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Thread: Floppy Disk Access

  1. #1
    Diamond Member Neville Bailey's Avatar
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    Floppy Disk Access

    I have a desperate client who needs to access backup data made on (wait for it) floppy disks in the early 90’s!

    Not stiffy disks - floppy disks.

    Does anyone know who has the means to transfer that data to a more modern medium, such as a flash drive or DVD?
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Are they the 1.44Mb floppies? You'd need to find someone who has an old working PC that still has IDE ports on the motherboard for drives and a suitable floppy disk drive. You could transfer the files from the disks to the harddrive then remove any Windows user passwords before removing the drive from the PC entirely and put it in an external case and plug it via USB into a current PC or laptop.

    The reason I'd suggest using an old PC instead of a portable USB floppy drive is that the likelihood of the disks of this age being in perfect readable condition is slim (bordering on annorexic). If you use an old PC you should be able to find a copy of norton utilities if you scratch around the interwebz (version 1 was FAT16, version 2 if the disks are FAT32 format). It had an application called norton disk doctor which would give you the best chance of recovering something that's readable from the floppies in the event there's some bad unreadable sectors.

    **edit** here's an untested and unproved link to a site that appears to be mirroring version 2 under the class of 'abandonware'. https://winworldpc.com/download/7C16...A-C86000DD9ED6 It might be useful to you but I'd suggest you do some due dilligance before blindly trusting it. If you crash a windows 98 PC you could find yourself reinstalling from the 39 floppy disks the operating system came on
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neville Bailey View Post
    Not stiffy disks - floppy disks.
    Strictly, the "stiffie" is a 3.5" Micro Floppy 1.44 MB Disk , so I suspect Neville might be referring to the 5.25" 720KB double density floppy disk.

    Same challenges apply, though. I'd be hugely impressed if the media is readable. Somewhere in the noughties I tested my old disks that were 10 to 15 years old at that point, and they were toast.

    (If you're referring to the quad density 5.25", you can probably put the client out of their misery straight away - they were known to corrupt within a couple of years, let alone decades).

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    Gold Member irneb's Avatar
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    Unfortunately I don't have those old computers anymore. You might be able to get something like it available somewhere though.
    E.g. http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw...eader&_sacat=0

    Though that would likely also mean you need to install some expansion card to connect the IDE cables. There are very few motherboards these days having IDE ports. It might be a good idea to look for some external USB connected device, e.g. http://www.ebay.com/sch/Floppy-Zip-J...p2045573.m1684

    Though it seems there's very few 5.25" floppy drives, quite a lot of 3.5" stiffy drives though.

    Also note, you got several types of each. E.g. the 5.25" came in single / double sided, single / double / high density. Most common was the 360KB in mid 80s and in early 90s the high density 1.2MB tended to be the norm. The 3.5" stiffy came in 720KB and later 1.44MB. Usually a drive able to read the higher sizes could also read the smaller ones, but not the other way round.
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    Gold Member irneb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Strictly, the "stiffie" is a 3.5" Micro Floppy 1.44 MB Disk , so I suspect Neville might be referring to the 5.25" 720KB double density floppy disk.
    There was a 720KB 5.25" quad-density floppy drive, but not something commonly found. At least not on IBM compatibles. The most common sizes for 5.25" floppies was 360 kB double-sided / double-density, and later (since 84) the 1.2 MB double-sided / high-density.

    I think you got confused with the standard density 3.5" stiffy's size of 720kB. And around 87 the first HD variant was introduced with IBM's PS2 machines, able to store 1.44MB. Later Amiga brought out an incompatible 1.7MB type of "stiffy", but these were not as common.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    It all was a while ago and it's entirely possible I got some of the specs wrong. Here's a history of the floppy disk if anyone wants to go over the specifics.

  7. #7
    Gold Member irneb's Avatar
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    Just wondering if there's some service like this in SA. The trouble with using something like http://www.retrofloppy.com/ or http://www.cambridgedatarecovery.co....sfer-to-cddvd/ is that your postage is probably more problematic than anything else.
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    Silver Member PlatinumWealth.co.za's Avatar
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    Blast from the past.

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    It reminds me of Mission Impossible 1996. I think there is no way to copy it from today's computer. I am using NZXT 340s casing and there is no place for optical drive let alone floppy disc driver. You can contact to old computer shop if they have any pc with floppy disc driver.

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