Stone tablets and floppy disks

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Stone tablets and floppy disks

Postby johnhudson » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:50 pm

The answer describing floppy disks as 'notoriously unreliable' doesn't match my experience - and I started with 8" floppy disks before moving on to 5¼", 3" and 3½".

Over the past four years I have been gradually transferring material from 3" and 3½" floppies some of which have not been read since the 1980s and, much to my surprise, though a handful of disks out of several hundred were not readable, I didn't lose any data because I always had a backup.

Indeed, the only time I have lost data was when a hard disk or a CD-RW failed; I cannot remember ever losing data as a result of floppy disk failure.

That said, for most of the time I had a copy of Knife+ which I used to recover data on other people's disks - so I know it could get lost but only on a few occasions in over a decade and, on all but one occasion, I was able to achieve a full recovery.
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Postby Bazza » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:05 pm

Hi jh...

Whenever I couldn't read a PC floppy disk on any of my PCs floppy drives
I placed it into my A500 and voila all data retrieved, saved to the GVP HD8+
and reformatted the floppy ready to write the retrieved data back to it. :o)
73...

Bazza, G0LCU...

Team AMIGA...
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Postby Spangwiches » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:18 pm

[edit: I don't know how but I ended up posting in entirely the wrong thread :oops: ]
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Postby nelz » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:50 pm

I used to have lots of trouble with the 3.5" ones, especially, but not exclusively, when written on one machine and read on another. That is incidental to the point of the question, and answer, which is that drives to read floppy discs, even the 3.5" ones, are becoming increasingly rare. For that reason alone, it is a poor choice of archive storage.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
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Postby johnhudson » Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:29 am

I wonder if that was because, as I discovered, some floppies were marked as IBM and MS, in particular, would refuse to read those without the IBM mark.

Though I used a public domain formatter for floppies I used myself, once I realised the problem I made sure I sent ones with the IBM mark to other people and did not get any futher complaints.
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Postby nelz » Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:37 am

I doubt it, as most of the time I wasn't using MS products.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
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Floppies were OK

Postby Nuke » Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:05 am

John Hudson wrote:-

Over the past four years I have been gradually transferring material from 3" and 3½" floppies some of which have not been read since the 1980s

I have never had any problem with floppies, right up to the present day when I still use one in connection with a back-up scheme I have (see footnote).

I still have over 100, some unused which I am thinking of selling on ebay. Many I saved from work when they were dumping them wholesale and include software like MS Fortran (bet you never heard of that) and lots of shareware DOS games and stuff from the early 90's. I recently sold a boxed copy of OS/2 on about 35 floppies (18 years old?) and I checked that all were OK first. I still have 3" ones from an Amstrad PCW, just as a souvenir.

Most of mine originate from IBM, MS, Verbatim, 3M and other brands. I understand that floppies got a bad name in the late 90's when the original makers sold their production machinery to India and China where the QA was no good. There was also an attitude that the only people still using floppies were losers who deserved rubbish anyway. I remember a letter to a PC mag on the subject and the editorial comment was "Still using floppies??!! What a jerk!! Ha, ha, ha!!!" [I paraphrase].

* My back-ups are on tape, but the index to the tapes is on a floppy that gets updated each backup. The floppy controls the backup and would would control a restore, so it is independent of the HDD. And yes, there is a copy of the floppy on the tape too. I could get round to changing it to a memory stick but it seems a waste as it only needs a few kb.
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