Subject: RE: largest disk in a vs4000/90
To: Gregg C Levine <>
From: John Klos <>
List: port-vax
Date: 07/25/2003 22:12:02

> Antonio, how do you prepare your disk drives for your operating
> system? I seem to recall, and just had it proven for the operating
> systems for the Evil Empire, that the drive needs to be formatted
> before it can be used. Normally the hardware manufacturer provides the
> media for that purpose. Sometimes it's floppy, and a CD, sometimes two
> floppies.

This is a NetBSD mailing list, not a DOS / Windows mailing list;
therefore, one can usually assume, if it isn't clear enough from the
context, that "formatting" refers to low level formatting. While older
SCSI drives can sometimes benefit from low level formatting, it's not a
commonly performed operation.

DOS / Windows refers to the partitioning of a drive as "formatting"
because of the fact that DOS' / Windows' origins are the floppy disk,
where formatting really was formatting. It's incorrect usage of the term.

Hardware manufacturers sell the drives already formatted, but not
partitioned. The disks you get are DOS / Windows programs to overcome the
various limitations of the 8086 BIOSes, generally.

> That being stated, can an IDE/ATA type drive be attached to a VAX, via
> the appropriate after-market board? Or even a non-DEC specified, SCSI
> disk drive, again via an after-market board? Remember, I am normally a
> lurker who typically uses the Intel family of neurotic hardware.

Most SCSI drives can, generally, be connected to most SCSI controllers. So
yes, a non-DEC SCSI drive can be connected to a VAX SCSI controller.

Regarding IDE, a company named Acard makes IDE to SCSI adapters. I have a
number of them, and they make an IDE drive appear to be just like a SCSI
drive on the SCSI bus. So yes, one could connect an IDE drive to a VAX
using one of these adapters.

John Klos
Sixgirls Computing Labs