Jump to content











Photo
- - - - -

Looking for : disk BIOS (int 13h) extension for 4kB-sectors

disk bios large sectors

  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Ninho

Ninho

    Member

  • Members
  • 63 posts

Posted 14 December 2011 - 07:58 PM

Hello there, reboot-pro members !

Not too sure which section of the forums to pose my question, trying here.

I recently got a 1 teribyte Iomega external USB hard drive. The disk inside the appliance presents standard 512 bytes sectors at its sATA port, unfortunately, Iomega chose to program the firmware of the USB-SATA bridge such that it presetns 4k sectors at the USB interface - a completely unnecessary and stupid choice IMHO, but Iomega (nor the makers of the bridge they use) won't provide the program which could reprogram the bridge nor the spec sheet.

So, I'm stuck with this unit which works OK in modern OSes but I can't access it in DOS/old windowzees nor in the BIOS. My relatively modern BIOS (2006) int 13h doesn't understand 4k-sectorised HD. I am wondering by the way if there are yet any BIOSes which do -???-

Anyways there won't be a BIOS update for my mobo. My question then, do you guys and gals know if there exists "disk overlays" (ala ontrack disk manager) that would provide BIOS int 13h with the new functions needed to access 4096 bytes per sector ?

Also, if someone had the programs or info from the manufacturer for reprogramming this USB/SATA bridge http://www.plxtech.c...onsumer/oxu3111 once and for all so it transparently passes 512 byte sectors, please chime in !

#2 Ninho

Ninho

    Member

  • Members
  • 63 posts

Posted 15 December 2011 - 03:19 PM

since I can't seem to edit my posts, I'm adding these Complements as a follow up message

The disk inside the appliance presents standard 512 bytes sectors at its sATA port


read as : internal (inside the enclosure), not accessible to the PC, SATA port.

Complement : Actually my BIOS is modern enough that it /does/ int 13h extensions (packet read/write), but it doesn't expect USB hard-disks to have other than 512-bytes sectors. I suspect not many BIOSes do, even recent ones - wrong ?

So I would need a loadable overlay/extension for the USB (EHCI) HDD functions of the BIOS rather than than the main hard disk int 13, I presume.

Does any of the projects which these forums {follow/promote} allow the loading of such a BIOS extension from (say) an MBR ?
Am I the first one to be hit by this kind of problems ?

Please note this question is /not/ about 4k sector support by DOS or any other OS - although I'm interested in DOS support also! ; [I'm aware of R. Loew's patches allegedly providing 4k-sector support in DOS.]

TIA guys and gals

Edited by Ninho, 15 December 2011 - 03:22 PM.


#3 steve6375

steve6375

    Platinum Member

  • Developer
  • 6462 posts
  • Location:UK
  • Interests:computers, programming (masm,vb6,C,vbs), photography,TV,films,guitars
  •  
    United Kingdom

Posted 15 December 2011 - 04:27 PM

Why not buy a USB 3 HDD caddy for $40 ?

Can you explain what you are trying to do? You can't boot from the drive as the BIOS does not support it, so do you want to boot DOS from another drive and then access this drive?

#4 Wonko the Sane

Wonko the Sane

    The Finder

  • Advanced user
  • 13334 posts
  • Location:The Outside of the Asylum (gate is closed)
  •  
    Italy

Posted 15 December 2011 - 04:47 PM

Run Chipgenius on the thingy and post what it says:
http://reboot.pro/4661/

Maybe it is possible to find the manufacturer tool (though it is difficult, as most of the tools are for USB stick controllers, not USB/SATA bridges :unsure:)

:cheers:
Wonko

#5 Ninho

Ninho

    Member

  • Members
  • 63 posts

Posted 15 December 2011 - 08:30 PM

Run Chipgenius on the thingy and post what it says:


Wonko, if you would peek carefully into the original post again, you would notice I have already identified the exact manufacturer and chip, and posted a link. The manufacturer PLX (they bought Oxbridge) have a tool called, iirc, ISIS but require a registration and signing an NDA. I did try to register but I received (several times) an automated msg that /something/ (unspecified) had prevented the registration to work and please should I try again ;=(

OTOH Iomega, the assembler, is whose customer I am rather than PLX; Iomega should provide me (and other interested customers) with the tool from PLX (or a dumbed down utility anyway) but they couldn't care less.

Oh well...

#6 Ninho

Ninho

    Member

  • Members
  • 63 posts

Posted 15 December 2011 - 08:53 PM

Can you explain what you are trying to do? You can't boot from the drive as the BIOS does not support it, so do you want to boot DOS from another drive and then access this drive?


I'm fiddling with the thing both for the sheer techno fun (say education purposes) and because I'd be much happier if I could use that disk for data excahnge between computers and OSes, not just restricted to archival under selected OSes.

The preferred solution would be to have the bridge reprogrammed to be transparent (like it is /by default/ ! Iomega got out of their way to change this, and can't/won't explain why they did so. IMO they misundertood Microsoft's "suggestions", and/or they wanted to make /their/ life simpler by having a unique sector size for the new series of USB disks, without regard to the 2 teribyte "limit").

Meanwhile I'm interested in accessing the disk, with 4k sectors, in environments for which it was not meant to be. I /can/ access the data from DOS, mind you, by programming, using USBASPI.SYS with a ( hacked by me version of) DIDD1000.SYS. Of course MSDOS 7.10 itself (IO.SYS) is not prepared for 4k sectors and won't mount the disk. But I've asserted the disk is accessible without extraordinary means and without privileged knowledge, which was the point.

Having confirmed it is not very difficult to access the data on the device, I have come here to seek whether one or another of the booting environments discussed in these fora (grub4dos, syslinux, etc...) can boot from this kind of treacherous appliances.

Let's hear from you and others' experience

#7 steve6375

steve6375

    Platinum Member

  • Developer
  • 6462 posts
  • Location:UK
  • Interests:computers, programming (masm,vb6,C,vbs), photography,TV,films,guitars
  •  
    United Kingdom

Posted 15 December 2011 - 09:04 PM

OK, but even if grub4dos did support 4k sectors, you would still need to boot and load grub4dos from a different disk which has normal 512 byte sectors...

#8 Ninho

Ninho

    Member

  • Members
  • 63 posts

Posted 15 December 2011 - 09:53 PM

OK, but even if grub4dos did support 4k sectors, you would still need to boot and load grub4dos from a different disk which has normal 512 byte sectors...


Granted but no sweat...

#9 Wonko the Sane

Wonko the Sane

    The Finder

  • Advanced user
  • 13334 posts
  • Location:The Outside of the Asylum (gate is closed)
  •  
    Italy

Posted 17 December 2011 - 03:21 PM

Wonko, if you would peek carefully into the original post again, you would notice I have already identified the exact manufacturer and chip, and posted a link. The manufacturer PLX (they bought Oxbridge) have a tool called, iirc, ISIS but require a registration and signing an NDA. I did try to register but I received (several times) an automated msg that /something/ (unspecified) had prevented the registration to work and please should I try again ;=(

OTOH Iomega, the assembler, is whose customer I am rather than PLX; Iomega should provide me (and other interested customers) with the tool from PLX (or a dumbed down utility anyway) but they couldn't care less.

Oh well...

Sure :), I rarely fail to peek CAREFULLY, only sometimes Chipgenius ALSO identifies the chip AND gives a link to a post on the Chinese board where the Manufacturer tool may be found.

Just for the record, I can actually care less than the Iomega guys, rest assured :whistling:.

:cheers:
Wonko

#10 Ninho

Ninho

    Member

  • Members
  • 63 posts

Posted 26 December 2011 - 11:53 AM

Chipgenius ALSO identifies the chip AND gives a link to a post on the Chinese board where the Manufacturer tool may be found.


Note taken, I'll have to try and interrogate that Genie (odes it live inside of a bottle ?)

Meanwhile bear with 2 additional questions please :

- Do you happen to know yet which one(s) of the pre-boot environments / tools could read and hopefully boot from the disk in question, i.e. USB EHCI + 4 kilobyte sectors ? Can you orient me or should I post a similar question to every possibly concerned section of the fora ?

- Where can I read about specifs and (AMI) BIOS implementations of the boot from USB disk process and generally how USB disk access inserts itself into the legacy int 13 ? I might try to write a preboot hack for my BIOS (which I would load into "shadow" RAM) If it turns out to be feasible without having to learn the complicated "USB" part.

... I can actually care less than the Iomega guys, rest assured


And I hope not ! Merry holidays...


--
Ninho

#11 Wonko the Sane

Wonko the Sane

    The Finder

  • Advanced user
  • 13334 posts
  • Location:The Outside of the Asylum (gate is closed)
  •  
    Italy

Posted 26 December 2011 - 12:15 PM

You can try PLoP :unsure:.
http://www.plop.at/e...otmanagers.html

And you might want to go the hard way:
http://sites.google....e-engineering-1

:cheers:
Wonko

#12 Ninho

Ninho

    Member

  • Members
  • 63 posts

Posted 26 December 2011 - 01:46 PM

You can try PLoP :unsure:.
http://www.plop.at/e...otmanagers.html


I tried Plop, at about the same time I first posted the problem here. It didn't work unfortunately, Plop hangs on accessing the weird disk :(

Didn't succeed in registering at Plop's online forum, never received the confirm. Shall try again...

And you might want to go the hard way:
http://sites.google....e-engineering-1


Ah, I have known Pinczalco's laudable efforts for a long time, but I don't think he disassembled or discusses the USB boot module.

Grub4DOS and/or Syslinux maybe ????

#13 Wonko the Sane

Wonko the Sane

    The Finder

  • Advanced user
  • 13334 posts
  • Location:The Outside of the Asylum (gate is closed)
  •  
    Italy

Posted 26 December 2011 - 02:04 PM

Grub4DOS and/or Syslinux maybe ????

Don't think so, as neither have an own USB stack.

:cheers:
Wonko

#14 Ninho

Ninho

    Member

  • Members
  • 63 posts

Posted 26 December 2011 - 02:31 PM

Don't think so, as neither have an own USB stack.


Alright, the BIOS (yr 2006 iirc) has its own USB stack and can boot from USB media all by itself, only thing missing
in my opinion is the knowledge that hard disk sectors could be something other than 512 bytes !

Which leads to BIOS hanging during POST if the thing is connected (doesn't really hang, times out after a long while, after which it tries other boot devices).

And if booting still is attempted from the thing using Plop it hangs completely as I reported earlier.

I think I must contact the Plop guys next : there might lye [spell?] the easiest fix to a problem which is going to hurt more people than just Ninho ...





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: disk, bios, large sectors

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users