Help with old disk

So i recently got my hands on two old hard drives and thought it would be fun to see if there is anything inside. However I’m stuck and i would need your help.

I have a Conner peripherals CP 3106 104MB and a Fujitsu M2682TAM 352MB from 1994. I also have an IDE 3.5 to usb converter.

For the CP 3106 i ran these commands :

parted -l

fdisk -l


blkid -o list

and none of them detected the disk, i can hear it turning but no trace of it on my pc.

And for the M2682TAM the same commands couldn’t finish, even ctrl-C wasn’t stopping them, except for lsblk which was telling me the disk is 2T.

I did a little research and i found this documentation : so i opened the Master/slave jumper and now lsblk tells me it is 0ko and a removable disk.

I’m kinda stuck now cause there aren’t that many documentations about these drives, and the only solution left is see is to get a pc from the same age and try them on it.

If any of you got any ideas i’ll take it.

Welcome! I would expect lsblk to be a good tool - in this case, the tool is telling you the kernel can’t see the disk, I think. So I’d suspect the adapter you have - or it could be the cable, or it could even be that these old disks need more current than the USB adapter can deliver.

Perhaps the adapter doesn’t do quite the oldest flavours of the interface? A web search says these drives are

Interface Group: PATA (IDE, UDMA, EIDE)

I say this without knowing how the IDE interface evolved.

How are you powering them? Nearly all IDE disks require both 12V and 5V supplied.

Most IDE disks had jumper descriptions in a sticker on the back or on the main label, usually showing defaults. I would go with those if so. Otherwise, IF the info I dug up is accurate (no promises, guarantees, or returns), the CP3104 would have ACT and CD jumpered. For the 2682TAM, 1-2 & 9-10 jumpered. Others should be open.

When you connect the USB, keep a sudo tail -f /var/log/messages or /var/log/syslog (distro dependant) running. Power the drive before connecting the USB. It should show the USB interface initialize, recognize a block device, and so on. If the kernel sees a drive it’ll show which device. Errors should be reported there also.

Good luck. Hard drives are among the most failure prone devices. I didn’t have many last 10 years, much less push 30.

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Sorry, 9-10 open, not jumpered.

The kinds of IDE / USB converters I’ve used are like caddies. A big box with an external power supply. When you plug it in to the host computer it just shows up like any other external storage - usb thumb drive etc.

I’ve seen some other kinds that seem to be designed for use inside the computer - little PCBs that attach to the drives as they’re installed in drive bays in a case. Those types have molex power connectors on them. If you’re using that type, make sure the molex power connector is… connected! :smiley:

Your best bet might just be to use an old PC, if you have one. One from, say, 2000 - 2005 with a good BIOS setup program that lets you control disk parameters.

Thanks you’all for your answers.

Firstly the jumpers were already positionned as you suggested.

Secondly the adapter I use is an IDE/SATA 2.5 - 3.5 to usb. (this one : SOLDES HIVER 2023 - 15% Advance adaptateur easy plug usb 3.0 - hdd - usb 3.0 - noir pas cher) the drive are powered with a 4 pins power supply cable directly connected to the adapter and i used it for a SATA drive which also require 12V and 5V so i assume it should be okay.

However, I supposed it was an IDE interface but after verification it doesn’t look like the ones i can see online. Mine have the 40 pins interface right next to the power connector while the ones I see online have the jumpers between the two.
So it may be the issue cause I could be using the wrong adapter.

In any case if the adapter isn’t the issue i could try plugging the disk directly to my power supply.

also right now I can’t try anything cause my EndeavourOs just broke up but a soon as I fix it I’ll try a sudo tails -f /var/log/syslog

I think the real problem here is the USB to IDE adapter. Most (all?) of these expect a fairly modern IDE drive that supports LBA addressing. These older, smaller drives have no reason to use LBA addressing as the older CHS addressing works fine for those sizes.

To get those drives to report in you are going to need to connect them to a real IDE port on a motherboard with an IDE chipset. Something that can speak both CHS and LBA.


Okay thanks I didn’t know about CHS and LBA addressing so I searched it up and I think I understand how both work and why but wouldn’t it be possible to sort of emulate the CHS addressing, like, is getting a motherboard with an IDE chipset the only solution ? and why ?

It seems like some kind of emulation should be possible in theory, but I don’t know of any specific tools. VirtualBox is supposed to support CHS drive geometry, but I’m not confident it would work through your USB adapter. If you have a PCI slot you might be able to find an old PATA card that could work. I think in the long run you are probably likely to spend time, effort, and money, and maybe still fail to get your data off the drive.

Modern devices (like your USB adapter) rely on the drive to self-report its configuration; but old drives like yours don’t do that. Back then you had to manually set the drive configuration in the BIOS setup program. The OS (e.g., DOS or Windows 3.1!) relied on the BIOS to mediate between it and the hardware.

If you really can’t get ahold of an old motherboard, you might be able to do something clever like programming a Raspberry PI to speak PATA and then dump the drive to your PC over a serial connection. That would be a pretty technical project; some of the guys on here could probably do it, but I don’t think I could. :slight_smile:


Thanks for the informations, I don’t think I could program a Raspberry PI neither so I’m just gonna search for an appropriate motherboard. I’ll let you know when I get my hands on one.

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