Making an image of an MO drive (magneto optical)

I have a computer that runs an old odd operating system. It makes back up files to an MO disk (260 MB I believe?). I have to make copies of 12 disks, each containing hundreds of files.

The operating system doesn’t help. It only allows one MO drive per PC. To copy the files, they have to be individually created, allocated, then copied from the MO drive to the hard drive, then repeat from the hard drive to the MO drive, hundreds of times, per disk over 12 disks.

As the system uses a different formatting for the disks than does windows, the disks appear as unformatted to Windows, so standard copying doesn’t work.

I checked some image-making software, (norton ghost, a couple others), but they seemed to only support hard drives, CD/DVDs, and floppies. Some allowed the selection of files to be turned into an image file, but the system recognized no files on the disk to select.

Google searches have been fruitless. Does anyone have software they can recommend to image/rewrite an MO disk?

Urrrrhhhhhgggghh…nope, mental telepathy not working. Must be sunspot interference.

Please tell us what the specific make and model(s) of the PC and the MO drive, and what the specific OS (and verson) that is being used.

Nope, I was blocking your telepathy. The operating system is one you’ve never heard of: HBX. It is an emulation of a IBM Series/1 minicomputer. It runs on top of DOS.

I’ll get the MO model for you shortly.

Only info on HBX I found (a google cache archive link below) doesn’t seem to hold much hope for imaging the MO drive or the hard drive. If the main issue is simply backing up files and the OS (apparently) works with IDE interface drive (via the HBX layer) why not install a simple drive docking system for swapping secondary IDE drives in and out, It would be much faster than any drive imaging of a MO drive solution and fairly cheap. Given the small IDE drives you need and fact hat dockable IDE chassis’ modules are less popular now than they were a few years ago due to the popularity of USB external drives, you can probably find this stuff (small IDE drives & drive bay docking chassis’) for near giveaway prices on eBay.

Google “S/1 Replacement and Growth Alternatives: HBX® Solution Pack” & choose cached link

Well, I’ve been able to image hard drives on an HBX system and have them work.

What I did for the MO drive is fire up a Windows PC with a MO drive and try to image the contents of the MO drive to the HD. Norton Ghost only recognized the hard drive.

I cracked open that computer and found that the hard drive was IDE, but the MO was running off a SCSI card.

So, I’ll try again with a PC with a IDE MO drive.

As for the HBX solution offered, the problem is that I need copies of the MO disks as they are. These have odd historical backups on them. Each disk covers a month, and each disk has a directory (or the HBX equivalent of a directory) for each day of the month. Each of those directories has files that are copies of the key data files as of that day. With any configuration of MO drives on an HBX box, I’ll still have to allocate and copy each directory and file manually, it seems.

I’ll report back on imaging the IDE MO drive (monday).

Another failure:

I put a Fujitsu IDE MO drive model MCF3064AP into a PC. I ran Ghost again, and the only disk it shows is the hard drive.

So, any other ideas on how to image an MO disk?

I’d be much more inclined to use a Linux distro and dd. It may even be possible to mount the drive, but I’m not sure what filesystem type would be used on an MO disk, and whether it’s supported by default.

You can make a Ubuntu or Knoppix live CD quite quickly (and boot it with just the CD drive), and they’ll have SCSI support. You might need to poke around a bit to find the drive (perhaps /dev/sda, perhaps something else)

If you’re interested I can post more when I get home.

My two attempts at installing Linux were failures. My chances of mounting an MO drive in a reasonable amount of time is very low. So, if possible, I’ll stick with Windows. However, if by tomorrow I can’t do it, I’ll look again

I talked with a guy who works in the data recovery industry. He recommended trying WinHex. It seems to support removable media. I’ll use it in my test rig tommorow and report back.

Thanks for the advice.

You don’t have to install Live CDs - you just shove them in the CDROM and reboot the PC.

If it worked, the only issue at that point would be where to put the resulting image data, as Linux doesn’t support NTFS. If you have a FAT32 HD, or have another Linux box you can scp to, that’s not a problem though.

The basic command would be
dd if=/dev/hda of=/mnt/somefile.bin

Good news. After buying, installing, and rebooting, WinHex saw the MO drive as a physical drive, allowing me to make sector-by-sector image files on the the HD and back to blank disks.

Thanks for all the responses.