Author Topic: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...  (Read 3292 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline 50ShadesOfDirtTopic starter

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 110
  • Country: us
Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« on: November 03, 2023, 02:38:26 pm »
... so far, I've:
  - tried a current & portable USB 1.44mb fdd, and it did work for a few weeks, but I must have used it too hard (ran 50 or so old floppies through it), and it quit reading the floppies. No idea how to fix it ...
  - resurrected an old pc, and it's physical 1.44mb floppy drive still works, so running more through it.

The data is able to be read, after nearly 30 years. The old pc also is letting me format many of the disks (about two thirds of them). If format pauses/makes-noise on any sector, I toss the floppy.

I've also ordered some of the other options, like:
  - usb pcb interface to old physical 1.44mb floppy
  - greaseweazle (just to experiment with "flux" effort ... intrigued by the concept)

Still have to chew through several hundreds of these floppies. Haven't gotten to the 5-1/4" floppies yet ... Hopefully, when I dig deep enough into the storage units, I'll find an old pc with such a drive in it, and won't have to pay outrageous ebay prices any time soon. Anyone aware of a more modern solution for 5-1/4" drives?

So, data is being read off of nearly 30-y.o. 1.44mb 3.5" floppies. Mostly able to get data off of nearly 20-y.o. cdrom's ... not bad!

 

Offline ebastler

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6467
  • Country: de
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2023, 04:56:28 pm »
Haven't gotten to the 5-1/4" floppies yet ... Hopefully, when I dig deep enough into the storage units, I'll find an old pc with such a drive in it, and won't have to pay outrageous ebay prices any time soon. Anyone aware of a more modern solution for 5-1/4" drives?

You will obviously need a physical 5.25" drive, no way around that. Find, borrow or buy one! ;)

If you don't want to fire up an old PC and then figure out how to get data downloaded from that machine: Greaseweazle should also handle 5.25" drives nicely. You will need to supply 12V for the motor externally, of course. (Not sure whether there were any late, 5V-only 5.25" drives?)

It's worth pointing out that you do not necessarily have to work in "raw flux" mode with GreaseWeazle. The software (gw.exe) knows a wealth of floppy formats and can decode the flux tracks into binary sector data on the fly, storing clean binary images directly. You can even define your own disk formats easily, if you have something with exotic block sizes, blocks per track etc., by adding a simple description to the diskdefs.cfg file -- but standard DOS/Windows PC disks are of course already pre-defined.
 

Offline HwAoRrDk

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1477
  • Country: gb
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2023, 05:33:48 pm »
Mostly able to get data off of nearly 20-y.o. cdrom's ... not bad!

I have recently been archiving some magazine cover CD-ROMs and putting them on archive.org. The earliest were from 1996, and they all read perfectly. Hell, I have CD-Rs from the early 2000s and they still read just fine.

However, I think some drives are more sensitive to minor problems than others. I had a couple of discs from 1998 that refused to read properly using ImgBurn in the LG BD-ROM drive in my everyday PC. So I fired up an older PC running Linux and popped them in the Lite-On DVD-ROM drive (vintage 2005 IIRC!) in that machine and they copied with no errors or complaints using dd. :-//
 

Offline edpalmer42

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2271
  • Country: ca
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2023, 05:39:23 pm »
If you're plowing through that many floppies, you should also hunt down a few floppy cleaning disks.  It's possible (likely?) that the old floppies might shed more material than when they were young.
 
The following users thanked this post: SeanB, boB

Offline CJay

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4136
  • Country: gb
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2023, 06:02:43 pm »
Also, grab yourself a Greaseweasle (or knock one together) and some 'real' floppy drives, I've found the USB ones are pretty flimsy
 

Offline ebastler

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6467
  • Country: de
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2023, 06:10:31 pm »
Also, grab yourself a Greaseweasle (or knock one together) and some 'real' floppy drives

Consider it done:  ::)

I've also ordered some of the other options, like:
  - greaseweazle (just to experiment with "flux" effort ... intrigued by the concept)
 

Offline artag

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1070
  • Country: gb
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2023, 06:10:41 pm »
Fluxengine is an alternative. It will work with either it's own hardware or the greaseweazle hardware.

also see

 

Offline HarryDoPECC

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 63
  • Country: au
    • The Dawn of Personal Electronic Calculators and Computers
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2023, 08:10:41 pm »
My experience:
Avoid USB drives, this introduces a layer that isolates you from lots of ability to deal with media errors or odd formats. You will get unrecoverable errors that could easily be fixed with the methods below
1) Vintage hardware with direct FDD connection gives much better ability to recover marginal disks. But getting harder to set up, and a hassle to store for occasional use
2) FluxEngine, Greaseweasel, KryoFlux (if you have $$ and they are back in production). I have FluxEngine and have abandoned my vintage PC. FluxEngine works with 3.5 5.25 and 8in drives, and any number of formats. As above, can work in high-level file copy mode or down and dirty in the bits and flux.

For me, method 2) is now the way to go.
 

Offline HarryDoPECC

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 63
  • Country: au
    • The Dawn of Personal Electronic Calculators and Computers
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2023, 08:15:58 pm »
And should have send thanks to David Given for FluxEngine
See www.cowlark.com/FluxEngine
 

Offline HarryDoPECC

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 63
  • Country: au
    • The Dawn of Personal Electronic Calculators and Computers
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2023, 08:18:15 pm »
Dammit cr*apple products autocorrect

cowlark.com/fluxengine
 

Offline Andy Chee

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 684
  • Country: au
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2023, 04:13:47 am »
1) Vintage hardware with direct FDD connection gives much better ability to recover marginal disks.
What do you mean by vintage hardware?

I have a working 8088 XT with 360k 5.25" drive, which undoubtedly constitutes as vintage.

But I also have a "modern" Celeron 300A in a 440BX motherboard which has an onboard FDD controller.  From what I understand, these modern FDC ASICs are still essentially the same as the 8088 FDC.
 

Offline HarryDoPECC

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 63
  • Country: au
    • The Dawn of Personal Electronic Calculators and Computers
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2023, 11:28:22 pm »
Quote
FDC ASICs are still essentially the same as the 8088 FDC

There's the rub - "essentially".  The further back you go, the more likely the hand-coded assembly language was knowingly (or unknowingly) dependent upon specific features of the controller IC, the hardware interface, etc, etc.  Or other cases where quirks of that hardware (sometimes not well documented) were used for copy protection and similar.

It's similar to using USB connected FDDs, one could say they were essentially the same as a 34-pin interfaced drive, but we all know there are many cases where that will break down.

So my point was to suggest two approaches most likely to achieve general success:
1) replicate the vintage hardware with attention to original hardware detail or,
2) use modern techniques to go direct to the bits and the flux, then  reconstruct this with fast modern software

and to indicate that I have found 1) to be more difficult and less convenient, while 2) is working very well and is probably better for marginal/damaged or very precious disks where just one read will provide data that can be analyzed/reconstructed/repaired offline.


 
The following users thanked this post: SeanB

Offline Gerhard_dk4xp

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 327
  • Country: de
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2024, 12:28:49 pm »
I also have an external  floppy drive. It must be used on a USB3 port.
USB2 does not deliver enough power. On USB2, seek errors happen often.

Gerhard

 

Offline m k

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2006
  • Country: fi
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2024, 06:24:08 pm »
I'm quite sure I have something with multiple, or at least two, USB connectors at the other end.
Also a China based multi port hub with on/off switches that can't support a single keyboard without an external power.
Advance-Aneng-Appa-AVO-Beckman-Data Tech-Fluke-General Radio-H. W. Sullivan-Heathkit-HP-Kaise-Kyoritsu-Leeds & Northrup-Mastech-REO-Simpson-Sinclair-Tektronix-Tokyo Rikosha-Triplett-YFE
(plus lesser brands from the work shop of the world)
 

Offline coromonadalix

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5897
  • Country: ca
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2024, 05:33:24 pm »
better find old computers with theses 2 floppies  ....  usb floppy as its limits, some may read 720k some not, even formatting

for 5.25, seen lots of solutions,  some are not sold anymore, just read options on some ....

once again, better get an oldie ...
 

Offline SeanB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16283
  • Country: za
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2024, 05:46:40 pm »
If you are using genuine DOS on a machine, you might also want to find a copy of Norton Commander, and the utilities that it came with. They can do a good job on recovering the data off the weak tracks. Does not work in a VM, and does not work running under Windows either, it can do some rather spectacular damage to your disk data wise. Also does not handle long file names well, but will at least recover weak sectors for you. Think I even still have some 5 1/4 in drives around, as well.
 

Offline Andy Chee

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 684
  • Country: au
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2024, 04:23:37 am »
Adrian built a machine dedicated to floppy archiving, reading, & writing.  Although focusing on 5.25" inch format, he does touch on the 3.5" format as well.



And as a tangent, he also manages to hook up an 8" floppy machine to permit archival, reading, & writing to a PC, which allows one to use the same software tools as above.



He also has a Kryoflux and Greaseweasel for floppies incompatible with PC drives (in the first video, he explains which ones).
« Last Edit: January 31, 2024, 04:27:12 am by Andy Chee »
 
The following users thanked this post: coromonadalix

Offline Smokey

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2591
  • Country: us
  • Not An Expert
 

Offline BrianHG

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7733
  • Country: ca
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2024, 09:18:36 am »
tip for old floppies with dead sectors,  I used to apply minute pressure on the drive head both in the Z axis (vertical pressure) and X axis (slight tracking alignment).  Usually, I would be able to salvage everything unless the disk was written with a deliberate error.  (IE: copy protected disk, or there was a power failure during a track write.)

Also, always write protect your old disks no matter what.  Never know when the OS might try to write something creating a new problem.
 

Offline m k

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2006
  • Country: fi
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2024, 04:42:10 pm »
Old drive is a spinner.

So 200k bits/round or less and 5 or 6 rounds/sec.
Not much for ADCs of today.

With luck the old drive has analog side test pins.
(if the data is very important)
Advance-Aneng-Appa-AVO-Beckman-Data Tech-Fluke-General Radio-H. W. Sullivan-Heathkit-HP-Kaise-Kyoritsu-Leeds & Northrup-Mastech-REO-Simpson-Sinclair-Tektronix-Tokyo Rikosha-Triplett-YFE
(plus lesser brands from the work shop of the world)
 

Offline coromonadalix

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5897
  • Country: ca
Re: Copying data off of 1.44mb floppies ...
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2024, 05:18:45 pm »
If you are using genuine DOS on a machine, you might also want to find a copy of Norton Commander, and the utilities that it came with. They can do a good job on recovering the data off the weak tracks. Does not work in a VM, and does not work running under Windows either, it can do some rather spectacular damage to your disk data wise. Also does not handle long file names well, but will at least recover weak sectors for you. Think I even still have some 5 1/4 in drives around, as well.

the last norton commander v 5.5  supported  LFN  "long file names" ...  and if you could install dos 7.10  too  who supports it

Volkov Commander 4.99    was some fork of Norton ...  better functionalities ...
« Last Edit: January 31, 2024, 05:20:24 pm by coromonadalix »
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf