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Read HFS disk without a hp-ux machine

Occasional Visitor

Read HFS disk without a hp-ux machine


I have a scsi-disk (2gb) from an "unknown" hp-box. I know it's hfs and hp-ux version 9. I have to read two files from this disk, but without a hp-box. I already tried with linux, but it only mounts mac-hfs. any ideas?
Steven E. Protter
Exalted Contributor

Re: Read HFS disk without a hp-ux machine


Get an HP-UX machine.

Maybe a Solaris machine.

Probably not.

Steven E Protter
Owner of ISN Corporation
Honored Contributor

Re: Read HFS disk without a hp-ux machine

as a last ditch effort, a "data recovery" service *might* be able to pull the data off.

Usually, these services are extremely costly, as they deal w/ damaged disks.
Assuming the disks actually work and the file system isn't destroyed they may be able to simply read it.

In any case, if you do find some way to get at the data, consider creating a backup tape on media that you *can* access so you don't wind up in the same situation again.....

and, if tar is used, use "relative files" instead of absolutes so that the can be restored to other locations...
Occasional Visitor

Re: Read HFS disk without a hp-ux machine

Seems impossible
Honored Contributor

Re: Read HFS disk without a hp-ux machine

not impossible...

but the cost may not be worth the benefit.

btw: you might find usable workstations on e-bay or thru a reseller of used parts / equipment. you'd need to make sure they've got an available scsi port.

it all comes down to cost / benefit, and how badly you want those two files.....
doug hosking
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Read HFS disk without a hp-ux machine

On a disk that old, the first thing I'd check is whether it will even spin up before worrying about which system can read it. It sounds like you may have gotten past that hurdle.

Then, if trying on HP hardware, I'd wonder whether it came from series 700 or 800. If I remember correctly, series 700 did not support the logical volume manager in 9.x, but series 800 could. Then there's the question of whether it's single-ended SCSI or differential SCSI. It would be helpful to know which model of system the disk originally came from.

If you know the exact HP-UX release you can tell whether it was series 700 or series 800. Odd numbered releases (9.01, 9.03, 9.05, 9.07, 9.09) were for series 700, while even (9.00, 9.04, 9.08) were for series 800. Beware that 9.08 and 9.09 file systems are incompatible with the others in most cases, though these are fairly rare.

If this were my disk, the first thing I'd do after being able to read bits from the disk at all would be to try to make a "dd" image of the disk to a file on a more modern disk. Just because you can read bits from such an old disk this morning does not mean it will work this afternoon. With a "dd" image you have more options about trying again in case anything fails.

Another consideration here is that even within 9.x, disks weren't necessarily easily interoperable between series 700 and series 800 systems. I remember fighting some problems on SE SCSI disks that required changes in SCSI jumpers (not just SCSI ID - I believe it was the "SDTR" jumper - ) before a disk would move between one series and another. I don't recall if that was on 9.x or a pre-release of 10.0. Also, the bootstrap loader varied between 700 and 800 in the older releases. For your purposes, it's probably better to try to mount that disk as a secondary one instead of trying to directly boot it.

HFS is derived from the Berkeley 4.2BSD UFS file system, but with extensions for things like access control lists. Beware of running tools like fsck (except in read-only mode) if you are not sure that they came from the same release as the file system on the disk. I've seen more than one perfectly good file system destroyed due to such mismatches, despite things like superblock magic numbers that are intended to reduce that risk.

Also beware that there can be a big difference between 2.00 GB and 2.01 GB. In those days, there was a hard limit on some versions of 9.x of 2 GB on the size of the disk. HP-UX boot loaders, PDC and other software could not deal with a disk bigger than 2 GB. While your disk was presumably within the required limits, beware if you are trying to copy it to another disk.

Occasional Visitor

Re: Read HFS disk without a hp-ux machine

Thanks folks!

But as OldSchool said, it's a matter of cost/benefit. The HP was used as CAD system and the customer is able to recreate the graphs within two days. So neither he would pay the effort/material nor my employer. Boring I know...
Hope your answers will help others.