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Hard drive questions:

Can I use Hard drives that are bigger than 4Gig on my Amiga?

The short answer is no, you can't. Due to limitations of the Amiga's FastFileSystem, the Amiga can't address partitions that are bigger than 4Gig but there are ways round the limitation. You could use a different filesystem (like AFS or PFS2 (PFS3 is probably out by now)) or limit yourself to drives smaller than that size, which is not likely to be a problem. The difficulty comes with partitioning the drive. HDToolBox won't show the correct information but some people have managed to use it anyway. Alternatively, HDInstTools apparently works with bigger drives but not having tried it, I can't confirm that it works. When you come to format the drive, don't do a full format as this will almost certainly overwrite the RDB and you'll lose your partitions! Use quick format instead.

I want to buy a new hard drive. Should I get SCSI or IDE?

That depends on what you want to use it for. SCSI is, in general, faster than IDE but IDE is more than fast enough for most uses. It also depends on your Amiga. If you have an A600, A1200 or A4000, IDE is built in so you may as well get an IDE drive. IDE drives are also cheaper and more common. Overall, I'd recommend IDE but, if you have money to burn and a SCSI interface of some kind, then go for SCSI.

I keep getting bad blocks and/or read/write errors on my hard drive. What should I do?

The first thing is to find out the cause. If the drive is old and has been working fine in the past, there's a strong possibility its about to die. Backup your data and buy a new one. If the drive is fairly new, then either you've been turning the computer off while its writing to the drive or the maxtransfer rate is too high. Try lowering the maxtransfer rate with HDToolBox. It's also possible (though unlikely these days) that you have a virus. Get yourself an up to date virus checker and use it. There's also plenty of recovery software out there. If you're lucky you might be able to recover your files.

How should I partition my hard drive?

There's no right or wrong way to arrange your partitions and it's largely a matter of personal taste. However, I recommend at least 50MB for your boot partition (100MB if you've got the space and/or plan on installing lots of software) and split the rest into several partitions of between 200MB and 500MB. Several smaller partitions are easier to backup than one big one and, if you are unfortunate enough to have problems with your hard drive, errors will be confined to one partition so at least you won't lose everything.

How do I backup my hard drive and how often should I make backups?

How important is the data stored on your hard drive? If its important to you then make backups every day. If you don't care, do what I do and never make backups ;). Think about what you actually need to backup. If you still have the installation disks/CDs for your software then you only need to backup your workbench and the files you created, otherwise you'll need to do everything! The ideal way to backup your data would be to CD or maybe to a Zip drive. If you don't have a CD writer, Zip drive or some other removeable media drive then BUY ONE! Backing up to floppies just isn't practical unless you are only backing up a very small number of files. As far as backup software is concerned, there are plenty of options - try a few and find one you like.

My hard drive won't boot from cold. I have to reboot to get it to work.

The drive isn't spinning up to it's operating speed quickly enough. If you really can't put up with having to reboot it then you could try cutting the connection to pin 1 on the IDE cable (usually coloured red) but it's not recommended. Either put up with it or buy a newer drive. There is another option though; if you know how to write a startup-sequence you could make a boot disk that resets the computer if the hard drive isn't present. But then if you knew how to do that, you probably wouldn't be reading this ;).

I've just bought a new 3.5" hard drive but when I connect it and my old 2.5" drive, neither of them work - why?

To connect two IDE drives on the same IDE header, one needs to be master and the other slave. This is normally set using jumpers on the individual drives however, most (if not all) 2.5" drives don't have these jumpers as they're designed for laptops which don't have room for two drives. So, you won't be able to connect both at the same time.

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