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E8357A HDD life expectancy...

Question asked by Dr_Bob on Nov 26, 2013
Latest reply on Nov 27, 2013 by jvall
Greetings Agilent VNA forum,

I am considering purchasing a used low-end VNA. I only require modest performance up to around 6GHz. I have identified a couple  Agilent model in my price/performance bracket including the venerable 8753ES-006 or the E8357A PNA. I am currently drawn to the E8357A as it is a more modern instrument, has LAN connectivity etc,  but I am rather nervous of the potential consequences of outright HDD failure on the PNA.

From what I can glean from trawling the Agilent site the E835XA platform used laptop 2.5"  PATA disks ranging from 40-80Gb (at least with the later 1.1GHz Pentium M cpu running Win XP ). I understand that there are two partitions, C: and D: on the disk and C: can be rebuilt from the D: partition. However I am more concerned about a outright disk failure - especially so since the E835XA PNA is now officially obsolete. 

Assuming that the internal disk is good when I buy it, is possible to clone the disk? Assuming it's a standard PATA disk, I was hoping that I could just create a block-by-block image of the disk (e.g., using dd in Linux) and then use this image as a back-up in the event of disk failure. Assuming I can still get a compatible PATA HDD/SDD I can reimage the whole thing.

Anyone have any thoughts about this? Is it possible, or am I worrying needlessly? (to me the HDD seems the weakest point). I just don't want to find myself in a position where the instrument is effectively written-off because of a disk failure.

Many thanks in advance,