can use the 3.1 HDToolbox as well. You only have to enter all data by hand because it does not have the "load mountfile" menu. Just print the mountfile so you have it on paper.

Quote:
My question was: what will these incorrect numbers do?
They'll do nothing. There are no correct or incorrect numbers. They are just different.

HDDs present themselves as one long stream of blocks which are addressed by logical block address. Terms like heads, sectors and cylinders come from ancient PC technology. If you read the technical specifications of modern drives you'll see that they don't even have a fixed number of blocks per track. The size of a track varies depending on whether it is positioned more on the outer or the inner of the disk.

The only relevancy for AmigaOS is that the HDToolbox reserves two cylinders in the beginning of the HDD for the partition table (RDB) and that partitons always start on a cylinder boundary. So you should choose the value for blocks per cylinder (which is the result of multiplying blocks per track by the number of heads) so that there is enough space for the RDB and once you chose one you must not change it any more or you won't be able to recreate your partitions.

So all you may do now is to increase the number of cylinders in order to add the remaining space. All other values may not be changed if you want to keep your existing partitions.
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Old 28 April 2006, 14:39   #11
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Hmmmmm,

I have been battling this problem..

Idefix is installed and working.
Scsi Device 43.23 installed (patched)

I have read the drive mechanics and put them in as discussed here, but both Hdtoolbox, and HDinst both only allow 8GIG of the drive to be partitioned.

Ripping my hair out here.

But I have got 2GIG boot, 2GIG partition "Programs", 4GIG Partition "Programs2".

(20GIG hitachi).
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Old 28 April 2006, 15:04   #12
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Thanks Thomas! It's great to have someone as knowledgeable as you around for reliable Amiga advice. I know I can always trust what you say.

OK, I'll just change the Cylinders then.
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Old 28 April 2006, 19:33   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteb
Idefix is installed and working.
Scsi Device 43.23 installed (patched)
IDEfix comes with scsi.device version 119, so why do you mention or even bother with version 43 ?

Quote:
I have read the drive mechanics and put them in as discussed here, but both Hdtoolbox, and HDinst both only allow 8GIG of the drive to be partitioned.
So you obviously did something wrong.

If you need further help, you should at least mention what you actually did, which values you used, where you got them from, what model the drive is, etc.

Bye,
Thomas
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Old 28 April 2006, 21:46   #14
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What a nightmare! I did exactly as you said (except for the bit about printing the mountfile - printer needs ink) and when I rebooted, I got the Amiga "insert disk" screen! I almost vomited blood!

So then I used my bootdisk with 3.1 HDtoolbox and Disksalv. I saw that all my partitions had been deleted!

I had backed up the mountfile to floppy, but the floppy was corrupt! My second mountfile backup got mixed up with other disks and I couldn't find it. I created a partition and did a Disksalv check and saw that my files were still there (... and I picked one of my lungs off the floor).

Then I started creating partitions from memory. Luckily, my memory was good because I rebooted and saw Workbench. Without that I would be screwed because my Work partition is SFS and I don't have it on my bootdisk. I had to reload SFS in the RDB and enter more numbers by memory. Then, amazingly I got two other partitions back. I had a hell of a time getting the last 3 partitions. I finally found the disk with the mountfile on it and tried loading it in 3.9 HDtoolbox (now that the 3.9 partition was there). I got "Error 233 reading drive description" and it failed. Also, I noticed that Loadmodule (for scsi.device 43.35) refused to work. (stupid BB2 scsi.device doesn't work)

So I entered the remaining numbers manually from the mountfile and now everything is working (including Loadmodule). I can actually see the extra space now.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh. (...slowly putting internal organs back to where they belong)

Last edited by mr_a500; 28 April 2006 at 22:03.
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Old 29 April 2006, 07:03   #15
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I think i am getting it now.......

Like Mr.A500 said, NIGHTMARE....

Noted all the partition geometries by hand.
Deleted all partitions
Rebooted with 3.0 install
HDTOOLBOX then shows the full drive (well 19GIG of it).
Recreate each partition once at a time, making sure i have them working..
Then make new drives, 4GIG at a time (cant make more than 4GIG per partition).

Phwew.

Last edited by whiteb; 29 April 2006 at 08:15.
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Old 29 April 2006, 23:05   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomas
HDInstTool is not a good choice IMHO. It might have less bugs than HDToolbox but those it has are serious. Also HDToolbox is easier to handle.
What bugs does it have? I had a look in the docs but couldn't see anything.
I've got a new large drive to install (20GB), but no access to OS3.9. Would you say it's a good idea to read the drive geometry in HDInsttool and type those values into HDToolbox? Or should I use something else to read the drive geometry.
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Old 30 April 2006, 04:07   #17
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hehehe....mr_A500...your life would be so much easier if you traded in that old dusty A500, for an A600. Think how much easier it would have been to first backup your Amiga's HD contents over a Lan network using an Ethernet adaptor plugged into the A600's slinky PCMCIA port!

Plus A600s just look a lot better too (almost as pretty as my A1200 )
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Old 30 April 2006, 05:06   #18
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Nah, the A600 is butt-ugly. I've had my poor old A500 since 1989, and I've always liked it so I like to keep the thing alive. I do need a better backup method. I was thinking of getting a CF to IDE adapter with 2 slots and a couple 4Gb compact flash cards. That way I'll always have a quick backup.

I like the A1200 - and it has, as you say, a "slinky" PCMCIA port. I'm getting an A1200 next month. Then I'll be called "mr_a1200".
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Old 30 April 2006, 17:01   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dilinger
hehehe....mr_A500...your life would be so much easier if you traded in that old dusty A500, for an A600. Think how much easier it would have been to first backup your Amiga's HD contents over a Lan network using an Ethernet adaptor plugged into the A600's slinky PCMCIA port!

Plus A600s just look a lot better too (almost as pretty as my A1200 )
He wouldn't find an accelerator matching the one he has now in a jiffy and it wouldn't cost peanuts
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